Psychological Manipulation

By: Halie Holland

Everyone at some point in their lives has manipulated someone. It’s an inevitable thing that we are all at fault for. It happens so naturally, but the big question is why does it happen so easily?

Psychological manipulation can be defined as behavior that is intended to change the attitude or behavior of other people by using devious, deceptive, or even abusive techniques. These techniques include pathological lies and behaviors which defy any human reason or explanation.

It can range from telling your mom you had a bad day to get her to do your unfinished chores to fibbing a story to make yourself look better.

Most manipulative individuals have four common characteristics:

  1. They know how to identify your weaknesses.
  2. Once they find it, they use your weaknesses against you.
  3. Through their savvy scheme, they convince you to give up something of yourself in order to serve their self-centered interests.
  4. In work, social, and family situations, once a manipulator succeeds in taking advantage of you, he or she will likely continue to do so until you put a stop to the exploitation.

What drives manipulation? The answer is fear. Fear can make someone do and say words that they normally wouldn’t. It’s the fear of missing out if you don’t go kayaking with your buds or of others finding out your weird hobby that you wish for them to not know about. In order to avoid their subconscious thought of unpleasantness, they resort to manipulation.

The fascination with being a perfect person comes into play as well. At some point in your life, you have messed up, said the wrong thing, or did something you regret. People care a great deal about how others perceive them, and manipulation is what they resort to to keep their image favorable. It could also be reactionary for people who have had a troubled past and use it as a defense mechanism to shield themselves.

We all make choices and decisions that affect us as well as the people around us, so don’t freak out about people manipulating you. It’s just important to distinguish healthy social influence from psychological manipulation. Not everyone who acts like the above are deliberately trying to manipulate you. Some people simply have very poor habits.

 

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