Spycatcher

An ex-FBI agent on deception, espionage, interrogation, and reading people.

Are You Being Manipulated by a Social Puppeteer?

Are you being manipulated? A look at three personality types that you probably should avoid. Read More

i was in a relationship with

i was in a relationship with a manipulator -- he is mostly the first type -- but he also has shades of the second and third. actually, he is all of the above but mainly the first. dont all 3 fall under one category? such as narcissism perhaps?? or narcissistic personality disorder?

i was in a relationship with

i was in a relationship with a manipulator -- he is mostly the first type -- but he also has shades of the second and third. actually, he is all of the above but mainly the first. dont all 3 fall under one category? such as narcissism perhaps?? or narcissistic personality disorder?

i was in a relationship with

i was in a relationship with a manipulator -- he is all of the above but mostly the first type. could it be possible that all three fall under one category? such as narcissism or narcissistic personality disorder perhaps?

I was in

Sad how many of us have to put up with people like this for so long and we are lucky if we get away without losing our minds and bank accounts. Thank you for your thoughts

Thank you. I was lucky to get

Thank you. I was lucky to get out sane and well enough to know what just happened and why - it IS a personality disorder. Am now working on a self-help relationship website that aims to share what I learned from my experiences. No one deserves to be in that kind of relationship. Thank you for your very informative article!!!

Lucky to get out

Sad indeed no one deserves to be treated that way and the damage they do is incalculable even if it is just wasted time.

the puppeteer

Thank you for another very insightful and useful column. So much to learn or relearn. Your columns and articles always hit home with me. They always bring to mind someone I know and that is sad, because I really don't want to know them. I have to remind myself that the people you speak of are not always at bottom of society or the top. They seem to be living large throughout society as a whole, reaping as they can. Thank you.

the puppeteer

Thank you for your kind words. These individuals are everywhere and as you say they seem to live large, knocking the rest of us over. This is why I wrote this, these are the kinds of things we should be taught early on.

Joe, What do you think children should be taught?

navarro wrote:
This is why I wrote this, these are the kinds of things we should be taught early on.

Joe, I don't know if you go back to comment on old posts, but would love to hear your thoughts on what we should be teaching young children about this.

I recently read an article on the original Grimm's fairy tales, and it seems they were trying to teach children about the really ugly things in life. That's been sanitized out of what we teach young children these days (actually it's been sanitized out of what we teach everyone). I think that's partly what's allowing predators and puppeteers to operate so freely in society; we seem to have thrown away the manuals to our native built-in 'bullsh*t detectors', and have forgotten how to turn them back on.

Now that the old fairy tales are politically incorrect, and everyone is teaching children that 'everyone is good and everybody should hold hands' (well, except for that 'stranger-danger' thing, which is taught as an abberation which imo teaches them 'in-group good'/'out-group bad'), where on earth are they expected to learn it from, other than the cold hard lesson of adverse experience?

IMO, the most important lessons people need to learn aren't so much how to recognize predators in their 'out-groups', but how to reconize and what to do about predators in their 'in-group'. That knowledge may be too dangerous for children, but otoh that's where the vast majority of their victimization comes from. Would love to know what you think.

Joe, What do you think children should be taught?

navarro wrote:
This is why I wrote this, these are the kinds of things we should be taught early on.

Joe, I don't know if you go back to comment on old posts, but would love to hear your thoughts on what we should be teaching young children about this.

I recently read an article on the original Grimm's fairy tales, and it seems they were trying to teach children about the really ugly things in life. That's been sanitized out of what we teach young children these days (actually it's been sanitized out of what we teach everyone). I think that's partly what's allowing predators and puppeteers to operate so freely in society; we seem to have thrown away the manuals to our native built-in 'bullsh*t detectors', and have forgotten how to turn them back on.

Now that the old fairy tales are politically incorrect, and everyone is teaching children that 'everyone is good and everybody should hold hands' (well, except for that 'stranger-danger' thing, which is taught as an abberation which imo teaches them 'in-group good'/'out-group bad'), where on earth are they expected to learn it from, other than the cold hard lesson of adverse experience?

IMO, the most important lessons people need to learn aren't so much how to recognize predators in their 'out-groups', but how to reconize and what to do about predators in their 'in-group'. That knowledge may be too dangerous for children, but otoh that's where the vast majority of their victimization comes from. Would love to know what you think.

What if I am a puppeteer?

Upon reading this article, I discovered that I associate very closely with the "Emotionally Unstable/Overly Dramatic" puppeteer. I am not intentionally or consciously trying to manipulate those around me.

What advice can you offer for someone who reads this article, recognizes a problem within themselves, and wants to change?

