The Psychology Of Manipulation

Manipulation is a form of influencing, in which
(1) the influencer influences other people for his own benefit,
(2) selects influencing methods that are not transparent to others and
(3) gives others the subjective feeling of being free to be able to decide.

Consciousness manipulation is a very subtle art, and in order to understand it, you need to know how in most cases the manipulator can act. The examples here are quite common. So, in pursuit of his goals, he can begin to praise a person in order to gain his favor. And when you feel that you have achieved it, proceed to the main action – ask or somehow force something to be done for him. And it works – a person who has just heard a tirade addressed to him, purely psychologically, will be forced to comply with the request so as not to seem ill-mannered or tactless.

But imagine that the person managed to realize that the manipulator’s speech was insincere, or simply felt that some requests would follow after it, and showed awareness and firmness of character. Having caught this behavior, the manipulator will either stop trying to influence, or may enter into confrontation and even offend the one whom he initially wanted to manipulate.

There are more examples. Many manipulators intimidate people, which often works, because there are many who are unable to overcome fear and anxiety. In this case, the initiator of manipulation controls the behavior of a person who is ready to sacrifice his interests so as not to aggravate the situation. But this is only the apparent “power” and “strength” of the manipulator.

Psychology often points out that a person’s desire to control others should be seen as a reflection of his own weakness. By controlling the actions of others, the manipulator simply compensates for his own complexes, impotence, insecurity, or even envy. But the fact that some people have no idea that they are manipulating someone is also very interesting. Every person has played such a role at least once in his life, albeit unconsciously. Therefore, you need to be more conscious and try to objectively perceive your own actions and deeds. Check out our article “ How to Express Your Emotions and Avoid Becoming a Manipulator ” and related books such as the work of Henrik Fexeus. However, we will talk about books later, but for now we will not deviate from the topic.

Psychologists have identified several types of people who are potential victims of manipulation. There are five of these types:

  • The first type is people who live ordinary lives, striving for security and comfort, in whose thinking common sense and logic prevail. Such people are manipulated mainly at the level of needs.
  • The second type is people who live mainly in a state of stress, with a predominantly creative mindset, dreamy, vulnerable and sensitive, easily amenable to suggestion. These people are manipulated at the level of feelings and imagination.
  • The third type is rational people, thinking logically, preferring facts and specifics, and subjecting everything to analysis. People in this category are manipulated, affecting their sense of justice, conscience and morality, as well as their self-esteem.
  • The fourth type is people whose behavior is dictated by animal instincts, and who strive in their lives for the most part to eating, sleeping and having sex. It’s easy to manipulate such people – just by providing them with one of these pleasures.
  • The fifth type is people with psychological disorders, whose behavior is influenced by hallucinations; people devoid of common sense and the ability to fully analyze what is happening. They are subjected to the most severe manipulations through intimidation or pain.

Manipulators with amazing accuracy (only having a little talk with a person) are able to determine the type of victim, and already based on this data, they choose a method or technique for manipulating consciousness.

Techniques and methods of manipulation

The art of manipulation is quite diverse. Some use the same methods, while others constantly hone their skills in order to manipulate with greater efficiency. Knowing about these methods is useful in order to understand what to fear, be able to defend yourself and be able to expose the manipulator. If suddenly you yourself want to try to manipulate someone at your leisure, keep in mind that any techniques and methods will give the result only after careful preparation, in particular after determining the points of influence.

The most common points of contact for manipulation are:

  • emotional condition;
  • professional skills;
  • way of thinking, habits and style of behavior;
  • worldview and beliefs;
  • interests and needs.

To successfully manipulate a person, the manipulator must collect information about him. It is strategically useful to think in detail about the time, place and conditions in which the manipulation will take place, as well as create a suitable environment for it that increases suggestibility. Examples of such a setting: crowded or, conversely, secluded places, depending on the situation.

The contact established between people is of no less importance. An experienced manipulator is able to establish a communication link and develop it to inspire confidence in the victim. It is pertinent to note here that many famous authors (Dale Carnegie, Robert Levin, Henrik Fexeus and others) wrote and are writing about manipulation techniques, and therefore it is not difficult to find a manual.

