Manipulator man – how to identify and effectively interact with him
There are different people in the world. Some of them communicate openly and sincerely, do not hide their intentions and willingly share their thoughts and experiences. Others prefer to hide their true motives and act invisibly to others. One type of this type of person is a manipulative person. This is a rather insidious person, can force the other person to act in a way that benefits him, and the interlocutor will not even notice that he is being controlled.
Who is a man-manipulator
A man-manipulator is a person who uses hidden psychological techniques to achieve what he wants from other people.
The word “manipulation” in Latin means “hand-holding”, and originally this word was used to refer to the control of puppets. Indeed, a man-manipulator is a real puppeteer, who pulls invisible strings, which are psychological weaknesses of the interlocutor, and makes him act in the direction necessary for himself. The person being manipulated thinks that it is his intentions and desires. Thus, a manipulator acts much more subtly and effectively than some rigid dictator, who tries to control people by violence, orders, instructions, and intimidation in a blunt and brutal way.
Interestingly, often even the manipulator himself is not aware that he is a manipulator. He controls people spontaneously.
We encounter psychological manipulation almost daily. Take commercials, posters, flashy store signs, and other marketing tricks. They are designed to appeal to the weaknesses of the public and to arouse in them desires they have not previously had. For example, the images of food on advertising posters are made in such a way that when people look at it they involuntarily arouse their appetite. Tired of the constant hustle and bustle of the city, looking at the poster of a travel agency with an image of a girl relaxing on a beautiful beach, people suddenly begin to want to go on vacation, although a minute ago they did not think about it. The marketer is perhaps the most frightening type of man-manipulator, because he has his skills professionally.
A manipulative person can easily be encountered in a more casual setting as well. In an ordinary work team there is most often a person who discreetly shifts his responsibilities to others. He does it inconspicuously, using friendly feelings. It seems to everyone that this is such a pleasant person to talk to, that it is simply impossible to refuse him. In this case, all communication with him is limited to the workplace, and beyond that you do not even meet him. Not everyone understands this little truth, so the trick of the manipulator works for a long time.
Even in one’s own home it is not uncommon to find a manipulative person. Some household members may deliberately pressure their relatives in order to get what they need. More often than not, such people put pressure on pity and cause a feeling of guilt. A typical example is children who use crying to beg their parents’ permission to watch a cartoon, force them to buy them a favorite toy, etc. Parents, not wanting to hurt their child, whom they love so much, go along with him. Yes, children are some of the strongest human manipulators, because they use the deepest human instincts and experiences – the maternal instinct, the sense of family affection. Parents who have brought a child into the world around them feel as if they owe it to them to take care of him or her and provide an acceptable quality of life. It is very easy for even a child to influence such people.
Mechanism of Manipulation Development
Why does a manipulative person become what they are? Some people are manipulators from birth, it is a natural psychological trait for them, and they are not even aware of their capabilities. Most manipulators, however, become that way on purpose.
It is inherent to the manipulator to have a sense of superiority over other people, but for some reason he is unable to exercise that superiority; for example, he is too weak physically to do so or does not have the proper social status. Not having open ways to get what he wants from other people, he uses guile and cunning. Manipulators are driven by the highest degree of selfishness, when they are willing to penetrate even to the very depths of the soul of the person they are talking to in order to get what they want. They treat other people as inanimate objects, which they have the right to move as they please.
While showing no respect for the people around them, manipulators are in dire need of them. Without people, the manipulator cannot exist at all, since he or she represents nothing of himself or herself. There are concepts close to manipulation – parasitism, energy vampirism. A manipulator is a real vampire, who uses the achievements of others as his own and self-asserts himself at their expense.
The main characteristics of a human manipulator
Manipulators, despite their secrecy, can be deduced by certain signs. There are quite a lot of such signs, and the more of them detected in the interlocutor, the more likely it is that he is a manipulator.
Characteristics of this type of person :
- Such people never explicitly state their feelings, thoughts, demands.
- They hide their real needs.
