Social media is a breeding ground for predators. Social media is a breeding ground for manipulators and stalkers.
A person will slowly make their way into your life and before you know it you have told them your deepest darkest secrets and only known them for 2 weeks.
These people are most often men. These men are not only doing this to you, they have 20 other girls and women they are doing it to. They will continue this behavior until someone responds and gives the green light. Then, they pounce. They know what works. If one tactic worked on one girl, they will try it on another.
These men have common themes, common factors, common manipulations. I have seen them first hand. If I were to be looking at this person in the eye it would be much easier. Body language i a huge cue to deception. If someone is behind a computer screen then they have taken time to hone their skill.
I have written some common red flags that will hopefully open your eyes to manipulative tactics.
Unfortunately, these all come from my own personal experiences over the years. I hope in sharing them it will open your eyes to possible danger. If you are experiencing any of this GET OUT. You owe this person no explanation. You owe this person no excuses. Block them. Do not respond to them. If you respond to their 20th message then you have just taught them that it takes 20 times to get to you! Don’t respond.
Some of these examples you may think, ” My friend does this all the time!” And a good friend may, but not someone who has just come into your life out of nowhere. Keep focused on the time frame, the how, and the why.
Some common red flags:
1. Is this man helping you, being there for you, listening to you, supporting you, out of the blue? At a time of vulnerability? Is he all of a sudden present in your life when you are at your lowest? Why has this person suddenly appeared and what is their intention? Do you know their intention? Ask yourself this:
Example A. “What precipitated this person coming into my life?”
Example B. “Have they stated their intention on why they have come into my life?”
Example C. “Have I recently put on social media ANYTHING that can be perceived as me feeling lonely or depressed.”
2. Are you currently ill, or helpless, when this man comes of the woodwork to be there for you? Perfect timing for a knight in shining armor?
Example A. “ I know it’s been 20 years since we have talked but I just have had you on my mind lately and heard you were having some hard times and wanted to let you know if you need anything I am here for you.”
Example B. “ I saw someone wrote something awful about you on facebook and I just wanted to let you know that even though we don’t really know each other I will NOT let anyone talk to you like that.”
3. Have you just had a falling out with a family member, been sexually abused, broken up with your boyfriend, lost your job, had a death in the family, and all of a sudden this man swoops in to make it all better?
4. Is this man over connecting? Are they making their life examples so similar to yours that you feel a connection where there is none?
Example A. “I’ve had a dog die too. I know how hard that can be.”
Example B. “I know how it feels to have health problems and be isolated, I have health problems too.”
Example C. “ My family no longer speaks to me either. Maybe we can make our own family. I will be like a big brother.”
Example D. “ I am lonely too. I know what being alone” feels like. I will be here if you need a friend to listen to you.”
Example E. “ I’ve been through what you’ve been through.”
Example F. “ I had a sister who had that happen and I am devastated for you.”
5. Is this man acting like he is willing to fight for you? Have your back? Is he using your need for safety against you by promising to be your savior when you didn’t ask for one? Example: A. “ I will kill him if I ever see him.”
Example B. “ If anyone is mean to you or hurts you from now on they will have to deal with me.”
Example C. “Just send them my way and I will take care of them for you. No one messes with you from now on!”
6. Is this man making you a “we” team now?
Example: A. “We can take care of this together.”
Example B. “We can fight this battle together. You are not alone in this.” WE. You are a team now.
7. Is this man trying to make you feel like you are special? Is he trying to make you feel like you are different and worthy of his time because you are just so important?
Example: A. “ I hate most people but you are different.”
Example B.” There is just something about you that stands out to me and makes me drawn to you.”
Example C. “ I think we were meant to find each other because I don’t even like women your age but you are just special.”
Example D. “ I feel like we are soul mates.”
Example E. “ If you were my sister/wife/ mother/ child, I would feel like the luckiest man on earth.”
Example F. “ I only trust you with this information.”
Example G. “ I wouldn’t tell this to anyone else but I know that you are different/special/ someone that I knew I could rely on to keep this secret.”
8. Is he using techniques such as being overly angry for you, pitting you and him against the world? Giving too much personal information so you feel you aren’t the only one who is sharing? Is he repeatedly asking you personal questions? Is he prefacing his questions with”
Example A. “ Hey can I ask you a question?”
Example B. “Would it be ok if I asked you a personal question? I mean if you are uncomfortable with it then I won’t.”
9. Is he trying to overly convince you that he is a nice guy?
Example A. “ You won’t find a guy nicer than me.”
Example B. “Everyone has screwed me over and I am like the nicest guy you will ever meet.”
