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Signs Of Manipulators You Might Not Be Aware Of

Signs Of Manipulators You Might Not Be Aware Of

“If you are an approval addict, your behavior is as easy to control as that of any other junkie. All a manipulator needs to do is a simple two-step process: give you what you crave, and then threaten to take it away. Every drug dealer in the world plays this game.”

― Harriet B. Braiker

All of us have encountered a manipulator at some point in our lives. Remember that “something” you didn’t want to buy, but had to because someone convinced you? Yes, there is a good chance of that someone being a manipulator.

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Manipulation is a dirty game. You never know what is going on in a manipulator’s head, and you have no idea what they can make you believe. Psychology defines manipulation as an act of exercising unjustified control over someone by mental misrepresentation or emotional abuse with malice aforethought of taking power, advantages, and favors, all at the cost of the prey.

How does a manipulator succeed in doing what they do?

Manipulation is not like social influence. Social influence is a process of being inspired by those around us. It is the foundation of constructive relationships. It’s best to detect them and stay away from them!

What set manipulators apart from normal people are their modus operandi :

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Detect: It’s like a superpower. Manipulators can detect weakness, and they know exactly how to use it.

Advantage: Once they understand what makes you vulnerable, they will weaponize it against you.

Convince: They have amazing convincing abilities. They will have you at their feet because they’ve convinced you to give something up for their selfish interest.

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Repeat: Success reinforces the high spirits of manipulators, and they will repeat their actions until you identify and eliminate them.

How to spot a manipulator?

You can find manipulators on any page of your life: Work, Home or Love. The scary part is that they are very cunning. If you suspect that you are dealing with a manipulator, it’s time to be sure and get rid of them for the better.

Characteristics of a typical manipulator

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  1. Sympathy seeker: Manipulators are great at playing the “victim”, and they have no realization of responsibility. They live with the feeling that the world has done them wrong. They utilize the “sorry” feeling of people to get anything they want from them.
  2. Guilt tripper: They are excellent at making you feel guilty for crimes that you didn’t commit. You may even feel that you’re in the wrong after they’ve pressed your insecurities.
  3. Passive aggressive: Manipulators just don’t want to lose an argument. They will use anything and everything against you to win it. If you are unhappy about something, they will do their magic of word twist and convince you it is their reaction to what you previously did. With a manipulator, the fault will always be yours.
  4. Fake helper: They will try their best to help you when you are in need. In fact, they will go to great lengths to ensure that everybody knows about their favor. But don’t be fooled, they do this just to make sure that you have no choice but to help them when they need help. They can ask for anything, and they don’t care how valuable it may be to you or what you will have to do to get it.
  5. Always right: No matter how good you are at debating, you can’t win against a manipulator. They will never stop arguing because they are never wrong. If you are not a fan of argument, it’s a guarantee that you will never win with them.

How to stop a manipulator

Now that you know what you’re dealing with, it’s time to stop them. Getting rid of manipulators isn’t always easy, especially when the manipulator is someone close to you. But trust me, only your withdrawal is going to change them.

Realize that you don’t need to stay in a toxic friendship or relationship unwillingly. Understand your basic human rights and don’t let anybody convince you to go against them. Learn to be straightforward without being rude, and remember that you have the right to say “no”.

You deserve to be free from manipulation. There are numerous scientifically proven ways to handle a manipulator successfully, and they can save you from the personal violation that is manipulation.

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Shikha Prasoon

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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