- They are capable of quickly changing their behavior and opinion depending on the situation.
- Their answers to questions are usually vague and indistinct.
- They constantly try to shift responsibility to other people.
- They say they remember well the requests of other people, but never fulfill them.
- When communicating, they often lie and hold back.
- They usually ignore other people’s needs and desires.
- Such people do not like criticism in their address, they also try to deny even the most obvious things.
- Sometimes they start demanding something in a harsh form.
- They expect instant reactions to their demands and demands.
- Without any reason they question the quality and competence of others. They do not try to prove their point, but instead use derogatory language, insults, and condemn the personality of the person in question rather than pointing out specific qualities.
- They blame everyone all the time.
- Manipulators usually do not convey their requests directly. They try to call or convey their request through an outsider.
- The manipulator believes that his point of view is the only correct one, he categorically does not recognize other opinions.
- The manipulator tends to threaten and blackmail; sometimes he does it openly, but with more pleasure he does it veiledly, as if trying not to give himself away.
- The manipulator tends to change the topic of conversation frequently, and he does so abruptly and suddenly.
- The manipulator notices that the person is poorly versed in a topic, and begins to discuss it. In this way he wants to show his superiority.
- Manipulators tend to complain a lot. He exaggerates his work load, his illnesses, etc. When communicating with other people, they often exaggerate their workload.
- When communicating with other people, they often demonstrate demonstrative courtesy by flattering others, giving them gifts, etc.
- Other people feel uncomfortable with their manipulators and, in addition, a certain amount of harm is done to others when the manipulator accomplishes his or her goal.
This is not a complete list of all the “markers” by which a manipulator can be identified, but it can be used to determine with a fairly high degree of accuracy whether there are manipulators among your loved ones. You can reasonably suspect a person of manipulation if this list confirms about half of the signs or more.
What types of manipulators are there
Everett Shostrom, in his famous book Anti-Carnegie, describes as many as eight types of manipulators :
- Dictator . This is the person who tries to give orders to everyone. He shouts, he threatens if he sees disobedience. Power and force are his main methods of action. By gaining superiority over others, he becomes an even greater tyrant.
- Calculator . Outwardly he looks like a well-mannered person, often having quite a few friends. But in fact such a person carefully calculates with whom he needs to be friends. In any case, he tries to get the maximum benefit for himself. If profitable acquaintances are not expected, he prefers to be alone.
- Clingy . These are people who prefer a passive, driven lifestyle. They wish to be controlled and can do nothing without orders. “Clingy” people are annoying yet lazy.
- Wimp . These people are characterized by a willless, infantile nature; they complain constantly and are in a bad mood for the most part. The goal for them is to be pitied or at least pay attention to them.
- Bully . This is the kind of manipulator who solves all his problems only by force and noise. In any situation that displeases him, he will fight and brawl. People around him are afraid of such a person and try to please him in everything.
- Judge . He is a manipulator who is constantly displeased with everything. At the same time, the scale of his condemnation often takes on a global character – he wants the whole world to behave “correctly”. Such a person constantly has contempt written all over his face for those around him. Such a manipulator tends to accuse everyone, even in those vices that are not peculiar to them.
- Nice guy . Such a puppeteer shows ostensible complacency, tries to please everyone, although his manners often seem insincere. Despite this, for a long time the people around cannot figure out the manipulator and are surprised when such a “good man” turns out to be a creepy scoundrel.
- Defender . This is a puppeteer who wants to justify the actions of others. The person does this not out of love for others, but only out of egoism – he wants to show himself to be more competent, intelligent and generous than others.
Regardless of his type, a manipulator is characterized by the quality of predictability. If you recognize his way of controlling others, you can effectively resist manipulation.
Methods of controlling people: by Breaker and Simon
Psychologists Simon and Breaker have identified a variety of methods of controlling people.
Here are some of them actively used by puppeteers :
- Deception by reticence;
- Distraction (switching to another subject);
- Covert intimidation;
- Shaming (the victim is communicated insecurity and fear through sarcasm).
