How To Pick Up Vulnerable Women

...And The Home Of Depraved.You just got out of a messy, abusive relationship with a guy who doesn’t understand you, never took the time to service your needs, and was emotionally unavailable. You are working your way back into the dating world and you may not know it, but you are in a potentially dangerous scenario.

You are prey. I am a predator. I know you are hurting and vulnerable. You probably haven’t been with a guy who is emotionally sensitive, vulnerable yet still strong, willing to listen and laugh and be everything you ever needed; and yet somehow allows you to feel safe. Let me be that guy.

I actually do a seminar for women on how an average looking guy can pick up women in their late 30′s and beyond using emotional and psychological manipulation. It’s scary when you realize how easily vulnerable people can be manipulated by a guy who is…

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on May 2, 2013, in women. Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. This is once again a very interesting post that is worth reading. I think that it is neccesary for almost all women to read this, especially single and vulnerable ones. Reading this post will allow them to keep guard up against emotional predators.

    Another problem is that how can a women differentiate between guys who are sincere and really want to listen and give them advice and a guy who just does all these things to get in her pants. Because I think this relates to me too. Sometimes when I listen to some of my girlfriends problems and comfort them it is not because I want to sleep with them but it is because I sincerely want to help them.

    But, I think the best way a woman can differentiate between those 2 types of guys I mentioned is by slowing things down, women should date a guy for a couple of weeks before doing anything rash and careless. That way, women can differentiate between guys who are truly nice or a “player”.

    • Guys who want to talk and help are great. They are the only kind I would be interested in, myself.

      But as you say, I definitely think that taking the time to get to know a man would be helpful.

      I think the bigger concern is once he starts doing hurtful things a lot of women don’t “get it” because he was so great in the beginning. They go into denial about what they’re seeing. This article might help them to not go into denial.

      And a woman who talked about having been in this situation said that when he was first getting to know her, he refused to talk about himself. That’s probably a big clue, too.

  2. Sadly, after reading the article, I feel like I can trust no one. I mean everybody can pretend and to be a nice guy. People are easily manipulated psychologically regardless intelligence. Especially a man who is a good talker and kind can go deep inside a women’s heart. I think women tend to trust someone who listens to her story carefully and give her advice kindly. Sharing something, like worries or stress to someone makes women comfortable and also women may begin to rely on him at the same time. It is scary if this kind of “surface-good men” increase, but at the same time I feel sorry to those truely good men.

    • As I wrote above,

      It’s probably fine to be open to sensitive men. But things like a focus on you and a refusal to talk about himself looks like a big clue that he’s being manipulative.

      Probably best to get to know the guy before you really get deep into a relationship with him.

      Most importantly, a lot of women don’t “get” the negative cues once he has lavished so much positive attention on them in the first place. They’ll go into denial, overlook it, and think, “that’s not really him.” When that is the most real part of him.

  3. Back in the day of bookstores, a guy started talking to me while I was browsing the Self Help section at Borders. Retrospectively I realize the guy may have been related to the predator type of guy Scott Williams describes. The Self Help section is a great place to find hurting and vulnerable women. The guy started to talk to me and we ended up having coffee in the bookstore cafe (how convenient to pick up on vulnerable women in a place with a cafe attached). And just as Scott describes, we talked for hours and I was amazed at how emotionally sensitive the guy was. And he worked very hard to make it all about me. I tried to ask him what he did for a living and he joked he was a lion tamer and turned the conversation back to me. I left that night thinking I had met a man of my dreams.

    When I declined sex on a subsequent date, he got angry. I left and never heard from him again. His whole scheme had been an attempt to get a woman into bed. The anger he showed when that didn’t work was quite a contrast compared to the sensitive guy I thought I’d met at the bookstore. Had I read Scott’s post years ago, I might not have been duped!

    • It’s probably fine to be open to sensitive men. But here, his focus on you and refusal to talk about himself looks like a big clue.

      What you managed to do on your own was recognize that he wasn’t what he first seemed. And that was helped by getting to know the guy before you really got into a relationship with him.

      A lot of women don’t “get” the negative cues once he has lavished so much positive attention on them in the first place. I’m glad you got out okay.

