Not Just for Narcissists or Psychopaths

A friend of mine, I will call him Daniel, recently confided in me about an online experience he had with a woman. He began chatting with her about a month ago. She was a career woman in her 40s, close to his age, divorced and with two grown children. Daniel was fine with this, since he was also divorced with adult children.

They chatted daily, sharing events in their daily lives, thoughts and views. She was pleasant and engaging. They exchanged pictures and Daniel found her attractive. She indicated that she also found him attractive. It seemed like things were going somewhere.

However, Daniel said she very quickly injected intimacy into their chats. She frequently called him honey or sweetheart, and sprinkled kissing and heart emojis into her chats. Daniel had not initiated this and, although he responded kindly, did not reciprocate with the same level of words or emojis. He told me that he did not want to give false expectations or hopes before there were any. She also confided in him very early that her husband had left her for another woman, because her career was her first priority. While that seemed a bit TMI (too much information) for Daniel, he brushed it off.

One morning shortly after Daniel arose from bed, he received a video chat call from her. The first of such ever. Not having showered, shaved or eaten breakfast yet, he declined the call and replied with a message that he was not able to take a call at the moment and could they video chat later. She was silent for the rest of the day. He thought nothing of it. When he greeted her the next day, she curtly responded with …

I don’t chat with strangers who won’t answer their phones.

He simply responded with, “Cool, see ya” and blocked her. He asked me if I thought he had overreacted.

I told him that I felt he had not overreacted, even with the block. In my opinion she was out of line by demanding that he answer an unexpected video chat early in the morning. To me, that is a violation of privacy boundaries. If she wants to do things like that, fine. It is not a crime, but she should not be surprised if there are people who will not answer. A text message, or even a voice call, is one thing. However, a video chat is something for which many people like to prepare beforehand, just like a face-to-face meeting. If she insists upon doing this, then she should be prepared to have a lot of people not want to answer her calls.  Being offended about it is unrealistic.

I asked Daniel, “How do you feel when you call someone and they do not answer, even someone close to you.” He responded, “I would think they are busy and just try again later.”  I told Daniel, “Exactly. If she is demanding you immediately answer a call now as casual friends, just imagine how it would be if you were in a relationship with her? On top of that, she freezes you out afterwards without even an explanation. That is passive-aggressive. Either she sincerely feels entitled to an immediate answer, or she is trying to use it as a manipulative tool. Either way, a relationship with someone like that will be problematic.”

We talked for a bit more and the subject of red flags came up, early signs that might have tipped him off that she might be problematic. I told him that the fast push for intimacy was a big red flag. The language, the emojis and her sharing of very personal relationship details within the first few weeks were all red flags. Pushing for fast closeness, either emotional or physical, is a tactic used by narcissists and psychopaths to gain the trust of their victims. While I do not believe this woman was either of those, it can also be a sign of someone who has emotional trauma and is looking to fill a void inside them by using others as resources. Past broken relationships, daddy issues, a feeling of desperation over being alone while growing older, or some type of ingrained personality disorder. It could be any or none of these. Diagnosing and labeling it is a pointless exercise for the non-professional. It will not change the dynamic. However, it is a glaring indicator that being in a relationship with a person who displays this trait is often fraught with problems.

The passive-aggressive way she reacted when she did not get what she wanted further corroborates the possibility of a problematic relationship. She froze him out rather than communicate her concerns to him, then pushed him away when he contacted her again. This is a sign of either manipulation or emotional immaturity. Yes, many adults are passive-aggressive, but that does not mean you should tolerate it or allow someone into your life who displays it.

I reiterated to Daniel that blocking her was probably a good thing. If it was manipulation on her part, it would be the beginning of a lot of back-and-forth with her justifying why she deserves immediate attention and Daniel trying to reason with her. Manipulators do not want to reason, they want to win and control. If it was not manipulative and she genuinely felt entitled to immediate attention, it would still be a problem as this is not normal behavior and quickly turns the partner into a slave to her whims.

You can feel empathy for people like this, but that does not obligate you to accede to their demands or be in a relationship with them. You cannot “fix” them. They can only fix themselves. I speak from experience here, having had trauma and deep wounds from narcissistic parents and toxic past relationships. The best thing I did to resolve this was acknowledge my own brokenness, introspect as to the causes and effects, get professional help, accept responsibility for it, and spend time alone working to repair myself with help from God. A person who cannot or refuses to recognize this within themselves is primed for continual bad relationships, and will hurt many others in the process.

