Modes of Pathological Deception and Manipulation
by Jennifer Copley (excerpted article)
The Sympathy Ploy
Pathologicals usually play on the sympathies of others. When people’s empathic responses are aroused, they are less inclined to scrutinize an individual’s behaviour, or they will attribute bad behaviour to an abusive childhood or other trauma. This provokes the sort of nurturing response that enables the pathological to manipulate and extract what he wants from others.
While often appearing cold and deadpan, when they are trying to manipulate others, pathologicals often engage in dramatic, short-lived emotional displays designed to provoke sympathy or guilt, or even cause people to believe that they must be crazy for questioning the pathological’s motives.
Pathologicals say whatever will get people to give them what they want. Many work hard to give the impression that all of their problems stem from cruel treatment at the hands of others, and that they could change for the better if only some kindly soul would take an interest in them and support them.
They usually reward these people by breaking their hearts and cleaning out their bank accounts, using them for sex, as well as taking from them and ...abusing them ...
The Dynamic Persona
The pathological can be an exciting companion at first because he takes risks that others wouldn’t take and thus can appear courageous and impressive. Pathologicals often pose as brilliant eccentrics, misunderstood geniuses or difficult artistic types, and so people are inclined to attribute bad behaviour to a creative temperament.
Self-assured, cool under pressure and socially adept, they may appear larger than life. Their tendency to maintain intensive eye contact and move into the personal space of others enhances the image of forcefulness and confidence.
Because many pathologicals have a surplus of charm and the gift of gab, they are able to dazzle their audiences and con them into believing all sorts of outrageous stories. Excellent self-promoters and fast talkers, they boast and dazzle their targets with a variety of grandiose plans.
The target usually experiences a wild ride and is left disappointed, financially poorer and wondering how everything the pathological said could have seemed so plausible at the time.
Excuses and Empty Promises
A pathological does not keep his commitments or obligations. He breaks his word, stands people up, abandons those who care about him at critical times in their lives, cheats with impunity, and makes promises he has no intention of delivering on to get what he wants.
Pathologicals may disappear and reappear in the lives of friends and family, causing worry and heartbreak, without ever adequately explaining what they’ve been up to. However, they always have excuses, and it is always someone else’s fault.
When they do achieve success, it is usually through causing harm to others. Their lack of commitment to anything is evident in the many contradictory and hollow statements they make.
However, they hang onto the people in their lives by promising to change, or even changing, briefly, only to revert back to their old ways in time.