Manipulation in Psychology
Mental manipulation or psychological manipulation is – in psychology – a method deliberately implemented with the aim of controlling or influencing a person’s thinking, choices, actions, through a relationship of power or influence. The methods used distort or orient the perception of the reality of the interlocutor by using in particular a relationship of seduction, suggestion, persuasion, involuntary or consented submission.
Although mind manipulation is reminiscent of cults or brainwashing, it comes into play in everyday relationships and affects individuals and crowds alike. She can even have a positive perception in the case of romantic seduction.
However, it remains poorly known despite the many experiments carried out and concepts developed (social influence, social engineering, voluntary submission, domination, propaganda, moral harassment, etc.).
How to Tell If Someone Is Manipulating You
Manipulators are everywhere, and the internet increases the risk of encountering them. You may have already seen one, one or more, and you are wondering if you are being manipulated. You will probably encounter some in your lifetime, they most often want your money or want you to do them a favor. Here’s how to unmask them!
Know the difference between influence, manipulation and persuasion
To be influential is to direct a person’s behavior and choices in a direction you choose. This can be persuasion, like persuading a friend that they are being manipulated and that you need to file a complaint, for example (you both win).
It can also be manipulation when a “friend” manipulates you into getting money or a service from you (he wins, you loser).
Learn to spot the manipulator
There are three types of manipulators:
“The occasional” is you and me, it happens to us all, from time to time, most often unconsciously manipulating another person to get what we want. It could be a discount on a couch or a favor from a neighbor.
The “professional” is the one who will make manipulation his job and use all kinds of techniques on you (there are hundreds of them).
The “unhealthy manipulator”, the last category, can even become pathological and in this case it is necessary to surround yourself with a professional. He may come after you for pleasure (this is perverse) or because everything has to revolve around him to the detriment of others (this is narcissistic). Be sure to physically move away from the last two categories.
Ask yourself who benefits from the manipulation
This innocuous question is very effective. When you are in doubt about the nature of the relationship you have with someone you know, ask yourself who is benefiting from the relationship? Are you seeing an abnormal exchange of money? Services always provided in the same direction? If both parties enjoy the relationship, then all is well. On the other hand, if you lose and the other wins, it is manipulation.
Read also: Mental Health For Teens | Mental health in adolescence follows us throughout life
Beware of confirmation bias
Confirmation bias is a natural tendency that we all have. When you first meet someone, a part of you decides whether to like them or not to like them. From this choice, you see all his actions through this first filter “I like / I don’t like”. If you like it, you tend to highlight its good sides and overlook its bad parts. Conversely, if you don’t like the person, you tend to notice their bad sides more and deny their good sides.
In the case of manipulation, the manipulator is very careful that you like him from the first moments to “be in your little papers” and that you forget the shady behavior he might have.
Ask for the opinion of several close people
One of the challenges is to take a step back. If you are in doubt, discuss the situation with friends or relatives and ask their opinion. They are not, or less, subject to confirmation bias than you, and will stick to the facts more than you. Because of the physical distance they have, they have more perspective than you.
Note: If you have any doubts for yourself or someone around you, you can contact health professionals or state services (law enforcement, government site)
A relationship with a manipulator is a relationship that costs you
A manipulator makes us suffer because he makes our sensitive “cords” to vibrate.
A manipulator uses us, using the 4 social laws:
1. A manipulator is someone who takes a lot from us and gives us little.
2. Our relationship with him costs us a lot: money, time, energy, unpleasant emotions.
3. On the contrary, our relationship benefits him: professional or financial success, for example.
4. So take an evaluation of your relationship: See what it brings you, and what it costs you. Then see what it brings him, and what it costs him.
Is the relationship fair? Does it bring so much to everyone? In money, time, energy, or happiness? This is a good way to recognize a manipulator.
Here are the 4 social laws that are “engraved” in us:
Trust: I must be able to trust others, and others must be able to trust me.
Reciprocity: I have to give as much as I get.
Collaboration: I have to help others, and I have to be able to count on others. We must act together to achieve our goals.
Empathy: I need to be able to understand how other people are feeling. For that I have to put myself in their shoes.
Sources: American Psychological Association, National Library of Medicine
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