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In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People | [George K. Simon]

In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People

Dr. George K. Simon knows how people push your buttons: your children---especially teens---are experts at it, as is your mate. A coworker may quietly undermine your efforts while professing to be helpful, or your boss may prey on your weaknesses. Manipulative people have two goals: to win and to look good doing it.
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Publisher's Summary

Dr. George K. Simon knows how people push your buttons: your children---especially teens---are experts at it, as is your mate. A coworker may quietly undermine your efforts while professing to be helpful, or your boss may prey on your weaknesses. Manipulative people have two goals: to win and to look good doing it. Too often, those they abuse are only vaguely aware of what is happening to them. In this eye-opening book, you'll discover:

  • four reasons why victims have a hard time leaving abusive relationships
  • power tactics manipulative people use to push their own agendas and justify their behavior
  • ways to redefine the rules of engagement between you and the abuser
  • how to spot potential weaknesses in your character that can set you up for manipulation
  • two tools for personal empowerment to help you maintain greater strength in all relationships

©2010 George K. Simon, Jr., Ph.D. (P)2011 Tantor

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  •  
    Nathan HOUSTON, TX, United States 10-27-11
    Nathan HOUSTON, TX, United States 10-27-11 Member Since 2011
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    "A Must Read Primer on Manipulation"

    No matter who you are, a businessman, therapist, or school teacher, in time will find your life impacted my those who would try to manipulate you. Some people use manipulation in rare instances to gain temporarily advantage, however, others will manipulate often, often without others knowledge. To that end, it is important to understand the traits of manipulative people and to learn their techniques. George Simon has created a book designed to help therapists and non-therapists alike understand and learn to survive around manipulative people. By reading this book, you will gain tools to better understand and survive around manipulative people.

    19 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Danville, CA, United States 02-07-12
    Nancy Danville, CA, United States 02-07-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Don't Be A Sucker"

    Don't be a sucker. There. I've just saved you from having to listen to this book. The basic idea is that some people are just bad because they want to be bad and they are not going to change. We need to stop thinking that their misbehavior is actually some misguided, inappropriate attempt to meet some unmet childhood need. Most of the book is spent debunking that myth. This book basically gives people permission to write these destructive personalities out of our lives, to understand that we can not change them. There's no magic to identifying them. The rule of thumb is that if you get that vibe, then you're probably right. That's it. Everything else in the book is fluff and filler.

    43 of 47 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roman Saint-Petersburg, Russia 09-08-11
    Roman Saint-Petersburg, Russia 09-08-11 Member Since 2009
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    "A safety-belt for going through life"

    First of all, go read all the gorgeous reviews on amazon for the printed version. It's a very popular book. In short, it goes into describing toxic people, their strategies for manipulating others and the weaknesses they exploit. And it offers strategies for dealing with them.

    The reason I think this book is a must read is because we come across these toxic personalities more often than we think we do. They can really destroy your life in a very subtle way, so that you would barely feel this. The book offers an essential knowledge that any good person needs in order to survive.

    25 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn BEAUMONT, TX, United States 06-05-12
    Lynn BEAUMONT, TX, United States 06-05-12 Member Since 2005
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    "The What Rather than the WHY of Manipulation"

    We have all been victimized by manipulators. George K. Simon sets out in his book In Sheep’s Clothing to shed light on manipulators and reveal what can be done to protect ourselves from those persons. He also applies current thinking and research on manipulative behavior to these relationships. This is not a self-help book though it will provide much help individuals can use. This is rather, a book on manipulative behavior from which readers can make applications where they might personally apply. Simon doesn’t write about adults, but also includes children and teens who might be manipulating their parents, teachers, or others. The book particularly helped me to recognize when I might be the target of manipulation and how I should behave in return. A few passages rely on psychological terms which may put some readers off. However, they are minor and should not detract from the overall benefit available to the reader who pays attention. Readers who are looking to understand WHY manipulators do what they do, may be disappointed. Readers seeking to recognize manipulation when they experience it will be justly rewarded. The reading of Kevin Foley is ery good.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sonia Barton, Australia 11-06-12
    Sonia Barton, Australia 11-06-12
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    "Frightingly insightful: a social surviving tool"
    Would you listen to In Sheep's Clothing again? Why?

    Yes, to learn by heart the strategies offered in this book to manage the umpredictability of character disorders.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There was no favourite character since this is not that kind of book. But I must praise Dr Simon for his uncanning insightfulness into the human psyche.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The clear and frightening description and vignetes about covert agression and manipulation. It was like revisiting some of my life experiences with some very disturbed characters.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, indeed!


