Friday, November 02, 2007

Signs You've Been Hypnotized

The book, "Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain you Dry" has some very helpful information on how to recognize when a narcissist (or other disordered character) is hypnotizing you. You look for the signs in your own reactions:

"Make sure you recognize the warning signs of hypnosis: instant rapport, deviating from standard procedure, thinking in superlatives, discounting objective information, and confusion." Emotional Vampires, pg. 48

These are all signs you look for in yourself.

Here is a summary, mostly in my own words, of each of these warning signs. See the book for more details:

Instant rapport -- That wonderful feeling that you are instantly "clicking" with someone you've just met is a clear warning sign. You have likely stumbled into someone who has either done their research before "accidentally" meeting you or before a job interview, or they are quick to assess what it is you think about yourself and are careful to reflect back to you what you want to hear.

Deviating from standard procedure -- Suddenly you find yourself making exceptions and doing things very differently than you normally do for someone you don't know well.

Thinking in superlatives -- You've just met the most wonderful, most incredible, most charming and thoughtful person ever. Big red sign that someone is messing around inside your head. The author says, "distorted perceptions usually involve superlatives". He also points out that the superlatives can be negative too.

Discounting objective information -- You've been swept off your feet in no time flat. You're loving how you feel around this person -- so much so that you are now avoiding objective sources of information about this person. Or, if you do hear things you don't want to hear, you tell yourself it is somehow different for you. He's different with you. He was different back then. When you find yourself avoiding getting objective information about this person you have a clear sign in yourself that you're very happy in this little fantasy that's been created for you and don't want the bubble popped. You're in trouble if you keep this up. Remember, this doesn't just apply to romantic partners. It can happen with a fellow church or club member, a co-worker, boss, employee, etc.

Confusion -- "Hazy understanding of the reasons for your own reactions, coupled with unusual certainty, is a pretty clear sign that somebody has been messing with your mind." pg. 29

If you find any of these signs in yourself, most particularly when dealing with someone you don't know very well, it is imperative that you stop whatever you're doing and analyze the situation. Don't be afraid to ask yourself why you are reacting the way you are. Be honest with yourself. Don't discount your answers.

Some additional observations about someone who makes you feel confused. Don't assume you're an idiot. See it as a warning sign and stop to figure out what is really happening. I have learned that when someone is making me feel confused and pressured at the same time then I know that I must put them off. "I'll call you with my answer tomorrow." If they say that it'll be too late tomorrow then I now know my answer must be a firm "no thanks". When someone is trying to baffle you with bull-shit and then, in your confused state, try to force you to come up with an immediate response you are dealing with a high-pressure salesman or an emotional vampire.


Anonymous said...

Here's another one....finding yourself flattering the other person to excess and then getting the same thing back to you. An instant mutual-admiration society.

This is a timely post, as usual. I have just met someone very like you have described. They could just be a very caring and social person, or they could have an agenda. I don't know them from Adam, and I was very quickly drawn in. Its too easy to jump to conclusions, ESPECIALLY if you have had a childhood/adulthood deprived of affection and attention.

Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

After my last N-relationship, the trauma counselors (while I was in the hospital) had me educate myself about brainwashing, NLP and mind control.

I was flabbergasted. I knew all about NLP but never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be used against me! And I have to admit, almost every single N I have ever known used brainwashing in some form or other.


This might interest you.

Anonymous said...

Not very helpful when dealing with an N parent. Children are conditioned from birth to act a certain way with them.

This is the HARDEST codependent pattern to break.

At least with a N co-worker, spouse, friend there was a pre-N phase. With the N parent there was always N conditioning. Children of N have no point of reference. They are left flailing about with no compass, no direction, constantly asking "am i the crazy one?"

Any suggestions on how to recognize signs in children of N?

Anna Valerious said...

Please keep in mind that I don't always post things that would be specifically for people with N parents. There are other people with Ns in other types of relationships that appreciate a little help here.

The term that better describes the process children of narcissists are subjected to is brain-washing. I talked about this some in this post:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. It was timely for me too, since I have been just looking back on the smoking wreckage of a friendship with an N and going over the early red flags in my mind. The part in the post about making exceptions was one of the things that really hit the mark for me. When we met, I was doing favors, making sacrifices or making exceptions for this N friend that I recall quite well I intuitively knew not to mention to other regular friends. I considered this new exciting friend that I totally felt I 'clicked with' totally worth it. While a small part of me knew full well that what I was doing was objectively off, it never occurred to me to truly question that to the N friend my off behavior was seemingly not exceptional in any way. I never considered this important point at all.

