Manipulators come in all sizes. Some are a master at the craft while others are totally transparent. Most manipulators manipulate with intention and purpose. They know their desired outcome, and they manipulate their environment and the people in it to ensure they get their way. A handful of manipulators do so without realizing it. They do not see how their behavior is manipulative. What about you? Are you a manipulator?
Sooo…. What is Manipulation?
Have you ever wished for something really really hard at Christmas? Maybe someone was going away on vacation and you really wanted to go or you and your house-mate both have a show you want to watch on the 1 television. What do you do to get your way?
Often when we have our heart set on something we manipulate the situation to suit our interests. Some of us do that purposely while others don’t realize they are doing it.
Manipulation is often subtle and difficult to detect because you cannot see the psychological manipulation as it occurs. The tactics are used on emotions causing the victim to feel guilty or wrong. Manipulative people apply pressure into controlling a person’s thoughts and behaviors through sneaky or abusive behavior. The manipulator attacks a person’s vulnerability in order to achieve his own goal.
A manipulator acts in one or more of these 6 behaviors:
- Interpretation game – You do not acknowledge other people’s perspective of a situation and instead, you turn their behavior into what you need it to be. You want people to feel guilty and second guess their thoughts and feelings.
- Guilt Trip – Your sole purpose here is to make the other person feel guilty or regretful about their stance. You want them to feel bad about the fact that they took a stand based on their values.
- Responsibility Shirking – Rather than tell someone you want them to do something, in particular, you tell them someone else said it was the right thing to do. This approach takes the responsibility off you and places squarely on the other person’s shoulders.
- Friends to Enemies – You resort to back-stabbing by triangulating relationships. You pit your friends, parents, or other people in your life against each other.
- Self-Pity – Making yourself the victim suits your purpose well. Needing special attention makes people empathize and want to help. Once they feel sorry for you they are easier to manipulate.
- Provocation – By provoking an argument with someone can push them to say something they don’t mean or maybe should not have said. You want them to feel bad about their words and sympathize with your feelings.
If you find that everywhere you go a problem arises and feelings end up hurt, it is likely the culprit is you. Your goal is to get others to behave in a way that makes you happy and when they don’t you become emotionally upset or angry. When you have a problem, you look for someone else to fix it and your priorities are arranged in order of you first. Manipulators only think of what they want and how they can get it with total disregard of how it affects others.
If your desire to be right comes at the loss of your relationships and you blame that loss on them, you are probably a manipulative person.
Can You Be Fixed?
Of course, you can. But, you must pay attention when you are interacting with people. If you find yourself in a situation in which you want something, in particular, to go a certain way be straight about it. Honesty can serve you well and it goes a long way in earning respect.
Some examples of things you should pay attention to:
- Dropping hints: An occasional hint at something isn’t bad. If you find yourself always hinting around for what you want instead of outright asking, you are being manipulative. Learn to ask.
- Copping an Attitude: You may not like it when people disagree with you. You want them to think the same way you do and when they don’t you get upset. Instead of telling them what’s up, you treat them poorly. You may have an attitude or use the silent treatment game on them. This is super manipulative. People have the basic human right to not share your opinion. Get over yourself and open a discussion on the topic.
- Compliment King: Are you the type who spews out compliment after compliment to someone when you want something from them? Aside from being totally transparent, it makes you sound ridiculous. No one believes all the praise and flattery you are throwing out there. Everyone Likes to be complimented but examine your purpose. If it’s a genuine compliment, great. If you are following it up with asking for something, skip the compliment and just ask.
- Guilt Trip: If you intentionally make someone feel bad or guilty because they won’t comply with your request, you are laying a guilt trip on them. Just stop. People should do things for you because they want to help, not because they feel bad if they don’t. Guilt trips destroy relationships, families, and even job opportunities.
If you truly desire to have a genuine, long-lasting relationship with someone that is built on love and honesty, you will stop trying to manipulate them. You may get what you want for a while, but it will be at the cost of love and friendship. No one wants to be around a manipulator. You may think you are being sly about it, but you can’t hide it forever. It is better to learn to stop manipulating and start being honest.
B., C. (2017, 07 25). Signs of Emotional Manipulation and How it Affects Relationships. Retrieved from Brookhaven: https://www.brookhavenretreat.com/cms/blog-22/item/3004-signs-emotional-manipulation-relationships
Ni, P. (2014, 06 01). How to Spot and Stop Manipulators. Retrieved from Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/communication-success/201406/how-spot-and-stop-manipulators