  4. Something like this to me shows that no matter what age you are that it would be in your best interest to take time to know somebody and to be more patient with opening up to someone you just met. In the world we live in, we have to be more careful with who we put our trust in because of so many people who are trying to manipulate others for whatever reason.

  5. “You are prey. I am predator”. A chilling reminder of the fact that men are supposed to chase women, and women are supposed to protect against unwanted advances.

    The scenario Williams goes on to describe reminds me a lot of the Pickup Artist community; men who dedicate their time to learning tips and tricks on how to seduce women. One of these tricks is the “neg”, a backhanded compliment designed to make women insecure, and therefore willing to sleep with you. The issue with pickup artists isn’t that they want to get laid (a perfectly acceptable pastime for adults), but that they see themselves as hunters.

    To me, it seems that these issues all stem back to the idea that women are the gatekeepers of sex, and men have to “earn” it. It’s a ridiculous idea that pigeonholes both genders into antiquated roles, frustrating for everyone involved. Women are objectified as a hot commodity; men are reduced to their sex drive and “alpha” status. Nobody wins.

  6. Oh Georgia, I don’t think this is a good reblog at all!

    For a counsellor or psychologist to deliberately manipulate the emotional state of a client without her informed consent crosses the ethical boundaries of a safe therapeutic relationship. I don’t approve of his methods, and I find his attempts to excuse them even more repugnant. (There must surely be more acceptable ways to empower women to resist the overtures of predatory men!)

    I am not the only person to recgonise this. One of the replies on his blog took issue with his approach, and I replied as follows:

    “I am absolutely with Alison on this. I find your technique extremely distasteful, and your closing line frighteningly disingenuous.

    Can anybody learn something from this, to justify what a devious and duplicitous person I have just admitted I am? I may have shredded these women’s emotional state in front of onlookers, but really I was doing it for their own good! You just gotta believe me that I am different from the predatory abusive men I am warning them about!

    I’m sorry. I don’t find this acceptable at all. I don’t think it’s ethical. Your clients are already vulnerable; you are a trained psychologist. To manipulate them however you like is merely shooting fish in a barrel. That makes me think you do it because you like it, and it seems you are acting in your own best interests, not theirs.”

    By reblogging his article, you imply that you condone his approach, but I would be interested to hear exactly what you think.


    • First of all, it was informed consent. He told the women what he was going to do before he did it. They agreed to participate.

      Maybe you don’t know of anyone who has been in this situation. I do. Women meet the “man of their dreams,” someone who seems to good to be true. And then when he starts doing things that are hurtful she doesn’t get it because of how good he’s made her feel before. I’m hoping that women can come to be able to see the negative even when they have been bamboozled by the positive.

      Other women were grateful that he had posted this:

      I was that woman in her late thirties and that ‘guy’ became my husband. It seemed too good to be true and it was. Marriage brought clarity. Yet, he continued to emotionally and psychologically manipulate me for 11 more years until I finally broke free just over 6 months ago.

      Dear Scott, thank you for this post and for your blog. I think I could cry right about now. About three months ago I discovered a post on NPD—and I had an aha moment because it started to explain a lot of the questions I had about the last relationship I was in. He also happened to be the first man I was ever involved with–came back 30 years later with the same baggage. And although I have read a lot regarding NPD—I was still missing many pieces of the puzzle. So far I have read two of your posts and I have discovered some of the missing pieces. I am lookig forward to reading the rest of your blog posts as well.

      Another woman Reblogged this on All Things to All People: Confessions of a Baby Mama and commented: Almost 3 weeks after reading this, I am still baffled…completely. I am in utter shock…still and I am sick to my stomach. I have just spent the last year of my life pouring out my love–the very best of me–into the most profoundly abusive relationship. The rose-colored glasses were just knocked off my face. I am almost 40 and my eye are now wide open. I am not well right now. I have just come to the realization that I was a target. He was a predator and I was his prey.