Rules of Communication with a Manipulator
How should one deal with a person who has been caught trying to control others? First and foremost, you need to be a strong person yourself who understands their desires, is responsible for their actions and does not want to be manipulated.
There are two ways to deal with a manipulator:
First, you can simply ignore him. This method does not always help, because you can run into complications in the relationship: often manipulators are very aggressive people. Secondly, you can go to an active confrontation and behave so that the interlocutor no longer wants to manipulate you.
For example, you can respond to all of the manipulator’s requests with a single phrase. This method is especially good in the case when you need to refuse something. The phrase should be said with a friendly tone, but its content should not change. In this case, the manipulator gives up quickly, at first he begins to press pity, and then he shuts up.
The other way is disclosure. The manipulator usually hides his feelings, but he is not able to do it perfectly – his facial expressions give him away, for example. Having noticed this, it is necessary to express your idea directly and clearly, saying, for example: “You are lying. To enhance the effect, you can draw the attention of others.
An effective way is to respond to the manipulator’s criticisms and accusations by agreeing, but only with what is true. In this way, the manipulator will understand that the attempt to control the interlocutor has failed.
You can pretend to be a fool and pretend not to understand the manipulator’s request. You need to ask him to explain in more detail. Manipulators are most often illogical people, so with such an answer they will prefer to stop trying to pressure. You can also abruptly jump to another topic, pretending that you did not hear the puppeteer’s request.
10 techniques used by manipulators (and how to deal with them)
Psychopaths aren’t just the villains of horror movies and cautionary tales from Wall Street. We meet them every day in the office, and at first they seem like regular people. One study found that a small but noticeable 3-4% of business leaders fit the clinical definition of a psychopath. How do you protect yourself when interacting with such people?
The same is true of narcissists. A scientific experiment has shown that a faint touch of narcissism can contribute to business success. But spend some time in any work environment, and you will quickly notice that some professionals are unable to control their own ego.
The bottom line is this: in building a normal career in business, you will almost certainly run into a few really unhealthy narcissists and psychopaths who will try to insult and manipulate you. That’s why the extremely detailed article on Thought Catalog on this subject is so valuable.
Not only does it describe as many as 20 techniques used by unfriendly people to get what they want, but it also offers options for dealing with such manipulation. The excerpts below may seem lengthy, but in fact these 10 brief descriptions are only a small part of the advice contained in the full version of the post.
“Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic that can be described by various phrases: “That didn’t happen,” “You made it all up,” “Are you sick?” The Thought Catalog explains that.
“Gaslighting is probably one of the most insidious manipulative tactics, because it deals with distorting and destroying your sense of reality. It consistently diminishes your ability to trust yourself and inevitably deprives you of the feeling that you have every right to call violence and abuse by their proper names.”
“Trench yourself in your own reality. Sometimes you can neutralize the effects of gaslighting by detailing your events on paper, telling friends about them, or constantly sharing your experiences in a support group.”
Are you familiar with the situation where bad people tell you that the crap that surrounds them is not their fault, but yours? This is called projection. We all sin at times, but narcissists and psychopaths do it all the time. “Projection is a defense mechanism used to shift responsibility for one’s bad behavior and character traits to another person,” notes Thought Catalog.
“Don’t ‘project’ your sense of compassion and empathy onto the unhealthy person and don’t accept any projection of it onto yourself,” the article recommends. – By transferring your own moral attitudes and value system to others, you become a potential victim of long-term exploitation.”
You said that your co-worker is not always able to consider the delayed consequences of certain financial decisions. The office psychopath claims that you called him “reckless.” You notice that if conditions A, B, and C are triggered, the situation could get worse. Your narcissistic colleague tells your boss that you called the current situation a “disaster.”
What’s going on? It’s not that your narcissist didn’t understand your words. He(he) has no interest in understanding.
