Psychology of manipulation: how to recognize a manipulator?
The majority of people have heard about the psychology of manipulation in connection with the socio-psychological impact on people's behavior during the color revolutions of recent years. Before using the methods of mass exposure of people as a system technology, psychologists studied the techniques of manipulation at the individual level.
There are many books about nature and manipulation techniques, how to recognize a manipulator in close surroundings and to resist it. There are even trainings that teach the methods of influencing the subconscious mind for successful business. Which is not entirely ethical, but in demand.
In fact, unconsciously manipulating is part of communication and the natural ability of each person. It becomes a problem if it is practiced consciously to obtain a specific planned result. Because it's violence. Only psychological.
What is manipulation?
Before moving into the field of psychology, the term “manipulation” has been used in socialist political science since the 1960s. in relation to the "imperialist" media. Earlier in political and domestic moments was known as "intrigue".
Such a manipulation concept - stratagem, existed in ancient Greece and Rome, as a military trick. And 3 thousand years ago in China was used not only in military affairs, but also in interpersonal communication. This is a description of special behaviors that take into account the psychology, the environment and the calculation to achieve a particular hidden purpose. At the same time, their use for achieving "low" victories was condemned.
In 1939, a treatise “On 36 Stratagems” was found in the Chinese province of Shanxi. In the book “The Cunning Jesus” (Der Listige Jesus), the Protestant priest from Switzerland, W. Mauch, describes how Jesus used these same stratagems during his life.
What is manipulation in psychology, was well described in his work by E. Dotsenko, and, from the point of view of sociology, S. G. Kara-Murza. Noteworthy are the works of H. Breiker and D. Simon, the book of N. Hegen.
If all definitions are reduced, then manipulation is an implicit control of the methods of indirect influence on a person’s inner world, using it as a passive object for the sake of domination,exploitation or to achieve other goals unknown to the "victim".
But in a consumer society - the speed of moving up the career steps is put above all. And even if for the sake of it other people are used, then with such public morality - “they are guilty”, which they cannot do the same. Manipulators are often effective managers and “psychological abuse” in some trainings is already being touted as the result of evolution. Of course, such an individualistic attitude is not only debatable, but also destructive for humanity as a whole. Nevertheless, there is such a definition: manipulation is the structuring of the world and the spiritual state of others, which always allows us to win.
How to recognize a manipulator?
Acquaintance with the psychological impact begins in childhood. Interpersonal relationships contain elements of such management. Individual weaknesses of loved ones are used: fears, complexes, inadequate self-esteem, naivety, guilt and other pain points. But this is not blackmail, but a veiled effect on the sphere of emotions.
Manipulators are those whom some traumatic experience in childhood prevented from finding unity with the world or people.There are innate "managers" who directly feel the psychological weaknesses of their neighbors and skillfully play on them.
Hungarian psychologists from Pec University have shown that such people had increased brain activity when they saw that the experiment partner played fair. Whereas in the rest, such a splash occurs in the opposite case. The scientists concluded that the manipulator, having met the decency, immediately calculates the benefits that can be derived from this.
How to recognize a manipulator? The personality traits of the “dark triad” are often characteristic of the managers of another subconscious:
- Machiavellianism is cynicism and unprincipledness in achieving goals, ignoring morality.
- Psychopathy - ruthlessness, inability to sympathize and empathize, dishonesty.
- Narcissism - narcissism, inability to empathy.
It unites them: the manipulative communication style, egoism, courage, emotional coldness. Dominance, a sense of superiority, ambition, perseverance. Oddly enough, but the owners of such traits are sexually attractive to women. What is also used, using his charm and acting skills to cause sympathy.
The first communication may not portend anything bad. But if at subsequent meetings, there is discomfort, anxiety, or repeated negative emotions, this is evidence of "psychological violence."
It is worth listening to the intuition when the interlocutor's behavior and mood does not match the words: he crosses his arms over his chest, holds them near his mouth, and throws his legs over his leg. Sometimes it happens that people liked a lot of extremely intelligent, friendly behavior - this is also a reason to think. Especially if he shows increased interest:
- For any facts of your life. Interested in family, work, hobbies, views of the future, facts from the past, especially of a negative nature.
- To the features of the worldview. What are cultivated ideals, personal values, attitudes. For this philosophical themes are born.
- Explicit flattery. Often used for narcissists who easily take it at face value.
- Imposing yourself, your services and help.
- Demonstration of love and respect. The favors and gifts. It captivates and delays in the network of thanks.
- Repetitions of phrases, words are pronounced in a different order, sometimes replaced by similar meanings, but the meaning remains the same so that the idea penetrates the subconscious.
