“Psychological manipulation can be defined as the exercise of undue influence through mental distortion and emotional exploitation, with the intention to seize power, control, benefits and/or privileges at the victim’s expense.” – Preston Ni
People who intentionally manipulate others are bullies and deceptive scoundrels. Unlike others who may suffer from an underlying disorder, these scammers know exactly what they’re doing – and who they’re doing it to.
Manipulators are skillful, clever and unscrupulous at the same time. To think of them as among the most self-centered (and potentially narcissistic) type of person in existence is fairly accurate.
Recognizing manipulative behavior can be difficult, as their techniques can be executed both subtly and skillfully. It is important, then, to understand what makes such a person “tick.”
Clinical psychologist Dr. George K. Simon – considered a leading expert on manipulative behavior – cites three underlying behaviors of manipulation:
(1) Intentional concealment of aggressive behaviors and intentions.
(2) Identifying and leveraging any potential “shortcomings” of an individual to successfully carry out their actions.
(3) A ruthless mindset that lacks compassion, enabling the manipulator to act without apprehension.
In this article, we discuss a few potential behaviors of a manipulator – and how to protect yourself from them. You’ll notice as you read this list that a manipulative behavior can range from subtle to blatant.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE A MANIPULATOR (AND PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THEM)
1. ACTS OF POWER
Manipulators have an insatiable appetite for power. Their innate arrogance leads them to believe they hold superior influence over people despite any evidence to the contrary.
Believe it or not, you’re being influenced every day. How many false, misleading advertisements are out there? Commercial manipulation is no different than personal; the former just does so on a larger scale.
Preston Ni, a renowned communications expert, explains: “By presuming expert power over you, the manipulator hopes to push through his or her agenda more convincingly. Some people use this technique for no other reason than to feel a sense of (superiority.)”