This is part of the “shift” I was mentioning in a previous post (The shift: Recognizing brainwashing…). The first part, recognizing brainwashing, was an easy one to describe. This one won’t be so easy. I’ll do my best, though.
This probably has an “official” title or description, somewhere. Unfortunately, since I really don’t know what to look for, I can’t find documentation about it. All I know is it’s very common for Psychopath‘s to do this.
As I mentioned in that post, i learned this by watching and studying people, what makes them react, how they react in certain situations, and so-on. This is also why I noticed my X using this tactic. He’s got it down to a science. My choice to study, compare notes and pay attention to others was just a personal curiosity. Much like studying people in regards to astrological signs. It’s all factual/circumstantial information that I was mulling around. Comparing notes, so-to-speak. I was pretty young when I first started noticing these things about people. Their reactions were always natural ones. For a psychopath, this is something he can use AGAINST someone, or for his own benefit. He can bend them to cause the victim or pawn to act in a certain way, which would give him the ability to appear as a victim, and not the other way around. In order to do this, you have to cause the person to act in accordance with what you want without realizing that is actually what is happening. It works, I promise you. Even with my knowledge of such things, I still fell for it.
This is why it’s important NOT to react in ANY way to gaslighting, arguing, suspicions that the psychopath causes in you, and so on. It’s a trick! Honest to God! It’s designed to make you act in accordance with HIS will. It’s a means to a desired end of the Psychopath’s.
It’s gross manipulation, at it’s best.
I think the best way to let you in on it, is to describe a couple of scenarios that happened with my relationship (Just an ‘FYI’, I HATE referring to that time as a “relationship”…).
I mentioned this scenario in a previous post of mine. My X was precise in his speech. He didn’t make simple slip-of-the-tongue mistakes, nor did he “accidentally” do anything. Everything he said and did was calculated. The earliest one I can think of was when we exchanged house keys. About a week later, he came to me as if he “accidentally” made an extra key of MINE! I gave him a copy of my house key, previously. “Here, when I made a copy of my key, I got yours mixed up by accident.” He handed me a freshly made key. Just one. I wasn’t aware of the truth until I really got to understand the monster. Everything he did was “in case” I broke up with him. I took him at his word at the time, and poo-poo’d it away as an “oops” of his. I thought he was entirely human. Of COURSE humans do such things. Instantly, my skin crawled when he let me know of the mistake. This was the first time ever that I experienced this sensation. I thought this was odd, so I dismissed it, too. The skin crawling sensation was one that became commonplace, when dealing with things he tried to convince me of or things that he would just “say” out of the blue. I have wonderful intuition. It’s never wrong. I just didn’t trust myself to believe it.
He counted on my normal, human tendency to be understanding to enable the lie. He made a key to hold, in case I took mine back. He would be able to let himself into my house at will, after a breakup. There were 2 keys that he “accidentally” made. Not just one. The one he gave me was a dummy key. When I tried to get my key back, in the end, I remembered the second key. I called our shared landlord and asked permission to change the locks. Problem with key #2, done.
Another scenario…this one he used a couple of times: He did endless searches online, for profiles that I either currently held, or held in the past. He searched through people search engines to find out information about me that he could use. I remember one day, he said something about “Facebook, er I mean MySpace…” Again, my skin crawled. I was still under the impression that he was still human, though very suspicious, jealous and extremely paranoid. Thinking this was another “oops” on his part, I wondered to myself, “Now, what could he have possibly found on Myspace?!” The first step was to enter his email address into the MySpace search box. Voila, he had a profile that was marked ‘single’. I asked him about that, and why. He then let me know that I had a profile marked ‘single’ and had my boyfriend, “Tom” on there. I told him I deleted my profile quite a few years, prior. He entered my name into the search, and amongst ALL of the other profiles with the exact same name, he said, “See? There!” He clicked on it. It was an old profile that I forgot about. It was probably my very first one, that I forgot all log in information about. It didn’t even have my picture, only that of my dog and cat. He did this again about MyLife.com. Of course I checked to see… This time I went onto his profile to see what he searched, to find information about me. He already got onto my ex-husbands’ profiles, my mom’s, both daughters, ex-wives of ex husbands, and so-on. I couldn’t believe he was that obsessed that he would stalk my MOTHER!
