One of the types of manipulators out there is the type that is going to both make you admire them, and also rescue them at the same time. I call this type the “strong victim”, because that is exactly how they will present themselves to you. I have known a number of these sorts, so I am very familiar with their methods. They have a bit of a problem when they meet me, and that is my utter lack of care for their sob stories. However, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t watch people fall for their stories on a regular basis.
The first thing that I notice with these types is their nonchalant way of bringing up their victim status. My guess for the reasoning behind this method is to gauge your reaction. If you lean in, they are going to latch on, and you will hear all about how hard their life has been, but the way they tell it makes you admire their perseverance through all their struggles.
Some of these struggles might have actually happened. I have found a decent mix of those that make up their life stories out of whole cloth, and those that have reinterpreted life events that paints them as the consummate victim. The last sort, and the more rare sort, is the one that actually went through everything that they say that they have, but now they view it as their ticket for everlasting sympathy. This is a bit different of a manipulator, which I will only touch on briefly.
This type of person is addicted to sympathy. They will retell their tale of woe again and again because they like the feedback they get from it. They get told how amazing they are for having gotten through it, how strong they are, how admirable. You actually can find this sort of person in support groups a lot. It is the same story, week after week. You would think they would get tired of telling it, but instead it is the opposite. This is the attention addict. Their struggles were real, but now they are defined by them.
Then of course there is the person that has had some struggle, but also had invented a great deal of it themselves. They teeter between the attention addict, and the absolute liar. They have some credibility for their strife, but became far too focused on the attention or help that storyline got them, and they have decided to continue along those lines. People know part of their story is real, so they don’t doubt the rest of it.
Let’s move to the absolute liar. This person will tell you pretty well anything, and make it their life. This can be anything from, they have cancer, to they have been abused by everyone that they have ever met. All of their problems are the product of other people’s actions, and they have a lot of them. They paint it in a way that is meant to make you angry at the other people that treat this kind and wonderful person so poorly, admire how they are dealing with it, and make you want to help, all at the same time.
They don’t ask for help, they get you to offer it. This absolves them of being a leech, and makes you feel good about yourself. You helped this poor unfortunate soul that you are glad to be friends with, even if everyone else in the world is mean to them. The sorts I have known like this have certain aspects to them.
They don’t hold down work particularly well. They may be at a company or a job for a couple of years, but they get fired a lot. It’s not their fault though.
They have few friends, but those that they have really really like them. They are on a pedestal of sorts in this friend group. It makes you more pleased to know them.
They don’t have friends from their younger years. All of the friends that they have are relatively recent. Remember, everyone is mean to them.
They are often distant from their family. There might be a lot of reasons for this, but I will tell you what this aspect, and the lack of friends from the past comes from in a bit.
They know a lot of amazing things.
They have abusive exes in their past. A lot of them. Or, all of them.
Their life is a series of tragedies that if they could just get past them all, they would finally have the happily ever after that they deserve.
It’s all a lie. They are the cause and creation of their problems, and they will never get the ever after that they seek, because they are in their own way. Chances are that their life is exactly how they want it to be, an unmitigated disaster.
The reason that they have no friends from the past, or they don’t really talk to their families? Because they reinvent themselves every couple of years. They will fall into whatever new trend catches their fancy, and become whatever that is. I have known people like this that have been;
“mountain man”- lived on a few acres of property in the woods, and had their wife literally doing all the work… including chopping the wood and hanging laundry to dry in front of a wood stove in winter because he was too cheap to buy a dryer.
“a shamen”- literally read a quarter of three books, and now is a spiritual leader.
“Native American”-white as can be.
“Japanese”- same person.
“martial artist”- knew how to do a very poor imitation of a sword dance, so obviously that qualified.
“shakuhachi master”-watched one guy on YouTube(two or three videos), and went to a beginners shakuhachi camp, and is now of course, an expert.
“a ghost hunter”-Nope. Wasn’t.
“was fluent in Chinese”-Not even a little.
“was fluent in German” see above.
“a makeup artist for celebrities”-only did their own makeup<— was not a celebrity.
“had cancer”-Nope, didn’t. Lie.
“had cardiac problems”-took too much blood pressure medication to induce syncope events. Now claims that he “died” in the cardiologist’s office, had to be given a shot of adrenaline to the heart, before being rushed to the hospital. What really happened was he OD’d on his blood pressure medication, passed out, peed himself, and his wife had to go buy him new pants across the street at Walmart.
“was a vampire”-does not need explanation as to why that one is an obvious lie.
“was an energy vampire”-also see above.
“musician”- I mean… sure… if you count playing the same venues (dive bars) a few times a year, all right, sure, you’re a musician. Not a good one, but whatever.
“Yoga master”-couldn’t touch their toes.
“reiki healer”- uh-uh.
“astral projection”- goes along with the shamen bit I imagine.
“was color blind”-took test to “prove this” accidentally proved the opposite.
“Could read auras”-about as well as they could speak German.
“was a drummer”-disinvited from drum circles for having no rhythm.
“played guitar”- as talented at that as the drums.
“was the messiah”-this one was less this person’s fault, and more their mother’s doing.
There are tons more that I could list, but what it comes down to is this. They have a thousand identities and a million problems because they have no identity, and they thrive on attention. Whatever they can do to make you take notice and fall into their sympathy stream is what they are going to do.
They don’t have people from their past around, because they have no consistent storyline and that makes people ask questions. When Person A knew them, they were a Native American healer. When Person B meets them, they are a Japanese sword master. See how these two things don’t line up and people might call them out on their BS?
That is also why you will never know their exes. More people that can expose them. If someone seems like they are constantly struggling against the current and can never get ahead, instead of just buying the victim narrative, pay close attention to their lives and their decision making.
If they are always fighting, but are alone in their fight, and everyone leaves them, abuses them, and is cruel to them, suspect that the problem is them. They are the common denominator, so they are the issue. I know that list of things seems ridiculous, and it is. What’s more ridiculous is I didn’t include the most egregious lies because they sound utterly unbelievable, and yet they said them.
Let strong victims continue to be strong without your emotional or financial investment. The people that are their avid followers at the moment won’t be in a few years. They will be on the outside, with stories about how ridiculous the lies are that they were told and believed, but the “strong victim” is far away with a new group of people that are buying everything that they are selling.
Don’t buy to begin with. It will save you a lot of trouble.