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Identifying psychological manipulation (continued from last week)

Identifying psychological manipulation  (continued from last week)


Psychological manipulation can be defined as the exercise of undue influence through mental distortion and emotional exploitation, with the intention to seize power, control, benefits and/or privileges at the victim’s expense.

8. Giving You Little or No Time to Decide:

This is a common sales and negotiation tactic, where the manipulator puts pressure on you to make a decision before you’re ready. By applying tension and control onto you, it is hoped that you will “crack” and give in to the aggressor’s demands.

9. Negative Humour Designed to Poke at Your Weaknesses disempowering you:

Some manipulators like to make critical remarks, often disguised as humour or sarcasm, to make you seem inferior and less secure. Examples can include any variety of comments, ranging from your appearance, to your older model smart phone, to your background and credentials, to the fact that you walked in two minutes late and out of breath. By making you look bad, and getting you to feel bad, the aggressor hopes to impose psychological superiority over you.

10. Consistently Judge and Criticize You to Make You Feel Inadequate:

Distinct from the previous behaviour where negative humour is used as a cover, here the manipulator outright picks on you. By constantly marginalizing, ridiculing, and dismissing you, she or he keeps you off-balance and maintains her superiority. The aggressor deliberately fosters the impression that there’s always something wrong with you, and that no matter how hard you try, you are inadequate and will never be good enough. Significantly, the manipulator focuses on the negative without providing genuine and constructive solutions, or offering meaningful ways to help.

11. The Silent Treatment

By deliberately not responding to your reasonable calls, text messages, emails, or other inquiries, the manipulator presumes power by making you wait, and intends to place doubt and uncertainty in your mind. The silent treatment is a head game where silence is used as a form of leverage.

12. Pretend Ignorance

This is the classic “playing dumb” tactic. By pretending she or he doesn’t understand what you want, or what you want her to do, the manipulator/passive-aggressive makes you take on what is her responsibility, and gets you to break a sweat. Some children use this tactic in order to delay, stall, and manipulate adults into doing for them what they don’t want to do. Some grown-ups use this tactic as well when they have something to hide, or obligation they wish to avoid.

13. Guilt-Baiting

Examples: Unreasonable blaming. The aim here is to target recipient’s soft spot. Holding another the victim responsible for the manipulator’s happiness and success, or unhappiness and failures.

By targeting the recipient’s emotional weaknesses and vulnerability, the manipulator coerces the recipient into ceding unreasonable requests and demands.

14. Victimhood:

Examples: Exaggerated or imagined personal issues. Exaggerated or imagined health issues. Signs of dependency or co-dependency; deliberate frailty to elicit sympathy and favour; weak, powerless or martyr. The purpose of manipulative victimhood is often to exploit the recipient’s good will, guilty conscience, sense of duty and obligation, or protective and nurturing instinct, in order to extract unreasonable benefits and concessions.

Adopted from: Preston Ni, M.S.B.A. is the author of “How to Successfully Handle Manipulative People” and “A Practical Guide for Manipulators to Change Towards the Higher Self”.