How to Spot Master Manipulators and Avoid Being Played by Julie Cantrell

30 Important Domestic Violence Lessons To Learn From The Gabby Petito Brian Laundrie Case How to Spot Master Manipulators and Avoid Being Played by Julie Cantrell

Learn to recognize the textbook patterns of narcissists, Spot Master Manipulators, sociopaths, and psychopaths to protect yourself and those you love from being abused.

How to Spot Master Manipulators and Avoid Being Played by Julie Cantrell
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Manipulators Set Their Mark

First, master manipulators set their focus on a target. This target may be a person, group, system, or nation that they’ll try to exploit for purposes of self-gain or simply to feel a surge of power and control.

They set their mark and then systematically devour a soul one small compromise at a time.

While that slow progression is quite common (and well documented by those who study sociopathic/psychopathic behavior), manipulators may also lash out with an impulsive blast against someone who dares to question, challenge, or discern the abuser’s true character (especially if it’s done in public to tap into the abuser’s core of shame). This is typically known as “narcissistic rage” and it’s the kind of rant we’ve witnessed recently when R. Kelly exploded during an interview with Gayle King.

“People throw rocks at things that shine.” — Taylor Swift

In this last situation, imagine emotionally fragile children who haven’t yet developed a sense of security in the world. Unlike more secure children who are willing to share, these less-secure children would rather destroy a toy than let someone else enjoy it. If their envy becomes pathological, they’ll even aim to destroy the happy child (whether over a toy, attention, approval, or just soul-deep jealousy of the one who is happier.)

Beware the Smear Campaign and the False Reality

Once the manipulators choose a target, they will intentionally erode the target’s reputation by labeling that target as unsafe, crazy, wacko, psycho, sick, unfit, a liar, a thief, a cheater, a criminal… anything to make people doubt the innocence/competence/stability/sanity of that target. They may even replace the target’s name with a nickname based on this false persona and repeat that accusation constantly until bystanders begin to associate the target accordingly.

If manipulators can convince enablers to doubt the truth for even a second… they can reframe reality and convince them to believe wildly distorted claims or “alternative facts.”

Taking this as far as they can go, manipulators will push this “spin” by launching an all-out smear campaign, causing some people (enablers) to doubt or distance themselves from the innocent scapegoat. This is what forms a “system of abuse.”

And that’s the real danger of these manipulators. They aim to make their target lose complete grip of the truth.

Triangulation may involve two people, two families, two companies, two rivals, or two groups of people (races, religions, classes, tribes, nations). A cheating husband may bring his lover to a dinner hosted by his wife. A manipulative ex may triangulate the kids as weapons against their innocent parent. A corporate executive may pit two competitors against each other to weaken them before pouncing with a buyout. A tyrant may fuel hate between two factions, encouraging them to tear each other to bits so they’re too distracted to notice the destructive things he’s doing right in front of them all. By trying to divide and then conquer, these abusers play a sick game from the start.

By trying to divide and then conquer, these abusers play a sick game from the start.

Peek Behind the Curtain

When the target starts to question the truth, manipulators will project their own unhealthy behaviors onto the target and convince enablers that the innocent scapegoat is the one guilty of the very crimes they’re committing. The abusers will also play the victim, gathering empathy from those who can’t see behind their masks.

If we really want to know the sins of master manipulators, listen to what they accuse others of doing and we’ll know exactly what they’re up to.

Discernment is Key

Once we understand clearly how this twisted con game works, it’s very easy to identify the “players” of the world.


Julie Cantrell is a multi-award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, TEDx speaker, and advocate for survivors of domestic violence. Learn more about her work and subscribe to a free monthly dose of joy and positivity: www.juliecantrell.com

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