Psychopaths and sociopaths are likely to appear friendly and generous. They are masters of deception, adept at faking emotions they don’t actually have—compassion, remorse, or humility—to win trust or gain power over others. Behind a convincing facade of respectability, intelligence, and high moral standards, they operate outside of standard ethical boundaries; recruiting lower-level psychopaths to do their bidding and manipulating normal, “good” people into accepting or supporting their shady agendas.
- The Making of a Minion (dontbeaminion.com)
- Dangerous Mind Games: How Psychopaths Manipulate and Deceive (psychopathyawareness.wordpress.com)
- Masters of Influence and Deception (PsychopathResistance.com)
The sociopath is a high level con who manages to dupe people so thoroughly that his/her fans will persecute, silence, and ostracize a victim who complains about mistreatment. These people are in denial and they will reject information that doesn’t correspond to their highly favorable perception of the sociopath. The victim’s accounts of abuse will upset them, and may anger them. By defending an influential sociopath and abusing his/her target by proxy, the followers prove their loyalty and hope to win favor while getting closer to the influential sociopath they are instinctively attracted to.
Gail Meyers writes:
A narcissistic personality disordered mother has flying monkeys. This is a term taken from The Wizard of Oz, where the flying monkeys do the bidding of the Wicked Witch. The flying monkeys may be your neighbor, church members, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandmother, grandfather, nieces, nephews, etc. These people do the narcissist’s dirty work and often pour their own abuse on the scapegoat.
I spent years of my life trying to show various flying monkeys the truth. It virtually never worked, not once in the twenty or so years I kept trying to “clear the air” or to finally be understood. They do not understand because they do not want to understand. Many are willfully ignorant and blind to the situation. There is not some magical phrase and method you have not yet discovered that is suddenly going to cause these people to stand up for the truth.
What I have realized is the flying monkeys generally have their own reasons for behaving the way they do. Some may truly do it out of ignorance, truly fooled for years by the narcissist. However, it is my experience that most flying monkeys have weak characters.
According to Braiker, manipulators exploit the following vulnerabilities (buttons) that may exist in victims:
- the “disease to please”
- addiction to earning the approval and acceptance of others
- Emotophobia (fear of negative emotion)
- lack of assertiveness and ability to say no
- blurry sense of identity (with soft personal boundaries)
- low self-reliance
- external locus of control
According to Simon, manipulators exploit the following vulnerabilities that may exist in victims:
- naïveté – victim finds it too hard to accept the idea that some people are cunning, devious and ruthless or is “in denial” if he or she is being victimized
- over-conscientiousness – victim is too willing to give manipulator the benefit of the doubt and see their side of things in which they blame the victim
- low self-confidence – victim is self-doubting, lacking in confidence and assertiveness, likely to go on the defensive too easily.
- over-intellectualization – victim tries too hard to understand and believes the manipulator has some understandable reason to be hurtful.
- emotional dependency – victim has a submissive or dependent personality. The more emotionally dependent the victim is, the more vulnerable he or she is to being exploited and manipulated.
Manipulators generally take the time to scope out the characteristics and vulnerabilities of their victim.
- too trusting – people who are honest often assume that everyone else is honest. They commit themselves to people they hardly know without checking credentials, etc. They rarely question so-called experts.
- too altruistic – the opposite of psychopathic; too honest, too fair, too empathetic
- too impressionable – overly seduced by charmers. For example, they might vote for the phony politician who kisses babies.
- too naïve – cannot believe there are dishonest people in the world or if there were they would not be allowed to operate.
- too masochistic – lack of self-respect and unconsciously let psychopaths take advantage of them. They think they deserve it out of a sense of guilt.
- too narcissistic – narcissists are prone to falling for unmerited flattery.
- too greedy – the greedy and dishonest may fall prey to a psychopath who can easily entice them to act in an immoral way.
- too immature – has impaired judgment and believes the exaggerated advertising claims.
- too materialistic – easy prey for loan sharks or get-rich-quick schemes
- too dependent – dependent people need to be loved and are therefore gullible and liable to say yes to something to which they should say no.
- too lonely – lonely people may accept any offer of human contact. A psychopathic stranger may offer human companionship for a price.
- too impulsive – make snap decisions about, for example, what to buy or whom to marry without consulting others.
- too frugal – cannot say no to a bargain even if they know the reason why it is so cheap
- the elderly – the elderly can become fatigued and less capable of multi-tasking. When hearing a sales pitch they are less likely to consider that it could be a con. They are prone to giving money to someone with a hard-luck story. See elder abuse.