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Sociopathic Tendencies - Manipulation

Kacie was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, and has worked to "get back to normal" since. She wants to share years of research and experience.


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Sociopaths are master manipulators, easily able to manipulate most people they come in contact with. Sociopaths may manipulate their victims directly or indirectly--generally using some combination of both--and the manipulative behavior always leads to destruction and pain. Remember, for the sociopath, winning is the only goal and they will win at any cost.

An important thing to keep in mind is that a sociopath has a good idea of who you are before they even meet you. They have sized you up from afar, and may have even watched you for a period of time to determine your habits, likes, and dislikes. Sociopaths gravitate towards victims who they perceive as vulnerable. It’s kind of like a seventh sense of being able to detect vulnerabilities. They ingeniously use your most obvious, and sometimes even less than obvious, physical or personality insecurities to exploit you. Perhaps you are over-weight, perhaps you are shy or have a disability. They are so maliciously adept at picking up on these things and they will use them unscrupulously to gain your favor. In the end they will destroy their victims using the exact same insecurities they used to attract you.

In the beginning, they are constantly honing the manipulation tactics they plan to use on you. When they find the manipulation techniques that work most effectively on you, they perfect them. If one doesn’t work, they will try others, and the pity play is one of their favorites. They will tug at your heart-strings and make you feel sorry for them to the point that you will literally give them the shirt off of your back. Crocodile tears will fall and your heart will ache. All it means and all they know is they are about to get their way. They are going to win. Don't fall for it.

Scenario 1

You have been dating Suzi for 4 months. You feel like the honeymoon will never end. She is beautiful, smart and attentive. It’s amazing how similar your interests are. Movies, books, sports—right down to the same teams! On top of it, the sex is amazing—literally couldn’t get any better. You are in love and you know she is the one. All she has to do is smile and your heart does flip-flops. You anticipate her needs and have a desire to accommodate her every whim before she even has to ask. Lately, though, she seems to be acting jealous of your family. It seems very strange because your family absolutely loves her. It begins with little comments about them wanting to be around all of the time and leads into comments about her not wanting you to spend as much time with them. You agree to compromise, but soon your actions aren’t enough. What you don’t realize is that this entire time she is breaking you down little by little on something that you are adamant about. This is your family. She may be beautiful, but come on!

You feel you have compromised enough and will no longer bend to her requests. She then resorts to tears and explains that she didn’t want to tell you, but the last time you were at a family gathering, your brother was making inappropriate comments to her. She begs you not to say anything because she doesn’t want to be the reason for family disagreements. You acquiesce as she sheds her crocodile tears.

Family visits become less frequent. Casual conversation with your brother reveals that the accusations she’s made are untrue, but you shrug it off. He even tells you that she’s trying to keep you away from him. You decide that you aren’t going to let her stand in the way of seeing your family any longer. When you speak with her (as delicately as possible), you quickly find out she realizes that sweetness and tears will no longer work, so she flips the switch to anger. She turns into a ranting, raving lunatic and begins packing her things and giving ultimatums. You don’t want to lose her, so again you acquiesce hoping that in the meantime you will be able to work out another solution. Before you know it, your family is sick of you and your friends don’t even bother to try to come around. She has you exactly where she wants you and you don’t even realize she used several different manipulation tactics to target one situation, and she won. There were several times she even had you convinced you were crazy.

She runs several of these scams on you at once. She knows that at some point soon, she will have turned your world upside down and inside out and you won’t have the energy to fight anymore. She is winning, and you’ve become boring. In the meantime, she is charging up your credit cards, not paying the bills and ruining your reputation with lies all over town.

How do you escape? It isn’t easy, but the first step is to enlist the help of all the people you allowed her to run out of your life. They see it clearly--you’re the only one who doesn’t. Begin by apologizing to them and letting them know you are trying to break away and you need a support system. Never let on to her that you know who/what she is, and only take with you what you absolutely need. Everything else is incidental. Get a place to go, change your phone number and have ABSOLUTELY NO CONTACT with this person. If at all possible, do not let them know where you are living and do not allow ANY contact.

