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How psychopaths manipulate their victims

Snakes in Suits—When Psychopaths Go to Work is a new book published by Dr. Robert Hare, the international expert on psychopaths, and Dr. Paul Babiak, an industrial-organizational psychologist. Although the book is primarily about psychopaths in the corporate world, it contains important information for anyone who is dealing with one of these predators.

Chapters 3 and 4 explain how psychopaths manipulate their victims, and it’s absolutely chilling.

Hare and Babiak describe a three-phase process psychopaths use in their parasitic approach to life. This isn’t a process psychopaths have to plan, they do it naturally. Here’s how it goes, according to the authors:

  • First, they assess the value of individuals to their needs, and identify their psychological strengths and weaknesses.

  • Second, they manipulate the individuals (now potential victims) by feeding them carefully crafted messages, while constantly using feedback from them to build and maintain control. Not only is this an effective approach to take with most people, it also allows psychopaths to talk their way around and out of any difficulty quickly and effectively if confronted or challenged.
  • Third, they leave the drained and bewildered victims when they are bored or otherwise through with them.

Psychological game

As a result of the manipulation, the psychopath establishes a “psychopathic bond” with the victim. Here’s how Hare and Babiak summarize the manipulation:

The psychopath’s psychological game involves analyzing the individual’s expectations and desires, and then reflecting them in a psychological mask that is so convincing the person bonds with him or her. This bonding can take place very quickly, even during the space of one cross-country airplane ride. There are two payoffs: the psychopath wins the immediate game by gaining the person’s trust, and the victim, now in the grip of the psychopath’s power, will soon give up whatever the psychopath requests or demands.

If you’ve been victimized by a psychopath, you’re probably trying to figure out how it happened. Read Snakes in Suits, especially chapters 3 and 4.You’ll find your answers.

Lovefraud mention

Snakes in Suits includes a sidebar about Lovefraud.com in the chapter about personal self-defense. I greatly appreciate the reference.

Another note—although I draw on the work of Dr. Robert Hare in Lovefraud.com, I’ve chosen to use the term “sociopath” in place of his use of the word “psychopath.” The reason is that most people assume a psychopath is a deranged serial killer, which may prevent them from realizing that the spouse, relative or coworker who is making them miserable may have the personality disorder. My purpose is simply to enhance communication.



330 Comments on "How psychopaths manipulate their victims"

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  1. FightAnotherDay says:

    I know, I know, I know.

    However, correcting this issue is not SO simple as we have been using e-mail liberally throughout the 2 year long, legal process, only to have it finalized at the end of March.
    It is habit for each of us.
    Even in the beginning of April, I thought it was hypocritical for me to tell him not to contact me that way, but I DO think it best that I be consistent in setting an example and only using the Journal myself.
    Then, if he asks why I don’t respond to his e-mails I can point him to the agreement.

    Sound good?



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  2. skylar says:

    FAD,
    yes, point this out IN THE JOURNAL.
    Make it YOUR habit.
    I have a concern though. Is this a paper journal? What’s to stop him from ripping out pages? Are there copies? He can always say “the dog ate it.” I’m confused.



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  3. FightAnotherDay says:

    I photograph every page before It goes out.



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  4. Ox Drover says:

    FAD I hope you have SAVED all emails, yours AND HIS…..for additional evidence if needed.

    Gotta make a hospital run so catch you guys later. (((hugs))) Oxy



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  5. aussiegirl says:

    FAD –

    I’m with one/joy_step_at_a_time (and Ox and Sky)

    “if you are only supposed to be communicating via a journal – you have to stop communicating any other way. right? ”

    This applies to if you point out to him that it is court-ordered that ONLY the journal be used – USE THE JOURNAL TO SAY THIS!!!!! (as my wise friends have already said)

    DON’T REPLY in the journal to EMAILS – he is NOT supposed to be sending them, and NEITHER ARE YOU.

    DO print them out and keep copies – set up a separate file (sounds like you might have already done so) and keep everything in chronological order. Photocopy (or photograph) EVERY journal entry – yours AND his and file the copies with the email copies. You never know when you may need evidence.

    DON’T make yourself look just as bad as he does by responding by email – you can hardly complain to the court at some later stage that “he broke the rules” if you are also breaking them.

    My brother had a journal that went back and forth with his two kids to his ex-wife. I begged him to copy the pages every time (she was very manipulative and a liar in court) but he took a casual attitude, telling me that “if he needed it, the evidence was all there in the journal…he would just take it to court with him if he needed to”. Guess what? When it got to that point (as it usually does with these people), the journal came back to him with all of incriminating pages ripped out. He was never able to prove any of the wicked things she said and threatened.

    Don’t take this lightly. I know it’s a pain but let’s face it, it HAS to be better than living with him, right? Copy them, file them, put the file away where it doesn’t hit you in the face every day.
    Just like insurance…



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