Can you see what he did here? I used his computer to look. He originally tried to convince me that he knew nothing about computers. In actuality, he was/is quite astute with them. He had snap-shots soon enough, that he tried to use to “prove” that I was stalking HIM online. He planted a suggestion that he counted on, in order to make me suspicious enough to check. Boom…instant about face, with me appearing to be a stalker. Any human would fall for it, not even thinking that it was a trick.
It was soon after this that I started to recognize when he would manipulate (or try to) by suggestion or introducing a word, to cause me to act accordingly. He counted on my humanity to be able to manipulate me. Humans are humans. We are all known to react the same way, to certain things.
Here’s an example… we all remember the scenario of a person who just randomly stops outside, and stares into the sky. This is also manipulation. What happens? Every other person stops near the original person doing the staring, and begin to stare with him, trying to see what he’s looking at. Here’s another one… A person walking down a sidewalk, veers to one side as if to miss stepping on or tripping over an object. The closest person behind him, reacts in kind, also veering to one direction, only to notice afterwards that there is nothing there. You can do this in a car, too, and the driver behind you will swerve to miss “nothing”. If you walk by a friend and sniff the air near him/her as if it smells bad, you can watch from around the corner while that person quickly sniffs their arm pits, checks garbage, etc to try to find the adverse smell. Of course it was the intended outcome of the original sniffer to cause the person a moment of insecurity, questioning their own smell.
The psychopath will do this in order to get pawns to react a certain way, and/or the victim to react in order to harm the intended victim. The scenarios the psychopath will use might be different, but the rules are the same. Introduce a word, phrase, or what-have-you, intended to get a desired reaction. The target reacts accordingly, based on their NATURAL HUMAN CHARACTERISTICS!
It’s viciously calculated, and it WORKS!
I mentioned a time I used this with my daughter. I had a cordless mouse and keyboard, that had their own rechargeable batteries. One day, my keyboard and mouse wouldn’t work so I popped open the battery compartment, and lo-and-behold, they were missing entirely. My daughter went through a time where no batteries in the house were safe. Alarm clocks, clocks on the wall…you name it. I asked her about the rechargeable batteries, and of course she lied to me, “I don’t know where they are, MOM!” and, “Why do you ALWAYS accuse me of taking something you LOST?!”. I knew the truth. The trick was to get her to admit it. This was LONG before the psychopath, but years after studying normal human reaction… I approached my daughter on a nice, calm day, as if it were an old conversation we had and everything was already out in the open. I started talking about the need to buy new batteries as the others were dying on me, “Have you figured out what you did with the batteries you took from me, yet”…and she answered, “No, mom, I haven’t”… then it dawned on her. She was tricked into telling me the truth about taking them. I wish I had taken a picture of her face at that time. She was visibly shocked. She laughed, and I told her “Time to replace them, dear-heart”.
Can you see how this works? Perhaps you can remember a time in your own relationship where this was used against you, to get you to react. To get you to respond in a particular way, only to have it twisted for others to see how “crazy” you were in the relationship, or that you were a “stalker”. They can’t just tell someone about it, they have to create something for another person to see, in order to make the story believable. That’s were they MANIPULATE YOU INTO A REACTION!
Again, when dealing with a narc or psychopath, IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO RESPOND TO THEM
This is one of many things that makes them so horribly dangerous!
I was able to recognize my X using these tactics, which enabled me to end the relationship sooner. I knew the tricks, already. I had just never seen them done intentionally, until within my relationship with the Monster. I recognized the stages of brainwashing, but it was only during the introduction of new beliefs that I was able to connect the dots. He tried that, after I was pulling away QUICKLY from him. He panicked. I saw through him.
The rest is history, complete with growth and new-found confidence!
I hope this helps you to recognize these tactics.