- The use of complex words, special terms, to divert attention, reduce non-verbal control.
- Mosaic conversation: begins with one, jumping from topic to topic, ends with another.
- Haste in the conversation itself and artificial time pressure for action, so that in the confusion it was impossible to think about what is happening. In this case, it is possible and dramatization of consequences, and anxiety.
- Stretched jokes and artificial humor.
- Mirroring. When the interlocutor copies the pose, gestures, manners, to "be on the same wavelength."
- Interrupting and changing the topic by the interlocutor.
- Answers with questions.
- Emotional Resilience. Quick response to objections.
- Unusual behavior, which changes too much.
- An unpleasant aftertaste after intercourse, although there were no obvious prerequisites.
- On the contrary, inexplicable charm.
Psychological aggressors grope deeply consciously. And they give verbal or non-verbal signs that the objects of manipulative actions themselves insert into the existing context (explain to themselves), changing reality in accordance with the desires of the manipulators, without realizing it. But if warned, you can fight back.
Basic psychological manipulation techniques
Manipulations are divided into conscious (more often in business communication) and unconscious (in interpersonal). The "puppeteers" use both active manipulation methods and passive ones.
The main methods of manipulation in everyday communication are based on feelings and psychological weaknesses:
- False love. In order not to lose a good attitude towards oneself, a person goes about the “puppeteer”, who accepts only those qualities of personality that are beneficial to him personally.
- Lies and deception, denial and excuses.
- A caring attitude that was not asked, in exchange for ...
- Superficial sympathy, which turns out to be "crocodile tears."
- Cultivating guilt makes the addressee fulfill the desires of the "actor."
- Depreciation. Self-assertion due to the uncertainty of another. And for this to beat the self-esteem.
- Vanity is a favorite sin not only for the hero Al Pacino, but also for successful manipulators. "After all, you're so wonderful, you can do a few more things?". The method of rewards is valid for the proud.
- To cause pity or sympathy - an easy way to get into trust. To get the upper hand afterwards.
- Seduction with benefits, relationships, gifts, confessions or “what do you want, my lord”? And then veiled threats to deprive it.
- Anger, irritation, aggressive behavior, not appropriate to the situation. They make people vulnerable and sensitive to make a deal.
- Demonstrative insult. Which abruptly passes when you get what you want. This is different from the sincere.
- Suggestion. Some give in easily, but are all vulnerable to fatigue.
- Ignore. Feelings, words, desires of the opponent.
- Irony, sarcasm to shame the other person.
- Minimization and rationalization, as well as a simulation of innocence. Explanation that inappropriate behavior is not so terrible compared to the “world revolution” or full justification. Sometimes with indignation and feigned surprise.
- Projecting guilt (collective, for example) on a particular person, condemning him, instilling false guilt.
- Feigning nonsense. When they pretend they don’t understand what is being said.
Everyone is familiar with the basic psychological methods of manipulation. Some are normal and are used in education, although not better than motivation and sincere dialogue.Sometimes they are needed and interesting in a relationship. But one-sided, brutal manipulation is unfair and ugly.
Who are the victims of manipulators?
Vulnerable to manipulators are people with increased responsibility, naivety and gullibility. Also lonely and elderly. The following weaknesses and advantages are exploited:
- Low self-esteem.
- Fear of emotions, especially negative ones.
- Passion for pleasure.
- Lack of consciousness and superconsciousness.
- Impressiveness and sensitivity.
Thus, it is clear what personality traits should be worked out in order not to become victims of manipulators.
How to resist manipulation?
To see the manipulator, you should be careful and do not rush to make decisions. If an “intruder” is identified, then the following methods will help counter manipulation:
- Find out the purpose of the aggressor.
- Hide emotions, do not show your vulnerabilities.
- Be yourself.
- Do not react to provocations, do not give the opportunity to impose destructive feelings on you.
- Do not make excuses.
- Ask direct clarifying questions.
- Master the conscious "superficial" communication, so as not to go into the existential. That is, do not try on other people's emotions to your coordinate system.
- Calculate what reactions are expected from you. Do not show it.
- Find out the reasons for your action by asking: “Why am I doing this?”.
- Learn to say no.
- Do not be afraid to say that you change your mind, make a mistake or do not want to continue the conversation.
- Leave if you do not like communication.
- Declare that the purpose of the manipulator is known to you. When exposed, the game "puppeteer" lose their meaning. But they do not recognize the charges, at best, will change the subject. At worst, they will begin to put pressure on feelings so that you feel wrong.
Do not be afraid of what others think of you. The best defense against manipulators is the development of self-assertiveness in order to be an independent, self-sufficient person and live in emotional equilibrium.
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