From The Book: Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover
Just because someone is telling you all the right things and are complimenting you, it doesn’t mean that it is necessary the truth or that this person wants the best for you. Not everybody who compliments you and tells you all the right things is right for you. Some people are good at controlling, manipulating people’s weaknesses.
We have all seen this in salesmen who want to sell us something; they tell us all the right things we want to hear to get us to buy their products so that they can get a profit from it. But it doesn’t mean that the product is right for us or that the salesmen want what’s best for us.
The same goes for people and romantic relationships; he/she may tell you all the things you want to hear, but it doesn’t mean that they want what’s best for you.
To avoid attracting the same kind of abusive and manipulating people, it is good to know the characteristics of manipulation and manipulators.
Weaknesses Easily Used By Manipulators
Manipulators generally take the time to search for the characteristics and vulnerabilities of their victim and play on whatever weakness they have (based on research by George K. Simon, Harriet Braiker, and Paul Babiak).
Weaknesses The Manipulator Uses To Get His Or Her Will:
• the “disease to please”
• addiction to earning the approval and acceptance of others
• emotophobia (fear of negative emotion)
• lack of assertiveness and ability to say no
• insecure sense of identity (with soft personal boundaries)
• low self-reliance
• naivety—victim finds it too hard to accept the idea that some people are cunning, devious, and ruthless or is “in denial” if he or she is being victimized
• over-conscientiousness—victim is too willing to give manipulator the benefit of the doubt and see their side of things, in which they blame the victim
• low self-confidence—victim is self-doubting, lacking in confidence and assertiveness, likely to go on the defensive too easily
• over-intellectualization—victim tries too hard to understand and believes the manipulator has some understandable reason to be hurtful
• emotional dependency—victim has a submissive or dependent personality; the more emotionally dependent the victim is, the more vulnerable he or she is to being exploited and manipulated
The Types Of Personalities That Are Easy To Manipulate
• too trusting—people who are honest often assume that everyone else is honest (they commit themselves to people they hardly know without checking credentials, etc.; they rarely question so-called experts)
• too altruistic—the opposite of psychopathic: too honest, too fair, too empathetic
• too impressionable—overly seduced by charmers (for example, they might vote for the phony politician who kisses babies)
• too naive—cannot believe there are dishonest people in the world, or if there were, they would not be allowed to operate
• too masochistic—lack of self-respect and unconsciously let psychopaths take advantage of them (they think they deserve it out of a sense of guilt)
• too narcissistic—narcissists are prone to falling for unmerited flattery
• too greedy—the greedy and dishonest may fall prey to a psychopath, who can easily entice them to act in an immoral way
• too immature—has impaired judgment and believes the exaggerated advertising claims
• too materialistic—easy prey for loan sharks or get-rich-quick schemes
• too dependent—dependent people need to be loved and are therefore gullible and liable to say yes to something to which they should say no
• too lonely—lonely people may accept any offer of human contact (a psychopathic stranger may offer human companionship for a price)
• too impulsive—make snap decisions about, for example, what to buy or whom to marry without consulting others
How He/She Manipulates You
George K. Simon identified the following manipulative techniques:
• Lying: It is hard to tell if somebody is lying at the time they do it although often the truth may be apparent later when it is too late. One way to minimize the chances of being lied to is to understand that some personality types (particularly psychopaths) are experts at the art of lying and cheating, doing it frequently, and often in subtle ways.
• Lying by omission: This is a very subtle form of lying by withholding a significant amount of the truth. This technique is also used in propaganda.
• Denial: The manipulator refuses to admit that he or she has done something wrong.
• Rationalization: An excuse made by the manipulator for inappropriate behavior. Rationalization is closely related to spin.
• Minimization: This is a type of denial coupled with rationalization. The manipulator asserts that his or her behavior is not as harmful or irresponsible as someone else was suggesting, for example saying that a taunt or insult was only a joke.
• Selective inattention or selective attention: The manipulator refuses to pay attention to anything that may distract from his or her agenda, saying things like “I don’t want to hear it.”
• Diversion: The manipulator is not giving a straight answer to a straight question and is instead being diversionary, steering the conversation onto another topic.
• Evasion: Similar to diversion but giving irrelevant, rambling, vague responses, weasel words.
• Covert intimidation: The manipulator is throwing the victim onto the defensive by using veiled (subtle, indirect, or implied) threats.
• Guilt tripping: A special kind of intimidation tactic. The manipulator suggests to the conscientious victim that he or she does not care enough, is too selfish, or has it easy. This usually results in the victim feeling bad, keeping them in a self-doubting, anxious, and submissive position.
• Shaming: The manipulator uses sarcasm and put-downs to increase fear and self-doubt in the victim. Manipulators use this tactic to make others feel unworthy and therefore defer to them.
