Your physical presence isn’t likely to be something you’ve considered useful in making you more powerful.
Those with sociopathic tendencies however, examine and exploit every facet of their existence; including the amount of time they spend with you.
Individuals who seek to come out on top in every situation begin to understand the power of using their presence as a tool. As you go on with your time around others without giving the dynamics which surround your presence a second thought, sociopaths constantly seek to position themselves to become more powerful.
This article is about the way people with a consummate thirst for power use their presence against you.
The method is simple, but depends on a lack of empathy from them as they exploit your empathetic social habits.
The work to control one’s presence to paint an image of power is simple to execute. An individual who elects to do so simply chooses to exit when they’re not in a powerful social position at that moment in time. An astute analysis of one’s real-time social standing is thereby consistently performed by individuals who seek to weaponize their presence.
When they find themselves in a social circle they want to be seen as powerful within, they will audit the signs and signals others show them. The more signals which point to them being in a position of power over others in their vicinity that they notice, the longer they will stick around.
Once the signals of others respecting their power in a certain social circle weaken / diminish, they will quickly withdraw their social and / or physical presence.
In the mind of a sociopath, if the respect and attention is not always directed toward them, then their presence is – by their twisted definition – a supplement to the growth of someone else’s power. To them, every interaction one has (even in a casual social setting) is a battle of power. Power is constantly exchanged and fought for in the mind of the sociopath.
The Rigid Rules They Follow
Such individuals would be strict in analyzing whom their presence empowers and will follow every measure to ensure they stop empowering those people. Similarly, they seek to reward anyone who empowers them from a social standpoint. Their reward in this case, would simply be one of being present. They will be kind, talkative, and engaged when they notice signs of others giving them attention and showing them respect.
As soon as the conversation isn’t about them however, they’d interpret a group’s attention to be on someone else. If they remain present for the conversation which isn’t about them, they’d not only be weakening in their image of power. They’d also encourage another’s power to grow as an audience member.
Such individuals thereby reward all signals which point to them being the most important person at an outing / event / meeting with their presence. As soon as they don’t command the attention and respect from all around, they then withdraw. In an effort to punish those around, they’d physically leave or become distracted.
An important note to keep in mind is this: People who seek to manipulate with their presence, continually seek to make their presence worth more by limiting it.
Below is a limited attempt to formally lay out the sociopath’s audit process as they regulate their presence to encourage attention from others.
Conversations With Them
Someone taking the time to converse with you is predicated on at least some respect being shown on their part. By willing to maintain a back and forth dialogue, they deem you to be an important enough entity to warrant their undivided attention.
People who seek to manipulate others by controlling their own presence will strive to never be seen without being in conversation with someone in a social setting. A lack of interest from those around them is extraordinarily painful to individuals who want others to bow at their presence.
Such individuals will try hard to not be seen being alone with nobody to talk to. If nobody chooses to talk to them, they’ll seldom stick around to simply assume the role of an audience to someone else’s conversation.
Without anyone showing them undivided attention, they’ll exit the setting to not be seen. They’d rather portray themselves to be busy than lonesome, even if that portrayal is not true.
With each iteration of them being present at a specified event, they’ll follow the same principles. They will reward those who speak with them with their presence. If dialogue with them is stopped however, they’ll be motivated to disappear.
Conversations They Control / Lead
Conversations about individuals who seek to be important also score points to lengthen their stay. Stories about their past, inquiry into their profession, and general intellectual proximity to that individual’s interests will do well to make them stay.
If the conversation isn’t directly about them, individuals who thirst to be seen as the top dog will ensure they either control conversations or aren’t there for them. By taking control of a conversation, these individuals perceive others to be operating in accordance to their specified selfish, power hungry, wishes.
Such individuals would typically attempt to take the reins of a group conversation and direct it as they wish. They’ll assume the role of the interviewer, the role of the planner, and the role of the storyteller. They’ll ensure that they’re seen as the one in control of everyone else’s attention.
If they notice that the conversation is neither about them or being led by them, they will be likely to exit. Since that circumstance would be a powerless position, they’d seek to punish those around them for not morphing the conversation to fit to this individual’s desires.
Those who perceive every social interaction as a power play, take others’ hospitality toward them very seriously. Unlike most, these people don’t perceive hospitality to be a bonus. To them, hospitality from others communicates respect which they’ll seek to reward or punish with their presence accordingly.
Individuals with sociopathic tendencies will be turned off by a lack of hospitality to the point of seeking to punish their hosts. They’ll leave an event at an excessively early time in an effort to punish if they feel disrespected by the lack of pampering at hand. On the flip-side, they will reward any attempt of cordiality with their presence and attention.
Such individuals seek to make everyone care about when they arrive and depart. They’ll want a handshake from all members of an event they’re attending, and will even expect those around them to walk right up to them to give said handshake.
What Their Punishment Looks Like
The patterns described above, and plenty more which weren’t, all culminate into a sort of score sociopathic individuals tally up. If too many signals were deemed to not be in their favor (from a power play standpoint) they will punish those who were present at those events.
Their punishment will often consist of two phases:
The first, would be their immediate withdrawal from the conversations, events, and groups they deemed to not be inflating their sense of power over others.
The second phase would depend on their memory of such events and conversations. These individuals tend to refrain from attending similar events in the future. For a limited time, they won’t come over to your place when you invite them, or go to a restaurant with you when you have no one to go with. They will ensure their presence is missed, and that their lack of presence is felt.
Their quest for power over you would then play on by seemingly forgetting about their past grudges, and showing up at your request again. After making their absence felt, they’ll once again be present at an event, accept an invitation, or go with you to a movie.
At that point, they’ll begin to reanalyze your behavior toward them once more. They’ll look for signs that you’ve changed your ways of interacting with them. If they see submissive signs on your end, they’ll reward them.
They’ll look to you to make everything about them; the conversations, the plans, and the stories. Since you’d have missed their presence from before, they hope you’ll be more motivated to keep them happy. This result is what a sociopath will gladly welcome and reward with their current and future presence. If they don’t witness their preferred result, they repeat the process.
In the News
Read our analyses of current events by becoming a Patron.
- How People Ruin First Impressions During Small Talk
- How to Handle People Who Mask Ignorance by Taking Over the Conversation
- How to Deal With Needy Managers – A 3-Step Approach
- How to Make Authoritative / Powerful People Like You Quickly
- Why You Should Fill the Kettle With More Water Than You’ll Drink