      Scott has an interesting response to the critiques that others, like you, have made:

      It’s interesting, this is the most criticized post I ever made. I keep meaning to take it down, but can’t seem to bring myself to do so.
      I think you get it…

      And then there’s this response to that comment:

      No, do not take it down. This post is gold and unless a woman has ever been affected by a man like this I do not think they will understand the damage that is done not only to the ego or your heart but the damage to your soul. Someone in another article called it “soul rape”—I liked that verbage because it really does describe what happens. It is not just your heart that gets manipulated but your soul gets taken advantage of. So, no my recommendation is to keep it up and do not take this post down. There are women like myself, that are intelligent, caring and giving and wondering wtf did I do wrong to have this person turn on me. The truth is we were just manipulated because we were vulnerable and caring. Socio-paths chose their targets very carefully. Nope, you must keep this post just where it is.

      btw, He also followed up with the woman who agreed to be his subject:

      “Checked in with the lady several times who thanked me because she had been picked up several times in bars and didn’t realize why she kept doing the same things and expecting different results.

      “I have been profoundly frustrated by the propensity of predatorial men and hope this has helped many women stay out of the clutches of many douchebags. I do not make a habit of doing this on a regular basis.

      “As a professional I am telling you that men tell me all the time how easy it is to pick up women by telling them these things they are desperate to hear. I am telling you thousands upon thousands of men, and women, consciously and subconsciously use this methodology as a primary means of picking up women.

      “Often people just out of relationships spill too much, too soon and are COMPLETELY subjective when they find a person who sounds the exact opposite of the jerk you just spent an hour telling me about.”

      From what Scott says, it seems like it might be wise not to reveal too much of your pains and fears to early on. Get to know the guy better first.

      And again, if a guy is wonderful early on and then he starts to behave abusively, do not discount the abuse. The first “wonderful” part might have just been the setup.

      • Hi Georgia,

        I had previously read all of the comments to Scott’s post, and I agree some of them were positive. Actually I have been in a longterm relationship where I was cynically manipulated for her own objectives. So this topic is not a one-way street.

        I still think Scott’s methods are not acceptable, and his justification for his behaviour is disingenuous. The end doesn’t justify the means!


      • Well, I don’t see it as “justification.” He made it clear to everyone what he was going to do. Then he did it. And the person he did it to thanked him afterward.

        I don’t see that he caused any harm. I can see that what he did, and reporting on it, could prevent harm.

        I feel it is very important for both women and men to not disregard manipulation just because their partner seemed so perfect at first.

      • Hi Georgia,

        Nested replies! Who knows where this will end up being posted?

        I still disagree with you. Suppose I had a therapeutic technique which was painful but effective. I would use emotionally neutral terms like: “I deliberately adopt the persona of a predatory male in order to illustrate to a group of clients how vulnerable they are to exploitation by men. Though sometimes traumatic, I have found it to be unfailingly effective, and many of my clients find this process valuable.”

        Instead we get these words (Scott’s own): “I used the information I knew about her that she shared in the group in confidence and violated her emotionally”. “I lied”. “I used that next five minutes to confuse her and convince her…”. [I] scared myself by how evil and dirty I felt. And how powerful.”

        “Please, isn’t there something you can learn from this?” is the worst of all! These are crocodile tears, and no mistake. Please, it says to me. I’m not all bad (even though I deliberately use my clients to make me feel evil and dirty and powerful). You just gotta believe me!

        Let me be clear. No therapist, or clinician, should choose to adopt any therapy which makes the clinician feel evil, dirty, or powerful: this goes against every medical ethic I can think of. No therapist should deliberately lie to a client (even when they say they are going to); the consequences are unpredictable and likely to be harmful. No therapist should take vulnerabilities shared in confidence, in good faith, and use them against the client for any purposes whatever. Just. Not. OK. End of.

        Interestingly, as of tonight, Scott has not replied to my criticisms, though he has published them on his blog.

        To put it another way, would you willingly visit a dentist whose treatments seemed first class to you, but who blogged that they felt evil, dirty and powerful administering them? I know I bloody wouldn’t!!


      • I just don’t see how any harm was caused.

        He tells a woman that he’s going to charm her by learning about her history and then using that to make her swoon for him – in like 10 minutes.

