I was watching a video the other day and it mentioned how psychopaths are so common in our world.
And I thought about how I would hate for someone to be taken for a ride by these types of people. Especially someone who has no experience with them.
So I decided to write up on how to handle a confrontation with a psychopath.
And I'm using the term psychopath loosely in this post. It can be replaced with sociopath, abusive relative, disgruntled feminist, whomever the shoe fits.
But before I get started, I want to point out the greatest tactic there is-
This will be the only obvious point. But I know not everyone will listen.
The best thing to do is walk away and never see this person again. Because these people are the most toxic.
(Things are always uglier behind closed doors.)
Not to mention arguing with anyone, much less the crazies, is a fruitless endeavor. Save yourself the trouble and never assume that this person is your problem to handle.
That being said, I've found myself in arguments with these types of people more than I should. Intentionally and unintentionally.
And here's my advice:
Control the Conversation
This is difficult because they fight hard to control the conversation.
In my experience, it's fine to let them talk. But listen very closely to what they say.
I'll get to why in a moment.
At some point you'll have to say something and question them. But understand that although they hear you, they will not listen.
Your words will not be considered, unless you apply pressure.
So you will assertively repeat your question and you will interrupt their bullshit until they give you a proper answer
Here's an example:
(You) Why did you steal from the register?
(Them) Well you know that the reg-
(You) -No. Why did you steal from the register?
(Them) Sometimes don't you thin-
(You) -WHY did YOU STEAL from th-
(Them) Steal what?
(You) WHY did YOU STEAL from the register?
You firmly repeat yourself because they will try to change the subject, play dumb, and even pretend not to hear you.
So stand your ground and interrupt them whenever they try to throw you off course.
They Don't Give Straight Answers
It's very common that the psychopath will outright refuse to answer your question. Then resort to long periods of silence.
If you ever notice this happen, something that works for me is to say:
"Fine. Don't talk to me."
And they'll assume you've given up on your case and let your guard down (don't).
Since they typically have a need to instill doubt on you, they usually jump back to their point in the conversation.
Again, interrupt and stand your ground:
"-No!" and resume your control "WHY [same question you've been firmly repeating]".
They will give you a proper, bullshit answer eventually.
You might have to be patient. I've dealt with one psycho who gave me this runaround for about 15 minutes. (As if long bouts of silence aren't suspicious.)
Watch Out For Tantrums
At this point you've proven yourself to be formidable.
Yes, seriously. People are very unlikely to get this far when dealing with any type of psycho.
And when they throw a tantrum, it means that they've submitted to you in some way.
They don't like that. So in response, they will start yelling at you and seem hostile.
But don't worry. In my experience, most psychos are highly aware of the law. So as long as you have witnesses and you're not in a secluded space, they won't hurt you. (But if they can get away with it...)
Here's a neat line I've used:
"Why are you yelling at me?"
So long as you're not shouting at them, that line takes a lot of pressure off of you.
The first time I said it I was admittedly frightened and the words instinctually left my mouth.
But it became very clear at that moment that the psycho was... well, a psycho.
Now when I say it I feel myself wanting to smirk.
Likely, they'll say something along the lines of "Because you're not listening".
Which is a stupid thing to say, because you repeated yourself several times before they finally answered your question.
Whatever their excuse is, respond: "That's no reason to yell at me".
They've marked themselves a dick for anyone who's watching.
This is a lot more common with women. But it's even worse when it's a grown man.
What this person is trying to do is use your emotions against you. Specifically guilt and shame via sob stories, guilt trips, etc.
But here's a thing about guilt and shame - They are tools used by others to control you and your actions.
Does this person own you? No.
Do they respect you? Clearly not.
They're trying to control you and what you do.
So whatever sob story they give you, turn it all around and give it back to them. They won't know what hit them.
I personally opt to let out my inner actor and give them my own spin of the sob story. Yes, it's bullshit.
And you can claim it's wrong to do that, but when you deal with a psycho there's no such thing as fair.
Besides, they have no sense of guilt or shame in the first place.
And if you've been listening to everything they've been saying, then you know everything they say is contradictory.
You can use their entire dialogue against them in the sob story you give them.
There are only very particular circumstances where you'd do this. It's mainly political.
Believe Nothing They Say
Every single word that comes out of this person's mouth has been a lie. A bluff. Outright deception.
When you are absolutely sure that someone is sociopathic, you'll learn to look them in the eye while they tell you falsities. And you'll be able to stand there emotionally immovable, knowing exactly what's going on and what the other person is trying to do.
It's amazing that these high-functioning psychos have built their entire lives with their serpent tongues.
Hell, you wouldn't be wrong to think that if they spoke the truth it would rot out their teeth.
So know that whatever they say - intentions, desires, explanations, their emotions - are simply not true.
Listen to each and every word they say. But take none of it to heart.
And so you don't go on some truth hunt:
The only thing you find underneath lies, are more lies. The truth is lost.
But you aren't.
It takes a special kind of person to push this far into immorality or amorality. This person has no truths surrounding them.
If you've ever seen the show Breaking Bad, then Walter White is a great example of this type of person. But at least Walter White still had humanity left in him at the very end.
Or maybe you've seen House of Cards. Although Frank Underwood's mindset and ability to keep calm under pressure is admirable. It's obvious that he's missing huge chunks of what makes him human.
They're what I call psychos. And if you ever come across them, my tips will help you endure their more aggressive interactions.
But if you're surrounded by people like this already. Get out.
Because life will only improve. You just have to leave. And it's okay to be afraid. But I guarantee you that in this scenario - it's better to choose the devil you don't know.
And if you come across a person who's been around these types of people for too long. Do them a favor and tell them this:
You are a good person.
Because who knows how long someone else has wrongfully told them otherwise.
If you want to know more about how to defend yourself from psychopaths, read the 48 Laws of Power. If you're familiar with sociopaths, as soon as you read this book you'll absolutely agree with me. When I read this book there was an uneasiness to it. It changes the way you perceive people and situations. Although you can use it to seek your own power, there's no need. It's all human behavior. Instead use the knowledge to protect yourself.