10. Is he telling you how wonderful he is? Is he claiming to work with the elderly, work with abused animals, abused women, abused children, a wounded veteran? Is he being fake noble? A man with such integrity and values that you could not possibly turn him away or YOU would be the bad person? Is he such a “nice guy” that he is saying you would be crazy to not have him in your life?
11. Is he asking you to be alone with him? Is he putting you in a position that you would need to be alone with him unnecessarily?
12. Is he in a position of power that is intimidating? Does he make you feel like even if you say no that you are still consenting?
13. Have you had a “bad feeling” when you are around him that you are ignoring or shrugging off or minimizing because he has overcompensated for how willing he is to help you “through this hard time”? Ask yourself this:
Example A. “Has he ever made me feel uneasy?”
Example B. “Has he ever made me feel like MAYBE he isn’t being completely honest.”
Example C. “Has he ever crossed the line into too personal, too intimate, too inappropriate.”
Example D. “Has he told an inappropriate sexual joke then immediately taken it back, said he was just kidding when he saw my reaction.”
Example E. “What does my intuition tell me?”
Example F. “ Have I shrugged even one thing off that I never would have let my best friend get away with saying?”
14. Do his messages and stories and information he is giving you not add up? Have you already caught him in a lie but are trying to convince yourself that you are wrong?
Social media and texting combined can paint a liar into a corner and they don’t even know it.
15. Has he given you a nickname?
“Puppet, you know you are one of a kind girl!”
“Beth, I really don’t know what I’d do without you.” (NO ONE CALLS ME BETH BUT MY OLD CHILDHOOD FRIEND SHEA> PERIOD)
“B, I need to tell you something I just can’t tell anyone else.” “Only ONE person has ever called me B and that is my old highschool buddy TJ PERIOD! We’ve been friends for 3o years!”
That little nickname from a manipulator makes you feel there is a connection/trust/you are special enough for that person to give you a nickname.
16. When you tell this person you no longer feel comfortable talking to them do they go through the cycle of manipulation?
Example A. “ What did I do wrong to make you not trust me.”
Example B. “ I would never lie to you I swear.”
Example C. “ Swear to God like I cannot live without you. We need to stay friends. I can’t lose you.”
Then turning nasty:
Example D. “ I cannot believe you are doing this to me when I needed you and thought we had something.”
Example E. “ Listen, I don’t know what you THINK I did but you are way off.”
Example F. “ I should have listened when other people told me you were a bitch.”
Example G. “ You need therapy. There is obviously something really wrong with you.
And then back to pathetic:
Example H. “ I’m in a deep depression now. I hope you know how much you have upset me.”
-Any phrase that has begun with “I swear” or “I promise” or “God’s honest truth” IS A LIE.
17. Do you notice them around on social media when you never did before? Friends with your friends now? Commenting where you are commenting? Creating conversations where there were none?
18. Is he trying to connect to a nostalgic feeling? I “remember when” life was really good when right now life is not really good at all?
19. Is he overly complimentary?
20. When you talk to him do you feel like he is making you feel like you are the only person in the world he is talking to?
21. Does he have a sob story? A story you did not ask to hear? A story that is too soon in your friendship for you to even need to feel the weight of? Are you feeling the weight already?
Example A. “My wife left me and I have no idea why.”
Example B. “I’ve been battling addiction and alcoholism and demons my whole life.”
Example C. “I’ve been through hell and could be even dying and my own family doesn’t care.”
22. Have you taken on a role of “I am going to save this person?”
23. Is he overly offended if you don’t shower him with empathy, understanding, and validation? Remember you owe this person nothing!
Let me conclude with this:
We all want to be loved. We want to be complimented. We want to have someone have our back, be there for us, be our confidant, be our savior, be our secret keeper. We want someone that makes us feel safe and loved. It is a desire and a natural want to have in our lives someone who makes us feel heard. That is ok! Where we make mistakes is who we get this from and who we let into our lives because of those needs. I am the PERFECT example. I have a muscle disease. My daughter is sick. I have PTSD. I was abused. I write about my life publicly. I could easily be a target for a manipulator that wants to come in with his save me tactics. Fortunately, for me, I have a wonderful husband and friends that I CAN confide in. I don’t need nor did I ask for a man to come into my life and do any of the listed above behaviors. In someone you do not know intimately, safely, with established boundaries, all of these behaviors above are unacceptable, unsafe, and red flags that you are in a situation that will not end well.
I wrote this to protect other women, other girls. I wrote this so they could share it with their friends and their daughters. I want one less person negatively affected by a manipulator.
It took me years to come up with this list. It was a long time coming due to having my own intuition stripped away due to chronic long term childhood sexual abuse.
I am hoping that many can learn the red flags so quickly that all it takes is ONE to have you say “NOPE! I do NOT need this!” Then walk away.