        And it worked.

        How traumatic is that?

        Please explain to me how you think anyone could be hurt by that.

        And, when he followed up with her she was grateful, not harmed — and I can’t see why she would be.

        But by talking about how easily it worked in that setting he can warn a lot of people about this sort of thing.

      • Hi Georgia,

        We could go round all day. I can see I am not going to convince you.

        The crux of my argument is Scott admitting the feelings that his technique evokes in him. To me, this seems distasteful, creepy and unprofessional. It creates a conflict of interest which is unacceptable in a therapeutic relationship (is he doing it for the benefit of the clients? Or himself? How can I be sure?). This is ethically very unsound, and I admit to some expertise in the field of medical ethics.

        You don’t see the harm; and others also think it’s fine. That doesn’t change that I find these methods highly suspect and highly unethical. I cling to my belief that there must be other ways to achieve this same endpoint without crossing this ethical minefield.


      • I interpret this the opposite of you. If he were immoral he would not feel creepy doing the demonstration. 

        My basis of morality rests on whether harm has occurred. If you ever figure out how he hurt anyone, let me know.

        In the meantime, all I see is how this piece gives people a heads up so as to prevent harm.

      • I promised myself I would just let this rest, but it’s been nagging away at me all week.

        Supposing there were a gynaecologist of high reknown. Let’s assume for the purposes of this discussion that he has always worked with a sympathetic nurse chaperone; always been kind and sensitive to his patients face to face, and never left himself open for the slightest complaint about his personal or professional conduct. Let’s suppose that his work has helped hundreds of women over the years. Now supposing he blogged that performing vaginal examinations on his patients made him feel evil, dirty or powerful. Or even sexually aroused.

        From your point of view, (“My basis of morality rests on whether harm has occurred”), this is presumably OK, since no demonstrable harm has occurred. From my point of view, it is unacceptable for a clinician to deliberately elicit these feelings in himself; it is unacceptable for him to continue to practise in such a way that these feelings continue, and it is unacceptable for him to express these feelings publicly.

        You and I spent some time discussing the professor who said that rape is OK as long as you are unconscious. In that discussion, we were in agreement that it is still possible to harm someone, even if they are unaware of the harm. I am not saying that there is actual harm here, but I am saying Scott is declaring a point of view which is unethical, unprofessional, and likely to lead to harm if allowed to continue.

        OK, I’m going to drop it now. Honest.


      • Anyone who commits rape is degrading another person for their own pleasure. Your ob-gyn scenario is also premised on the notion that he did what he did BECAUSE he enjoyed feeling power over another person. It’s essentially rape. If the women found out that that’s what was happening they would be horrified. I can imagine no other reaction.

        What Mr. Williams did isn’t even close to rape. He warned someone (in front of an audience) that he would have a conversation with her in a way that would make her swoon so that she (and others in the audience) could be warned of a dangerous technique. He then proceeded to do that, and it worked. That conversation is nothing like rape. When he explained what he’d done and how he’d felt, the women did not feel horrified.

        I feel horrified by rapists and the OB/GYN scenario, but not by what Mr. Williams did.

        As someone else said, it’s like warning kids away from taking candy from strangers. And in fact, it reminds me of a televised show I saw once in which police posed as strangers giving candy to children. Too often the children accepted the candy. The mothers were horrified because they had warned their children away from this sort of thing and yet the children did it anyway. Might a police officer feel a bit creepy as he did this? He might. I WOULD. That doesn’t make him a bad person. That makes him someone who has a conscience. (I doubt the child-abductor feels evil and creepy.) In the end, the televised show helped a lot of mothers to understand that their children may not be as well prepared for stanger-candy as they had expected, and encourage moms to make more of an effort to protect their kids.

        You seem to assume that Mr. Williams did what he did BECAUSE he enjoyed feeling powerful, evil and dirty. You have no basis for that assumption. And, he had conscience enough to be appalled. Rapists do what they do because they enjoy the power, not because they enjoy feeling — or have any inkling of feeling — evil, dirty or appalled. They feel they have a right to women’s bodies, so why would they necessarily feel any of those things?

