By March 3, 2017 14 Comments Read More →

‘See What A Great Guy I Am?’ A tactic abusers deploy – right under everyone’s nose



Editor’s note: This post was contributed by the Lovefraud reader who goes by “D2.”

The coffee shop filled quickly as people grabbed their caffeine fixes before heading to the office. I sat with my book and my latte, glancing around the room occasionally to rest my eyes and then refocusing on the page. As I looked up once again, I noticed one of the baristas conversing intently with a middle-aged man over by a cork board on a side wall. I couldn’t hear them over the din of the other customers, but they appeared to be discussing something tacked on the board.

Nothing interesting going on here…except something about this man snagged my attention, something about his body language. He was a little too “on,” trying a little too hard to be engaging and pleasant. It felt like one of those movie distraction scenes where the husband corners his wife in the living room when she’s come home early and makes loud, cheery conversation with her while the girl he’s been cheating on her with sneaks out the bedroom window behind them.

And there was something else about him, some weird vibration emanating from him, that gave me the creeps. But the conversation ended, he took a place in the growing coffee line, and I returned to my book.

“Knock it off! Don’t try your STUFF on me!” I heard, only seconds later. As I glanced up, a young woman in professional dress whirled around in line and stared in shock at the person immediately behind her. It was him.

“Don’t try to hassle me with your STUFF!” he repeated in her face, not shouting, but still loud enough for many in the room to hear him clearly. The two had by now squared off so that I could see them in profile from where I was sitting, almost directly behind the line, and I could see his expression. He was gloating.

The woman bolted from the line and found the same barista to whom the man had previously been speaking, leading the barista to a table a few yards from mine. Agitated and in tears, she described the verbal attack and pointed through the line of people to the attacker, who seemed oblivious to the scene behind him.

“But I was just talking to him a few minutes ago,” the barista said, his tone a bit dismissive. “He seemed like a really nice guy. I’ll keep an eye on him, though.”

“I’m an absolute wreck, and I haven’t even gotten to the office yet!” the woman said through her sobs, then composed herself slightly and bolted from the building.

This bizarre incident may look like nothing but an adult version of “Let’s get YOU in trouble with the teacher,” but failure to recognize this tactic in other contexts is potentially lethal.

Here’s another example, this one a bit more personal:

During my college years, in the days when cell phones were the size of cinder blocks and few people had them, I got a job at a 24-hour restaurant. I’d interviewed in the evening after getting off work from another part-time job, and I’d been hired on the spot. By the time forms and orientation were completed and I was free to leave, it was 3 a.m.

One problem: I had no car, the buses weren’t running, I couldn’t get a ride, and since I was flat broke, I couldn’t pay for a cab. I needed to get home, so I decided that I had no choice but to walk the couple of miles to get there.

After passing through a street-side shopping area across from the restaurant, I continued to another main surface street leading home. And as I walked, I became aware that a young, scruffy-looking man on a bicycle seemed to be casing me. I kept walking, a bit faster now. To my relief, I spotted a security guard up ahead, probably on his way from a shift. But then, to my horror, the man on the bicycle rode over to the guard and started a chummy, animated conversation with him, giving me a smirking glance as I approached. It was just like the coffee shop—but he probably had something in mind other than verbal potshots.

I skirted around them to the main street, planning to double back to the security guard, but the man on the bicycle was once again behind me, blocking my path, and the guard disappeared down a side street.

The approaching patrol car was a miracle. My follower took off immediately. The officer pulled over, I told him I was stranded and being followed, and he drove me home. Disaster averted.

The Abuser’s Social Camouflage

Both of these incidents exemplify an “aren’t I wonderful” abusive technique, the purpose of which is to create protective social camouflage for the abuser.

It’s very simple: the abuser targets the victim and, before the strike, anyone surrounding the intended victim who could intervene or otherwise wield any social power against the abuser is treated to a show of charm and ingratiation. (Flattering and manipulating individuals into becoming proxy abusers is a frighteningly common variant of this ploy.) Once the audience has been hypnotized by this social subterfuge to see the abuser in a favorable light and then rationalize—or discredit the report of—any abusive behavior to follow, the abuser can then strike with relative impunity because, after all, “I’m such a great guy!” (Or gal.)

For an example of greater magnitude, picture a predator creating a pillar-of-society image in the larger social arena in which he or she preys, and you could come up with someone like John Wayne Gacy in his clown costume or Ted Bundy as, of all things, a suicide crisis hotline volunteer.