I'd like to add another general red flag for me and that is gifts. Besides truly feeling entitlement to unusual attention from others, I have often seen N's do socially off things in terms of their own elaborate gestures of generosity and favors that normal people do not do. It can seem really special and amazing, especially for anyone from a neglectful N background. I find many seem to be excessive gift givers or the type who do things like treat when out, or serve elaborate meals while refusing help, or do super large favors, up to including pressing unwanted gifts and favors on uncomfortable recipients. This N friend in particular could be quite servile and obsequious in certain specific circumstances, like doing all the dishes after a party or insisting on doing more work then others in a group project, and this existed at the very same time as the deep entitlement and misuse of others.

The difference is that for the N, their 'generosity' to others neatly builds up the well of debt and superiority and leverage [and claims of victimization when needed] that the N's jump to stock at every possible opportunity, while anyone else's unusual sacrifices are just considered the minimal basics of normal and nothing noteworthy.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...The link Barbara posted maybe should have had a disclaimer---I went to it and am still trembling. I feel unclean just perusing that filth.

I am not saying anything about Barbara at all :) I am a huge proponent of SOTA and have gotten a lot of inspiration from there. That was just a hideous site.

Anyway, the post is very timely and excellent for me as well...I had the opportunity to see someone's true colors when they were startled by my sudden urge to take a stand on something. I was being drawn in, so covertly, and suddenly it just hit me that I was being swayed by something that I knew from having an N parent and other Ns in my life as a young adult. I am glad that at last the N information that I have been hoarding is becoming an automatic response to distortion and shady behavior. Thank you Anna.

Barbara said...


It is a hideous sight but one every single victim should read. Why? Because its a peek inside the sick sick heads of these people.

A great book is HOW TO SPOT A DANGEROUS MAN by Sandra L. Brown, MA. The chapter on Emotional Predators is worth the price of the book.

God bless you Anna for posting this.

Barbara said...

BTW, Greene says this in the forward of his book ART OF SEDUCTION:

Sometimes a man would tell me how some online hypnotist took his woman away. If that couple was truly in love, no man on earth would've been able to separate them. Couples who are truly happy with each other just do not go around looking for better deals, and if someone tries to put them asunder, the cling closer together.

Please note that one person cannot seduce another unless the other person wants to be seduced,

What a load of horse****. Guess he doesn't know about the children of pathologicals and their brainwashing from birth?

Also, anonymous - children of Ns and other pathologicals aren't codependent. They are victims of a sick little N-cult, indoctrinated from birth.

Thank God people like Anna are strong enough to write about it!

Anonymous said...

Hi. not sure if there's any etiquette to this but have just found this site and found it very relevant to my situation and posts very helpful, thanks. I ended a relatively long term N relationship last year and am still trying to get myself together - I have a child with him so the no contact thing is proving hard. I have been out for a number of dates with someone else recently, who gave me hope that I could have a healthy relationship again and just this last weekend a few warning bells started ringing for me. I'm so terrified of ending up in a similar situation and finding it hard to decide what is normal now - I know that is normal itself when you are recovering from emotional abuse. I wonder if anyone can talk about their post N relationship dating - has anyone met any nice non Ns who they thought might be Ns simply because of their previous experience? Regardless I will try to listen to my gut - I can't face the thought of getting sucked into one of these 'relationships' again but the thought that I might have attracted two monsters to me one after the other is hard to get my head around.

Upforair said...

To anonymous
Re. dating post N relationships, there is no easy answer. Remember the old joke, just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean that they AREN'T out to get you!
I had a 7 year mnarriage with an N, separated 5 years ago, divorced 4 years ago, but the emotional abuse did not stop for some time after that.
It is only in the last two months that I have properly come up for air and feel human again.
I dated a guy recently who looked like a great catch on paper but I started to see more and more signs of N. When I faced up to him and his tricks he ran....He was the classic over the top present buying, favour doing, name dropping, moving too fast N.
If you have experience of a damaging N relationship, you are sensitised to the way they operate - LISTEN to alarm bells. The worse that could happen is that you misjudge a relative stranger. There's plenty of time to meet someone normal.

Anonymous said...


I have spent, I mean wasted, 20 years of my life with a malignant narcissist without knowing it. It's only recently that I finally figured out this man because he's that good at screwing with my head. The worst part is that his whole family is the same way and they all took pleasure in victimizing me all this time without my realizing it, I just thought I was a loser who wasn't good enough for him. The thing that kills me though is that I can't even tell anyone what I have been through without being labeled "crazy" because everyone that knows him thinks he such a great guy. I feel so destroyed I don't even know what to do with myself anymore. Thanks for listening.

Anna Valerious said...


