Charmers and Con Artists (my Ex was a “Charmer”…)

Charmers and Con Artists

In her book, Charmers & Con Artists & Their Flip Side , author Sandra Scott identifies the following characteristics:

Charmers . . .

  • are often described as “the nicest guy you could ever know,” but in relationships they are very controlling, self-serving, and irresponsible.
  • seldom agree to therapy. They don’t see a problem with themselves so why should they change? If they go to therapy, they try to charm the therapist.
  • look good on the outside, but an ulterior motive lurks on the inside
  • see themselves as victims rather than those they hurt
  • believe they are special and entitled to special behavior; rules that apply to others do not apply to them
  • have their own brand of logic and an excuse for everything
  • appear to be very giving, but there is always a price to pay for their attention
  • can apologize easily, but there is no true repentance
  • don’t feel love or guilt deeply, tend to minimize the pain of those they have hurt
  • discredit their accusers when they are confronted
  • cope by making themselves the hero in the worst situations
  • are very clever, and often able to keep from being caught
  • have extreme shifts in personality, may be kind and sarcastic in the same instant
  • are very needy, and blame others for not being able to meet their needs
  • appear to be very sensitive to others, and use their sense of humor to make others laugh or feel good
  • shift attention off themselves onto others to keep from being found out
  • depend on lies and deception to maintain a good image
  • need power and control to bolster their low self-esteem and very fragile ego
  • have a distorted sense of shame, and feel no embarrassment in doing whatever is necessary to get their needs satisfied
  • are narcissistic, and need to believe they are superior to others
  • are intimidated by intelligent, perceptive women
  • live in constant fear of discovery
  • find and use those who will appreciate and adore them
  • rationalize their behavior with no remorse for the pain they cause
  • are one frustration away from violence
  • will not change as long as life works for them and there are no consequences to face
  • are the center of their world and need constant praise and adoration from others
  • know how to win the confidence of others, and use personal information against them later to make themselves feel better or superior
  • view their own thoughts and words as ultimate truth
  • use kindness as a smoke screen to solicit silence or lack of confrontation of their actions
  • are master manipulators who zero in on others’ point of weakness
  • lay heavy guilt trips on anyone who confronts their bad behavior
  • twist the truth, lie, distract, accuse and use irrational and irrelevant arguments if confronted
  • lack healthy shame
  • mess with your mind to make themselves look normal—twist, distort, and tarnish your reputation
  • know how to play the courtroom game and come across more credible than their victims

Con Artists . . .

  • are motivated by greed for material gain
  • choose those to whom they show genuine love and affection, with the capability of killing a stranger or enemy without regret
  • have a selective conscience with their own code of ethics
  • know right from wrong, but choose to do wrong to get what they want
  • seek trusting or na ve people to con
  • often back off or move on to con someone else when they don’t get what they want
  • will resort to violence when they cannot escape
  • make the conscious choice to do evil
  • don’t mind hurting others as long as they get what they want

Sandra Scott summarizes the charmer and con artist this way:

“A healthy person seeks to be good. A Charmer seeks to be perceived as good because he desperately needs to believe he is good, because he fears he isn’t. A con artist seeks to be perceived as good in order to get what he wants.”

Her warning should be taken seriously: “The con artist can rob you of your time, energy and money. The Charmer can rob you of your youth, your integrity, your self-esteem, your very soul. The con artist robs and leaves you sadder but wiser. The Charmer rapes your spirit and drags you with him into his own personal hell.”

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