“Angry narcissists don’t always boast outstanding intelligence – many of them are rather ‘shallow’ people. Instead of carefully considering a different point of view, they generalize all of your statements, making unapologetic statements that fail to point out the nuances in your reasoning, or consider the numerous concepts to which you have paid homage,” writes Thought Catalog, describing this kind of behavior.
To deal with it,
“stand your ground and don’t forget that generalizations are really just the product of categorical thinking devoid of logic.”
4. Moving the Gate
“Cruel narcissists and sociopaths use a logical fallacy called ‘gate shifting’ to create situations in which they will have every reason to displease you forever. This is what happens when, even after you have cited all the evidence possible in the world in favor of your opinion or complied with all their requests, they impose a new condition or demand even more evidence,” writes Thought Catalog.
Don’t play such games.
“Establish your position and evaluate yourself. Understand that you are good as you are, and don’t let others constantly impose on you the feeling that you are flawed or unworthy of something.”
5. Changing the subject
Switching from one topic of conversation to another seems like an innocent enough thing to do. But in the hands of a skilled manipulator, changing the subject of the conversation becomes a means of avoiding responsibility. “Narcissists don’t want to discuss topics in which you can hold them accountable in some way, and so they will steer the discussion in the direction they want,” notes Thought Catalog.
This situation, with your connivance, can persist permanently, precluding discussion of truly relevant issues. Try to fight back using the “broken record” method.
‘ Continue to list the facts, ignoring their attempts to distract you. Come back to the right topic by saying: “That’s not what I’m talking about. Let’s focus on the real problem.” If they’re not interested, stop and spend your energy on something more constructive.”
6. Transitioning to personalities.
Just because you’ve been dealing with it all the time since you first encountered a bully on the playground doesn’t make switching to personalities any less disruptive. And it certainly occurs at all levels down to presidential politics.
Just don’t let it happen.
“You need to end any interaction involving personality transference and state that you will not tolerate it,” Thought Catalog advises. – Don’t accept this kind of behavior. Understand, they are resorting to personalities because more tactful methods are not available to them.”
7. Black PR
“If the harmful types fail to control your opinion of yourself, they start working with other people’s opinions of you. They pretend to be martyrs until they label you a villain. Black PR is a preemptive strike aimed at sabotaging your reputation and blackening your name,” explains Thought Catalog.
Sometimes true evil geniuses even manage to divide and conquer by pitting two people or groups against each other. Don’t let them succeed. “Document any form of bullying,” the post advises, and by no means fall for it: don’t let these monsters provoke you. Behave so that their lies remain lies.
Be careful if a colleague, while expressing sympathy for you, aggressively belittles your predecessor. “Narcissists do this all the time: they devalue their exes in the eyes of their current partners. And as a result, new partners fall victim to the same abusive attitude and aggression as previous lovers,” the post says. And this dynamic is found not only in the personal sphere, but also in the professional sphere.
Simply being aware of such a phenomenon is already the first step in combating it. “Keep in mind: the way a person treats or talks about someone can be transferred to you in the future,” Thought Catalog warns.
9. Aggressive jokes.
The problem is not your sense of humor, but the hidden meaning of the joke you let loose. “Latent narcissists enjoy making sarcastic remarks about you. They are usually presented as ‘just jokes. And this allows them to say disgusting things with impunity, while continuing to feign innocence and impassivity. And every time you resent the tactlessness and rudeness of a remark, you are accused of having no sense of humor,” states the post.
Don’t let the office brashness with gaslighting convince you that everything going on is just innocent fun. It isn’t.
One of the smartest ways that harmful people distract you from their nastiness is by shifting your attention to an imaginary threat from another person. This is called triangulation. “Narcissists like to ‘transmit’ deliberately false information about what others are saying about you,” Thought Catalog warns. To counter this tactic, realize that the third party in the drama is also being manipulated – he/she is also the victim, not the enemy.
And you can also try to “redirect the triangulation,” or “enlist the support of an outsider who is not influenced by the narcissist.”
P.S. We recommend another helpful article on the subject of working on yourself – 10 ways to deal with toxic family members.