Thursday, February 19, 2009

Compliance , Conformity, Obedience & The Psychopath.

I wanted to research further today on Compliance, and why we as victims are so "compliant" to the psychopath & why even after all the emotional and physical abuse they inflict upon us do we continue to give and give and give to the psychopath.

I also wanted to try and understand why I myself adopted these traits throughout my relationship to the psychopath.

So after reading and researching I have found some very very interesting facts, some of which I actually found in Gareth Rodger's own notes which he had earmarked in books and used in order to manipulate me! (Indeed I saw these pages in his psychology books even when living with the psychopath, he had even tried teaching me what "it all meant" and I was STILL blind to the fact he was using it against me to gain my obedience.) mind boggling huh?

So let's find out the other three ways a psychopath manipulates his victims.

Compliance & Conformity

Compliance may be referred to as "Yielding to others" and often used along with the term "Conformity"

The differences between "Compliance" and "Conformity" is Compliance oftentimes involves a change in behaviour as a result of a "Direct Request" made by the psychopath

An individual who feels pressured to "go along with the psychopath" where there is no direct request to do so is "conforming"

One way the psychopath gets his victims to comply to his wishes is to ask for something else first, then alter that request . Such as:

The Foot In The Door Effect

This effect works on the basis of initially making a small request that, when accepted, is increased to a more substantial one, for example:

"A homeowner is asked to display a huge, ugly sign proclaiming "Drive Carefully" on their lawn under the pretence of concern about traffic accidents.

However the homeowner two weeks prior to this was asked to sign a petition on Road Safety. A different person returns two weeks later and asks the homeowner to display the huge, ugly sign on their lawn. (Freedman & Fraser 1966)

The "foot in the door" technique would predict that the victim would be more likely to comply with the second request in this condition as they had already conceded to the original request.

If the psychopath asks for too much in one go, such as "I want you (the victim) to paint the fence, mow the lawn and fix the kitchen unit, and fix this, fix that" it is too overwhelming and he knows he will be declined so little by little he makes bigger and bigger requests.

Once the psychopath has his foot in the door of his victim , more requests will be more readily granted.

Many big companies employ the same tactics as well as door to door salesman in an effort to sell their products. Working on the basis of "giving quotes" or estimates without obligation to buy, and once the salesperson has his foot in the buyers door he has more chance of making a sale. (This technique being employed by a salesman is not likely to ruin someone's life emotionally or physically. It is not an ongoing everyday event, meaning The salesman isn't on the door step or in your home daily making tons of requests - unlike the psychopath who is operating daily in your life)

For example a neighbour may ask you to help out, or a door to door salesman may ask you to buy items for charity.

Explanations for the "foot in the door" technique tend to reflect the victim's self image. If a victim agrees to a request , however small , then this may influence their self concept ie: "I am helpful" , "I am doing everything right" , "I am making him happy"

Therefore a second substantial request may be complied with in order that the victim might maintain to live up to this "Helpful Image"

However, two factors appear to be important to the psychopath ie: The Victim has to believe she has reached the decision for the request by herself, without coercion, and the first request MUST be significant enough to affect her self perception ie: "If the victim goes along with it."

The victim who goes out of her way to give a friend some money to help tide them over would contribute towards a helpful self-image whereas telling someone the time would not.

The Door In The Face Effect

The "door in the face" effect involves "Completely rejecting an initial request" but often with the result that "a later demand will be accepted."

In order for the psychopath to utilize this correctly, he must make a substantial request to begin with , which is modified to a smaller, more reasonable one.

This is also adapted as a sales technique for customer who may have expressed an interest in buying a car or a house.

With a Psychopath this can work as follows:

"The psychopath asks his victim to lend him £40,000 , when she refuses (and he knew she would) the psychopath will then ask for £1000 which to the victim sounds a lot more reasonable, and is likely to dig into her purse and give out the cash"

"After being asked by the psychopath to indulge in an expensive and luxurious car for him ,to which she refuses. The psychopath will suggest to the victim to purchase a more basic and economical one, which again sounds more reasonable to the victim and therefore she will be more likely to indulge in the psychopaths request"

The most important point to make here is: The latter choice (the basic cheaper car, the smaller amount of money) was the intended target of the psychopath.

This works with companies too. When department stores in town hold sales and special offers , the effect is that the customer is able to compare the previous price with the reduced one. (Even though the potential customer may have entered the shop without any specific intention of buying anything, he or she may leave with a handful of 'Bargains')

By comparing the two prices, potential customers will be more likely to purchase an item simply because it is perceived as a considerable bargain, even if they don't necessarily need the product.

