This one is dedicated to my brothers and sisters who give with open hands, whose hearts are open, and arms extended ready to help and serve at any moment. Some of us are more vulnerable to manipulation than others, wanting to believe the good nature of everyone we come by, with a curiosity and intrigue in people which sometimes leads us to trust those with more sinister ambitions.
Before I continue, I want you to understand my mission statement in writing this article. In the face of people who want to see me hurt and fall I will remain open-hearted. I will not let the sinister motives of other condition me into a stale, cynical and jaded person. And there is certainly a way to remain open-hearted while not being taken advantage of.
I hope this will be a guide that you can use to identify, understand and avoid being manipulated and taken advantage of by others.
So let’s look at what is the motivation of manipulation. There’s a number of reasons that influence a person to manipulate.
- Self- preservation: A person might believe they need to do this for their survival and this doesn’t have to be literal. Their survival in the sense of losing a job or opportunity, keeping a weakness or insecurity secret etc.
- Control complex: They find their sense of security in controlling other people. They like to feel like they call the shots, they have influence over others, they are always involved in decision making etc.
- Win-Lose mentality: They are ok with another persons shortcomings as long as they get their way.
- Narcissism: This person is not a team player, they lack empathy and they have a desire for admiration from others.
- Mental Health Issues: Someone who is suffering from any form of emotional imbalance is more prone to manipulate or deceive someone because their version of reality may be warped.
- Drug Abuse: addiction and the effects of drug abuse is a recognized cause of manipulation and deception in many individuals. The effects of drug addiction effect emotional and mental states, often someone who abuses drugs isn’t willing to accept that they have a problem so they are commonly known to shift the blame on other people. Whether this is mood swings, keeping up with their responsibilities or delusional thinking.
The above list, by all means, does not summarize every reason a person might manipulate another, but it does summarize the most common reasons.
One of the more sinister effects of manipulation is that it often results in the victim believing they are at fault. For this reason, I believe it is very important that more information goes out to create awareness about the reality of manipulation. Manipulators are masters of mind games, and they can run circles around you before you realize what is going on.
Corrective, Coercive, Concrete.
Have you ever been around a person who likes to overwhelm you with “facts” and reasons why your wrong and they’re right? Chances are they’re manipulating you. This can be used to make the person feel superior and more of a capable human being than you are.
When this tactic is used it be overwhelming being bombarded with information with not much time to distinguish what is actually going on. A manipulator might outright lie about facts, they might exaggerate the truth and they will be quick to try and shut you down if you disagree. The motivation for a manipulator is not to clarify the truth, but for a quick control kick.
From an outside perspective, a person who is engaging with another this way will look like a total bully. They might even thrive out of putting someone else down in front of a group of people because they think it makes them look tough and smarter.
This looks and feels like a dual personality. A telltale sign of this aspect is to feel like you have to tiptoe around a particular person because their moods and reactions are completely unpredictable. You may be preparing to ask them a question like; would you mind moving your car from the driveway? And you can’t really predict how this person is going to react.
In situations like these, it’s likely manipulation that is going on. This can be very difficult to identify and get mad about because of the confusing situation when someone if friendly, charming and laughing one minute and then moody, reactive and defensive the next.
When you are close to a person like this, they can make you feel very guilty when you may have done nothing wrong. The emotional games can be difficult to see through because of course, we want to see the best in people. If you find yourself in this position, very confused and unable to differentiate whether you are dealing with a manipulator. I suggest speaking to a number of different people about it, get a number of DIFFERENT perspectives, stay honest about what you’re experiencing and you may uncover something you never expected to find.
The thing about manipulators is that they are masters of never going far enough of it being a legal, HR or completely obvious issue, close but not quite far enough.
While bullying may be very obvious in some cases if the person doing the bullying is cunning enough they will not say things which will pigeonhole themselves into a spot of blame. As bully’s become adults, if they want to keep a job, friends, and housemates, their efforts need to be a bit more discrete.
They often guise bullying are something positive, like criticism, or a joke, or because they’re trying to help you. And if you take a second to look at their “help” and “naïve joking” you might find that neither is true. Let’s look at something that is of no one’s concern (e.g. a haircut, a pair of jeans, or a personality trait). Say there’s a conversation that goes along the lines of; I have a short attention span, I’m probably not going to sit down and watch it… “You know that’s really bad, you’re never going to get anywhere with a short attention span. Just trying to help.”
The former, discrete dig. Is it helpful? No. What does it do? Make you feel like crap.
It is simply unacceptable for someone to treat you like you are in anyway shape or form, a less deserving human being than they are regardless of status, situation, gender, religion, beliefs or anything else.
Please stay clear, stay strong and don’t let anybody push you off course.