9 Ways to Respond to A Manipulative Sociopath

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A Sociopath don’t care about your feelings. They are physically incapable of feeling any sort of empathy towards you, or anyone else. They don’t feel any remorse for their actions no matter how much they hurt people. They are incapable of it. Because of this, they are incapable of love or any other human emotion. They can mimic emotion and emotional responses in order to manipulate and coerce, but like everything else in their lives, it is a lie. A deception.

They can be very charming because they have learned how to push people’s emotional buttons in order to elicit the emotional responses they need. They will mine your conversations for any emotional handle they can grasp in order to manipulate you or your feelings.

The easiest path for dealing with sociopaths is to avoid dealing with them. Eliminate them from your circle of friends, avoid conversations (especially private ones) and in general, cut them out of your life. But, if you can’t cut them out because they are a close relative or a co-worker, then you have to learn to deal with them and shut down their attempts at manipulating you without causing more problems at work or with the rest of the family. So, what can you say to keep a sociopath at arms length and prevent them from manipulating you?


“I am sorry but I can’t talk right now.”
Manipulators need verbal interaction in order to work their dark magic. Deny them the chance and they are powerless.

“I am sorry but I have to take this.”
Pretend your phone went off and walk away from the conversation. Use the time to get away from the conversation. Sometimes the easiest way to win a battle with a manipulator is to deny them the chance to even get started.

“Ok, let’s go talk to him/her right now.”

If a coworker comes up and tells you that the boss has a real issue with your latest report/idea/presentation, then call them on their claim by inviting them to go speak with the boss right then. The sociopathic manipulator is just trying to frustrate you or make you angry in order to make it easier for them to manipulate you. If you call them on their lie, they will be less likely to try in the future. Don’t trust anything they say until it has been verified with the individual or group they are claiming to speak for.

“Hey did you see the Flyers/Bills/Cardinals game last night?”
Never talk about personal things with a known sociopath. Talk about neutral topics like sports, politics, or the weather; anything other than what is going on with you or how you feel.

“No thanks.”
If a sociopath offers you anything, especially if it looks like a gift, then politely decline it. They could use the the “gift” as a hook in order to guilt you into doing things for them at a later date. Politely but firmly decline and move on.

It is the most powerful word in any language. Whenever a sociopath tries to coerce you into doing something or giving them something, then just say no.

“Let’s talk about you.”
Sociopaths don’t want to talk about themselves and their emotions (since they don’t have any) because it doesn’t get them any traction with you. They want you to share so they can find an emotional handle to use against you. Make the conversation about them, not you.

“I am having a great day; how about you?”

Sociopaths will ask you how you are doing in order to get at any issues you are having so they can use those emotions or difficulties against you. Don’t give them anything. Even if you are having a crappy day, smile and turn the question back around to how the sociopath’s day is going. They want to talk about how you are doing and don’t want to dig into their own non-existent emotional life.

“That is very hard to believe.”

Let them know you think they are full of it. They will tell outlandish stories in order to elicit an emotional response from you whether it is guilt, pity or compassion. They want you to help them, give them something or do something for them. They will spin convincing tales of woe. Don’t believe them (and let them know you don’t believe them) and they will be less likely to try that method in the future.

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