    Any additional comments?

    This is a must read or listen to 'amazing book'. It equips individuals to identify and take protective and affirmative action in the presence of manipulation and covert agression. It clearly describes the typical characteristics of individulas with character disorders and their modus operandi. I would recommend this reading even to young people (over 16). The contents of this book also serve as a mirror to the reader to assess her/his own character and behaviors in the light of individuals who habitually fall on manipulation tactics and covert agression. No human being is immune from practising agression or manipulation at some point in their lives. However, there is an abysmal difference between the habitual practice of covert agression and manipulation and the odd use of the latter. This book aims and does expose the habitual covert agression and manipulation that pervades across all social sections of the population; from family, school, friendships, workplace and the list goes on. I have felt not only equiped to manage manipulative situations but also I felt liberated as I understood aspects of myself that required change to survive the attacks of manipulative and agressive individuals.

    It is impossible to change covert agressors and manipulators, specially those who have made an art of their craft. However, it is very possible to change oneself as we identify, resist, confront and denounce manipulation. As Dr Simon says, there are consequences when one takes decisive action. Individuals with character disorders as such do not take kindly being confronted as they dislike 'to loose'. However, the cost is worthwhile. Drawing a line in the sand is necessary to be able to survive psychologically and emotionally in society. There is a saying that goes like this: 'if you don't stop yourself, others will'. We live in a heard-like society. It is time to stop those who cause so much havoc in society and in numbers of good individuals there is power. As Dr Simon states, there has been a misconception about the perception of character disorders and this is changing now. Let us call manipulation when we see it as such, for it is an attempt to gain ground and a higher position of dominance over others. Let us uncover covert agression and name it for what it is, a way to intimidate others into submission.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    maxwell katoomba, Australia 07-09-12
    maxwell katoomba, Australia 07-09-12 Member Since 2010

    Middle aged; long University course (science based), and long service as a professional. Cynical and very interested in the real world.

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    "Excellent"

    Covert Aggressive Personality Disorder: Sometimes you get the key to a code which gives an AHA! moment. We have ALL dealth with difficult people and wondered how to handle them, but like a ghost in the night they can be very elusive and very tricky.

    Firstly one has to get over self doubts and realize that these creatures exist. After that one has to identify who they are and how they play their games. And their games can be very nasty and toxic indeed and build up to a fatal destructive level. This really is a pernicious relationship destroying problem, which needs to be recognised and controlled post haste whenever it arises, if harmony is going to be restored.

    The point is to realize it and recognise it. I gratefully thank the author and also recommend "Working With Monsters' by Dr John Clarke as an enlightening source of further reading.

    Maxwell

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 11-30-13
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 11-30-13 Member Since 2012

    Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!

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    "Pragmatic and Helpful"

    [Review includes Table of Contents]

    There are so many ways people can be covertly aggressive. I had a coworker once that hid one or three of my files at a time, sometimes for a few days - and sometimes for months. I thought I was losing my my organizational abilities and maybe my mind, until someone found my files in her office, hidden at the bottom of a pile of her own files. I confronted her, and she laughed it off, claiming it was an accident. Yeah, right. I spent the next 18 months I worked with her, periodically inventorying my files to make sure no more "unfortunate misfiles". There were, of course, along with a bunch of other "problems" that miraculously ended when I stopped working with her.

    George K. Simon, Jr.'s, PhD's "In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People" (1996, 2010) describes what this person was: covertly aggressive. The first part of the book explains why someone might behave this way. One explanation is what Simon calls a character defect, such as psychopathy. The DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Ed. 2013) uses the diagnosis 'Antisocial Personality Disorder', but I think Simon's use of 'defect' is more apt because a defect implies a permanent flaw which might be hidden, but cannot be fixed. Another reason someone might be manipulative/covertly aggressive is Narcissistic Personality Disorder, another DSM-V disorder, although that can be treated.

    Regardless of the reason a person is manipulative, Simon emphasizes that in order to prevent being manipulated, boundaries must be firmly established and maintained. Someone who is empathetic, especially overly empathetic (Simon uses the out-of-favor term neurotic) is much more at risk for being played, because an empathetic person attributes mental disorders to bad nurturing and circumstances. Simon addresses manipulative children and teenagers, but I don't agree that this indicates mental disorder, since all kids are manipulative to some extent. The guidelines he suggests are applicable for normal childhood and teen stages of development, though.

