By | September 7, 2015 25 Comments

Two Legged Snakes – explaining manipulative people with outrageous cartoons

To bite or not to bite

(Copyright © 2010 Dr. Ed Slack)

They say picture is worth 1,000 words. The 91 cartoons in Dr. Ed Slack’s slender book, Two-legged snakes understanding and handling manipulative people, communicate the essence of sociopaths, narcissists, and other exploiters. The pictures will plant an understanding of disordered people firmly in your brain:

They are snakes.

Bipedal snakes

Bipedal Snakes (Copyright © 2010 Dr. Ed Slack)

In fact, deceptive and manipulative people have been known as snakes for millennia. Dr. Slack points out that the original deceiver, according to Christian, Jewish and Islamic traditions, was the serpent in the Garden of Eden, who tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. He says this Bible story “highlights one of our most important tasks as human beings: to choose well and not be deceived by snaky influences.”

In other words,

“To bite or not to bite, that is the question.”


Dr. Slack’s objective is to help you spot two-legged snakes, also called Bipedal Snakes, or BSs for short. He doesn’t include clinical descriptions in his book at all. But he does identify types of BSs, such as:

The Backstabber

The Backstabber (Copyright © 2010 Dr. Ed Slack)

The Backstabber – “BSBSs work at making their ‘bitees’ feel safe and cozy, and then they cruelly betray them.”

The Misdirector

The Misdirector (Copyright © 2010 Dr. Ed Slack)

The Misdirector- “Fear is commonly used to control their bitees, and flags of negative consequences will be waved at anything that is not supportive of their agenda.”

The Situational

The Situational (Copyright © 2010 Dr. Ed Slack)

The Situational: “Many will be nefarious only with some people in their social environments; this is called two-faced or multi-faced snaking.”


This astute yet funny book brings up an important topic that I haven’t seen in many discussions of disordered people: their minions, their hangers-on. Dr. Slack refers to these fans of two-legged snakes as “apple-biters.”


Wannabes (Copyright © 2010 Dr. Ed Slack)

It’s important to recognize these fans, such as “true believers” and “wannabes,” Dr. Slack says, because they’re always on the lookout for new recruits.

Persuasion techniques

When two-legged snakes debate and persuade, Dr. Slack writes, their objective is often to get you to act agains your own best interests. He describes many snaky techniques:

Going Big

Going Big (Copyright © 2010 Dr. Ed Slack)

Going Big: “Using any persuasive technique to such a huge degree that potential bitees are encouraged to buy the pitch, simply because it seems preposterous that someone would lie so wildly.”


Viperation (Copyright © 2010 Dr. Ed Slack)

Viperation: “Vicious name calling.”


Flattery (Copyright © 2010 Dr. Ed Slack)

Flattery: “To soften up a potential bitee, compliments, admiration, and even fandom are used to create the right atmosphere.”

More info and pictures

If, using the examples in this book, you’ve spotted a two-legged snake, then what? Dr. Slack offers suggestions on handling them, also illustrated, such as watching for inconsistencies. He also recommends not drinking around these snakes, because they become more aggressive, and your snake spotting skills become poorer.

He discusses relationships with BSers, pointing out that they can be incredibly seductive. He recommends slowing the pace of a new involvement, noting that “BSs age poorly when the heat of the moment passes and the pheromone high abates.”

Relationships with BSs

Relationships with BSs (Copyright © 2010 Dr. Ed Slack)

Two Legged Snakes packs a lot of information into a 126 short pages — including 81 more illustrations and several copies of a “Two Legged Snake Spotter’s Checklist.”

I thoroughly recommend this book. Pick it up, and you’ll find great insight in the very first sentence:

“The greatest single factor in determining your level of happiness and success is who you listen to and who you trust.”

Keep reading, and within an hour you’ll have a really good understanding of what disordered personalities look like, and what to do when you meet them:

“Don’t hesitate to run.”

Two Legged Snakes Understanding and Handling Manipulative People is available on



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I wish I had known about this before. The last cartoon is the story of my relationship.


That last picture looks exactly like my ex NS! Wow…it’s uncanny!


The one in the pic has more hair though…

Yup! That last pic was my relationship with the p. The last pic i received from him was him giving me the finger with a matching vulgar text attached. I was shocked. I knew i didn’t deserve this. Ive been NC for about 18 months.


The situational and the viperation actually look like the ex.

Looks like a great easy book!

Wish I had it even just a few years back!


Dr. ED so awsome a picture does say a thousand words, & makes one feel a thousand emotions too…

Remember …They can be more than only one category, I think most have many ….they might lead with one but most are able to cover various types…

the one with the back stabber is chilling
thanks, cant wait to see rest…


A picture does say a thousand words. Great book.


As Dr. Slack says, some exploiters are nefarious only with some people, two-faced.


Really like this book.


I have a pet snake named Veronica and she resents being compared to one of those vile creatures. 🙂


Stargazer I’m sure Veronica is a nice snake but the two-legged variety are not.


Star How is Veronica?


Exactly, Sunnygal, she found it insulting to be compared to a sociopath, and I duly agree. 🙂


I do like these cartoons!!!!


I’ve known the situational two-faced.


Kathy lee this morning talked about how people she has known to be nice have done sexual harassment. these people are 2 faced as a cartoon shows.

Artist L

My (now dead) spath husband showed signs of ALL of these over the length of our marriage. Backstabbing really hurts. And now his business partner is backstabbing me! What?????? I’ve done NOTHING to him. I’m beginning to think I’m a spath magnet. I am hoping that the current uprising of women, and men, speaking out against sexual abuse, harassment, and inappropriate behavior will eventually spill over into the casual acceptance of rampant Infidelity and spending on “other women”. It’s time for this to end, too.


Many are 2 faced.


Some are 2 faced. I have been victimized by 2 who are nice to most but victimize single women.


Like the situational.


They really can be 2 faced.


Look at the backstabber.


Excellent book.


Love a cartoon.


I know a 2 faced.

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