Heart Thieves Know What to Say and Do

Can There Be Honor Among Thieves?

Heart thieves are interesting characters. And I’ve written about certain breeds of them before. See, for example:

The Emotional Romeo is a Thief of Hearts

Emotional Romeos Are Masters of Seduction

Subtle Manipulation of the Heart

The Amorous Vulnerable Covert Narcissist

Not all heart thieves pose big trouble for relationships. But some definitely do. What makes the difference is narcissism, in its various forms and levels of malignancy. Narcissism is a dimension of a person’s character (See: Personality and Character Disorders-The Narcissism Dimension). And, as both I and abundant evidence have long asserted, it varies as to type and degree, which makes it really difficult to spot at times. But whenever it’s present, there’s cause for caution.

How Heart Thieves Operate

All heart thieves know just what to say and do to win you over. Like all thieves, they’re primarily opportunists. They tend to read people and situations much like a robber planning a heist. They often have a keen sense for your emotional needs and concerns. And hence, they also sense your vulnerabilities. If you’re one of those folks needing lots of affirmation, for example, an adoring gaze might be all they need to cast to begin stealing your heart.

Heart thievery is actually quite common. Why? Because we’re all creatures of economy. We want the most for the lowest personal cost. And it’s simply less costly to woo a person with charm and other methods and than it is to truly merit their regard by demonstrating a well-hewn character.

Now, lest I be misunderstood here, I’m not saying that every skilled romancer is inevitable relationship poison. But what I am saying is what I’ve said for many years and will continue to say: character matters. And in our day and time, properly discerning a person’s character, and the traits that comprise it, is more crucial than ever. That’s why I wrote Character Disturbance, In Sheep’s Clothing and my other books. It’s also why I’ve posted the many free informational articles on this blog. I wanted to give folks the information and tools necessary to properly discern the nature of a person’s character.  And at a time when there’s so much inaccurate information out there, especially about narcissism, proper discernment is harder than ever.


Character Matters podcasts are becoming available on Spotify and other major platforms. And Essentials for the Journey is now available as an audiobook.


5 thoughts on “Heart Thieves Know What to Say and Do

  1. Congrats, Dr. Simon! It’s great to see you’re getting the word out in various forms and will hopefully attract and educate the younger folks. I certainly wish I had this resource when I was a teen and beyond. I wouldn’t have married my ex, for one.

    A lot of these tactics, to me, come down to coercion in one form or another. Is that an accurate read? They pay attention and figure out which tactics will work on you. They modify as needed.

    The more severely disordered, the more severe the tactics, and likely less diverse. Like the well-known politician in the news, he seems to a handful of tactics that he goes to, and just doubles down on them. I’m sure they have worked for him in the past because he’s had more resources and power to throw at the object of his contempt. It is surprising when he uses them on judges.

    It would be great if you could do a series of articles on the dynamics/tactics of dictators. I have looked into the tactics of the Nazi’s and the Stasi, I see the similarities in some individuals and their parties in the news today. It is very alarming.

    1. I grew up during the Franco dictatorship. Here the fascist regime and the catholic church colluded to control the country for 40 years. Nearly every home became a mini dictatorship. Then in 1977 overnight the country became a democracy. A blank amnesty was extended to both fascists with many bloodcrimes as well as to exiled disidents. Thousands of young women were locked up by the moral police called the Patronato. Babies were stolen or women were forced to give them in adoption. The inheritance of such 40 years regime is a ” covert” narcissist ” democracy” where lack of principles, corruption, permissiveness and lack of good structures run rife. Despite years of therapy is taking me 63 years to clear from my heart the “narcissistic fleas” that are unavoidable within such massive structure. If Nazi Germany left behind the chaos it did…what heritage leave behind regimes of 40yrs on?

      1. Chloe,

        How awful. Thank you for sharing your insight/experience. I think many people are still under a spell and do not understand what is happening to all of us, including them. The policies, practices, and structures that support only people in power and have influence. And the abuse of that power.

        “The inheritance of such 40 years regime is a ” covert” narcissist ” democracy” where lack of principles, corruption, permissiveness and lack of good structures run rife.”

        Swinging from one extreme to the other, or rather, just increasing the level of deception.

        I would add the corporatized medical system as a part of the covert system.

        The worst for me is where your nemesis will smile at you, be affable, and promise to pray for you, they “love the sinner but hate the sin,” where one hand can hold a Bible (stethoscope, or whatever) while the other holds a shackle. Use religion (or another assumed superiority/authority/morality) of some kind to brand their hatred as love (for your good) so that they act on it cheerfully and without guilt. …

        Hate that will (mostly) be polite while it crushes.
        Cruelty and control masquerading as good.

        Make people suffer while they parade around behind a smokescreen of self-righteousness.

        Just want to scream. And as you say, the lack of structures to protect your rights. Just try and resist and assert your rights and you find yourself targeted.

  2. Healing

    Please look up Dr Brad Bushman on Youtube. He Studies Human Aggression

    “When Narcissus Was a Boy, a colloquia with Dr. Brad J. Bushman”

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