    The book has a definite academic bent which makes it stronger than pop psychology books that are long on anecdotes and short on explanations. And I don't know why the person I worked with was the way she was - but now I know I handled the situation the best way I could have.

    But Audible, Audible, Audible - why no Table of Contents? It would be so helpful with this book. Here it is (with thanks to Amazon): PART I. Understanding Manipulative Personalities. Introduction: Covert Aggression: The Heart of Manipulation; Chapter 1. Aggressive and Covert-Aggressive Personalities; Chapter 2. The Determination to Win; Chapter 3. The Unbridled Quest for Power; Chapter 4. The Penchant for Deception and Seduction; Chapter 5. Fighting Dirty; Chapter 6. The Impaired Conscience; Chapter 7. Abusive, Manipulative Relationships; Chapter 8. The Manipulative Child; PART II. Dealing Effectively with Manipulative People. Chapter 9. Recognizing the Tactics of Manipulation and Control; Chapter 10. Redefining the Terms of Engagement; Epilogue.

    I had a problem with Kevin Foley's narration - he was the audio doppelgänger to a narrator of a 1950's Army training film on surviving a nuclear bombs that I watched in basic training. I spent the first hour of the book wondering if at some point I'd be told to turn away from the flash and lie flat on the ground. I was able to listen past the association, and I'm sure other people will like the narration better than I was able to.

    [If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks so much!]

    25 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Victoria, BC, Canada 08-30-12
    Carol Victoria, BC, Canada 08-30-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Repetitive, lack-lustre"
    What did you like best about In Sheep's Clothing? What did you like least?

    The topic is interesting. There seem to be more people with small or no conscience about, and it is useful to know how to spot them and avoid them. I didn't think the topic was developed to enough depth. Instead of elaborating on some of the case studies, the author kept bringing up new ones, and dealing with the surface details to reinforce the same ideas.


    Would you ever listen to anything by George K. Simon again?

    Probably wouldn't listen again.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Clear narration, but not very lively. Performance was monotonous.


    Could you see In Sheep's Clothing being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    It's a shame that such a good topic should be given such short shrift.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 11-21-11
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 11-21-11 Member Since 2008

    College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

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    "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over..."

    and expecting a different result...for example, buying pop psychology books on how to deal with manipulative people. I officially give up on this genre. Where do I begin? The author rejects Freud's basic theory of neurosis for denizens of the post-Victorian era, but then steeps many of his basic ideas in outdated Freudian and neo-Freudian ideology, right down to dream interpretation. Then he throws a long line of grotesquely stereotypical female neurotics to the evil clutches of an endless line of grotesquely stereotypical abusive husbands, rapacious (male) bosses, bratty kids (who, by the way, are only imitating their fathers) and sadistic testoserone-driven super villians in order to make his facile, one-sided points from which we will be able to learn how overly-simplistic solutions will give these poor women (and presumably, his readers) the lives they have always deserved, all for the price of his little book with the clever cover. (He does everything but pass out white and black hats to the characters in his examples.) O, right... there is one manipulative woman in the workplace scenerio, but Simon does apologize for that one.


    So what now that I have scrounged the bottom of the barrel for the last self-help book on how not to get messed over in my life?

    Maybe FRAZIER fans will remember the advice "Dr. Nora" gave to a caller who asked her what he could do about a manipulative co-worker. "Not a damn thing," she purled with a sinister smile. "Not one damn thing." Perhaps she was right.

    20 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eve Athens, Ga 08-29-13
    Eve Athens, Ga 08-29-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Tedious"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I suppose those who spend alot of time in the 'self-help' aisle may enjoy this. I found it painfully boring and kept wishing he would move on and get to the point. (I've been skipping ahead and, thus far, no point in sight)


    What was most disappointing about George K. Simon’s story?

    I'm finding him to be unnecessarily wordy and a bit pompous.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Kevin Foley?

    No thoughts here - other than the suggestion that you find someone who can properly pronounce "sadist".
    Perhaps someone who could slip a bit of humor into his/her tone? The text is heavy going and the narrator just makes this worse.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Frustration


    Any additional comments?

    This is the first time I've been really disappointed in a book from Audible. I had expected something a bit more scholarly. I gather from some other reviews that this would fall into the "self-help" category, apparently designed to make the reader feel better about him/herself. I imagine that such a spin is likely to be popular and will sell well, which actually makes the author seem a bit manipulative himself. Had I worked out in advance that this was primarily going to be "it's not you, it's him (her) and they are just not wired like most people", I would not have bought it. My bad.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
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