‘What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed — fully understood — that sticks; right in there somewhere.’ — Cobb, Inception
Have you ever been hypnotized? You may be quick to shake your head. But I beg you to pause for a moment and consider these questions:
Have you ever felt spaced out or sleepy in the presence of a person?
Have you found yourself, especially in romantic relationships, acting contrary to your history, or simply doing something that you would normally not do?
Became aware of time unusually speeding up or slowing down?
Been pulled into a long, winding story filled with colorful imagery while your senses tuned out of what was happening in real time around you?
Felt confused about was happening to you, as your body flash flooded with neurochemicals like oxytocin (bonding), cortisol (anxious) and dopamine (more, please)?
Sensitive people, especially those of us with high empathy traits can be easily put in a state that is highly suggestible to another person’s guidance. It is not because we are stupid. In fact, most people who do get hypnotized are intelligent, open minded, curious and know how to focus.
In her book, Women Who Love Psychopaths, Sandra L. Brown lays out the profile of an ideal target for manipulation: highly empathic, able to withstand pain and confusion that is sure to take over the relationship dynamic sooner than later . She needs to be extraverted and excitement seeking so that his charisma is appealing. She needs to seek attachment, be prone to being sentimental, have low harm avoidance and be concerned with how others regard her.
In other words, she needs to be open and resilient enough to put up with his shit for long enough period so that he can suck her dry.
All of those traits also correspond to a man who falls into the trap of a highly manipulative woman. Those women are out there, on the prowl, devoid of conscience, seeking out targets to use them for their purposes.
Part of the trance that the manipulator uses deals with warping of time. Moving quickly, they paint picture of a happy future together (future faking), having found out just what the target yearns for and mirrored it back to them. The fantasy is intoxicating and gets easily anchored in the brain of the target, especially because the manipulator is skilled at evoking a chemical brew that both soothes and aggravates.
Check out my previous article on breaking the trauma bond to go a little deeper into the mechanics of this.
The fantasy creates an ‘us against the world’ dynamic where the manipulator smears the targets closest support circle in an effort to isolate them and wield more power over their mind that is slowly beginning to take on the abuser’s thoughts. They also do this by gradually eroding the target’s sense of self by flipping back and forth between idolizing and criticizing. This creates an unconquerable confusion in the target’s mind that is almost impossible to shake while in the presence of a manipulator.
Once it starts, it stays. Once this dynamic takes root, it will remain throughout the entire lifecycle of the relationship. It operates at the core where toxicity and control, not sincerity and truth, comprise the foundation. It is set up to fall. The answer to the question ‘how soon?’ is entirely in the hands of the target.
The thing that keeps the dynamic going is a form of wishful, magical thinking that runs in the target’s mind. They might be thinking — but so and so can be so nice! They didn’t mean this or that remark, did they? Before they know it, they are making excuses for them and worse — blaming themselves for being too sensitive, etc.
The other way the abuser hijacks the target’s timeline and puts them in a deeper trance is by taking frequent trips to their childhood. They openly share heart breaking events from when they were younger, talking about how their mother abandoned them and father beat them. How everyone turned against them. How their ex’s never loved them, etc. They are full of victim/hero stories. Watch out for those! Most are a fabrication or at least highly exaggerrated. They tell them to evoke a feeling of being sorry for them.
KEY POINT: No amount of past abuse gives others the right to continue wielding it on innocent victims!
This is how manipulators encourage their targets to also open up and share their childhood stories. This creates a sense of bonding in the past. Once the victim breaks away from the abuse, they will be haunted by memories from the past and visions of future, all of which will be infested with the abuser’s polluting stories.
I’ve come in contact with this phenomenon not only in my personal relationships but also with friendships with other women, and many encounters at work. Yes, workplaces are filled with sociopathic bosses, men and women looking to ‘hook up’ with unsuspecting targets to use them for all sorts of covert purposes, and ‘uber friendly’ narcissistic colleagues looking to undermine other people’s positions and destroy their careers.
Be on guard.
Four stages of trance.
Trance is a natural phenomenon. It occurs often in our day. It’s basically when we dip in and out of trance states, such as day dreaming, thinking about a problem, or simply zoning out as in watching the lines pass by on a highway. The key difference is, that in those cases you are doing this at your own accord. It is not being orchestrated by someone who tries to covertly plant seeds inside your mind.
