Down the Rabbit Hole

Illustration of Alice with the white rabbit, for the article Down the rabbit hole ~ How Psychopaths Manipulate

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.”



The Pool of Tears by Arthur Rackham

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.”

~ Zhawq


“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 in Wonderland by Arthur Rackham

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.”

~ Thomas Sheridan, Defeated Demons: Freedom from Consciousness Parasites in Psychopathic Society



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.

~ Sparknotes


“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. “

~ Zhawq

Thank you for reading.


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19 thoughts on “Down the Rabbit Hole”

  1. Nearlybel

    Hmmm, very interesting post Admin. The ‘strong’ are perceived to be that way because they have ‘control’ over their emotions, and people are weak if they have no control over emotions? Is this learned behaviour where as children they are punished when they display emotion by parents? And grow up in a stifling atmosphere unable to express physically as younger children and verbally as they get older any emotion for fear of the consequences, leading children to retreat into their own heads instead of reacting with the world around them. And so it continues, that lack of love, forever looking for that piece of the puzzle or ‘choosing’ to manipulate to meet whatever needs. Is this what we are producing?
    Evil is an anagram of live
    These evil beings want to consume us, to stop us living, they will not stop until we know and recognise them for what they are, and expose them with the truth, turn the mirror around, switch on the light. This isn’t how we want our life to be, everything must change. xxx

    1. Admin

      Interestingly, Zhawq tells the story of his childhood and he says he was punished for NOT showing emotions. So, he had to ‘pretend’ in order to fit in. Funny thing is, he thought EVERYONE was pretending, and that’s what they were asking him to do! He didn’t feel emotions, so he didn’t know anyone else did. Of course he eventually learned that wasn’t the case. He wonders if being forced to be like others by ‘showing’ emotions is where a psychopath’s manipulation begins.

      I don’t believe we “create” psychopaths or that a lack of love is to blame. They’re born the way they are. xxx

      1. Admin

        If you want to read the story, it’s here:

  2. Depressedempath

    Wow! What an incredible insight into the warped mind of a psychopath. This is what interests me the most. Now that I’m far away from the clutches of one, I want to find out more and analyse the how’s and why I found myself in a psychopaths world. I was the perfect target, starved of love and affection, looking for an escape, an adventure. My psycho charades as an animal lover, but I can now see that this is how he gets the attention of women. On his facebook, he has a following of female animal lovers and they are a very empathic group.
    Thank you for another great blog Admin. Keep them coming! I look forward to the next ;)

    1. Admin

      I hope these insights into their minds will help us to avoid future victimization, as well as understand the experience we had.

      I will attempt to keep them coming! :-)

  3. Reality

    hello dear admin.

