Basic mind control techniques are used extensively by cults and sects to recruit, indoctrinate, and keep members, and the majority of the leaders are psychopaths. So here we have a look at what Robert Hare, an expert in psychopathy, says about the techniques used by psychopaths to start a relationship with somebody in order to be able to dominate and control them.
These ideas about basic mind control techniques can just as easily be applied to one-on-one relationships as to groups. Narcissists are another group who regularly make use of these tools.
First of all, psychopaths can very effectively read people. Probably because they work very hard at it! Their main motivator is to control and dominate people and they have worked out an effective strategy to do just that.
They can size people up very quickly, assessing their strengths as well as their weaknesses. And the more information that have about someone, the more leverage they have in terms of manipulating the person.
So who do these basic mind control techniques work with? Unfortunately, the answer is... everyone! Learn about specific vulnerabilities here.
Hare explains that there are three aspects of personality we need to consider.
We have our private personality which is how we experience ourselves inside. It includes our thoughts and attitudes, preferences, values, emotions, hopes, ambitions and our positive traits. We also have negative traits which we may try to hide, sometimes we try and improve, and sometimes we simply try to forget or ignore them.
The public self, or persona, is how you want other people to think of you. It's what you reveal of yourself to others in the hope that they will see you in a good light. We try to maximize the good bits, and minimize the bad bits.
The third aspect is reputation, how others actually see us. Despite our best efforts, people form impressions of us based on their own opinions, beliefs and values. All this filtering and distorting of information causes more changes in how other people see us.
An important point here is that people form first impressions very quickly, often within seconds of meeting somebody. As time goes by people look for information to confirm their initial impressions and tend to ignore information that contradicts their first impressions. It's a natural bias in human decision making.
So if we like someone from the beginning, they become more likeable. Robert Cialdini lists this as one of the six weapons of influence. It's important because if we like someone, we're more likely to be influenced by them.
Hare also talks about consistency, another one of Cialdini's weapons of influence. When a person's words and actions seem to be consistent, we trust them.
We can have huge problems if our first impressions are wrong!
The fellow that agrees with everything you say is either a fool or he is getting ready to skin you.
- Kin Hubbard
When a psychopath or narcissist meets new people, he or she assesses them for their value or usability. Then they assess personality. Robert Hare says that your face, words and body language are your autobiography, written in large type!
Based on your personality, the psychopath then begins to project a persona that allows him or her to create a close intimate bond. This bond then becomes the basis for further manipulation and mind control.
The psychopath assesses your weaknesses and strengths, looking for insecurities, needs and the things you value. His actions and his words will then convey four important messages to you.
These basic mind control techniques may not occur in a strict sequence, there may be some overlap, or jumping from one to the other. However, they work to influence our decision making. Let's examine how...
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