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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 October 14, 2020

The Art of Humble Confidence

The Art of Humble Confidence

To be confident or not to be confident, that is the question. I’m not sure about you, but I’ve been a bit confused about all this discussion about the subject of confidence. Do you really need to be more confident or should you try to be more humble? I think the answer is both – you just have to know where to use it.

East VS West – Confidence, It’s a Cultural Thing

In typical Western countries, the answer to the confidence debate is obvious – more is better. Our heros are rebellious, independent and shoot first, ask questions later. I think this snippet of dialog from The Matrix sums it up best:

Agent Smith – “We’re willing to wipe the slate clean, give you a fresh start. All that we’re asking in return is your cooperation in bringing a known terrorist to justice.”
Neo – “Yeah. Well, that sounds like a pretty good deal. But I think I may have a better one. How about, I give you the finger”
[He does]
Neo -“ …and you give me my phone call.”

In Eastern countries, the tone is often considerably different. Elders are supposed to be revered not dismissed. The words ‘guru,’ meaning a teacher, and the philosophy of dharma, loosely translated to mean ‘duty,’ come from here. In Eastern cultures humility and respect are more important than confidence.

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These perspectives are generalizations, but it shows how the confidence debate goes back deep into our culture. I think that both extremes of pure confidence or pure humility are misguided. Instead of rectifying this situation by simply blending the two: becoming somewhat humble, somewhat confident all the time, I believe the answer is to know when to be confident and when to be humble.

Humble Confidence – Know When to Use It

I’m going to make another broad generalization. I believe that virtually every relationship you are going to have is going to fit into one of two major archetypes, either master or student. In peer relationships this master/student role may switch frequently, but it is extremely rare that the relationship never leans to one side.

In the master role, you are displaying confidence to get what you want. This is public speaker, leader or seducer. Being the master has advantages. You have more control and ability to influence from this role.

The student role is the opposite. You are intentionally displaying humility. This is the student, disciple or follower. Being the student has advantages too. You can learn a lot more in this role and are more likely to win the trust of the other person.

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Know When to Shut Up and Learn

If you are a typical Westerner, you are probably already thinking about which role you prefer. Being the leader is great. You get respect and a higher status. Most of all you get a greater degree of control.

But the problem is that you can’t and shouldn’t always try to be the leader. Trying to assume that role without the skills, resources or status to back it up will lead to conflict. More importantly, there are many times when you purposely want to display humility. Some of the benefits to the student role include:

  • You learn more.
  • Smooths relationships.
  • Makes others more willing to lend a helping hand.

Knowing when taking the humble route is to your advantage. It is far easier to get mentors and advisors if you use humility rather than arrogance. A small sacrifice to your ego can open up the potential to learn a lot.

Confidence to Persuade, Humility to Learn

In reality almost no relationship is as clearly defined as master/student. Within our connections, people have overlapping areas of expertise. I might be an expert in blogging to a non-blogger, but they might be an expert in finance. In each area there are different roles to take.

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Before any interaction ask yourself what the purpose is. Are you trying to learn or persuade?

Persuasion requires confidence. If you are trying to sell, instruct or lead you need to display the confidence to match your message. But learning requires humility. You won’t learn anything if you are constantly arguing with your professors, mentors or employers. Taking a dose of humility and temporarily making yourself a student gives you the opportunity to absorb.

Persuade Less, Learn More

Persuasion is great for immediate effect, but learning matters over the long-haul. Instead of washing over all your communication with pure confidence, look for opportunities to learn. Persuading someone to follow you may give you an immediate boost of satisfaction, but it doesn’t last. Learning, however, is an investment for the future.

Whenever I make a connection with someone and realize they have a skill or understanding I want, I am careful to express humility in that area. That means listening with what they say even if I don’t immediately agree and being patient with their response. This method often drastically cuts down the time I need to spend on trial and error to learn by myself.

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Confidence/Humility Doesn’t Replace Communication Skills

This approach of selectively using confidence and humility for different purposes doesn’t replace communication skills. Humility isn’t going to work if the other person thinks you’re an irritating whiner. Confidence won’t work if the entire room thinks you are an arrogant jerk. Knowing how to display these two qualities takes practice.

The next time you are about to enter into an interaction ask yourself why you are doing it. Are you trying to persuade or learn? Depending on which you can take a completely different tact for far better results.

Featured photo credit: BBH Singapore via unsplash.com

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