Trance is effective in psychopathic relationships because it helps numb out the pain and help you tune out the thing the manipulator doesn’t want you to notice.
Your body knows you are in the presence of a predator. What I call ‘Soul GPS’ is always live and scanning the environment for potential danger. The manipulator is skilled in entangling you with their allure and storytelling to the point that you ignore your body’s signals and forge forward into the sugar glazed trap. Usually it is in the later stages that you notice your body speaking to you — it may be through backaches, neck aches, headaches, anxiety, etc. By then, abuse likely reached a more advanced level.
For more on this, check out my YT series on abuse.
The four stages of inducing trance, or mind control are as follows:
LURE > OVERWHELM > BREAK > REWARD
LURE. We basically went over it in the paragraphs above. Here, the manipulator ‘interviews’ their target to find out what that person seeks. If they notice them looking slightly uncomfortable in a new place, they will rush in to offer comfort. If the target displays lonely eyes, they will be right there to tell them how wonderful they are and how they waited all their life to meet someone like that. In other words, they say whatever it takes to hook the target emotionally.
OVERWHELM. Knowing they are doing something immoral, the manipulator needs to tune out the danger from the target’s perception and heighten the positives. They do it by creating intensity. Overloading the target with emotions and sensations, they make sure to keep the target’s attention focused solely on them.
Done over prolonged time, many victims report a sense of ‘life fading.’ Things that used to be important to them begin to disappear to the point where only the manipulator remains front and center.
Here are some of the tactics they use to achieve that:
· Emotional & neurochemical overload
· Lack of sleep (keeping the target up to put them in a foggy and thus highly receptive state — cults and military use this a lot)
· Drawing hyper focused attention on them by being super charismatic and naturally electrifying, via their eyes, their words (they talk a lot!), their stories that flood your brain, while blocking off other things taking place (you may not notice cars driving by, people walking by, etc.)
· Loss of awareness of time (time seems to pass quickly in the intensity whipped up by the manipulator). Time loss is indicative of trance states
· Intensity, including sexual where breathing becomes synched up
· Music, fasting, flickering lights, such as candles
· Use of symbolism: saying things like I have you locked in my heart, you are my other half, comparing you to movie or mythical characters, etc.
So does this mean that predators are really that skilled? According to Sandra L. Brown, psychopaths are naturally good at observing the target’s reactions and honing in on what works. It’s not necessarily that they study trance induction intentionally. Because these people lack conscience and don’t feel emotions, such as guilt or remorse, contrary to us, it is easy for them to remain in a state of detached observation.
They even know how to overcome resistance when it creeps up. An ex-partner of mine who openly admitted to being trained in NLP and hypnosis used to tell me when I’d put up a wall, that those most resistant to hypnosis are the ones easiest to hypnotize. It made me immediately drop my guard and surrender.
BREAK & REWARD. At this point it is only a matter of time where the tension building inside the target due to cognitive dissonance and high levels of stress makes the floodgates crash. Typically, this results in some form of emotional or mental, sometimes even physical breakdown.
The manipulator loves this as it is a confirmation to them that their tactics worked. The agenda all along was to break you down and build you back up in the image that they have created for you — typically, as their servant or slave.
As you wallow in pain, thoughts creep up of the things that they told you before: that the two of you are one of a kind, that suffering is part of the equation, it is not easy to do what the two of you are doing because of how special and unique your relationship is, etc. etc. Seeking solace after having been isolated from your circle of support, you go back to the abuser. Here is where they ‘dose’ you with crumbs of their ‘love’ and affection to keep you tied. You feel good momentarily, until another cycle of abuse breaks you once more.
What makes it hard to leave a predator is not the lack of awareness that they are destroying our lives. It is the brain protecting itself by inducing ‘abuse amnesia’ and deleting the bad memories.
I remember thinking to myself, but I invested so much! And I know how wonderful they can be.This sort of thinking kept me stuck in toxic relationships, friendships and jobs. Leaving is difficult, but only if we cut the cords that bind us to abuse, can we start taking the steps toward healing ourselves and repairing the deep damage caused by the manipulator.