Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

In life, you may encounter people who are not as they represent themselves, and when they are stealthy in their approach to control or manipulate others, we refer to such a person as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Wolf in sheep’s clothing… That’s ba-a-a-a-ad.

Jesus coined the phrase about false prophets, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15), and Aesop tells a fable about a wolf who dons the pelt of a sheep who disguised as one of the fold walks freely among the herd and finds they are easy prey. That is until he is discovered by the shepherd and the wolf pays for his deception with his life, inferring that the wolf, no matter how clever he may be, will always be found out, sooner or later.

Modern-day wolves in sheep’s clothing blend in well with social circles, this is their primary skill. They have no qualms about lying, misrepresenting themselves and telling people in the circle what they want to hear in an effort to deceive and manipulate them for his or her profit, entertainment or pleasure.

If you’re anything like Aesop’s shepherd you will have a sense that something’s not right among the people in your social circle (the sheep) and you will do a security scan using your five senses (and maybe a sixth sense) to identify the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

While you are scanning your group of individuals, you may be able to discover the signs which might help you uncover your wolf in sheep’s clothing, for instance,

Something Doesn’t Sound Right

When they’re in their story-telling mode, they are very adept at concocting an authentic-sounding tale based on information they’ve garnered from other people or the Internet. Their story (or stories) sounds authentic enough, but there’s something that just doesn’t sound right about it.

If you’re around them for any period of time, it is likely that a wolf in sheep’s clothing will flub up and mix up the details, or utter contradictory information about their original story. Why? Because the original story was utter fiction, and they have other things to think about (the prey) besides tracking all the data which they spew to deceive others.

Not to worry, in the event that they get caught or confronted about an inconsistency, they’re usually quite adept at covering their tracks with a convincing fictional rationalization.

They Don’t Stand Still Too Long

Far from being sedentary, the wolf in sheep’s clothing will keep it moving at a steady and quick pace, so as not to be detected by relaxing or lollygagging. They’re on a mission, and they can’t be caught resting on their laurels.

They will find ways to develop bonds quickly with the right kinds of folks who will further their agenda or shore up their “trustworthiness.” They can be quite the silver-tongued persuaders, quickly finding their way into the hearts of those who are eager to see the best in someone or put their faith and trust in others.

Emotional Roller Coaster

The wolf in sheep’s clothing is likely to use your emotions to their fullest extent. At the outset, everything will be about you, making certain to keep your emotions ramped up and keep you in a state of exhilaration which releases bonding hormones which indenture you to the wolf.

The wolf will cozy up to you emotionally, spiritually, and even physically (which may include romantic implications). They will use any tools which are available to them to obtain their desired result.

Once they feel they have you firmly in their grasp, the attention will shift sharply from you to making it all about them, and you may fall victim to this ploy out of a sense of obligation. Be aware of this tactic.

Short Attention Span

The wolf in sheep’s clothing has an agenda, so veering too far off the road from where they want to go is intolerable, which may cause them to be anxious to reset the course mid-stream. Also, wolves are bored easily. They are constantly looking for ways to switch things up or try something new because the threat of boredom to a wolf is torture.

The wolf often juggles many tasks and items at once to keep his quick-paced lifestyle and may not follow through on much of anything to completion. Why? Because in most cases while a particular activity may be enjoyable or preventing him or her from being bored, they are not really enjoying it much, because it’s all a part of their act.

They move quickly from one thing to another to avoid being bored. (And don’t even think about them signing up to ensure a long check-out line, or stand for being held up in traffic.)

Their Mind Breaks Character

Even though their upfront game is tight, you can see their mind givethem away sometimes, if you’re attentive enough.It is not uncommon for the wolf’s mind to

It is not uncommon for the wolf’s mind to wander when others are intently focused. In a classroom environment, group meeting, intense roundtable discussion, boardroom meeting or brainstorming session, their thoughts will clearly take them somewhere else.

If you are attentive, you will witness the disconnect via eye movement, facial expression, and a shift of body position. It may not last for long, but the wolf has traveled deep within to plan his next move, taking a moment to review an entirely different manipulation, or to fantasize about a potentially beneficial outcome.

You’ve Been Deceived Now What?

You’ve trusted someone… and they let you down, cheated, lied, committed a criminal act, or otherwise taken advantage of you. When you’ve been deceived, your first instinct might be to ask the question, “How could I have let this happen?”

You need to cut yourself some slack as soon as possible because the fact is that we are surrounded by manipulative people who seek out good and honest people whom they can take advantage of. They can be quite crafty and covert and the fact that they chose you is a compliment to your character and an indication of his or her lack of character.

We all tend to project our own morality onto those within proximity. For instance, if you’re an honest, trustworthy person, you tend to see others as being honest and trustworthy, while liars see others as dishonest, and fear others are always hiding something and may deserve to be taken advantage of.

You’re somewhat in a state of shock because you wouldn’t think of doing this to someone else. Ready yourself to forgive yourself for falling victim to this circumstance, it was not your fault. You are not responsible for someone else’s misdeeds.

Of course, The kind of betrayal I am referencing is the misdeed with malicious intent, you must distinguish this type of activity from an honest mistake. Sometimes someone whom you’ve trusted does something that results in your feeling betrayed, but there was a distinct lack of malice, more likely they hadn’t thought things through far enough or realized that their inattention to detail would be offensive to you.

If someone has simply made the mistake of crossing you unwittingly, cut them some slack, and prepare to forgive them.

Be aware that there are people who may be looking to take advantage of others, but do not fall into the trap of living in fear. Many people may have the tendency to exploit others, and may include personality profiles such as narcissists, sociopaths and/or psychopaths, who are well-versed in building your confidence in them and grooming others for “the take.”

Once you’ve correctly diagnosed a person as one who would lie or otherwise take advantage of you, realize they are a snake. As much as they might beg forgiveness or try to charm you otherwise, a snake is a snake, and it will only set you up to bite you, even worse the next time.

Can people change? Yes. I am in the change business and I see it every day, but you have to learn how to deal with a liar, look out for you and take care of yourself and the others whom you care about. This is your responsibility. If this snake is a repeat offender, you have to do the right thing and take the action which is best for you and yours.

In becoming aware of the existence of individuals who may not have your best interests at heart, learn early detection methods of determining when someone might be being less than honest and pay more attention to potential warning signs early on when you are getting to know someone.

In the event that you are having a twinge, a sense that someone may not be as they appear, don’t be shy about checking out the details for accuracy. If you are uncovering holes in their stories and blatant inaccuracies, there’s no need to confront them about it, just place a safe distance between yourself and this person, and don’t let down your guard around this person.

Now that you are becoming more aware of people and learning how to see people as they really are, be careful not to fall into the trap of seeing everyone as a potential threat. Not everyone is out to get you, but once victimized, it can be easy to be absorbed in perpetual victim mentality (which will only attract more predators) so avoid the temptation to do so.

Remember the good and honest, trusting person that you were before this incident and embrace that part of you even more, only being aware enough to protect yourself in the future.