Here’s another scenario from my past, the implications of which I’d like you to ponder:

It was time for the self-introduction presentations in my senior psychology seminar, and the students sat nervously awaiting their turns to speak. One of the last speakers, a smiling, dark-haired fellow with an aura of electricity, took his place in front of the audience. He was decidedly not nervous.

He was singlehandedly designing and building his own house and many others, he claimed, while running multiple businesses and managing numerous contractors, and he played six musical instruments and was traveling the world while working on his degree to get into the counseling program because he wanted to help people. (He choked up a little here.)

It was a relentless stream of “me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, ME.”

I glanced around during his patter of little feats and noticed that many of the women and even a couple of the men—people ranging in age from twenties to fifties—were all but swooning. I slid my eyes over to the professor, who was listening quietly, a faint, tight smile on his face and an expression in his eyes I was too far away to read.

And then, his finale: he sang—to enthusiastic applause.

I did not applaud. If they let this flake into the counseling program, I thought, I’ll renounce my degree.

Now, think along with me. His exaggerated claims and overall presentation displayed grandiosity and self-absorption at the very least, neither of which quality is ideal in a therapist. The frightening part of this story is that more than a few of the audience members watching this performance—people aspiring to careers as counselors and psychologists—actually seemed to buy it, judging by the flattering comments I heard as we filed out of the room at the end of the class.

With this effect on many of the members of the audience in mind, imagine what happens when someone like this keeps the circus act under wraps well enough to survive a supervised clinical experience process on the way to a licensed position as a therapist. (It happens.) A vulnerable client, hypnotized by a larger-than-life fabricated persona lent validation by a degree, could at best be manipulated into fulfilling the disordered therapist’s desire for dominance and adulation and at worst be wide, wide open for more severe forms of violation.

The Coffee Shop Incident—A Case of Psychological Rape

All of this is not to say that anyone with an appealing social image or confident self-presentation is necessarily distracting attention from nefarious activities. It is only to say that social image or an individual’s self reports alone will not tell you who—or what—he or she really is. It’s the style and context of someone’s engagement of you—its pattern—that harbor clues to their intentions. In the cases involving the woman in the coffee shop and me, pre-emptive charm preceded the incident, or at least its attempt, in order to both isolate a target and create the illusion of deniability.

And as for the coffee shop verbal assault: it was a case of rape, in broad daylight, right out in the open, although the perpetrator didn’t lay a hand on her. But then, he hadn’t had to.

14 Comments on "‘See What A Great Guy I Am?’ A tactic abusers deploy – right under everyone’s nose"

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  1. Redwald says:

    Sorry, I’m lost. What was the trigger for this man’s sudden outburst at the female standing in front of him in the coffee line? What led up to it? It sounds as if he was responding to something she said or did, but what could it have been?

    Or are you saying this man joined the line and then abruptly, for no obvious reason, launched a verbal assault on a woman in front of him–and a woman he didn’t even know? If so, that’s not just “aggressive” behavior; that’s bizarre behavior! This guy’s a weirdo!

    So was there in fact some incident that did precede it, which we’re not being told about here, perhaps because it escaped notice?

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    • I_survived_The_Bastard says:

      You can have someone do that to you, with no fore warning. I was once subjected to it. I was walking along minding my own business and stopped to look in one of the shop windows as a dress had caught my eye. I was standing contemplating it, when all of a sudden I was verbally abused by a woman who was walking past. She screamed in my face “I know what you type of people are” or something like that (can’t remember now). I was so stunned I didn’t know what to say. She carried on glaring at me and I was so worried about how I should respond in case I made her even more violent. I said nothing but just looked at her.

      I was shaking with fear, it was so out of the blue. So yes, this sort of unprovoked behaviour does happen.

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  2. Sellenna says:

    How weird.

    Did this woman know this guy?

    If some guy that was a total stranger to me yelled those things at me, I would probably be too shocked to cry. I would also think he must be drunk, stoned, and/or certifiable.

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  3. FleeingDeer says:

    The blogger is only writing about what she saw… and reading between the lines – I imagined that the man had perhaps done something like grope her butt and she turned around to yell and him, and then he yelled back.

    That’s my read on the situation.

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  4. slimone says:

    I have seen this type of behavior. I believe sociopaths and other disordered individuals do participate in ‘sociopath light’ behaviors. These are out of the context of intimate-type relationships, and are meant to give the person a little lift in their day, by making another person lose their emotional cool. By making others feel foolish or taken advantage of.

    It’s that dupers delight thing.

