You fell down the rabbit hole.
You didn’t know it — you only thought you had found true love. You left the mundane world behind and didn’t look back, nor did you want to. You were let in on the secret handshake. You finally got a break, and it was about time.
It never crossed your mind to question the things too good to be true, the things beyond imagination, the strange things. Why would you? After all, they weren’t strange on that side of the looking glass — they were just part of the wonder of it all.
In this world of awe, you didn’t ask questions — you just gave thanks for being there.
And then white magic turned to black, but it was too late. You had been hooked, duped, and made to believe it was the best thing that ever happened to you. You did whatever you could to get back to Wonderland.
How did it happen? Manipulation. You didn’t know how psychopaths manipulate, or that there was even a possibility of falling victim.
“The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words”
– Phillip Dick, author
How do they do it? How do psychopaths manipulate us when they aren’t like us at all? They have no firsthand experience seeing life through our eyes. They don’t share our emotions, our thoughts, our motives, our goals, our hopes or our desires. The best thing they can do is to pretend, and count on us to fill in the blanks.
Are they natural born manipulators, or do they somehow learn their craft? It’s a combination of both.
It takes three things to fill a psychopath’s bag of manipulative tricks: Observation, practice, and our inherently vulnerable brains.
“Alice had got so much into the way of expecting nothing but out-of-the-way things to happen, that it seemed quite dull and stupid for life to go on in the common way.”
Ultimately, their success depends on the way our minds work. They exploit vulnerabilities that remain hidden from us, which they can easily see. How can that be? It’s always easier to recognize something when you’re an outside observer instead of in the midst of things. Hence the saying, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” We don’t see the workings of our own mind, because we’re right in the middle of the thoughts and feelings it produces.
We can learn to see the ‘big picture’ if we become aware of metacognition — “cognition about cognition” (“thinking about thinking”) or “knowing about knowing.” Since psychopathic manipulation relies on them knowing how our minds work and us not knowing, it’s in our best interest to step back and take a look at things. Metacognition is the subject of an upcoming blog post.
For now let’s take a look at how their minds work, when it comes to manipulation. What are they thinking?
Let’s hear what a few psychopaths have to say about manipulation. Notice they’re not claiming to use any magic or to be the devil incarnate. They rely on plain old manipulation: They find out what we want and then give it to us, so they can get what they want.
Psychopaths are good at manipulation because, unlike us, they’re not caught in a quagmire of thoughts and emotions. Instead, they’re clear-headed and very much ‘present’ in the moment, so they’re able to focus completely on the person they’ve targeted. That focus is used deliberately for the purpose of manipulation. And they intentionally set goals and practice, and get better at it over time.
*A WARNING — you may find their words disturbing. If you’re not in a good state of mind, please save this for another day.
Something interesting to take note of while you read: There is a big difference between the way the two psychopaths quoted here express themselves. ‘ZKM’ is young, and her writing makes that apparent. ‘Zhawq’ is far older than she is, and his smoothness and confidence shows. He’s subtle — he keeps his real thoughts under wraps, for the most part. Please keep this in mind if you visit their websites. ZKM’s site contains images of violence, and she doesn’t hold back too much. Her mask is off. On the other hand, Zhawq is an often gracious and even endearing host. His mask is on. He’ll invite you in for tea, but there’s no telling what may happen after that.
“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”
~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
“As much as I hate other people, my whole life revolves around them. Reading them, studying their habits, determining the best way to guide them in the direction I choose — these are the activities that make up my entire day. Controlling people is the only thing that gets me up in the morning. Everything I do is moulded around that goal. My choice of career, friends, activities — everything. I do not believe it is because I am somehow ‘evil,’ because there is no such thing as good or evil. It just so happens that Control brings me pleasure and enjoyment. What other motivator could there be to do something?”
~ ZKM, Sociopath’s Domain
“I am good at entertaining people who need adventure, who want to encounter something new and exciting — maybe even something marvelous — and who are seeking adventure where they will lose that everyday control which for too long has ruled and controlled them, rather than the other way around. A predictable, suffocating everyday life sneaked up on them and stole the key to their happiness. And now that key is gone because they no longer take chances – unless they decide to give it another try and let me find that key for them. Perhaps you are such a person? Perhaps you, too, are tired and have grown weary of a monotonous existence; you have decided that you deserve to live, too, and now you’re looking for some adventure?”
~ Zhawq, Psychopathic Writings
“Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin,’ thought Alice, ‘but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!”