In my opinion, Daniel dodged a bullet. Given her actions towards Daniel, I would wager that placing her career first is not the only reason her husband left her. Always remember, no matter how nice a person treats you initially, there is a potential demon lurking underneath.

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Projection involves taking an unacceptable part of oneself, disowning it, and placing it onto someone else. The manipulator describes the victim and paints them in a light that more accurately portrays the attacker himself.

Toxic amnesia is a tactic where the perpetrator pretends to not remember abuse, betrayals, lies, and other hurtful and dysfunctional behaviors they've engaged in. Its a form of gaslighting. Its purpose is to make you doubt your perceptions and memories.

Narcissistic rage can be triggered by various situations, such as criticism, perceived rejection, or being ignored. The reaction is often extreme and disproportionate to the event or comment, as the narcissist's fragile ego struggles to cope with the perceived attack on their self-image.

Triangulation is when a toxic or manipulative person, often a person with strong narcissistic traits, brings a third person into their relationship in order to remain in control. There will be limited or no communication between the two triangulated individuals except through the manipulator. It may appear in different forms, but all are about divide and conquer, or playing people against each other.

The action or practice of lavishing someone with attention or affection, especially in order to influence or manipulate them.

Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors. This produces a feeling of mental discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance.

To gaslight someone means to manipulate another person into doubting their own perceptions, experiences or understanding of events. ~ American Psychological Association

Because their sense of self is determined by what others think of them, narcissists use relationships for self-enhancement. Everyone must feed them. In addition, they seek validation and attention in their public and professional life. Other people are used as objects in order to provide their supply. For example, they may need constant compliments or applause, more status and money, or may check their appearance in the mirror several times a day. ~ Psychology Today

Fraud that targets people belonging to a particular community or group, typically that in which someone pretends to be a member of the group in order to gain the trust of others.

Second Attack
First Attack
Initial Dispositions
ZSU 23-4
TOW Missile
T55 Tank
M48 Tank
Hawker Hunter
BM21 Stalin Organ
AT7 Anti-Tank Missile
AT3 Sagger Anti-Tank Missile
120mm Mortar
AT4 Anti-Tank Missile

Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

A religious leader uses valid verses or concepts from the Bible about following and obeying God to generate enthusiasm in people, then misdirects that obedience to himself as a representative of God. The group believes they are following and obeying God, but in reality are obeying the leader.

A fictional, exaggerated version of an opposing viewpoint, especially one that is intentionally created to be easy to dismiss or argue against and to make one's own argument seem stronger. Straw man arguments can be made unintentionally, but most are made on purpose to make the other side seem evil, incompetent, or extremist.

The religious leader distracts members from mentally registering what he is doing.  Screaming praise to God when something he proclaimed does not come to pass.  Acting like a bad thing is really a good thing.  Just keep talking and talking and talking, while ignoring that nothing is happening. It is the same thing politicians have done successfully for years.

The leader calls members flattering adjectives or nouns, like righteous, holy, or saint.  These are often vague and difficult to define, so the member feels the leader’s superior knowledge has recognized something good in them.  Conversely, if the leader later withdraws this praise, the member is eager to toe the line to recover it.

Manipulation of a person or group's emotions in order to make them believe something is factual (or false) in the absence of any evidence. The manipulator tries to draw on the recipient's inward feelings such as fear, pity, or joy with the goal of convincing them that the statements being presented are true or false.

Essentially a black-and-white worldview with the leader as the ultimate moral arbiter. This creates an atmosphere of guilt and shame, where punishment and humiliation are expected. It also sets up an environment wherein members spy and report on one another. Through submission to the guilt-inducing and impossible demand for purity, members lose their moral bearing.

The use of jargon internal to (and only understandable by) the group. Constricting language constricts the person. Capacities for thinking and feeling are significantly reduced. Imagination is no longer a part of life experiences, and the mind atrophies from disuse.

The process whereby the group becomes the ultimate arbiter and all nonbelievers become so-called evil or non-people. If these non-people cannot be recruited, then they can be punished or even killed. This process creates an us-versus-them mentality that breeds fear in followers who learn that life depends on a willingness to obey. This is when individuals merge with the group’s belief.