Shaming tactics can be very subtle, such as a fierce look or glance, an unpleasant tone of voice, rhetorical comments, and subtle sarcasm.
Manipulators can make one feel ashamed for even daring to challenge them. It is an effective way to foster a sense of inadequacy in the victim.
• Playing the victim role (“poor me”): The manipulator portrays him- or herself as a victim of circumstance or of someone else’s behavior in order to gain pity or sympathy or evoke compassion and thereby get something from another. Caring and conscientious people cannot stand to see anyone suffer, and the manipulator often finds it easy to play on sympathy to get cooperation.
• Vilifying the victim: More than any other, this tactic is a powerful means of putting the victim on the defensive while simultaneously masking the aggressive intent of the manipulator.
• Playing the servant role: Cloaking a self-serving agenda in the guise of a service to a more noble cause, for example saying he is acting in a certain way for “obedience” and “service” to God or a similar authority figure.
• Seduction: The manipulator uses charm, praise, or flattery or overtly supports others in order to get them to lower their defenses and give their trust and loyalty to him or her.
• Projecting the blame (blaming others): The manipulator scapegoats in often subtle, hard-to-detect ways.
• Feigning innocence: The manipulator tries to suggest that any harm done was unintentional or that he or she did not do something that he or she was accused of. The manipulator may put on a look of surprise or indignation. This tactic makes the victim question his or her own judgment and possibly his own sanity.
• Feigning confusion: The manipulator tries to play dumb by pretending that he or she does not know what you are talking about or is confused about an important issue brought to his or her attention.
• Brandishing anger: The manipulator uses anger to brandish sufficient emotional intensity and rage to shock the victim into submission. The
manipulator is not actually angry; he or she just puts on an act. He just wants what he wants and gets “angry” when denied.
Manipulators Have Possible Motivations, Including:
• the need to advance their own purposes and personal gain at virtually any cost to others
• a strong need to attain feelings of power and superiority in relationships with others
• a want and need to feel in control (control-freak)
• to gain a feeling of power over others in order to raise self-esteem
Basic Manipulative Strategy Of A Psychopath
According to Robert D. Hare and Paul Babiak, psychopaths are always on the lookout for individuals to scam or swindle. The psychopathic approach includes three phases:
1. Assessment Phase
Some psychopaths are predators who will take advantage of almost anyone they meet, while others are more patient, waiting for the perfect, innocent victim to cross their path.
In each case, the psychopath is constantly sizing up the potential usefulness of an individual as a source of money, power, sex, or influence.
Some psychopaths enjoy a challenge, while others prey on people who are vulnerable, to get a sense of control or self-esteem.
During the assessment phase, the psychopath is able to determine a potential victim’s weak points and will use those weak points to seduce.
2. Manipulation Phase
Once the psychopath has identified a victim, the manipulation phase begins. During the manipulation phase, a psychopath may create a persona or mask, specifically designed to ‘work’ for his or her target.
A psychopath will lie to gain the trust of his or her victim. Psychopaths’ lack of empathy and guilt allows them to lie with impunity; they do not see the value of telling the truth unless it will help get them what they want.
As interaction with the victim proceeds, the psychopath carefully assesses the victim’s persona. The victim’s persona gives the psychopath a picture of the traits and characteristics valued in the victim. The victim’s persona may also reveal, to an astute observer, insecurities or weaknesses the victim wishes to minimize or hide from view.
The persona of the psychopath—the “personality” the victim is bonding with—does not really exist. It is built on lies, carefully woven together to entrap the victim. It is a mask, one of many, custom-made by the psychopath to fit the victim’s particular psychological needs and expectations.
The victimization is predatory in nature; it often leads to severe financial, physical, or emotional harm for the individual.
Healthy, real relationships are built on mutual respect and trust; they are based on sharing honest thoughts and feelings. The victim’s mistaken belief that the psychopathic bond has any of these characteristics is the reason it’s successful.
3. Abandonment Phase
The abandonment phase begins when the psychopath decides that his or her victim is no longer useful. The psychopath abandons his or her victim and moves on to someone else. In the case of romantic relationships, a psychopath will usually seal a relationship with their next target before abandoning his or her current victim.
You Will Know A Good Person By Their Fruits:
If you are unsure if this is a person who is good for you, check if they have good fruits, not only material fruits but more importantly the Fruits of the Spirit.
“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.
A Prayer For Releasing Unhealthy Relationships:
“Dear God, thank you for helping me to discern accurately whether a situation or a relationship is good for me or not. Please give me the strength to leave behind those situations and relationships that are out of integrity, with full forgiveness and love, and a clear understanding of the role that I played in attracting that situation or relationship. Amen.”
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