Pearls before Swine

New to me this week … the expression usually expressed in the negative proverbial form - 'don't cast your pearls before swine', and is found in the Bible, Matthew 7:6, first appearing in English bibles in Tyndale's Bible, 1526:

The biblical text is generally interpreted to be a warning by Jesus to his followers that they should not offer biblical doctrine to those who were unable to value and appreciate it.

In other words, to offer something valuable or good to someone who does not know its value i.e. I'm afraid you're casting pearls before swine with your good advice - she just won't listen.

Love Bombing Part 3

Love Bombing is not a new concept it seems. The expression was coined by members of the controversial Unification Church of the United States in America in the 1970s. The phrase then started to be used in psychology when discussing how cults use persuasive and coercive techniques to recruit new members.

Love bombing is a coordinated effort, usually, under the direction of leadership, that involves long-term members' flooding recruits and newer members with flattery, verbal seduction, affectionate but usually nonsexual touching, and lots of attention to their every remark. Love bombing - or the offer of instant companionship - is a deceptive ploy accounting for many successful recruitment drives.

Think of the seemingly perfect guy (or girl) as a cult, he really wants you to become a fully paid-up member and, until you do, he’ll say or do anything to get you onboard. Once you are, however, he’s likely to turn his attentions elsewhere and this really should set alarm bells ringing.

Love Bombing is a manipulative strategy to make individuals more emotionally pliable.

The individuals engaged in love bombing are more likely to be egomaniacs and/or narcissists who like to feel dominant and powerful and/or love psychologically humiliating others. If someone you barely know is lavishing you with excessive attention and affection then, sadly, the odds are that sadly it’s because they want to manipulate you and you’re unlikely to be the only one. By constantly flattering and communicating with you, you cannot focus on anything else which is where the control comes in.

At its most serious this can be the foundation for a problematic and abusive relationship.

The thing about love bombing is that it doesn’t last forever.

Once the toxic person has taken what they need from you, they’ll pull the rug out from under you. A person who was affectionate and attentive suddenly becomes scornful and controlling. Experts call this shift the “devaluation phase.”

They seem to be doing all the giving until you realize you’re doing all the giving and they have used you for your body, your wallet, your home, your caretaking ability and your empathy. This can lead to a vicious cycle that includes a period of idealization followed by a period of devaluation, again and again. During the periods of devaluation, the victim may try desperately to get back in the love bomber’s good graces.

Another good read:

And again: Huffington Post

Threats & Intimidation

If you intimidate someone, you deliberately make them frightened enough to do what you want them to do (verb). In other words, to make timid or frightened; scare. To discourage, restrain, or silence illegally or unscrupulously, as by threats or blackmail. In American English, to make timid; make afraid; daunt … to force or deter with threats or violence; cow.

In short … to intimidate someone means to frighten them, sometimes as a deliberate way of making them do something. Or, not do something maybe. Intimidation or harassment may also constitute a criminal offence under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. That Act also provides for a civil injunction to prevent harassment, breach of which is a criminal offence.

The intensity and frequency of incidents, combined with the proximity of victim and perpetrator, not only makes harassment and intimidation extremely distressing, it also makes it difficult for recipients of this kind of abuse from taking a stand and speaking out against the behaviour.

As for a threat … a statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on someone in retribution for something done or not done.

According to Avon and Somerset Police, a threat is a statement of an intention to cause pain, injury, damage or other hostile action. The types of threat include verbal, written or psychological harassment, threats of a sexual nature, threats to kill or racial or religious threats known as hate crime.

If you are receiving threats that you feel put you in immediate danger or at risk, you should call 999 straight away. If you are not immediate danger, you can report being threatened on the phone by calling 101.

Examples of Intimidation … making you afraid by using looks, actions or gestures … smashing things … destroying property … displaying weapons. Examples of Threats … making and/or carrying out threats to hurt you … threatening to leave or commit suicide … making you do illegal things.

Who is behind an email address

Using an Email Risk Assessment tool, you can identify who is behind an email address.

Email risk assessment goes beyond basic comparative information and paints a complete picture based on the reputation of the buyer by using IP address, email and other information to validate identity.

Within a second, you can get a Risk Score and establish the owners name, when the email address was first seen, location and even photos of the owner.

Smart companies are increasingly reaping the benefits of using the email address, and the wealth of data that comes along with it, as a key part of their fraud prevention strategy. As much as providing insight as to who they are … it can also point out who they may not be.

One such example of how to interpret what you get from an Email Risk Assessment follows.

When there is NO supporting personal data in the lookup … DoB, gender, location, title, company name & social media link … you may start to smell a rat.

Dodgy … definitely maybe.

With a fraud score range of 301 – 600, a moderate risk score of say 500 (classed as neutral) may be enough to set hares running.

Dodgy … definitely maybe.

When the set of risk factors show ‘limited history for email’ is may suggest to you that this is a new or infrequently used email address - being used to cover-up their real intentions - and therefore not someone you want to engage with as a client,  customer, friend or even acquaintance.

Dodgy … definitely maybe.