    They are unprovoked, fun and games little social abuses. Whether anyone feels this writer has made a clear case through their writing skill, the thrust of their idea here is pretty clear and not inaccurate.

    I used to watch the horrible man I spent time with do this to strangers. At the time I didn’t get why, as there often was no insult or trigger (like they didn’t somehow insult his ego, or challenge him). He just did it because he knew how, and he got a little bit of power out of it. Was easy for him.

    I watch people now and can ‘pick up’ on them doing these little abuses with other folks. I probably couldn’t pinpoint each behavior, nuance, or piece of body language well enough to relate my sense of having seen such a moment. But I do know when I see and feel one.

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  5. feefi says:

    A couple of years ago I experienced something like this. I was in a queue to buy lunch and a man I hadn’t even noticed launched a viscious verbal attack on me. It left me shaking and a wreck. I had absolutely no idea what was going on there.

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  6. Trla says:

    I was in my early twenties and traveling to my grandmother’s house. On the highway I saw a man that was around my own age, in an area where there were no exits. I locked my doors and pulled up with my window cracked and asked if he was in trouble. My kids were at their dad’s, otherwise I would have never stopped if they were with me. I was surprised to see a woman emerge from the ditch, but they explained that they were at a friends house and the friend “went crazy” on them and kicked them out of his house. Their car was at home and they were stranded. It was obvious at some point that the woman was intoxicated but I willingly agreed to help them and take them home, which was an hour and a half out of my way (round-trip). (Stupid, young, and kind, me). During the 45 minute drive we talked. I was not afraid and was charmed by this young man’s intelligence and wondered how he could be in a relationship with a woman almost twice his age with obvious substance abuse problems. But to each his own and they appeared in love. Fast-forward 3 months later. I was asleep and awoke to someone raping me, in my apartment. My 2 small children were asleep in their rooms.I was able to get one glimpse of him in the struggle and it was the hitch-hiker. This deepened the horror of the experience when I saw who it was. He left. I was traumatized. I blamed myself. I was embarrassed. I did this! I thought about calling the police immediately, but so many things prevented me from doing the right thing. I told my boyfriend and he confirmed what I already felt, by blaming me for my stupidity. Our relationship started to fail at that moment. A month later, I had new neighbors moving in. To my horror, it was my rapist and his girlfriend. I was in a panic. I contacted my landlord’s (a couple) and explained to them what happened to me. They looked at me in disbelief, but made it clear that if I was uncomfortable that I would need to just move out. They made the statement, “he such a smart, nice, young, man.” I immediately made plans to move. In the meantime I found a moment to approach his girlfriend and tell her what he did to me. She was not surprised! She had already been told by him that “he cheated on her with me.” (So why would a woman agree to move into an apartment below a woman her boyfriend had cheated with?). Every time I saw him, he would smile in duping delight. At one time I even screamed at him as he sat on his porch, “you are a rapist.” Hoping the neighbors would hear. But his expression looked murderous, so I decided not to do that again. I has also gone to the police, but as you can imagine, that was also mute, given there was no proof and the time I had taken to report it. It has taken a long time to get thru this event. All of the blaming I put on myself. The fears and trauma and triggers. But I learned valuable lessons about evil people and what they are capable of.

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    • Jan7 says:

      Tria (Donna & Everyone PLEASE read this post & help give Tria some much needed support)

      Tria, I am truly sorry that this evil evil man raped you. I cant even imagine the emotional & mental pain & turmoil you have been thru as a result of this PURE PURE evil sociopath. Sociopaths & Psychopaths are pure diabolical and this guy tops the list.

      Hugs to you. I hear you, I believe you. It’s NOT your fault!

      I’m sorry your post has literally rocked me to a point I cant find the right words to comfort you. I’m sorry for this. I have read thousands of comments and love fraud and your story is just absolutely mind blowing how pure evil sociopaths are and how they are out to destroy a good person’s life. This guy might even be a psychopath!!


      Tria, Please vent here at Lovefraud or ask questions. Please Tell us what you need hon we are hear for you. Donna Anderson love fraud create has a library full of information on her wonderful life saving site. And the support from all of us victims is unbelievable also. So know that you have come to the right place for support & education.

      You ask: So why would a woman agree to move into an apartment below a woman her boyfriend had cheated with?

      Because he has her mind so twisted up she doesnt even know which way is up & which way is down. Sociopaths & Psychopaths are the cult leaders of the world. Whether a Religious cult, a pimp, a drug cartel leader, a gang leader or domestic abuser (like this guy).

