Manipulator - someone who uses us for their own purposes, hiding behind good intentions. We are against and ready to resist!
If you have ever felt that there is something wrong with intimate relationships or conversations with strangers, i.e. you are under psychological pressure and control, or you feel that you doubt yourself more than usual, then this may be manipulation.
"Manipulation is an emotionally unhe althy psychological strategy used by people who are unable to directly ask for what they want and need. People who try to manipulate others want to control them,” says Shari Stines, a California-based therapist who specializes in abusive and toxic relationships.
There are many different forms of manipulation, ranging from the pushy salesperson to the abusive partner, and some are easier to spot than others. Here are some tell-tale signs that you are being manipulated, according to experts.
You feel fear, obligation and guilt
According to Stines, manipulative behavior involves three factors: fear, commitment, and guilt. "When someone manipulates you, you are psychologically coerced into doing something that you probably don't really want," she says. You may be afraid to do it, feel obligated or guilty for not doing it.
She notes two common types of manipulators: Bully and Victim. The bully makes you feel fear and may use aggression, threats, and intimidation to control you. The victim makes the object feel guilty. “The victim usually pretends to be offended. But while manipulators often pose as the victim, the reality is that they are the source of the problem,” Shari Stines explains.
A person who is the target of manipulators who play the victim often tries to help the manipulator to get rid of guilt. Objects of this kind of manipulation consider themselves obliged to help the Victim, doing everything possible to end their suffering.
You doubt yourself
The term "gaslighting" is often used to refer to manipulations that cause people to doubt themselves, their perception of reality, memory or thoughts. According to Stines, a manipulator can twist what you're saying, interrupt a conversation, or make you think you did something wrong when you're not entirely sure.
When gaslighted, you may feel false guilt or defensiveness, as if you have failed completely or may have done something wrong, when in fact you are delusional. “Manipulators are to blame. They don't take responsibility," Stines says.
You are under obligation
"If you don't get a service just like that, then it's not done "for fun and for free". If there are conditions, then there is manipulation,” Stines explains.
There is another type of manipulator - the Nice Guy. Such a person can help and do favors to other people. “It's very confusing because you don't realize that something negative is happening. But, on the other hand, with every good deed there is an expectation. If you don't live up to the manipulator's expectations, you'll be portrayed as ungrateful," adds Stines.
In fact, norms and expectations of reciprocity are one of the most common forms of manipulation, says Jay Olson, a manipulation scientist at McGill University.
For example, a salesperson gives the impression that because he or she has provided you with a service, you should buy the item. In a relationship, your partner might buy you flowers and then ask for something in return. “This tactic works because it violates social norms. It's okay to reciprocate favors, but even when someone does it insincerely, we often feel obligated to reciprocate and comply," says Olson.
Did you notice that the manipulator uses the "foot in the door" and "door to the face" techniques
According to Olson, manipulators often use one of two tactics. The first is the foot in the door method, in which someone starts with a small and reasonable request, such as asking if you have time. Then he moves on to a big request, such as asking you for money for a taxi. "This is a technique commonly used by scammers on the streets," says Olson.
The door-to-face method is the opposite: the manipulator makes a big request, gets rejected, and then asks for something small, as Olson explains. For example, a contract worker may ask you for a large amount of money up front and then ask for a smaller amount after you refuse. This works because, after a larger request, a smaller one seems relatively reasonable.
8 sure signs of a manipulative man
1. He puts pressure on your guilt: if you don’t do as he asks, he will be very upset, it will be very difficult for him, but it doesn’t cost you anything at all. So, a couple of trifles.
2. He just pushes. And hammer. And it forces. And he commands. And presses again. Maybe because he is used to seeing subordinates and submission around him. Or maybe you look too soft and defenseless.
3. He directly accuses you of not wanting to enter his position: it will be you who will be to blame for the fact that everything will collapse, change and scatter in the wind. You heartless!
4. He offers a good reason why you should do this: maybe this is the house the pigs need, or the last trolley bus is about to leave. This good reason has nothing to do with your needs at all.
5. He flatters: you are the best specialist, the main clever and beautiful woman, the most reliable friend and, in general, a good girl. It's dangerous to be a good girl!
6. It requires an urgent, without hesitation, answer. Positive, of course. Right now! Well, hurry up!
7. He blackmails or promises to deprive you of his favor. If you don’t succumb to his manipulation in any way, he may well say, “Okay, do whatever you want. But you're breaking my heart with this!" In general, the phrase “Do as you like,” said in a characteristic offended tone, is a great example of emotional manipulation.
8. And the most important sign: what he offers is unprofitable for you, inconvenient, infringes on your interests and is not suitable at all. Doesn't fit at all!
What to do if you are being manipulated
How you need to respond to manipulation depends a lot on what kind of manipulation you are facing. So how do you counter manipulative behavior?
- Learn to say "No". This, by the way, is a completely normal right of every person - to refuse what does not suit him. If it is very difficult and unusual for you to say "No", take a break: say "I should think." And then: “I thought about it and had to refuse.”
- Monitor and evaluate your feelings. Unpleasant or “vague” feelings are an inevitable component of communicating with a manipulator, so try to note and record them: “I feel insecure. It's not pleasant. I don't trust those words.”
- Ask clarifying questions: “Do you really want me to plant thirty rose bushes? Is it pink? Exactly today? And what good will it do me?" Firstly, you thus clarify the situation for yourself. Secondly, the manipulator will moderate his zeal: explaining to you the meaning of his manipulation is not included in his plans.
- More irony. Specify, for example: “Wow, is that Madonna's rider? Or will you now demand a helicopter and two suitcases of dollars?”
- Remember that manipulation is strictly speaking disrespectful to you. An honest person will ask you for what he needs, and somehow cope with your refusal. The manipulator does not respect you, since he uses dishonest methods in communicating with you, so let this knowledge help you treat him more critically.
- If you think you or someone you know is in a manipulative or even abusive relationship, experts recommend seeking the help of a therapist. A good support group can help too. “People in toxic relationships need to hear opposing points of view. They were taught to think that such relationships are quite normal. Someone needs to help them get rid of false assumptions,” Stines advises.
- For other forms of manipulation, Shari Stines advises not to let manipulative behavior affect you and not take everything to heart.
- Often setting boundaries plays an important role in deterring manipulation. "It's important to understand where you end and someone else begins," says Stines
- According to Olson, in a manipulative situation, it is better not to rush into an answer. For example, refrain from signing a contract right away, don't make a major purchase without thinking it through, and avoid making major relationship decisions as soon as issues come up. To avoid manipulation, it is best to think things through,” adds Olson.