The tools are out there … more fool anyone not choosing to use them.

Leaving A Narcissistic Partner Behind

Having a narcissist for a new or existing partner can well and truly mess with your head and the result is likely to be a number of limiting beliefs that you have about yourself, them, and your relationship. For instance, you might believe that:

  1. They truly love you

  2. Your love for them can prevail given time

  3. You are to blame for the ending of the relationship

  4. They bring you happiness that you will not find elsewhere

  5. Things can go back to how they were in the beginning

  6. They have seen the errors in their ways once and for all

  7. You can fix them and that it is your duty to stay and help

  8. They feel the same way that you do

Not one of these things is true. They are incapable of love, meaning your love can never prevail. You are not to blame, and you can find greater happiness elsewhere. Things can never go back to how they were and stay that way because they have not seen any error in their ways. You cannot fix them and nor is it your responsibility, and they most certainly don’t feel the same way as you.

The narcissist in your relationship will have tried to shatter the image you hold of yourself and remake it as he sees fit for his purpose. It may take professional therapy, or it may just be something you achieve with the help of your loved ones, but picking up the fragments of your true self and putting them back together is important if you are to avoid similar relationships in the future.

Another good piece: Coping Mechanisms When Leaving A Narcissistic Partner Behind

Control through Coercion

Coercion is the practice of forcing another party to act in an involuntary manner by use of threats or force. It involves a set of various types of forceful actions that violate the free will of an individual to induce a desired response, for example: a bully demanding lunch money from a student or the student gets beaten.

These actions may include extortion, blackmail, torture, threats to induce favours, or even sexual assault. In law, coercion is codified as a duress crime. Such actions are used as leverage, to force the victim to act in a way contrary to their own interests.

Coercion may involve the actual infliction of physical pain/injury or psychological harm in order to enhance the credibility of a threat. The threat of further harm may lead to the cooperation or obedience of the person being coerced.

In psychological coercion, the threatened injury regards the victim's relationships with other people … threats to husbands, wives, children, brothers, sisters etc

The most obvious example is blackmail, where the threat consists of the dissemination of damaging information. However, many other types are possible e.g. "emotional blackmail", which typically involves threats of rejection from or disapproval by a peer-group or creating feelings of guilt/obligation via a display of anger or hurt by someone whom the victim loves or respects. Another example is coercive persuasion.

Nasty thing that.

Mobile Phone Account Fraud

Mobile Phone Account Fraud … where crooks open up a phony mobile phone account in your name and use it to access your bank account, sign up for credit cards, or sell the phone number for other criminals to use. While little known among consumers, mobile phone account fraud can have a devastating impact on your finances AND your reputation.

Unlike other types of fraud, there are fewer consumer protections.

It’s also harder to detect, so it can go unnoticed for months. By then, your bank account may be drained, credit card companies may be after you for unpaid bills, and the police may be investigating you for crimes committed in your name.

Sometimes you may not find out about it until the account goes into arrears, and it can take months or years to fix that, not to mention the monetary expense usually entailed. Many people find out only when the phony accounts tied to their names go into default, when they notice their service stops working, or when their accounts are drained.

The biggest step you can take is to put a freeze on the credit information that is used to open a mobile phone account … Equifax, Experian & TransUnion. Goes without say that we should ALL pay closer attention to our mobile phone bills, bank accounts, and other financial transactions from those hell bent on trying to steal it.

MORE WORRYINGLY FOR THE VICTIM  Instead of using your real address, criminals have the mobile phone bill sent to a different address. Once the account is established, they use the phone and pay their mobile phone bills long enough to establish a credit history.  Then the criminals apply for credit cards and other loans in your name, opening you and maybe your family up to a mountain of bills.

The sooner you identify and report the fraud, the sooner fraudulent charges will stop and the less likely you’ll be held liable for damages. Be warned.

There is a cooling off period with most of not all mobile phone contract providers … you can return or exchange almost anything you buy from them online, over the phone or at a store … ‘usually’ within 14 days from the day they deliver or handover your product(s).

Love Bombing Part 2

Found a great set of articles on the Conscious Rethink website as a part of my continued my research path through the areas of fraud, identification theft and social engineering.

Picking up on yesterday’s post, I’ve been looking more at the broad term of ‘Love Bombing’; ‘an attempt to accelerate the birth and growth of feelings within the victim by creating an intense atmosphere of affection and adoration. It is designed to disarm an individual’s natural guardedness so that they do not question the direction and speed a relationship is headed in’ according to the Conscious Rethink website.

It does this by adding elements of confusion, flattery, dependency, and an air of destiny into the mix.

Confusion occurs because of the sheer amount of communication that takes place between the couple; ceaseless texting, frequent phone calls, interaction on social media, and a strong wish to meet in person as often as possible.

It can feel utterly overwhelming to be on the receiving end of such a bombardment, one that is designed to convince the victim of the unique and special bond they have with the narcissist.

Having never experienced anything quite like it before, the victim will start to believe that this is something special, something good, a romance like you see in the movies – a whirlwind of excitement, both exhilarating and terrifying.

