Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ships in the night

Message boards are a bit like shipping lanes. We travel along them and occasionally meet people we feel we have a lot in common with. And sometimes we do. There is however another type you meet and what separates them from the rest of the field is intent. The process is similar to how people go about making friends one suspects, but their motives are completely different.

It would be nice to say that being one gender over the other gave you some mysterious protection from this, but it would be a lie. People are pretty equal in this fallible quality... this capacity to believe.  The trouble is that unless you have actually met the person anyone can be anything that they say. And even then some can walk the walk for a while. Now this isn’t a problem unless you have become invested in them emotionally or let them into your lives. Then they have the ability to create havoc and you have given them the power to do so

Getting in through a computer is ridiculously easy in some ways... if you are a bit of a con. You emphasis the things you have in common with the person; oh you did x... me too. The trick is to keep repeating this commonality, especially in the early stages. You want them to feel like they have found a missing link.

Then you move to gifts... they don’t have to be big ones. In fact it is better if they aren’t... less cost to you after all. This establishes a sense of reciprocity... and if you are lucky, well good at your work, the person will send you far more in return. You can drop little hints as to what you need or want... little crumb trails that the other person will scamper along in hot pursuit of.

Now a good con will keep pushing the limits in incremental steps... until you are primed for the big score. By then you are ripe for the pickings... this person is your special one and the only one who can help them is you... and we have all read about the end results of that one. In fact most of us know how the game is played... even if it is on a subconscious level.

The other type of con is a far more insidious one, mainly because they aren’t after you wallet. They want into your life. It fulfils a deep need to be admired, valued and integral to your existence. In truth they probably have some sort of disorder that can be found in some little diagnostic manual.

Their methods are far more calculating... they start as friends. They use little gifts to reinforce the friendship and show that they are benign. When you have a problem they are there to listen and offer sound advice... rather like the parent you wished you had. What they are really doing is undermining your self confidence.

They make you forget that before they came along you were coping just fine. This is done by a subtle means... they offer you strategies to make it better. What they do by this process is transfer your reliance onto them. Before you know it you have a mentor you didn’t know you needed... in fact you aren’t sure how you managed before they came along.

Now obvious issues aside with this type of relationship, where they cause havoc is when they up and leave... often for no discernable reason. In truth of course you have become more work than they are capable of sustaining over time. That or there are so many fires they have an iron in they are just starting to burn out. What they often do is regroup somewhere; sometimes taking a few of the chosen with them... every god needs worshipers after all.

Now all of this is terribly cynical (and in part one is, but also one makes up that tiny percentage of the population knows as INTJ . This stuff is why we creep people out J), but the truth is you all have a magical protection within. It is called a little voice. Listen to the damn thing. Nurture it. Let it out to do its job.


MsSparkles said...

I think this is extremely insightful, and it's a great pity that it's often not possible to point this out when any of us see it happening.

This is often more apparent to some people than others simply because we may have access to information from more people than others. When people take you into their confidence though, you can't breach that even when you can see a glaring pattern of lies and destruction unfolding. All you can do is remove any validation, and help people pick up the pieces when things get too hot to handle and the 'con' exits stage left, leaving a secret mass of previously non existent problems in their wake.

...And to hope people will be more alert to the next person who strolls through ready to repeat the pattern.

Successful predators rarely look like predators at all, or everyone would see them coming.

Biddable said...

As the intended victim of the second sort of predator (unsuccessfully for her) and as another INTJ, I give this post two hearty thumbs up.

Biddable said...

Being sick is affecting my comprehension. I'm an INFJ, not an INTJ.

Dina said...

I was a "victim" of the second set up. I don't feel a victim anymore, however, which is why I'm taking it into quotes. I could blame the horrible relationship I was just coming out of for "making" me fall into this trap, but you know what? I don't care any longer to place blame.

In retrospect, now that I have moved past the pain and the humiliation of it all, I'm actually somewhat grateful for the lesson because now I know better, for good.

Master's piece said...

@Biddable Close enough ;)