Unfortunately, if you are married or have children together, you may have no choice to have contact. Make sure it is a limited as possible, and always document it. It is best to handle all communication via email or text so that it can be tracked. Use witnesses if you have to. Do not offer any information. If she asks you questions, do not respond. Do not give explanations. She knows your inner workings better than you know them yourself at this point, so you must keep communications as limited as possible. If you must discuss business, do so with yes or no answers whenever possible. Do not let her engage you into conflict. She will try because it is fun for her. Do not be her toy any longer. Although this situation is written to reflect a female sociopath, the same exact situation applies to a male. You must become boring to the sociopath. It is the best chance to get them out of your life once and for all. Do not look for resolution and do not try to understand their behavior. People with a normal conscience cannot even begin to conceive of what’s going on behind the empty eyes of a sociopath. Protect yourself and your family and get away. Do not look back.


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What if You Become a Victim?

It is estimated that 1 out of every 25 people in the United States is a sociopath. The true numbers will never be known, because most blend in with society and go on about their lives just as everyone else does. Remember though, that they can be EXTREMELY charming, which makes it easy to get caught up. If you find yourself in contact with a sociopath, the best thing you can do is completely stop all contact. Do not become immersed in their game. If you care about people, you cannot win. Don't believe you can change them. You cannot change someone who is fundamentally and physically incapable of feeling love and empathy. Do not believe you can love them enough or that you will be enough to make them want to change. They do not know how, nor do they care enough to try. The safest, best thing you can do is break off all contact. Do not go on a mission to make other people see their true character, you will end up looking crazy. Let them go and do not look back. There are many caring communities available to help you through your struggle. Check out to start. Tell your story and begin the healing process.

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Hear What Others Have to Say About Dealing With Manipulation

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2012 Tonja Petrella


David on April 10, 2013:

One of the most succinct and accurate articles I have read to date on sociopathy. Having been exposed intimately with many narcissists including my mother, this report is truly all one needs on the subject. Even as a 40 year veteran private investigator, identifying a true sociopath is not easy initially. Normal people with nurturing personalities are targets of sociopaths as though honey is to a bee. It is my hope that public awareness and our court systems will implement technologies to identify sociopaths. This great article illustrates that the sociopath not only doesn't wish to be "fixed" but also does not wish to be identified. God help us all as I feel our society at the tipping point of destruction due to the exponentially negative effect of the sociopath.

Tonja Petrella (author) from Michigan on September 07, 2012:


I am so sorry to hear your story. I am definitely not qualified to give you advice, but I can give you my opinion based on the fact that there are always two sides to the story. From what you are saying, he appears to exhibit a lot of sociopathic traits. I think in your mind, you really have a very good idea of what you're dealing with, and I think you're right. Regardless, it sounds like a very, very damaged relationship, that may be beyond repair either way. Apologies to a sociopath really mean nothing. They can say pretty much anything you want to hear, and are very convincing. They prey on others' insecurities. Anyone can say they have issues. We all have issues. Is he specific with what his issues are? You sound like a very strong person and you also sound like you have a very strong support system. It really sounds to me like you need to follow your instincts and cut off all contact. Please visit the Love Fraud website at I wish you and your beautiful new bundle of joy the best!

MommaTbird on July 27, 2012:

I have been in an off/on relationship with a guy for about 10 months. Everything was awesome and great in the beginning. He had recently got out of the Army and had moved from Florida to Texas. He started staying with me shortly after he got to Texas. My family didn't seem to like him much. Said something was off. But, I blew it off as "no one will be good enough" kind of thing. I liked him a lot. He made me laugh and was VERY affectionate. I let him use my car (because his supposedly broke down before he reached Texas.) i "trusted him". He didn't give me a reason not to. But then he started to get really upset at the "good" relationship I had with my ex, which was the father of my two boys. I always thought it was a good thing that we got along. But he made me think that it was abmormal and didn't want me to have anything to do with him. Of course, I couldn't do that. I have kids with him.

