6 Signs of Manipulation Most People Miss

Hello, Psych2Goers! Today we will discuss manipulation. In life, unfortunately, you will encounter skilled manipulators. These personality types thrive in competitive corporate settings. However, this fact does not mean that everyone you encounter at a corporate job will try to manipulate you. 

Some key traits of a manipulative personality are that they are great at reading others and are masters of deception. They can anticipate other people’s needs and use them to their advantage. Before we go any further, I would like to say that not all manipulators are not inherently bad people. Some manipulators use their powers for good instead of evil. However, this type of manipulator is the exception. Most manipulators are characterized by their lack of interest in others. 

Here are six signs of manipulation most people miss. 

  • They bring you into their territory.

Manipulative individuals stick to what he or she knows. They operate in settings where they can control the power dynamics between the people. For example, a manipulative boss may ask you to come into his or her office. That way, they can exert more control and dominance over you. 

  • Prospecting.  

This is a classic sales tactic. A sales representative probes you with questions to get a better idea of who you are as a customer and what you want. Similarly, manipulators appear to be attentive to what you say, but it is not because they are great listeners. They are creating a mental profile of your behaviors, thought patterns, strengths, and weaknesses. They may pose questions that seem incisive and interesting, but they are gauging your response to see what is permissible and what is not.  

  • Informational overload.

Another tactic stolen from the salesman textbook is informational overload.  Manipulators, specifically those you encounter in the workplace, overwhelm you with data and statistics. This is a form of intellectual bullying with the goal to make them seem knowledgeable and authoritative. By exerting their presumed knowledge, they can convince others to go along with their agenda. At times, manipulators also use this tactic to not only establish their superiority but also to excuse inexcusable behavior. 

  • Fake facts.

A manipulative individual has his or her own self-interest in mind. Always. They will do anything to push ahead and get what they want. This includes lying, cheating, victimizing others, feigning innocence, deforming the truth, and gaslighting.

Gaslighting, among all the other tactics, serve to undermine the victim’s emotions and sanity. It subtly plants doubt in the victim’s mind which leads to confusion. Over time, the doubt and injury transforms into a distorted narratives which can lead the victim to develop C-PTSD, depression, or anxiety.  

  • Preying on your sensibilities.

To satisfy their ego, many manipulators prey on other people’s sensibilities. While, at first, they can seem kind and attentive, later on, they use the information they have gathered about you against you. Additionally, manipulators seek those who are vulnerable as victims because they have a higher chance of trapping you in a terrible relationship. 

A way to unmask a manipulator’s kindness and empathy is by paying attention to how they speak about others. Manipulators usually talk behind people’s backs and they will, eventually, do the same to you. 

  • Silent treatment.

A final sign of manipulation that most people miss is the silent treatment. The silent treatment is a popular passive-aggressive behavior, and just because you have done it to someone or someone has done it to you does not mean that you or that person are manipulators. The silent treatment is a way to establish control over a situation. By controlling the communication, a manipulator is not only establishing their point of view but also they are refusing to acknowledge yours. It is intended to make you feel insecure and doubtful of your emotions. 

You will encounter manipulators throughout your life, whether they are family members or co-workers. The most important thing is to learn how to deal with what you may face. 

I hope this article has been useful. Let us know which of the traits you found most surprising. 

Take care! 


Bradberry, Travis. “9 Signs You’re Dealing with an Emotional Manipulator.” Ladders, Ladders, 13 Apr. 2020, www.theladders.com/career-advice/9-signs-youre-dealing-with-an-emotional-manipulator. 

BrainyDose. “14 Signs of Psychological Manipulation Most People Miss.” YouTube, YouTube, 29 Oct. 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVS7dPrLa9c.

Brenner, Abigail. “9 Classic Strategies of Manipulative People.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 27 Oct. 2016, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-flux/201610/9-classic-strategies-manipulative-people.  

Legg, Timothy J., and Kimberly Holland. “How to Recognize the Signs of Emotional Manipulation and What to Do.” Healthline, 13 Feb. 2018, www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-manipulation. 

Ni, Preston. “14 Signs of Psychological and Emotional Manipulation.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 11 Oct. 2015, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/communication-success/201510/14-signs-psychological-and-emotional-manipulation. 

Shortsleeve, Cassie. “How to Tell If Someone Is Manipulating You-And What to Do.” Time, Time, 16 Oct. 2018, time.com/5411624/how-to-tell-if-being-manipulated/. 

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