A skilled manipulator has a surprisingly fragile sense of self. These individuals demand to be respected, understood, and admired, while at the same time refusing to reveal their true, innermost selves.
At the same time, they tend to be hypocrites. "Do what I say ... but don't do what I do" seems to be their motto. Projection and blame are their motives of choice. If they give too much of themselves they feel vulnerable--and that feeling is terrifying to them, especially in intimate relationships.
And so, as a mask and a shield, an abusive personality will unconsciously create a false self, the "self" they present to the world.
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I'm Jenny duBay, a domestic abuse survivor and now advocate. My degree is in Christian theology with a concentration on spiritual direction, and my vocational emphasis is on helping those who have suffered from domestic abuse to heal and reclaim their true selves.