    i agree with you , that psycopaths are at the most born this way. To the people without the genes towards psycopathy bad childhood can lead to problematic personalities even to NPD but certainly not in psycopathy. In full blown psycopaths the environment and parenting may probably influence the way that their psycopathy is expressed as being or not overtly abusive, violent e.t.c. but the internal make up is the same to all of them. That is why once they are discovered they are all so rediculosly identical and predictable. It is the pathology!! The same as all diabetics have elevated blood glucose level ( sorry , my MD self is speaking here). In my case the mother of the P was also psycopathic. The one sibling of his is schizoid PD and the other is ( of what i had observed ) highy functioning autistic. What a family !!!
    The P said to me also that from the age of 6 he had understood that he was different from the other children and at the age of 10 he had created his first fake identity as he literally changed his own name ! also he told me that at high school he was using his multiple fake personalities to manipulae his teachers.. I do not know why he told me all these things. Maybe ‘psycopathic leakage’? maybe he considered me so naive, unsuspecting and attached thus unable to connect the dots and kick his ass? who knows? strange also that he never discarded me. A game of power that he never won finally? i would like your view on this dear admin.
    Well, about the two psycos who speak on line about their disorder. It is so palpable their grandiosity in everything they write… seriously ??? they consider their ass so superior just becouse they are able to manipulate people in order to control them ? Wow, i am thrilled… you know everybody can lie well if he choses to , i for sure can do it very well and sometimes better than them. I just find it except of unethical and immoral , totally meaningles and really stupid. Me and the majority of people with conscience and empathy have far more important things to do in life than to toy with an old lady for half an hour in order to manipulate her feelings so that we feel Gods. It is really so rediculous… they practice this and all their other silly manipulative games just to get a temporary rush by the sense of controll they achieve over a human so to fill their icy internal emptyness. The P has told me this also, that inside he feels like ice. This boredom they speak about is the icy emptyness of the non existant, of the zombie -like state.
    So, having been traumatised by them, do not envy the psycopaths, do not mythologise them, see them for what exactly they are: insignificant , rediculous LIERS , who are obliged during all their life to act like humans in order to bled into society and to survive. And they know very well that they can manipulate every victim for a CERTAIN amount of time , becouse sooner or later their fakery will be exposed. Even though their victims will not all identify them, stil the P will finally lose control due to his apalling behavior and he is condemned to find a new prey ( i exclude the killers of course who discard by killing, but this is not the majority of psycopaths, if they were, society would have wised up much more until now).

    I also believe that we should not take at face value everyting that a psyco says on line. Do not forget, they are LIERS, and the best of them are the ones who put some grain of truth in their lies. Sure i recognise a lot of things that i also experienced with the P in the online tellings but i have the feeling that they twist a lot of things just to appear superior. They are on line most probably becouse they have screwed their real lifes so they try to suck some sense of grandiosity by intimidating normal folks through internet acting out us superhumans while are not humans at ll. They do not go on line to educate or to heal , they go to suck some attention and pseudopower in my opinion.
    Somebody who is fine with himself does not advertise it, he just lives it. And you know something? the psyco guy i experienced is a highly functioning intelligent, well socialised man , so a ‘succesful’ one BUT he did not ever seemed really happy to me in terms of humane hapiness. He might feel temporarily ‘on’ when he could play his games but soon he returned at his robotic -like empty existense. Becouse true hapiness comes from within , from an internal world able to experience all the range of emotions in full depth and to connect with other humans through them. A Psycopath is completely unable to feel this and the fact that he ignores it does not make him blissfull. It is like saying that vegetables are more blissfull than humans becouse they cannot experience pain in the way humans do. Yes, but would you like to be a vegetable? Me , certainly not.

    So , after the pain caused by the psycopathic experience ( realising that you were an actor in a game that you didn’t know that you were playing) will diminish , we are able to see how really lucky we are to be normal humans with normal emotions who can feel LOVE , hate, pain , dissapointment , sorrow, joy, stress, anxiety, ALL the emotions that make us lively human beings. They win only by losing , do not ever forget how twisted this thing is, and they need humans to survive, otherwise they become not only symbolically but literally dead.

    sorry for the too long post, i quess i am inspired today

    lots of love to everybody

    1. Admin

      Hi, Reality. You and others were able to break free from the psychopath before he discarded you. If you didn’t, it probably would have come eventually, or the alternative would have just been continued misery. His ‘tells’ were very telling. The one I knew told me similar things, although he was more cryptic. From what I understand, it adds the excitement of possible discovery, but if they’re not discovered, it adds some extra duping delight.

      The psychopaths’ writing may be grandiose and all the other things you said, but it helps us to understand how they think, and my hope is that this understanding will help us to avoid them in the future. Also, it’s hard to comprehend the truth when we learn about them; we hear (and experience) they’re manipulative, have no remorse, no conscience, etc., but I think hearing it straight from them makes it real, in the sense that Yes, it really is true that there are people so very different from ourselves.

      I think it helps to de-mythologize them, too. People give them way too much power when they believe they have some sort of supernatural abilities.