Shortly after we started to get more serious I became pregnant. He didn't like anyone around me. He made me think that my mom wanted to control me and made me think I was wrong for letting her have her opinion about him. I even fought with her about him. Because he had me convienced that she really did want to control my life.

I started to catch see that there was something wrong when I found pictures of random women on his phone. Not naked or anything, but pictures of random woman.. At the beach, at the park, at CHURCH. It made me upset. And I confronted him about it. He shut down. He would explain or anything. But later said. "I'm sorry, I have a problem". And made me think it was a lust issue. So I comforted him through it. But then others started telling me things that he was doing. Like asking or pictures of young girls, trying to contact them through FB and phone texts. He of course had an excuse for that too.

Needless to say.. Because I was pregnant I tried to hang in there. But things just didn't seem right. So one day I found out through a mutual person between us that he had been seeing other women. So I just completely cut all ties. Dint answer the phone, didn't answer texts. And the pleas and apologies were none stop. I couldn't take it anymore and I gave in. Although I had no clue the details.. He confessed that he "helped" a "friend" get out of an abusive relationship... He only confessed because I told him I knew everything. But I had no clue who or why. Then... Come to find out. He had thought my ex told be because the girl he was "messing with" was my ex's cousin. He didn't know until he said something about "a girl who said I was pregnant with his baby." (me). I later got the opportunity to talk with this girl.. She told me that she didn't know that we were "together" and that they sleep together a couple times. And that he told her he wanted to be a family and wanted to take care of her. Uh... He doesn't have a job, lives with his sister, and couldn't even take care of the children he already has. So it made me very angry. And I still hadn't thought of him as a "solociopath". I started to do some research on the Internet. And he has most, almost all, of the traits.

He has done other things and the control is the biggest. Manipulating me to think I am the one that does wrong. But i don't. I've fought with myself and my heart over and over.. He has recently started telling things he has lied about, confessing all what he has done. And when I have done research it says that sociopaths aren't capable of telling the truth. Is this true? Why is he doing this? My heart is going in circles thinking he can change. But I'm scared to death if j let him back in completely that he will take our daughter (which is due in September). I need help. I have started talking to a therapist. And the Therapist gives me mixed feelings about if he is actually a sociopath. Because he apologizes and he says that he knows he has issues. So I'm all messed up about it. He has a past of being the same way with his exes. He 35 and I don't think he has any ambition to change his life. Although he puts out a good front.

Any suggestions? I have even tought about telling my Dr./obgyn that I'm scared he may take her and may be a sociopath.

Tonja Petrella (author) from Michigan on July 03, 2012:

I am so sorry to hear this, NotBroken. It is so much easier to look back and see the sociopathic signs than it is to see when it is happening. I hope you realize that you were not the problem. Sociopaths feed on the vulnerable, even if it is just a kind, loving heart that makes you vulnerable. You didn't deserve any of this. Your acted like any normal person would and should when in a relationship. I hope you are able to work through the PTSD and alcohol abuse and are someday able to trust again. There is someone out there with a good, loving heart that deserves someone like you. She will eventually self destruct. I just read a new article on lovefraud today that you may find somewhat comforting:

NotBroken on July 02, 2012:

I had met a girl I went to grade school with and knew her family from a small town. She had a wig on the first night I met back up with her after 22 yrs and she told me she had cancer and implied it was terminal. She and her family ( who are medical missionaries in Mexico) went along with the ruse for 2 yrs until I had depleted all my savings and credit and borrowed all I could from my family. She continued to follow and torture me for years by blatantly cheating and lying until I was mostly homeless.

I now attempt to recover but it've got PTSD like symptoms and my alcohol abuse has become insane. I am in treatment, but warm others that unless you have very solid grounding. A sociopath can feed off you loving heart and caring ways until you become just a shadow of the strong willed person you once were.

