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What Drives Master Manipulators



Machiavellians, or "High Machs," are master manipulators. We can all be manipulative at times, but Machiavellians are temperamentally predisposed to use,deceive, and manipulate others. Several studies have identified alexithymia as a key trait associated with Machiavellianism.
Alexithymia is the lack of awareness of one’s own emotions—and those of others.  Alexithymics cannot recognize emotions and consequently cannot describe them.  This leads to a lack of introspection regarding one’s own feelings, as well as the inability to relate to how others feel. 
Alexithymia can manifest in greater or lesser degrees, depending on the individual.  For example, an alexithymic person might have vague feelings of guilt, gratitude, relief, anxiety, excitement, etc., but not be able to respond appropriately because of their inability to understand or attach meaning to those feelings. And such a person would probably be confused by the behavior of others who are reacting to similar feelings.
Alexithymia is probably the reason that Machiavellians focus so much of their mental energy outward—that is, toward manipulating people, situations, and things. The fact that their behavior might be antisocial, unethical, or hurtful is of little consequence, since guilt and empathy are not feelings they recognize as you and I do. If they feel any discomfort,they rationalize: "She had it coming"; “If they’re that stupid, they deserve it."
Feelings are what make us human, as much as our rational abilities. We need both—otherwise every human interaction becomes transactional in nature, based on a cost/benefit or win/lose mentality. Machiavellian master manipulators are determined that the benefits will accrue to them and the losses will accrue to you. 
There is nothing you can do to change a Machiavellian’s lying, scheming, and conniving. You can only try to cope with it or, preferably, get that person out of your life: High Machs will not seek help unless a life crisis forces them to confront the malevolence of their personality and behavior.