      I hope no one takes their writing at face value. I would say more than half of the real message is between the lines. Part of reading it should be using our new skills at identifying manipulation, and since we have the writer’s diagnosis, it makes it easier. There’s a lot going on. Readers should also watch their own thoughts and feelings as they read.

      I agree, we are lucky to feel emotions and be lively. You’re especially lively today — I’m glad you were inspired.

      Lots of love to you, too.

  4. Joyce M. Short- Author

    What a fabulous job you’ve done uncovering not only the mindset of character disordered people, but how we’re sucked in by them! This is truly an outstanding post!

    1. Admin

      Thank you, my dear! So glad you found it valuable!

  5. Dee

    Great post! I wonder how a psychopath faces getting older when his good looks fade and he loses his swagger? Is he still able to lure in targets? I am inclined to think that the game they play to con targets would become harder. At some point, don’t aging psychopaths come off as dirty-old-men when their shiny veneer fades? Or, does their arrogance and grandiosity keep them oblivious to their aging face and body?

    My ex psychopath refused to acknowledged his age. He tells people he’s at least a decade younger, he colors his hair and uses hip slang in conversations. He is very immature. I find it embarrassing.

    1. Admin

      Interesting. I can only speak for the psychopath I knew, but he was 65 and was doing quite well as a predator. He didn’t attempt to alter his looks or lie about his age; in fact, he used it to his advantage. He didn’t come off as a dirty old man at all — his ‘schtick’ was that of a neglected older man who never thought he’d fall in love again.

  6. Nearlybel

    Dee’s comment and your reply got me thinking. They evolve, to suit the society or community they exist in, to blend in. And I think it’s reassuring to us to think we can more easily identify them by that ‘dirty-old-man’ moniker. I can now ‘see’ him for exactly what he is now, a horrible abusive creep, but there was no way I could identify what he was before I learned!
    They are all around us, causing confusion and chaos to all who have dealings with them. So dangerous.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if the rise in diagnosis of autism, pre senile dementia and other neurological disorders are not reactions to contact with them.
    Especially as we know that their aim is to disarm, disable and destroy, their methods vary, psychologically, emotionally, And course the most easily identifiable physically and financially, but their end game destruction is the same.

    1. Admin

      I believe you’re right — they evolve. They have to in order to keep playing their game, and it comes naturally to them since there is no fixed identity. Whatever it takes, that’s what they are. At his core, the one I knew was far beyond a dirty old man — he was a dirty old predator. But he knew just what disguise to cover it with, just what would enable him to continue to lure his prey. He knew how to leverage his wrinkles to maximum advantage. One day he took off the disguise, and I was horrified. He was nothing more than a lecherous, predatory corpse. And as you said, Nearlybel, there is no way I could have seen that before I learned, or should I say before he showed me. In retrospect there were all kinds of clues before that, ones that I would see now, but I had no idea at that time what they were clues to. It was very confusing because they didn’t add up to anything that I knew existed.

      1. Shani

        Evolve is a fantastic description for the endless loops P’s brew when pretending sleeping, thinking or listening, Nearlybel.
        I encountered it like this:

        Initially we can identify the change to black hollow sockets where eyes (windows to the soul) should have been. I used this signal as a sure tangible giveaway to a next psychopathic eruption. Again a desperate and corrupt identity has just evolved and it has to and will be acted out. Not negotiable, the same as an epileptic fit runs it course.

        Unfortunately for the psychopath, only to end in the same dark excavation of nonsensicalness as always. Or even worse, spiralled deeper into their own depraved catching net, while actually exposing themselves to us. They look obliviously stripped of insight and self control.

        The next giveaway is the confused, foolish looking act of deflation. Tangled up in a personal eternity of bluff that suddenly fades away in the universe.