What if

It takes courage to recognize when we are doing things that offend or bother others. Fixing it is another matter, and that is where a licensed professional should be able to help you so that you form proper bonds and your reactions are outside the limits of offense. There is help and recognition is the first big strep. I wish you much luck. JN

recognition is a big first step

yes it is! i think recognizing is difficult if not almost impossible to someone so extremely personality disordered.

my family recvd an email from my narc-ex just this xmas, he was "apologizing" for things he "did" and "didnt do" but what was odd was how he referred to himself in the third person in terms of being "accountable." also, it took him 5-7 paragraphs to explain why he was apologizing (he experienced a personal tragedy) and none for what he was apologizing for. 2 sentences were alotted for his sloppy apology. also off was his veneration of his tragedy and the fact that he was trying to convince readers about his "sadness" instead of simply and naturally conveying his sadness. e.g. "tears are falling from my eyes (as I write this letter)" and "my cry was a wail of despair that reached the high heavens."

Mr Navarro, do you also do or have a book about statement analysis?

Recognition . . .

Any apology that sounds as if they are trying to convince rather than convert or that is followed by a colon (:) or an * lacks authenticity. Sorry you went through all of that. I have not written on statement analysis but Jack Schafer has and he write occasionally for Psychology Today Blogs and has various books on the subject. Good luck

dated a social puppeteer

I used to be in a long relationship with a "Emotionally Unstable/Overly Dramatic" woman. Even though it's been years, I find my self instinctively wanting to avoid people who show signs of any type of dramatic behavior.

Dated a

I know exactly what you mean - so many others have said the same thing. That drama that was initially so exciting wanes quickly as the relationship becomes woefully one-sided and therapeutically needy. Thanks for your comments. JN

They're everywhere

My stepfather was a paranoid narcissist and did prison for it. An adult can at least make choices about their relationships; the kids have no chance and the damage lasts a lifetime. Anyone with kids owes it to the kids to stay out of such toxic relationships.

They're everywhere

Well put they are indeed and the damage they do. And it seems dont you think that most people dont care or wont even validate how bad it is?

True. Depending on the type

True. Depending on the type of manipulation, there may be either fear or embarrassment, or simply outright denial. In my family's case, he treated my mother well enough to suit her, and was only abusive toward the kids, to which she turned a blind eye. In her view, she had good reason to do so, but I don't accept her excuse. I suppose anyone who falls for the ploy can make up an excuse. People who stay in such relationships shouldn't be surprised if their kids move out at 17 and never visit again.

We usually hear about the high profile cases in the news..the Madoffs, etc, but those are just the ones that are more successful before getting caught. If all you have is two cents to rub together, somewhere is a parasite that wants your two cents.

True Depending

Yes we read about the high profile one, but we ignore the abused child next door or the wife who cant escape her tormentor. As you said, some flee when they turn 18, I know several who could not wait so they divorced themselves from their parents or just ran away.

Sometimes it's not so much

Sometimes it's not so much 'ignoring' as not seeing. It was not obvious what my stepfather was until after "I do", so he was able to hide it for some two years, and the people he worked with apparently never figured it out. He was quite popular with people that weren't around long enough to break the illusion, and that gave him a plausible reputation. The other partner in the relationship is often getting *something* that they want, as well, and may not be willing to break free.

I was one of those that just left and never went back. It's a shame it's not that easy to leave the scars behind, and then those kids have a very poor model on which to base their own relationships.

healing is possible. I had to

healing is possible. I had to do tremendous work on myself to clean, clear myself and release any and all muck from the narc relationship I experienced - I also had to face my own self and my own issues. most of the healing i went through was not cognitive - it was emotional, physiological. now, if any memory comes up, I have no emotional attachment to it.

Healing

Healing *may* be possible, but sometimes not completely. There is some evidence that suggests that our core personality is pretty well set by age 5. If the environment before that point is very poor, a person can actually be missing neuron connections. In that case, the best you can do is damage control.

What I mostly notice in myself is lack of trust, and given the topics Mr. Navarro writes about plus my own experience, I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

There is every possibility...

That I'm the first two, and married to the third type. I guess recognizing the problem is the first step, and there are what, eleven more? Thanks for this, Joe.

There is every

Recognition goes a long way as do boundaries, I hope it is not as bad as all that but thank you. I hope it helps. JN

I am one of them, probably

How could I fix it? Can I adopt another personality?

I am one

You can train yourself to recognize bad behaviors and cognitively work hard at not doing them.

all these 3 personality types

could they be classified as sociopaths??? or psychopaths??? or both???

coould they be

The predator is more likely the sociopath or psychopath. there are distinctions even though the terms are often juxtaposed. You can have a combination of pathologies such as narcissism psychopathy and unstable personality and that makes for a miserable individual that torments everyone around them. good Question

Thank you.

Great article. You are someone who definitely gets it.

When you try to explain it to those who are close to you, they try to understand but they simply can't.

For most people, unless you've had an experience with an individual like this it's almost impossible to understand the emotional roller coaster you've been on. I could have never recovered without a good therapist and online support group who validated my experience.

My soul was raped by a person like this. It has taken a very long time to heal. I'm doing well now and get stronger every day.

What these people do is criminal. Even if they don't take a dime from you or physically harm you, the wounds they inflict on the inside are very real and very painful. Often there is no justice.

Horrid human beings.

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Joe Navarro is a former FBI Counterintelligence Agent and is the author of What Every Body is Saying. He is an expert on nonverbal communications and body language.

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