“Psychopaths aren’t half as good as people think we are. The advantage we have is people assume everyone is like them. If an Empath was analyzing my emotional response with the knowledge that I may be full of shit, I might have a harder time being convincing. Why? Because you can’t write a thesis on a topic you didn’t study. If you’ve never heard Spanish you sure as hell couldn’t identify, and then speak, the language.”
Alice quickly discovers during her travels that the only reliable aspect of Wonderland that she can count on is that it will frustrate her expectations and challenge her understanding of the natural order of the world.
~ Sparknotes, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
‘The world reveals itself as an arena where the strong, those who have control over their emotions and who don’t feel the emotions that seem to only weaken others, are kings and queens. Psychopaths become adept at reading others very early on in life.”
“I can be anyone you want me to be. It’s better than it sounds — having no real identity. Observe, Analyze, Resolve. Those three words are what guides my social interactions. Observe the mark, search for abnormalities in belief, appearance, speech etc. Analyze and create a profile based on observations. Resolve — determine the most ideal social match for the mark and imitate. Based on the goal of my social interaction I may choose different ideal identities to suit my needs. Let’s say I want to make someone cry. How would I do that? Observe, Analyze, Resolve. Say I observe a lady with certain key traits that are all I would need to solve my problem. I observe her black slacks are covered in a thin layer of animal fur and there is no ring on her ring finger; she claims after some trivial conversation to have four dogs — all from the pound. Analyzing this data I assume she is an animal empathizer as well as an animal lover. To resolve I see that her greatest love must be her animals — she has no one else.
The perfect profile to achieve my goal would be a pathetic animal lover like herself, who recently lost the only creature in the world who ‘truly understood her’. First I would create a quick bond by relating a humorous story about my last pet. I would endear her to him and then reveal his passing. I would relate his importance to me and my resulting loneliness at his passing. It would remind her of herself, which is apparently a key component to empathy. This connection between her and I would set her mirror neurons aflame and she would be as glossy-eyed as a doped fish. This was a recent experience I had waiting in line at the post office. My point is, now that I’ve forgotten, is control is the key to any successful endeavor. If I had allowed myself to reveal my true disgust and distaste for her pathetic life, I would have lost control of the entire situation.”
Alice encounters a series of puzzles that seem to have no clear solutions. Alice expects that the situations she encounters will make a certain kind of sense, but they repeatedly frustrate her ability to figure out Wonderland.
“Tony then explained how ‘f**king stupid’ most people are and believe anything as long as you liberally apply the words ‘I love you’. He then said, “The best ones are the ones who didn’t get any love as kids; parents were a bit cold and so on. People from these families will do anything if you tell them you love them. They are like addicts or something. They never had, you know, parental affection and love as kids. It’s a bit weird, alright, but you can spot these a mile away.”
As in a dream, the narrative follows the dreamer as Alice encounters various episodes in which she attempts to interpret her experiences in relationship to herself and her world. Though Alice’s experiences lend themselves to meaningful observations, they resist a singular and coherent interpretation.
“I’ve been enacting a sort of social experiment with my own family. In order for me to improve upon my knowledge of people and gauge my analytical accuracy, occasionally I have to test certain hypotheses. As an exercise many times I go into a situation with a certain goal and grade myself on not only the achievement of said goal but also the speed and cunning used. For instance, the most amateur level of this is going into a conversation with the goal of ‘make this person feel this (ie. happy/sad).’
But anyway, the experiment was to on occasion reveal obvious clues to my psychopathy to key family members. My hypothesis is that anything short of literally screaming “I’m a psychopath” at the top of my lungs (and that still may not work..) and my family will never put two and two together. No matter how blatant the clues. Because of the human tendency to paint people as something they’re not, the people who cling to me will never accept that I’m not who they want me to be, unless I shove it in their face and even then, I ‘must be confused.'”
“Such is the nature of life: Things start out as nothing, then become something, something becomes more and something else, and it all eventually becomes a lot of things. “
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“Excellent, excellent book! It brought me understanding and closure!”
“Invaluable. Having been in a relationship with a psychopath for many years, I desperately needed some insight into what had happened and why. I have gained a tremendous amount of strength and knowledge toward healing from years of abuse by reading this book. One of the best.”
“Insightful and informative! This book provides a good understanding of psychopath’s traits. It’s very helpful the author broke it down in different subjects for giving the complete view of a psychopath.”
“Five Stars. Very helpful.”