After the contact is established and the conditions correspond to the planned, the “preparatory stage” ends. Now you can resort to manipulation techniques (note that not all of them require careful preparation and can be applied spontaneously). The techniques and methods of manipulation described below are used most often as the most effective. We think you can find examples without any problems.

Imaginary inferiority

The method of imaginary inferiority consists in the fact that the manipulator shows weakness and expects a condescending attitude towards himself. If the victim is convinced of this, she loses her vigilance, relaxes and stops perceiving the manipulator as a rival or a person who is stronger than her.

The best way to protect yourself from such manipulation is to perceive everyone around as strong people (serious rivals).

False repetition

False repetition is designed to alter the essence of the words spoken by the victim to give them meaning that is beneficial to the manipulator. The initiator pronounces the same as the victim, but in a slightly different form that allows you to change the meaning.

In order not to fall for this bait, you need to listen as carefully as possible to what people say to you in response to your words, and immediately point out distortions and inaccuracies, if any.

False love

Falling in love is expressed by showing (insincere) reverence, respect, or love. The consciousness of the object of manipulation is clouded by flattering words and attitudes, which allows you to achieve a variety of goals.

Developed intuition , sensitivity and a sober mind help to resist the method , which make it possible to recognize the insincerity and real attitude of the manipulator.

Showy indifference

The method of ostentatious indifference is based on the fact that the manipulator appears to be indifferent in the eyes of the victim to her ideas and words. He simply waits patiently for the subject to prove his awareness and the value of what he knows in terms of important facts. As a result, you can easily find out everything you need on the right topic without much effort.

To protect yourself from such provocations, you need to remain attentive to people’s behavior and notice suspicious signs in time.

Feigned haste

The method of feigning haste is no less famous in the art of manipulation. Here the manipulator begins to pretend that he is in a hurry and speaks quickly, “speaking his teeth” to the victim. As a result, the latter simply does not have time to comprehend everything said and agrees with the manipulator (for example, to fulfill his request).

Noticing such behavior in your interlocutor, you need to stop his speech as soon as possible (even interrupt) and, indicating your own haste, stop the conversation.

Unmotivated anger

The method of unmotivated anger is that the manipulator begins to behave demonstratively and aggressively, so that the victim begins to calm him down and make concessions.

An easy way to counter this “anger” is to ignore it, not calm the manipulator, and remain steadfast. Indifference always has a sobering effect on aggressors.

Untrue stupidity

The method of untrue stupidity is very simple: the manipulator accuses the victim of ignorance and stupidity, which makes him confused. The initiator achieves that the victim begins to think and doubt, and uses this moment to prove his position or achieve another goal.

Confidence in your own literacy and validity of judgments, as well as the ability to control yourself, will help you avoid falling into this trick .

Simulating bias

The method of imitation of bias is that the victim is forced to reject the suspicion that he is biased towards the manipulator who points to this. The victim begins to make excuses, praise the interlocutor, point out his positive qualities and advantages, and show goodwill. This helps the manipulator to satisfy, for example, the need for vanity or to achieve some other result.

It is not difficult to counter the imitation of bias: you just need to initially refute any possibility of bias in terms of facts, and not start playing by the rules of the manipulator.

Hanging labels

The labeling method assumes that the manipulator, when talking to the victim about a third person, is unflattering about him. The negative displayed by the manipulator contributes to the fact that the victim begins to think badly of the third person, while, quite possibly, even without knowing him (if this person is familiar, trust in him may simply be lost). Thus, there are two victims at once – direct and indirect.

To avoid manipulation here will help the understanding that nothing can be taken at their word. The information, of course, needs to be taken into account, but it is necessary to check it.

Specific terminology

The method of using specific terminology works great when manipulating a person’s consciousness. The manipulator uses terms and concepts unknown to the victim during the conversation. It turns out that she finds herself in an awkward position and, not wanting to show awkwardness, does not ask again about anything. The manipulator wins and can take advantage of the situation.

As the well-known proverb says: “it is better to ask again twice than to remain silent once”, so in any such case you should not be shy and try to clarify everything that is not clear.