You hear the word “vulnerability” in various contexts. The word, however, always means the same thing. To be “Vulnerable” means there is a notable weakness. A crack in your armor, which can be exploited; being prone to attack. Children, aging adults, and even shoddily protected computer systems, are vulnerable. Computer hackers are guilty for the recent security breaches in many of our major shopping chains, across America. Millions of people’s’ identities are at risk, due to the exploitation of those vulnerabilities found by these perpetrators. Pedophilia is rampant across the globe. Elder abuse, whether in a private home, or state-run facility, often times goes without notice.
The exploitation or abuse isn’t just limited to those who are obviously (to the normal human) vulnerable or weak, or unable to protect themselves. Those who have been previously abused, neglected, attacked or have low self-esteem or lack of confidence, are seen as vulnerable and “weak” by the same depraved individuals, who are looking for someone to use for their self-gratification. It doesn’t just stop there. Are you a giver? A peacemaker? Do you have a selfless nature? Humanitarian? Are you naturally, highly empathetic? These wonderful qualities are seen as weaknesses by the social/human predator, as well. They aren’t seen as “wonderful qualities” by the Sociopath/Psychopath. In fact, the human predator is an astute student in human nature. They interpret these qualities, very analytically. They see “behind” the exterior, into the deepest recesses of our behaviors, exposing our actual needs behind the selfless acts. This is how they are able to mirror us so well. Creepy, huh?
For instance; Are you a selfless giver? A psychopath or Narcissist could interpret that as, “She needs approval and acceptance”. Empathetic? “She needs to feel understood, loved and cared about”. Those of us with less than ideal self-confidence, are especially subjective to becoming targeted and victimized. We are easy to see and weed out from the rest of the herd.
In the past 3 years, I have come to realize that no 2 psychopaths’ personalities are exactly the same. Their M.O. is ALWAYS the same, as in; Love-bombing, manipulation, mirroring, tailoring responses to mesh with our deepest desires, scheming and lying. Some Narcissists and Psychopaths (though very few) aren’t cheaters. However, they ALWAYS gas-light their targets. Some choose those whose vulnerabilities echo their inert weaknesses. Others want to go after the more self-assertive variety. The thrill is in the conquest, after all. The fact remains in that we all, as humans, have some sort of vulnerability. Some of us make the search very easy, while others take more time to ascertain.
Remember…even the Titanic, which at the time was considered “unsinkable”, met with a rogue iceberg which was able to find the slightest weakness in the hull of the ship. The rivets used were iron which degraded in the sea water, weakening the hull enough to be ripped apart by a huge block of ice. Even those of us who are coined with the phrase “unsinkable” and “unmovable”, have a vulnerable area.
Now, the conundrum… We are encouraged to be more vulnerable, by “relationship experts” and the likes of them. I can understand why this is. If we don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable at all, we won’t be able to find true human connection. When two people are vulnerable and in turn, protected by each other, then we are able to allow and accept emotional intimacy.
Normal people shudder at the thought of exploiting any of these areas or people, for personal gain. But those people ARE out there. Sociopaths/psychopaths and narcissists, never show vulnerabilities. At least, ones that are obvious to normal people. Predators are secretive. They cover their tracks. They are exemplary schemers and liars. They manipulate you and others around them, so they don’t appear to be anything but how they want others to see them. Lets think about them, for a second. Do the Narc, Soc, or Psychopath truly have “no” vulnerabilities? Or are they just skilled at covering them up? They have skills, that’s for sure. Silence, whether from their chosen victim, or themselves, is absolutely necessary to insure their success. The pro-social Psychopath knows that if they talk too much, for instance, they take the chance of unveiling their true nature and in turn lose their cover. They will be seen for who they truly are, and what their desired end is. They would be unmasked. Was your ex-psychopath or Narcissist very open about their past, or what they do with their time? If they were, how easy was it for you to pick out the lies? The vast majority of them, are NOT open with you about ANY area of their lives…except for those tidbits that would be useful to further gain your trust. Even those things are carefully placed, without revealing too much information to you, and are still dusted ever so slightly in lies.
The #1 vulnerability that the Narcissist/Psychopath has is INSECURITY!!! They are afraid of exposure. They are afraid that the rest of the world will think them less than exemplary human beings (barf). We all know they are incapable of true decency, without the need for schemes. However, they still need constant ego buffing and adulation. They are afraid that someone will know the truth about them. Everything they do stems from this insecurity. I don’t feel the least bit sorry for them, or any inkling of pity. They choose to do what they do, and they know EXACTLY what they are doing. It’s planned, and malicious.
That leaves us with the daunting question of, What can we do to protect ourselves? Especially when different vulnerabilities are seen as exploitable, depending on the personality of the individual predator. I mean, one predator might want an easy-to-find catch. He/she’ll go after the one whose self-confidence is shaken. They want the conquest without the battle. How about the type who only wants the “hard-to-get” prey? They go after those who are self-assured, successful and strong (as they would appear to normal individuals). The same is true, however. Both types of predators find and exploit vulnerabilities. Given the time (and some are quite patient), they will expose your vulnerabilities, no matter how hard or easy they are to see. Again, what can we do to protect ourselves?
First, know their tactics. They always come on strong, giving us the person we’ve always longed to meet. The one we thought didn’t exist. The empathetic, caring, self-effacing gentleman. Gifts will abound. Favors. Etc. They will be loving and attentive. It’s easy…WAY too easy to get caught up in the fairy tale. I think it’s important to take strategic steps back, during the initial days. Revisit what has been said or done, away from them. Learn the phrases they say, or the responses they have to what YOU have said. The twists will be so subtle, it’ll be hard to distinguish at first. Believe me, even in the beginning, they will slip a little bit. How do they make you feel? Do you feel elation, only to be met with a sudden bout of shock? What shocked you? What was your response..even silently? I can’t express this enough… LOVE BOMBING SHOULD NEVER, EVER BE CODDLED!!! You should NEVER allow for it. If they are trying to push too much, too soon, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE walk away from them!
This is such a wide-open topic. I would love to hear your ideas… What are some ideas you might have, to protect ourselves from being targeted? Remember, we will ALL be targets. Not all will become victims…