        Whether it is Mr. Williams or the police, I feel that they have provided a service to society, and are helping to prevent harm. If someone asked me to pose as a stranger giving candy to kids I’d do it, even though I’d feel creepy, because I believe it’s important that parents be warned. I doubt the kids or the parents would be horrified that I had done that or that I felt creepy while doing it.

        I see greater harm coming from ignorance because that would leave naive people unprepared and unarmed, and more vulnerable to the techniques. Instead, I worry about those who want to impose ignorance on us all, making it easier for evil people to do evil.

      • OK. Phew. I’ve composed half a dozen retorts to you, and deleted them all. I think it’s time we let this one lie.

    • This is essentially the adult version of don’t take candy from strangers.
      His article is not meant as a boast of his “skill” or a “How-to manipulate”. It is a clear warning(or reminder) to women and even men. Do not trust a trusting smile too quickly.
      He is trying to raise the awareness of people who may be too eager for an emotional connection and may ignore the warning signs that things aren’t as they seem. If his intent was to cause more harm I really doubt he would post it on his own blog with his full name.
      His choice of diction and writing style clearly changes when he’s attempting to personify the “predator” that he is warning against. This is for effect. He WANTS people to fear and be disgusted by the mental-process he is presenting. He wants people to recognize the signs that they’re being manipulated in the future as well as those in their past(and current) relationships.
      Near the end of his article he writes how he felt after successfully using the technique he’s trying to make people aware of.
      “…scared myself by how evil and dirty I felt. And how powerful.”
      He’s not promoting this power, he is identifying that there is an allure in making someone subservient to your needs without them being truly aware of it, and it is very corrupting.That allure, that power in an emotionally deadened and empathetically bankrupt individual is dangerous.

      His methodology is very important to his claim. Gathering a group of women together(strength in numbers),giving them a warning beforehand that he is going to manipulate one of them(so that their guard is up) and still successfully luring one of them into his net of false emotional connection and empathy. That is something to be worried about that even a group in a controlled environment can be at risk of what is easily described as the tendencies and emotional bankruptcy of a sociopath.
      His technique for convincing these women is very similar to that of mediums or psychics (E.G. Crossing Over) that use previously attained knowledge to convince a person or a group that they are the genuine article and that they are essentially “special” and worthy of attention and respect.

      Ignorance of people that act like this(and they are out there) won’t help you when you become their prey. I think its very brave of Scott Williams to be advocating awareness through example and to become the face of emotional manipulation. He’s using his “powers” for good instead of staying in the dark and that of course is getting him a lot of criticism and flak and I hope that he doesn’t become wary of writing more about this subject. I’d like to hear his opinion when the roles are reversed (seductress instead of seducer) as there are plenty of lessons and signs to know for both men and women.

  7. Reposting this comment as it is extremely important.
    “This is a good heads-up for women everywhere, there’s just one problem with it: What about the truly nice guy who does all those things because he actually likes the woman? A woman who reads this might presume bad things about him. Better safe than sorry of course, but the nice guys have it hard enough without getting mis-labeled as emotional predators.”

    I am someone who listens cuz I actually give a damn, deep n meaningful convos are my favourite, I’ve learned so much of humanity that way and it also helps me get past my own pain. I wouldn’t want to be confused with someone trying to manipulate someone, but I’ve been called a great listener without trying to be, I am just me, someone speaks…I listen. I hate predators that abuse someones trust like that and hope people can tell the difference between the 2.

    • You make a good point.

      I’m looking at the specific things he asked her about which include: “her fears, her hopes and the pain she must have experienced.”

      Maybe a focus on fears and pains really early on would be a clue?

      The bigger problem would be when he starts acting in a controlling way later. I don’t know that someone should have to always be on their guard while getting to know someone, but if a woman starts noticing that someone is controlling them, then this article could clue them in. Notice a pattern of using what he’s learned about your fears/pains to control.

      • Yeah there are warning signs but I guess each case is different. I at times end up talking about depression, etc, as I suffer from that and it becomes a common ground but when someone starts using your fears to control you then that is a huge red flag. A person who genuinely cares will most likely make you feel cared for.

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