What factors appear to be important in order for compliance to occur? if the "foot in the door" technique is true (That is the self image the victim has of herself is Helpful) then the "door in the face" technique would seem to suggest that the victim on the first occasion regards herself as "Uncooperative and so should not comply on the second occasion"

However we have seen this is NOT the case, again two points appear important, both the large and later, small request must come from the same source, or be made by the same person.

With the "money" example above this allows the victim to interpret the result as being a "Victory" on their part because the psychopath has moved away from the original "request" of £40,000 and has settled for the smaller amount of £1000

Another point to make is that the first request must be so large that the victim is likely to reason that no one would agree to it thereby maintaining a good self-image!

Clever huh? clever it may be , morally wrong it is, and another tactic psychopaths use on their victims to do them out of house and home and their emotional well being.

The Low Ball Effect

The Low Ball Effect works by inducing the victim into a situation of accepting a request , after the original terms are increased.

Generally speaking the idea is that, once drawn in, the victim will accept the higher demand rather than back out of the request altogether.

For example: "The Psychopath may ask the victim to help him move the rest of his furniture into her home as they are in the process of "moving in together" and he cannot possibly grab the rest of the small items as he is in work all day .

The victim agrees to this but on arriving at his home to move his items she finds that there are mainly several heavy bulky pieces of furniture that need moving as well as the smaller items."

Such a technique of compliance relies considerably on the victim's "good nature" , in that the victim is willing to help despite the original terms of the agreement being altered.

In terms of the victim's self image, once she says "yes" she will not say "no" at a later stage because this may weaken her notion of herself as "helpful" and she doesn't want to be perceived as unreliable to the psychopath.

Many everyday situations provide illustrations of compliance, although the three techniques above together with possible explanations , may involve several other factors that may not be explicit at the time. These include individual motives and reasons for helping.

The psychopaths motives for compliance is to gain obedience to him in every way possible.


Obedience is a form of submissive compliance, in that the victim complies with a demand because she feels she must or should do so.

In many ways failure to obey the psychopath may have severe consequences, particularly if the psychopath has already established himself in the relationship as "Authoritarian" and shown his true colors by then (His mask has slipped)

Whereas compliance focuses on a request to do something, obedience implies that the victim is ordered to go along and for various reasons does so.

The Milgram Experiment is a good example of the Authoritarian Figure and pressure to obey that authority figure (The psychopath will ALWAYS be authoritarian)

the key factors here are obedience to authority and the desire to comply in a social context (peer pressure)

Compliance , obedience and conformity all involve very definite influences of other people upon us, and, in a sense, very only in the degree to which other people affect what we do. But with a psychopath they seem to be able to effortlessly influence our decision making and actions.


Some definitions of "conformity" are

"A change in a person's behaviour or opinions as a result of real or imagined pressure from a person or a group of people"

Conformity & The Psychopath

Some definitions of Conformity with a psychopath are...

"A change in a person's behaviour or opinions as a result of real and horrific daily pressure/manipulation (using the above 3 techniques) from a psychopath"

"The tendency to allow one's opinions , attitudes, actions and perceptions to be affected by the psychopaths opinions, attitudes and actions because the victim is manipulated to take on the psychopaths views" because she knows that if she can't see things "his way" she will be punished (Devalued and/or Discarded) Or seen as "unhelpful", "uncooperative" and "A failure to keep him happy" .

The Dutiful Victim

The victim strives for the psychopaths good perceptions of her, she wants and needs his approval in ways some people cannot fathom (as these needs are so great) . Her drive is to keep him as happy as possible, even if that means walking on eggshells for the rest of her life. After a while she (the victim) will strive and fight daily for the psychopaths approval and want him to see her as the "helpful dutiful wife/partner." She knows that her non compliance or any deviations from the psychopaths path/rules will result in being punished.

However if the victim continues with compliance , conformity and obedience she soon learns that staying on this track leads to "good rewards" instead of the "Punishment" , yet what the victim doesn't realize at first is that any "good reward" is short lived, due to the psychopaths constant changing/shifting demands, requests and rules.

The Autokinetic Effect

This occurs when a tiny point of light is seen in an otherwise completely dark room, after a few moments, of concentrating on the spot of light it appears to flicker and move.

Subjects in this experiment were first brought individually into the room and asked to estimate how far the light moved, for several trials.

Following this they were allowed to hear the other subjects' estimates (due to having a group dynamic influence introduced) and it was noticed that the subsequent estimates tended to be alike.

It seemed therefore that a shift of opinion occurred as a result of knowing what others had estimated.

The mere presence of other people can , as we have seen influence our own behaviour, however... with a psychopath double that 1 million times and welcome to the life of an inmate, because that is how it feels to live with a psychopath, like you are in prison.

So although in society people can be effected and influenced by others behaviours daily , the psychopath pushes this envelope to the Nth degree, resulting in the victims complete obedience and conformity to his every request.


Fighter said...

here you go: