Therapy/recovery lingo and manipulating others


Well-Known Member
I have lately been thinking of downside of therapy/rehabs/support groups/self help books/sup+port boards like this in teaching people certain lingo that make them much more convincing. It is of course not a problem, can in fact be beneficial to have words and concepts to express things, when person is honest. But it also gives quite an ammo for a dishonest or manipulating person against other people often not so well versed in that lingo.

We had new coming of our old 'friend' rottweiler guy here recently. When he first came to boards quite some time ago, he started with posting disturbing images and being offensive right away. Later he first tried to come off as legitimate, but it was quite easy to see through. This latest was already very manipulating. There were couple things in his first post that alarmed me, but had he not mentioned rottweilers already in that, I wouldn't had been too suspicious. Those who didn't remember the rottweilers probably weren't. He did feed tips about 'having young twins with classic psychopath signs' bit too easily (I mean, who first tells that main issue with their child is lacking bit discipline, and then asked suddenly 'remember' that OMG, they indeed torture animals, have tried to sexually assault other child, wet their beds etc. and should I be concerned about that) but while little bit implausible it was convincing nevertheless. Of course a board troll isn't that serious of the issue. Those happen and no one really is harmed by that obvious trolls.

But just like out rottweiler guy has learnt to use our lingo against us, so do many difficult children learn to scam us and others. Several times someone has shared a letter or conservation with their difficult child, there their kid has told them exactly what they have wanted to hear. Often using exactly the words they have learnt in therapy, rehab or support group. Slogans and all. And all most just as often the parents have later been disappointed, when it turned out, those were just words. Of course, I believe, often those difficult children have been sincere when they have said or wrote those words and things just have changed later. But unfortunately I believe some have been just cons.

And we are all battle weary and experienced. Think about those who are not. I'm currently watching one difficult child scamming people mainly by being so good with this type of lingo. And unfortunately I can't do much about it. She goes to same stables I do. Have been coming half a year now. She is charming and really knows how to talk the talk. First she seemed just nice and cheery and quite experienced with horses. Talking herself up a bit, but nothing alarming. Then some things started not to match up and sad stories started. And she really knows the lingo, so currently half of the people going there are convinced she has the worst luck in the whole wide world. Her mother is a narcissist, his father is her mothers enabler, her brother is a sociopath and sister is a borderline and her ex is a psychopath and now also her kids seem to have personality disorders. So does her boss and ex-coworker who both had done their best to ruin her life. And few former friends and owner of the stable she went before us and there she is not welcomed any more (and of course the owner is now just trash talking about her) and so on.

All this has of course come up little by little; anyone would get suspicious, if someone has such a problematic parents, siblings, kids (one declining all contact and other one talking trash about her to everyone), co workers, ex friends and what not. Anyone would be taken aback and thinking who is the problematic one in that equation. But when it comes up so little at the time, you kind of forget to use Occam razor. When you already believe someone, when they tell that their bad credit is because their psychopathic and violent ex did this or that, you don't start to add things together when you hear about mean and narcissistic mother or sibling or kid. Especially if you are not too familiar with lingo and are in awe how open, wise and well-spoken someone is.

And when people strongly believe a charming person like this, it takes time before one starts to add up things, notice that someone having such a bad luck isn't really very plausible, noticing that words and actions don't really match up, that there is always an explanation, but that things really are not matching and too many unbelievable things are adding up.

I have felt badly because of this person some time now. I'm sure she is a scam and I have protected myself from her. I don't trust her to do anything of importance, I check everything she tells me before acting on it in any way. I don't loan her money or let myself financially vulnerable in any way. I may buy her a cup of coffee or lunch or buy her a beer in the pub, but I absolutely don't expect her to pay back ever even though she always says she will. I don't trust her to do anything she promises, not even take a wet rug off the horse I rent when she leaves, if I have to leave before the horse is dry and warm. I will call and ask someone else to check, even when she has told me she will absolutely do it. I simply don't believe a smallest thing she says or promises. Luckily also few of my best friends there have listened me, when I have advised them to take a notice how well (or badly) her words and actions match. But I have several friends who will get burned, when façade comes down. And it will. Probably quite soon. I did ask around and found she has never been able to keep up her charade more than a year or at most two in any stables before she has left with burning bridges. I have gently tried to warn all of them, but she is quite good in manipulating, so it has not done any good.

I'm quite sure she has read quite a lot about personality disorders and such, probably also read local support forum for those who have loved ones with PDs. And she wouldn't be half as good scam, if she wasn't so well versed with that lingo.


one day at a time
Yes, it's a subtle but dangerous person that you describe, Suzir. That type of person is more dangerous than someone who is out there for all of the world to see with their bizarre and sick behavior.

Calls to mind this saying: Don't listen to what people say. Watch what they do.

I think that is the key to who somebody really is.