I don't really know what to say isn't the time to give up. You finally have some idea of what you've been up against. In the arena of malignant narcissism, knowledge is power. Keep learning. You will find a path through the mess. Speak little until you find someone who does understand. Plot your moves quietly. Don't broadcast. In a very real sense you will have to escape. You have the strength to escape as proven by your strength to survive for 20 years. Feel free to email me if you need to talk.

Victory People said...

This is just what happened to me. I recently confronted him after a full investigation of his background. He fearfully asked me to leave him alone. I turned the tables on him. I have repeatly asked him to stop abusing women. He is a serial abuser. His mother died when he was nine years of age. I don't know what impact that has on his evil behavior. I called him out as evil, and I told him that I knew about the family that he refused to talk about. He is also a con artist too. He's constantly asking women for money to live from one month to the next. He's really very different from his syblings who are all females. He absolutely engages in brainwashig techniques. I have had a long road searching for answers.

Thank you for this site!

Unknown said...

Thankfully dr. Robert Hare's "beyond conscious" and other sources protected me from inevitable financial, emotional, and spiritual ruin. I noticed a technique of providing and withdrawing approval. Sought behaviours were rewarded with compliments: smart, wise, morally good. Then the same would be challenged and withdrawn. Anyway, the "unusual sacrifices ...not being noteworthy" was constant. Upon reflection this is logical because of course the n is superior and deserving of everything.

Another technique was the use of red hearings. Political and social ideologies which when observed vis a vis actual behaviour were not consistent or true to those practicing a genuine belief. So while i was occupied fully considering a throw away idea, the real goal of control was progressing. It could have been much worse. I was able to contain the experience to match investment but barely, and it required avoiding empathy which is quite dangerous.

Steven said...

Hey I’m very happy I stumbled across your article. I am a 30 year old gay male and am beginning to discover I come from a family of N’s, many of whom have become quite skilled in the art of hypnotic suggestion/NLP/animal magnetism. I believe because they covertly disagree with my sexual preference that I have been hypnotically coerced into a life of addiction and sexual exploitation as their attempt to show me “the error of my ways”, I believe with the end-goal being that I love Jesus, my family, and above all...vagina.
I first became aware of my “programming” in 2007 after my first(and horrific) experience using LSD at a music festival, but after somewhat recently regaining access to some locked/hidden memories regarding my torture and rape have realized this has likely been a lifelong orchestration of events all the way back to my first memory of being abducted out of my mother’s arms while in a pharmacy parking lot as an infant. I have done a lot of personal research regarding the principles of learning theory, the principles of conditioning, and lately my search has led me to the somewhat overwhelming doorstep of covert hypnosis/neurolinguistic programming. My mother is my “programmer” I believe, or my “handler”? Honestly still confused a bit as to which is the initial conductor of the torture, but I believe programmer makes sense. After years of deceptively-induced social isolation through covert shaming, degradation of my ability and motivation to maintain meaningful employment by depleting my confidence and reinforcing my innate addictive personality, my mother through the help of close friends and various law enforcement agencies managed to convince me I had nowhere to go but to return “home” to live with her, where I’m now constantly monitored, tortured, and subjected to covert conditioning/hypnotism attempts. She’s been a pharmacist for almost 40 years, was in college in the 70’s during the MK-Ultra experiments yet claims no knowledge of ever hearing the name, and had me illegally arrested through false statements and with the help of the local police department had me civilly commited against my will despite zero evidence I posed a danger to anyone at any point.
I digress, sorry. I could really use advice regarding finding safe mental health professionals that could help me learn what auditory/visual “hooks” have been planted to train multiple physical/emotional conditioned responses(chemical dependence, fear of confined spaces, paranoia/paradolia, knees physically shaking, small light strobe in left peripheral vision, sensations of nausea, migraines that seem relocate upon the painful area being subjected to magnet/quartz crystal therapy, hard “thumping” from area just under heart/chest but definitely separate from heart, etc.) and teach me how to unlearn these responses as well as help me recognize future attempts to be able to mentally defend myself from such deception. Would be nice to establish some kind “evidence” that I’ve been manipulated too...
My goal from here on out is to unlearn these “programs” so I can get a job and get my dog and myself the hell out of this ridiculous Truman-show sci-fi straight-to-dvd failure psychology degree and never look back.
I’m in south jersey. I feel very strongly the closer I come to the “whole truth”, whatever that is, the more at risk my freedom and safety are becoming. She’s already had me locked up and labeled mentally ill once, I have no doubt she’ll try again and likely already is devising plans. Despite covertly being raised to feel like I can’t do much of anything through the facade of a “loving, concerned family”(controlling, manipulative organization)...I KNOW I can do this. I have to. After years of self-growth I finally have the confidence to recognize my situation and see that there is hope...I just need some directional hints?
Thanks for your help