      ALL cult leaders LITERALLY brain wash their victims! This woman is so brain washed that she will do anything he says and believe anything he says. I think the reason why she has substance abuse issues is because she is under enormous amount of stress because of this crazy guy. It’s very common for a vicim of a sociopath to lean towards drinking or drugs to calm their nerves. Sociopath are 1000 times worse to their girlfriends or wives (husbands) behind closed doors then they are to those that they abuse or manipulate in public.

      This guy is pure pure evil in public just by his evil actions and cunningness to track you down, break into your home & abuse you and then move next to you (this is a true nightmare!). Image the evilness he is doing to this woman that is with him.

      I’m glad that you found your way to Lovefraud & had the courage to post your nightmare of a story today.

      Are you in any type of counseling?


      Wishing you all the best! take care.

      ps I sincerely apologies for not having the right words to comfort you today. 💜xxx

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  7. JCB says:

    My Ex has done this to me plenty of times. I want nothing to do with anyone who threatens to kill me. This was reported as a threat years ago by not only myself(a woman) but his friend. His friend was there when my Ex threatened me. Yes, I followed through to get no-where. He also has another Ex without children which divorced him and moved out of state and he left her in debt. He also is a father to one child and there are 30 years of reports of abuse. Yes, my mistake I did not check the cities and counties records to see plenty of problems before I met him. Now, I have a child and divorce 7 years with the Florida Law attitude of, who gives shit for the children attitude so, lets split the time half and half. My son has sports in the agreement and the father interjects himself to proactively harass us both(our son and I) when we attend.

    He has done the exact scene told people I am the problem(crazy, difficult or trouble making) comes up and starts yelling out loud. The scene he projects can be from loudly saying “How dare you not want to do this for our child…etc etc !” Yes, I have resorted putting my hand up before he gets to close and asking him in a firm voice “Stay away.” Now, my Ex is harassing my son. In my Ex’s effort to make it look as if I am making my son mad at his father. Just 2 weeks ago after the game my Ex insistently called our son over and when my son went there my Ex tried to hand our son a pencil. Don’t ask why a pencil. It’s just his chosen prop. After our son turned and walked away. I could hear my Ex 40 ft away and around a corner screaming at our son “Why? Why?”. I am sure as I have witnessed many scene’s he is emotionalizing(acting) his anxiety for all to see. Of course the witnesses only see my son walking away and feel sorry for the man in anguish.

    This goes on and on trying to appeal to any dupe that is around. There are to many scenario’s trying to explain each and every one is to tasking.

    The objective of this kind of harassment is so they could use third parties to harass others and bringing dupes as witnesses to future court proceedings.

    Believe me he had done much much worse that involved the sheriff. Our son called 911 on his father hitting him. I was not aware until my son returned days later for me to find out the turn of events. 911 was called by our son. Sheriff ignored his plight because he got his mother(grandmother) to say all was ok and did not know what was wrong with her grandchild and she would look after him. Never did anyone call me. Of course my Ex is good at lying. So, the sheriff left our son there with the perpetrator. Courts would not do anything. Hence, I called Child Protection got a councilor for our son went to counselling for months. The councilor said yes it is apparent our son was hit by his father but can not go to court.

    Anyone that has not been a victim can not fathom the situation are really lucky people and should leave it at that. It is my hope people who have experienced and understanding can help others through these rough times.

    Learn to know who you are and try to stay clear. Be aware, vigilant, try not to re-act badly. Realize not everyone is duped. Stay safe.

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    • Jan7 says:

      JCB, have you looked at the site One Moms Battle? It’s a wonderful deals with child custody & divorce when dealing with a narcissist.

      They have a Facebook page also. Lots of support and guidance from other mothers that have gone thru the same nightmare that you are going thru with you ex.

      If you go to the top of Lovefraud do a search on One Moms Battle and you can read Donna’s article on One moms battle.

      If you chose to chat on the One Moms battle Facebook page, I would suggest you open a fake email account then a fake Facebook page this way you can chat without your ex, his friends or family from seeing what you care chatting about. Also put very tight security blocking on this Facebook page = “me only”.

      You are not alone, check out One moms battle & you will see over 15,000 other mothers going thru the same nightmare with their ex’s

      take care.

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  8. Little52 says:

    The fact that some get it and others don’t is scary.

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  9. Sunnygal says:

    This makes me want to be careful where I go since there are so many disordered people. When I was teaching, I had coffee in the teachers’ cafeteria before school and it was nice.

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