How To Spot A Psychological Manipulator


What else beats a positive exchange of emotions in all our relationships, be it family, work or friends?

Yet, some people are one-sided in their interactions with others and it only makes sense to be able to spot them and their schemes.

According to Dr Perry, psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that uses deception, underhanded tactics and abuse in order to achieve the interests of the manipulator. The manipulator may use these tactics for personal gain, to advance a covert agenda, gain a position of power and superiority in the relationship or simply because they are bored.

Manipulation can happen to the best of us, but how can we spot the manipulators before they become destructive?  It is important to distinguish healthy social influence from psychological manipulation.

And below are 14 signs of a manipulator:

1. Lying
Overtly or by omission, they will play with the truth to facilitate their goal.

2. Denial
They will deny doing anything wrong, even when caught red handed.

3. Anger/Defensive
When confronted, they will react with excessive anger or defensiveness. They will use anger to scare you into submission.

4. Rationalization
When confronted with their manipulative behavior they will explain it away and put a positive spin to it.

5. Minimization
They will explain their behavior in a way to minimize it; like insulting you and later claiming it was only a joke.

6. Diversion
When confronted or they feel you may be on to their manipulative ways they will divert your attention to something else that’s unnecessary.

7. Intimidation
The manipulator may resort to direct or implied threats in order to get a person to act or not act.

8. Guilt trip
To get a person to act, the manipulator will make statements to the victim such as “You don’t care,” “You are selfish,” “You have it easier” and other similar statements. What they say will depend on their perceived weakness of the target.

9. Shame
The manipulator may use sarcasm and mocking behavior to create a sense of inadequacy in their victim.

10. Playing the victim

The manipulator may play the role of victim in order to gain sympathy and pity. They will make up stories of hardship and pain and will use this tactic to manipulate goodhearted individuals who wish to help.

11. Vilify the victim
The manipulator will falsely accuse the victim of a perpetrated act that they themselves are accused of. For example, they will claim that they are the ones being abused in order to put the victim on the defense. They will also project the blame to the victim. They will try to convince you and others that you are crazy or you are the abusive one.

12. Seduction
A manipulator will use flattery, charm and praise to get the victim to drop their guard and to gain the trust of the victim. This approach will be used repeatedly throughout a person’s relationship with the manipulator.

13. Feigning innocence
They will make it appear as if it is a misunderstanding and that it is the victim who is seeing things in a negative way. This is another way of making the victim feel inadequate and confused.

14. Peer pressure

The manipulator may try to convince the victim that they should act a certain way because others are ‘ok’ with and engaging with the behavior. Remember, you are in control of your life and you always have the right to say “NO” to anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Psychological manipulation is a form of mental bullying.

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