Flattery is present in virtually all courtship, but in the case of love bombing, it transcends to a whole other level. Every communication must include multiple compliments to seduce the victim and provide an almost irresistible feel-good factor that they will find hard to surrender.

When the victim constantly hears how beautiful, wonderful, and perfect the other party thinks they are, it gives their ego a real boost and causes physical and chemical changes in their brains. These only serve to cement their attraction to the narcissist.

Quite often the victim will be someone who suffers from low self-esteem (an ideal target for a narcissist) and so being complimented in this way may feel unnatural to them – even fake – but they will be too caught up to realize the true purpose of all the kind words.

Dependency is something that the narcissist will often attempt to introduce just a few weeks into the process of dating. Despite being in this embryonic stage, they will begin to proclaim how sure they are of the relationship, how much they enjoy spending time with the victim, and even how they are falling in love with them.

They push the victim on their own feelings to have them reciprocate declarations of love and affection. They do this to further confuse the victim about how they truly feel.

They start to devour more and more of the victim’s time and energy – preventing them from seeing other people quite so often. This isolation may be noted by the friends and family of the victim, but it is often waived away as mere passion by the victim themselves.

 By controlling access to love and affection, a narcissist can put themselves in a position of great importance. As contact with others diminishes, the only source of warmth and love available to the victim comes from their newly found partner.

The longer this continues, the deeper under the spell they fall; eventually they start to see the narcissist as someone they are unable to live without.

More to come on this interesting topic …

Love Bombing

When you openly advertise your interest in a romantic relationship, you also signal your availability to any circling narcissists or social predators. If one senses that your guard is down, he or she may assume that you are an easier target for manipulation. And one of the most effective ways of manipulating a potential partner is through flattery and "love bombs."

Love bombing is the practice of overwhelming someone with signs of adoration and attraction — think flattering comments, tokens of affection, or love notes on the mirror, kitchen table, or windshield, and you’re beginning to get the picture. It’s texts that increase in frequency as they increase in romantic fervour. Its surprise appearances designed to manipulate you into spending more time with the bomber — and, not coincidentally, less time with others, or on your own.

When someone tells you just how special you are, it can be intoxicating, at first.

However, when a person uses such comments to keep your focus trained on him or her, or to keep bringing you back in if you’ve started to back off, it could be a case of manipulation.

Not everyone who whispers sweet nothings in your ear is a narcissist or predator, of course, but if you’re feeling that something just isn’t right about the person or your relationship, these constant reminders of "how good you are together" — when you suspect that you really aren’t — can be an effort to keep you tethered.

It’s often the first line used by a potential abuser.

Narcissists are known for their skills at manipulation, as much as their penchant for self-love. They may use flattery and attention as tools to build themselves up as the perfect partner, the better to gain your trust, affection — and, ultimately, adoration. Narcissists often learn through experience that once partners see through their facades, the relationship may self-destruct.

Once they have convinced you of how good the two of you are together, a narcissist will try to shape your role in the relationship into a member of their "supporting cast."

Narcissists move quickly to avoid detection, so the more someone tries to flatter you into submission, the more diligently you need to explore their motives.

The more you read from the Psychology Today article, you more you want to read.

Traits of a Sociopath

Although I started researching this morning on the differences between a psychopath and a sociopathSociopaths are often called psychopaths and vice versa but there are differences between a psychopath and a sociopath. ... And while sociopaths and psychopaths do share some traits, sociopathy (antisocial personality disorder or ASP) is generally considered less severe than psychopathy … became more interested to look further at sociopathic tendencies more specifically.

Also see … How to tell if you’re dating a Psychopath, according to a woman who married one.

To be diagnosed with ASP, a person must be at least 18 years old and have a history of aggression, rule-breaking and deceit that dates to childhood. Here are some red flags to watch out for (see Sociopath Traits):

  1. Symptom: Lack of Empathy

  2. Symptom: Difficult Relationships … Rather than forge connections with the people in their lives, they might try to exploit them for their own benefit through deceit, coercion and intimidation.

  3. Symptom: Manipulativeness …  Sociopaths tend to try and seduce and ingratiate themselves with the people around them for their own gain, or for entertainment.

  4. Symptom: Deceitfulness … They often feel comfortable lying to get their own way, or to get themselves out of trouble. They also tend to embellish the truth when it suits them.

  5. Symptom: Callousness … Some might be openly aggressive and violent.

  6. Symptom: Hostility … Sociopaths are not only hostile themselves, but they are more likely to interpret others’ behaviour as hostile, which drives them to seek revenge.

  7. Symptom: Irresponsibility … They may have a disregard for financial or social obligations; not paying child support and regularly taking time off work.

  8. Symptom: Impulsivity … Making spur of the moment decisions with no thoughts for the consequences is part of everyday life.

  9. Symptom: Risky Behaviour … Combine irresponsibility, impulsivity and a need for instant gratification and its not surprising that sociopaths get involved in risky behaviour.

The conclusion of the article outlined above … if you know someone with ASP, the best thing to do is steer clear. Avoid them. Avoid them as best as you can because they are going to complicate your life.