Articles about the behaviors of a psychopathic individual will usually talk about the lying, manipulation, abuse and so on. Here, I want to start with a particular phase of the relationship with such an individual, the beginning.
If you were meeting somebody for the first time and knew they were a liar, a con artist or abusive, you would walk away. You would not entertain them. Well, psychopaths understand this, too!
For this reason, they have a certain set of behaviors when they meet new people. They basically disguise their true nature, create a personality that is friendly and caring and act for some period of time as if this is who they really are. This is how many people actually get caught in abusive relationships.
Some people may wonder about those in abusive relationships why they didn't see it coming, or how they stay in the abusive situation. The fact is that nobody steps into an abusive relationship. They are tricked into it.
So let's have a look at these particular behaviors of a psychopathic individual first.
They are friendly.
They create an air of confidence around themselves.
They are interested in you, asking questions and listening intently. People generally have no trouble talking about themselves and the psychopaths know this. However what they are doing here is gathering information about you. The victim at this stage often feels the psychopath is genuinely interested in them.
They give compliments and praise. Even flattery. The person being flattered may know that it's actually not true, but it still makes them feel good, especially if they're not aware of this technique.
The psychopath will tell stories about themselves, always showing themselves in a good light. Stories about how successful they are, the important people they know, how good they are in certain areas and so on. There are often lies and exaggerations here and most people, out of 'politeness', do not challenge the exaggerations.
The psychopaths can be very good at reading people. All the questions are designed to elicit peoples fears, dreams, desires, strengths, weaknesses et cetera. Once they have this information then they start offering the victim what the victim wants. It could be friendship, a job, help with a project, money or a solution to a problem. Whatever it is, the psychopath makes it easy for the victim to agree, to accept what the manipulator is offering.
The psychopath will give you time. This may come in the form of spending time doing the project, or texting a lot at the start of an intimate relationship, or even physically spending time with you. At this point, the target feels special, cared for and may be delighted that this charming, confident and wise person is giving them so much attention.
The psychopath will make the target feel very good about themselves. However, the important thing to note here is that "feel good" aspect is linked to the psychopath. The psychopath is not making you feel good for the sake of making you feel good, it's actually conditional on the psychopath being around. This means you are quite happy to spend time, to the exclusion of others, with the psychopath.
This is another tactic of the psychopath, isolating you from your family and friends. Of course, it doesn't feel like this to you initially, because you feel so good around the psychopath. You just want to continue to feel good so it makes sense to spend time with the psychopath and not with other people.
This feel good factor also has another sinister effect. During emotional highs and emotional lows people often don't make good rational decisions. Decisions tend to be driven by the emotional high or low. A significant effect of this, for example, is when your family or friends tell you that they don't like this new person, you dismiss them because you feel so good around this new person. You make excuses such as telling your family and friends that they don't know this new person like you do, they just need to spend more time with them to understand.
There may be gifts. Lots of gifts. This obviously gives the impression that this person really cares about you and is thinking about you all the time. It may also lead you to think that this person has plenty of money. This may or may not be true!
All of these behaviors come together to create a very particular impression of this person in your mind. They lead you to believe you have met somebody who is ideal for you in the context of the relationship (a mentor, a coach, an intimate partner). This is actually the first part of the psychopath creating a reality for you and forcing you to live in it.
The character the psychopath has created does not actually exist, but in your world, you have just met Mr. Right or Miss Perfect. It's almost like it seems to good to be to true!
At some point, this wonderful person does something horrible. When you get upset about it they justify it away, giving you excuses and promising that it won't happen again. This is typically a test. It's a test of how you respond and what they have to do to convince you.
Very soon, they do it again or there's something else that you don't like. It's very easy to justify it away by saying that it's out of character or your new friend is stressed or having a bad day. After all, things have been fantastic up to now! You can put up with one or two little annoyances because the rest of the relationship is just so wonderful.
Then the psychopath begins to tell you about how they want things done or said. This can be done in a variety of ways. They may tell you directly or they may tell you about how an ex treated them in such and such a way and they didn't like it. You get the message about not treating them that way, because it's a new relationship and you want things to continue well.
So, little by little, under their hidden influence, you begin to modify your behavior thinking that you're doing nice things for this wonderful person in your life. Another way to look at this is that the psychopath is imposing their terms and conditions on you and the relationship.
This person can make you feel incredibly good. At some point, you'll notice they can make you feel incredibly bad, and they do it regularly. These people use fear and guilt in a major way to control their victims. You may feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster.
They create crisis after crisis. They start to blame you for everything that goes wrong.
As time goes on, the manipulative behavior of the psychopath gets more extreme.
The temper tantrums will have kicked in. You are terrified of these episodes and begin to do things to try and avoid them.
At the start of the relationship you were doing things to get the compliments and rewards. Now, you are doing things to avoid punishments.
There are lots of punishments. From shouting at you, to insults, belittling and name-calling to the silent treatment. They withhold affection. They may steal your stuff, break things or pretend that they have lost certain items.
Even though the relationship may be unrecognisable from the relationship that was present at the start, most victims don't recognise how abusive the relationship actually is. This is because all those changes to your behaviors thinking, beliefs, perceptions and emotions have resulted in a personality change. The psychopath has imposed a false personality, or pseudo-personality, on you. This is why family and friends of victims say that they don't recognise the individual any longer. You can read more about this idea in these articles about narcissistic boyfriends and narcissistic husbands.
This pseudo-personality is designed to be dependent on the manipulator. This is a very important factor in dealing with the psychopath.
As the relationship progresses, frequently the psychopath becomes less and less interested in you and spends more and more time doing their own thing. At this point they know the level of control they have over you and they also know they don't have to spend so much time to keep that control in place.
If you announce that you want out it's typical that the psychopath will straight away set to work to convince you to stay. There will be all sorts of things said. They will change, you are making a mistake, you can both start over, remember all the good times because you can have more good times in the future, the psychopath may apologize, then they will blame you for the problems and on and on. They may even cycle through all these different ideas trying to convince you to stay. They can be very convincing. This is why some people end up in off-and-on-again relationships with abusers for years.
All of these things are lies, of course. The psychopath hasn't changed one bit in all the time you have been with them, despite all your efforts, and there is no reason to expect that they are going to change now.
If someone does give in and stay with the psychopath, very often the abuse actually gets worse, with the psychopath saying something along the lines of, "Well, you wanted to be with me, you know what I am like, now you have to put up with it."
Even after the separation, the psychopath will not be happy and may try all sorts of things to get at you. Spreading rumours, full on smear campaigns, refusing to return your stuff, trying to win your friends over to their side, abusive emails and threatening phone calls and even stalking are all fair game according to the manipulator. If there are children involved, they will use these to make your life miserable with no consideration of the damage they are doing to their own children.
In other words, just because you want to end the relationship does not mean that it all stops there. Psychopaths are driven by control and domination and even if they don't have direct access to you, they will still do things to upset you emotionally in order to keep themselves in your head. That's their way of maintaining control over you and your life.
The second best thing you can do is to learn about mind control and psychopathy. The best thing you can do is to get an expert to help you to personalize your education. That is to say, it's all very well watching videos and reading books, but if you cannot see how those things translate into your own personal situation then you are not getting the most out of your time. It is those things that you cannot see that will cause you most problems.
You can learn more here about the characteristics of the psychopath, do psychopaths know they are psychopaths? what is an abusive relationship? how to leave an abusive relationship and recovering from a psychopathic relationship.
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