Charmers and Gaslighting
Charmers are an interesting sort. Some are relatively benign. But some are significantly character-impaired. And character disturbed charmers inevitably gaslight. Why and how they do this is, therefore, worth a deeper look.
Partners in troubled relationships sometimes “wake up” to the reality of their circumstances. And they come to realize their partners’ true natures. But others can remain bamboozled. You see, some disturbed characters have good impression management skill. And if they also happen to have charm, they can easily sway others.
Character-disturbed charmers can make their partners feel crazy. A partner may wonder why others can’t see what they finally came to see so clearly. And if enough people see things differently, doubt sets in. The partner begins wondering if they didn’t have things horribly wrong all along. In their gut, they might feel they they see things rightly. But the reaction of others makes them unsure. This is the very essence of gaslighting.
See also: In Sheep’s Clothing, Chapter 3, and Character Disturbance, p. 190.
The Gift of Charm
Some folks are natural-born charmers. They seem innately gifted with likeability traits. Others carefully developed their charm skills over time. They learned how to present themselves in a way that both attracts and seduces.
Whether they’re born or made, charmers are good at currying favor. And that gives them little motivation to change. They stick with what has proven to work for them. And as a result, they fail to mature in character. If you can get by with charm, there’s little reason to strive for integrity.
A Pointless Exercise
Folks exiting toxic relationships with character-impaired charmers can easily fall into a trap. They can spend time and energy trying to get others to see what they came to see the hard way. This is a pointless exercise, however. Moreover, it’s a waste of precious time and energy. Their energy would be better spent building a better life for themselves. But they get caught in the trap of trying to self-medicate the gaslighting effect. That is, they try to rid themselves of the “maybe I’m crazy” feeling by getting others to validate their viewpoint.
Likeability is an attractive trait, to be sure. But it’s not inherently a sign of good character. It’s one thing to have amiability and charm. But it’s quite another to be genuinely worthy of respect. Being a person of integrity takes much more work than being charming.
This week’s Character Matters podcast continues a series on the most seriously disturbed characters. And it makes the point even the most malignant narcissists can also be charmers. Access it by following this YouTube link.