It is far more dangerous then drug abuse, alcoholism, or any other problem I had ever had.

Take care of yourself. And demand others PROVE that they are worthy of you. And as soon as you begin to feel compromised, talk to someone and recognize the beast you are with before they make you the beast they created.

I wish everyone luck, southerners seem to trust more and seem to be very susceptible to abusive types if they have never encountered predators like this. I have now watched her move from victim to victim until it was so compulsive it ran my life. I have finally digested the fact that she will destroy lives and I am not the man to rectify her illness. I have to salvage yrs of the verbal and financial abuses I've endured.

Best wishes to all.


Tonja Petrella (author) from Michigan on January 26, 2012:

Erol..all I can really say is WOW! My sympathies and prayers go out to you. You are dealing with a textbook psychopath. I would suggest that you buy and read "The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout. This is one of the most helpful books that I've read on the subject. My heart just goes out to you.

The safest and best thing you can do with people like this is completely cut off contact. One of the worse things you can do to a sociopath/psychopath, in their mind, is expose them. Most will seek revenge, even if it is a passive-aggressive way. Yours went right for your jugular. If they feel you've wronged them, or that they didn't "win", they will hold on to that anger and rage forever and you will never rid them from your life. The worse part is that they are SO AMAZINGLY adept at manipulating and lying that others are more apt to believe them than you. Somewhere I read (maybe in Martha Stout's book) that in legal/court situations, that there are two stories, and the truth is somewhere in the middle. Sociopaths are the only situation you will ever encounter that there is no truth--they will say or do whatever they can to "win".

The best advice I can give you is (although I admire you for trying) do not try to save someone like this. They ABSOLUTELY CANNOT be rational, think rationally, understand rationality, or care about reality. Because we have a conscience and understand empathy and love, we will NEVER understand or relate to them. They only have the ability to hurt us, and they do not care if they do. There are individuals who have some sociopathic tendencies, and can have show some semblances of normal. It really sounds like you are dealing with a true psychopath. They knowingly pick people who are easy to manipulate. The worse thing you can do to someone like this is cut off contact and live a good, happy life without them. They feed off of drama, turmoil, and others' pain. DO NOT BE HER VICTIM ANY LONGER!!

Another great website that I found is The set up is a little difficult to navigate, but get to the blogs section. You'll be amazed to see how many people are going through similar situations. PLEASE do not let her destroy the thing that makes you human--your heart. It is worth so much more than her. You cannot save her or her next victim. Please check back to my hubs, too, I will be writing more articles on sociopaths soon. I am going to check out your website now.

Erol on January 25, 2012:

BIG Hello From Scotland

Hi There,

I Empathise Entirely with You

I Found Your Site whilst I was Doing-The-Rounds, around the Righteous Handful of Sites Exposing Moral-Imbeciles, like the 1 You've highlighted is pitted against You

Although, so far I've sadly been met by several hypocritical keyboard-hardmen & Infantile-Girls territorially suffering from delusions of grandeur (You couldn't make it up )

I’d like to share My Own Experience with You, where I was targeted by a Female serial-killer … LUCKY ME

She kills through relentless & ruthless attempts at ambient-abuse, abuse by proxy, emotional-black-mail, death-threats etc & as I was to Discover, (AFTER Exposing Her & Her Cronies,) by perverting the course of Justice … She does so for sadistic PLEASURE (You couldn't make it up )

I’d Followed The Teachings of Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa & Gandhi & I ASSURE You I Tried Everything, from a Safe Distance, to get through to Her … However, She’s a 44 Year old with the Emotional age of a 3 Year old & the alloplastic-defences to go with it …

She derives sadistic, (ie Infantile) Narcissistic pleasure from Unspeakable-cruelty & imagines Herself to be clever by Lying-Pathologically & can fool the Legal-system …

