The manipulators are among us and are integrated into society.
Their motivations are generally due to a narcissistic flaw and they have a particular objective, it is to be able to deceive you without you noticing their games. It can be our boss, a neighbor, a colleague, a distant (or close) relative, or any friend. We also sometimes manipulate ourselves.
Although the manipulators are around us, it is not easy to detect them. Their characteristics and personality traits are unclear.
Being the victim of a manipulator can be very damaging. It is therefore important to be able to realize this as soon as possible and to have useful tools to deal with it.
To realize that you are facing a manipulator, you must first observe your interlocutor but also be attentive to yourself and be attentive to the dynamics of the interaction.
If I ask you what the word “manipulation” means to you, chances are you are only using negative labels like “pervert”, “professional liar” or “sick” to define this concept. The manipulation is always considered intentional, destructive and that nothing can legitimize its use.
The literature defines manipulation as a behavior, an action, which amounts to exercising domination over a person, or a group of people, using roundabout means whose objective, unacknowledged, is to achieve its ends, without taking account for the interests and needs of the other (s) (Carré, 2017).
Have you ever caught yourself saying “yes” to someone and wondering why you just accepted something you really don’t want? You are faced with a case of successful manipulation because you felt like you had said “yes” in total freedom, in accordance with your principles.
Sometimes used consciously or unconsciously, manipulation exists in several forms and aims at different effects and goals. But how do you know that you are in a manipulative process?
Ask yourself the following questions to take stock of the situation (Carré, 2017):
ButWhat goal? Who benefits from the manipulation? What are the benefits of this process and who is it for?
- With what intention? Is there clearly a desire on the other person’s part to cause you to change a behavior or a thought that you did not freely want?
RegardWhat is the other person looking at? Is the manipulated person considered as a whole person or is he taken for an object which will allow the manipulator to achieve his objectives?
Now that you know you are dealing with a manipulation situation, I will help you identify the type of manipulation you are dealing with. I will then give you some indications in order to thwart the manipulative behavior.
According to Carré (2017), there are 4 main forms of manipulation:
ManipulationManipulation out of ignorance. Also called awkward manipulation, it is the most widely used manipulation technique. This technique is used by people who are not consciously trying to manipulate you. The ignorant manipulator is trying to get something from you but doesn’t know how to do it. Therefore, this type of manipulator will judge you, will use silence sulking, guilt and emotional blackmail.
- To this manipulation, respond with welcome and clarity. Do not judge the person on what they are trying to do because as I said, this is awkward manipulation. Focus on how you feel and express your emotions with clarity and sincerity. Naming your emotions does not make you vulnerable, on the contrary, it shows that you are listening to yourself and that you are able to relate your feelings to your level of satisfaction / dissatisfaction with a need.
- “dishonest” manipulation. It is the profiteer who seeks to serve his interests without taking into account the consequences and needs of the manipulated. He is a selfish person who is aware of what he is doing but does not seek to destroy. These opportunists suffer from a lack of affection, a feeling of inferiority and are afraid of failure.
- aceFacing this kind of manipulator, you can apply the method of reception and clarity. If that does not work, the technique consists in dismantling the mechanism of the manipulator and showing that you have understood the intentions of your interlocutor. You can then give your views on how they act and what their goals are.
- Destructive manipulation or perverse manipulation is the one we talk about the most but is, fortunately, the rarest. These people feel a pleasure to possess, to dominate, to feel guilty. They also play on valuation / devaluation to sow mental confusion. This kind of manipulator tries to control the person until the physical isolation and the psychological destruction of the manipulated. Empathy, compassion and remorse are unknown to the manipulator.
- ️It is strongly advised to flee the person who practices perverse manipulation because it is extremely difficult to change the personality of this kind of person. Why ? Because it is not possible for the manipulator to understand your suffering. Personal benefits are much more important and rewarding than your relationship
- There is a form of manipulation that is neither awkward, selfish, nor unhealthy but, on the contrary, that is honest and positive. It is about benevolent manipulation. The benevolent manipulator wants to act in your interest and aims to develop your freedom. In this case, the user is considered to be a whole person and wishes to improve the quality of communication.
- Benevolent manipulation implies that one treats the other as a subject with his own values and thoughts. This type of manipulation remains a manipulation but directed towards our good. Every day, we use benevolent manipulation towards our children, parents, relatives or friends for a good cause. That said, for benevolent manipulation to work, it is best not to use methods that are contradictory to this type of relationship such as moral appeal, lying, advice, guilt, emotional blackmail. These methods can have the desired effect in the short term but are detrimental to the manipulator-manipulated relationship in the long term.
Human relationships are complex and it is impossible not to influence others and to be influenced by them.
You now have the essentials that will allow you to understand and deal with negative manipulation while learning to communicate without cheating.
Derya Selin Kazkondu, psychologist specializing in victimology.
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