        For this P, the next stage inevitable is disorientation of cognition and direct environment. We must be calm and keep observing closely. This is a fleeting short plain I think they experience in search of their ‘human mask’ they unknowingly but willingly dropped. They momentarily go into a blank space to re-orientate… now behind the new chosen mask.

        A fools paradise to say the least.

        Hey, and still it affects us so badly we get incapacitated as Dee rightfully state, in some or many serious ways?

        We should not ponder too long. P’s recover swiftly. The next round is in process……

        1. Admin

          Shani, you really have a way with words that is quite evocative and conveys a great deal. I agree, Nearlybel’s choice of the word ‘evolve’ is good one, and you’ve taken off with it and described your experience well. “Tangled up in a personal eternity of bluff,” indeed.

          P’s easily move on to the next target in their superficial and predatory life. We have a lot more to do than that, and it takes plenty of time and pondering. It would be great to move on quickly since they aren’t worth any more of our time. But it’s ourselves we’re taking that time for, not them.

  7. BetterBe Anon

    Hi Admin, I’m not sure if this is the right post on which to ask a question.
    My P’s mask slips on a regular basis in a work setting and fortunately – very fortunately – he has a perceptive boss (though he hasn’t figured out what he is yet). After he’s been caught he goes on an all-out charm offensive with everyone. I can’t find any references to this behaviour anywhere. It’s a cycle of mask slip – superhuman charm to everyone – normal charm – warning signs and minor mask slipping from a new angle – major mask slipping from a new angle; repeat. My quuestion is, is this ‘normal’? I know the mask slips and comes back on again, but it’s the superhuman charm bit immediately afterwards that I can’t find information on. Perhaps I’m not using the right search terms?

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I think it might come under the heading of “impression management.” When they slip, they need to restore the image others have of them so this seems to make sense. Is that what you were looking for?

  8. Marilyn

    Hi Admin
    Are you sure ZKM is female. Have read most of the blog (no posts since end Nov 2011) but never picked that up and bloggers commenting on the last post all referred to the blog author as male. No matter, I found ZKM refreshingly honest and lacking in manipulation – I suppose because it really was a glimpse behind the mask. A truly brilliant mind and sharp wit. Some of the posts, particularly The World Keeps Turning (last one) incredible beautiful in a poetic sense. Felt such sadness that a mind like could not be put to positive cause.

    Zhawq on the other hand is really something else. His posts were most of time very informative and helpful to me in gaining understanding of what happened in a disturbing and confusing encounter of mine. It was a turning point when I learned to no longer blame him and realize he was simply doing what came naturally to him and working out what vulnerability he targeted in me, I have gained insight and found the strength to deal with my weaknesses instead of using someone else as a crutch. Despite appreciating the value I found in his blog, I sense a very subtle form of manipulation emanating from him especially in the comment board , but then I have always been hyper-vigilant probably due to early trauma. For this reason I stay away from Zhawq’s blog now.

    Of course I frequented numerous other sites to help recovery, including but not limited to . But somehow seeing the problem from the inside as in his site, did more to gain a deeper understanding.

    Your site is so uplifting and I pleased I stumbled on it. Best wishes xxx

    1. Adelyn Birch

      On another blog, I read a comment by ZKM saying she has no gender identity, but that she chooses to identify as a lesbian.

      Yes, Zhawq and ZKM are very different. ZKM writes without a mask on (and I agree, she’s brilliant, and she’s a gifted writer). Zhawq writes with a mask on, but that’s exactly why I find him so interesting. His blog is study in psychopathic manipulation. It’s filled with incongruity and contradiction. I hope you didn’t think I fell for any of it! His writing really helped me to wrap my head around what a psychopath is, and to understand how their minds work. The truth is not in his words, but between the lines. Although when he is truthful, which does happen from time to time, he gives some very good information. He helped me understand psychopathic boredom and a few other things.

      Like you, seeing the problem from the inside gave me a deeper understanding, and it added tremendously to my writing here. Thanks for your comment, Marilyn.

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