She’s addicted to Her-Own Neuro-Chemistry & Adrenaline rushes & is Psychotic … ie Her lies allow Her to program Her bitter Mind for the kill (ie rush) … Her Brain doesn’t Eat Sugar across the Entire Front of Her Brain, due to a dysfunctional uncinate fasciculus, so She doesn’t Actually Exist in Reality

She’s Lead Me to Believe that 6 Men have committed suicide because of Her causing Them PTSD & for Those Who won’t Her Sister has then shot several of Them … LUCKY ME (They’re a gruesome twosome & on-line Their aliases are interchangeable, so They double-team You …)

At a Formative Age, the elder of the 2 smashed the Younger 1's Forehead off the floor repeatedly until She Said She Genuinely Thought She was going to die … ie The Final ingredient to Make a psychotic serial killer … (She has the Exact same Physical Construct of Brain as the mass-murderers She admires …)

I Saw-Through Her & Stood-Up to Her & Genuinely Cared about Her, as I Uber-Empathically harrowingly Saw in Her what She Would have been had She not been born with what She called a broken brain & had She not suffered on-top of That … However, She Informed Me that Her EVERY Action was A Deliberately-Selfish & ENORMOUSLY premeditated Choice

She had Me arrested & I’ve to appear in Court for the TERRIBLE CRIME of Typing The TRUTH on MY Facebook Page (ie Slander & breach of Confidence) which She’d Doctored from a Post I’d placed on My old Facebook profile from 4 Months Earlier, having TYPED nothing about Her in 3 Months by that juncture …

I’d actually phoned the Police 1 Month before She had, as She’d been in My House when I was out working for a Local Charity (I’d no Idea She’d made a copy of My Key) … However, She lied fearlessly & pathologically to The Police & being Female played the Ted Bundy pity-card with the Gullible Male officers … (She REALLY Did a number on Them …)

Whereas, A Month Earlier when I’d had-enough & Called the Police & was HONEST :- Being Male, I was Told, by a Female police officer & I Quote, We’ll wait until She kills Someone ‘Then’ We’ll arrest Her … :-

Here’s the off-shore expose’ which I BRAVELY Predicted could get Me arrested, 2 Days before I found Myself locked in a prison cell in Glasgow, in the Middle of the Night, whilst the Malignant Sociopath (& co) cackled in the distance, delighting in having perverted the justice system to continue trying to cause Me PTSD in the vain hope I’ll be the 7th Man to commit suicide because of Them …

I've exposed Them in the vault of guilt on My website

You're A Life Saver

Kind Regards,


pmccray on January 23, 2012:

It seems that every other person you meet has this type of personality disorder. I call them the "time out" generation, interesting subject matter. Voted up, marked useful and interesting.

Tonja Petrella (author) from Michigan on January 23, 2012:

Thank you, Lynda. Unfortunately it has been through personal experience. My husband and I fought his sociopathic ex-wife in court for a year and a half for full custody of his two children. She hadn't seen them at all, and when we questioned why she was fighting it, her response was "they'd think I was stupid if I didn't". Regardless, we ended up with full custody after her failed psychological exams and bullying and fighting. She didn't see her kids for four years total, and now has popped back in their lives. We have had my step-daughter in counseling because of her behavior, and the counselor was going to test her for Borderline Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder because he felt that she was exhibiting textbook symptoms. She refused to go back after that. It is so sad...

lmmartin from Alberta and Florida on January 21, 2012:

Another great article. It's amazing how many of these poor excuses for a human being exist. I'm interested in knowing how you came to write on this subject: personal experience? Lynda

Tonja Petrella (author) from Michigan on January 21, 2012:

Thank you! I will link back. That is crazy! I don't think people understand that sociopaths are so prevalent in our society. It's estimated that 4% of the population are sociopaths, but most never enter into treatment, so that number is most likely VERY low.

ptosis from Arizona on January 21, 2012:

Awesome! I'm putting a link to your story from mine on two different hubs: User's Abuser's & Manipulators and the dog diary. The former owner's dog was pre-stalking me over a dog she neglected and gave away but still wanted total control over the poor pooch.

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