Active Member
I so agree with you Suzir. However, you are an example of how you will not be out smarted by those who are trying to outsmart. I am so glad you wrote this post. I am listenting very carefully, believe me, every word you say because like COM said, they are more dangerous than anyone else. Trust your gut instinct. Unfortunately, no matter how much we try, can we ever stop people like this? It's almost always too late, shoulda, woulda, coulda and everyone would wish how they listened to you. I don't know why people like this go through all of this trouble. I am far too lazy for all that mess.


Well-Known Member
I think it is easy to fool others on a written forum. We don't see facial expressions, etc. and our main idea here is to help. Sure, we get fooled sometimes, but I don't believe somebody who posts on a forum and doesn't really victimize anyone is dangerous. Probably sick is a better word and in real life he may very well be obviously sick or he may be a twelve year old difficult child. Who knows? I thought the story sounded kind of "iffy" but I've been here for a decade at least and am used to reading some really strange situations.I didn't notice any particular lingo he used. He just told a rather odd story.

In real life, if somebody is too good, too charming, too nice, too out. In the end, you find out what they are, sometimes too late, and your savings is gone. On a chat forum, nobody really knows who we are. Nobody can really hurt us.

Having said that, this sort of trolling, even sick trolling, happens on every forum I've ever been on. The only way to avoid it is to not go on forums, just like the only way to avoid psychopaths is to never mingle with people. Per Dr. Robert Hare, who wrote "Without Conscience", one in 100 people are psychopaths. So a lot are out there. It is good to acquaint yourself with the characteristics of one because they are very good actors and liars and tend to be extremely attractive to other people. They know how to be...then they steal your soul.

This poster?

I think a sick kid or a very disturbed adult...somebody to pity.


Well-Known Member
I dont think Suzir just meant someone posting on the internet, she just used that as an example. However, this exact same thing happened to me and it stemmed from meeting someone on the internet and thinking I knew them so well. I thought they were my best friend, my soul mate, that we were siblings separated at birth. Yeah, she played me. She told me everything I needed and wanted to hear so I would do everything she wanted me to do. And she was cunning. At first all she wanted was my friendship...first on the phone, then in person which meant I had to fly half way across the country. I did that about 4 times all the while she was swearing she would make a trip out to my house soon. Finally, the inevitable came...oh the most awful things were happening. Her husband lost his job and couldnt find another one. She had a bunch of kids...his and hers. They were out of food. Would I? Of course. Then her husband got a job but they would have to move. When their house sold they didnt have money to rent a moving truck...guess who sent it to them? Yep....oh she was going to pay me back asap.

Yeah...Im a real sucker.


Well-Known Member
I'm very sorry Janet, that you were conned. That really can happen to anyone, especially when we are desperately needing something and someone seems to be offering just that.

And you are right, I meant to use the rottweiler guy as just an example. Of course the troll on the support board doesn't so much damage as long as they are not able to con members to for example facebook contact and later for example loan money or something like that. When it stays on board, the only harm is, that we get bit more irritated or bit more callous and jaded.

What I meant was, that when people with malicious intent learn the therapy/recovery lingo, learn about conditions and so on, some of them use that knowledge, those words and techniques to more efficiently con others.

And I'm not sure if relying your gut is the best way to go. It is our feelings, our gut, that con artists use against us. It is much more difficult to manipulate facts than feelings of other people. The person I was talking about, who goes to same stables I do, is very good at using suggestive techniques. It is easier to see through it, when you have read a little about the topic but still, if not keeping your critical thinking forefront, it is easy to fell for that. She often doesn't have to ask anything, she makes others to offer it on what they feel is their own accord.

Of course one warning sign is, that when someone charms the pants off you, you should tread extra careful and start very rigorous fact checking. But of course you don't usually want to, because that person seems so amazing, that you just want it to be true. Or if it is someone you already know, you want to believe that the change in them is true.

And at times it may actually even be. The most charming new person I have met in years is my difficult child's sport psychiatric. He is a absolutely amazing listener, makes you feel really good about yourself and that he really gets you, when you talk with him. He does use suggestive techniques (partly kind of duh, mindfulness, relaxation and mental skills training rely heavily to suggestive techniques and even going near self-hypnosis) but he also uses much more subtle suggestive techniques in his communication. Both I and husband are totally besotted, even though we have actually met him maybe 10 or 15 times over the couple of years he has worked with difficult child and also difficult child really likes the guy most of time. The thing with him is though, that with him facts check up, words and actions match. I'm sure he does have more darker sides in his personal life, who wouldn't, but professionally he really is a real deal. And when we decided last fall, that from then on either we or difficult child himself would be one employing him instead of relying the teams to get difficult child that service, he really made it quite easy for us to do any necessary fact checking and provided references to show he has many long term customers, who are happy with him and grievances people tend to have with him are the like we can easily live with. But if someone like him would want to con other people, they would be extremely dangerous.

There are many ways to con other people, but one of the most effective is to tell them, what they want to hear. And at times I do wonder if for some the therapy, rehab or support groups just teach how to be effective in telling other people what they do want to hear and sounding sincere when doing so.