Out of the FOG

Coping with Personality Disorders => Dealing with PD Parents => Topic started by: Tamzen on December 06, 2016, 07:15:14 PM

Title: Useful quotes from "The Gift of Fear"
Post by: Tamzen on December 06, 2016, 07:15:14 PM
After reading the book "The Gift of Fear," I made myself this list of tactics that are used by predators -- so I could easily identify them in my life. I'm sharing it in case it helps anyone else. Everything below this paragraph is directly quoted from the book. The author is using a specific example of a predatory man talking to a woman, but these tactics aren't gendered and don't only apply to strangers. All of them are used by my BPD mother.

Forced Teaming

Forced teaming is an effective way to establish premature trust because a we’re-in-the-same-boat attitude is hard to rebuff without feeling rude. Sharing a predicament, like being stuck in a stalled elevator or arriving simultaneously at a just-closed store will understandably move people around social boundaries. But forced teaming is not about coincidence; it is intentional and directed, and it is one of the most sophisticated manipulations. The detectable signal of forced teaming is the projection of a shared purpose or experience where none exists: “Both of us;” “we’re some team;” “how are we going to handle this?;” “now we’ve done it,” etc.

Generally speaking, rapport-building has a far better reputation than it deserves. It is perceived as admirable when in fact it is almost always done for self-serving reasons.

Charm and Niceness

Charm is another overrated ability. Note that I called it an ability, not an inherent feature of one’s personality. Charm is almost always a directed instrument, which, like rapport-building, has motive. To charm is to compel, to control by allure or attraction. Think of charm as a verb, not a trait. If you consciously tell yourself, “This person is trying to charm me” as opposed to, “This person is charming,” you’ll be able to see around it. … One way to charm is with the smile, which Eckman calls the most important signal of intent. He adds that it is also “the typical disguise used to mask the emotions.”

... We must learn and then teach our children that niceness does not equal goodness. Niceness is a decision, a strategy of social interaction; it is not a character trait. People seeking to control others almost always present the image of a nice person in the beginning. Like rapport-building, charm and the deceptive smile, unsolicited niceness often has a discoverable motive.

I encourage women to explicitly rebuff unwanted approaches, but I know it is difficult to do. Just as rapport-building has a good reputation, explicitness applied by women in this culture has a terrible reputation. A woman who is clear and precise is viewed as cold, or a bitch, or both. A woman is expected, first and foremost, to respond to every communication from a man. And the response is expected to be one of willingness and attentiveness. It is considered attractive if she is a bit uncertain (the opposite of explicit). Women are expected to be warm and open, and in the context of approaches from male strangers, warmth lengthens the encounter, raises his expectations, increases his investment, and, at best, wastes time. At worst, it serves the man who has sinister intent by providing much of the information he will need to evaluate and then control his prospective victim.


A man labels a woman in some slightly critical way, hoping she’ll feel compelled to prove that his opinion is not accurate. “You’re probably too snobbish to talk to the likes of me,” a man might say, and the woman will cast off the mantle of “snob” by talking to him. A man tells a woman, “You don’t look like someone who reads the newspaper,” and she sets out to prove that she is intelligent and well-informed. When Kelly refused her attacker’s assistance, he said, “There’s such thing as being too proud, you know,” and she resisted the label by accepting his help.

Typecasting always involves a slight insult, and usually one that is easy to refute. But since it is the response itself that the typecaster seeks, the defense is silence, acting as if the words weren’t even spoken. If you engage, you can win the point, but you might lose something greater. Not that it matters what some stranger thinks anyway, but the typecaster doesn’t even believe what he says is true. He just believes that it will work.

Loan Sharking

“He wanted to be allowed to help you because that would place you in his debt, and the fact that you owe a person something makes it hard to ask him to leave you alone.” The more traditional loan shark gladly lends one amount but cruelly collects much more. Likewise, the predatory criminal generously offers assistance but is always calculating the debt. The defense is to bring two rarely remembered facts into consciousness: He approached me, and I didn’t ask for any help. … At its best, loan sharking is a strategy on a par with asking a woman, “Do you come here often?” At its worst, it exploits a victim’s sense of obligation and fairness.

Discounting the Word “No”

“No” is a word that must never be negotiated, because the person who chooses not to hear it is trying to control you. In situations in which unsolicited offers of assistance are appropriate, such as approaches by a salesman or flight attendant, it is simply annoying if you have to decline three times. With a stranger, however, refusal to hear no can be an important survival signal, as with a suitor, a friend, a boyfriend, even a husband. Declining to hear “no” is a signal that someone is either seeking control or refusing to relinquish it.

Title: Re: Useful quotes from "The Gift of Fear"
Post by: TheDamagedDiamond on December 07, 2016, 02:22:20 AM
My uBPD mom uses all of these. So did the man she introduced me to who sexually assaulted me last year. Knowledge is power, I guess.