Before we begin discussing into the main topic of this article and its related scope, it is important to understand a few basic things about manipulation.
As a general assumption, humans do like to manipulate certain situations to some extent. While it might be deliberate or obscure on their part, a careful observation of such situations does show some clear and visible signs of it.
This article therefore revolves around understanding about what really is a manipulation and how to identify situations where either you are being manipulated or are manipulating yourself.
This way not only can you escape such circumstances of being exploited by someone but can also stop yourself from taking unnecessary advantage of someone else.
What is a manipulator?
To begin with, a manipulator is the person who manipulates or does manipulation.
Defining a manipulator or manipulation in just a few words is actually quite hard.
In its simplest form, a manipulation is the act of skillfully deceiving or twisting the facts in any scenario to take an undue advantage of any other person’s emotions or acts.
It is the ability to submerge another person’s rationality beneath its emotions. This way the manipulator can act as a victim or the innocent one instead of being a culprit and put the real burden of fault over the actual victim.
9 Signs of a master manipulator that you should be aware of
As explained earlier in the last section of this article, it is not easy to define a manipulator or an act of manipulation.
Rather it consists of a few characteristics or signs that one needs to be aware of in order to understand undergoing any such situation.
Manipulators come in all shapes and sizes depending on their motives and purpose. It also depends upon for how long and how strong you remain while dealing with them.
The longer and stronger your defense is, the more ways they will try to beat your resistance.
Therefore, there is no definite explanation to define how and in what ways a manipulator will try to manipulate you.
But based on research, observation and experience, there are a few traits or behavioral patterns that every manipulator will clearly show and which you need to be aware of.
We have here gathered and tried to explain them to raise your awareness in making a better and more timely judgment.
1. They prioritize themselves in every way
Manipulative people both deliberately and knowingly or either completely unknowingly create situations that work in favor of them.
To them their interest is all that matters. If they have to throw someone under the bus, they wouldn’t hesitate in doing it for their personal benefit.
Not only this but when discussing anything as well, they will try in every way possible to proof that their approach and solution to a matter is the best that can be thought of.
For this, they will continue to highlight the good points of their argument while also trying to find as many negative aspects in other people’s opinion.
To them their personal gains, thoughts, solutions remain a priority and for this they are willing to make others sacrifice.
2. Manipulators don’t take responsibility
After being successful in making others follow their line of action if anything still goes wrong, a manipulative person won’t take responsibility for it.
Instead of acknowledging a loophole in their planning, manipulators would rather make someone or all other people in their team seem responsible for the failure.
They would attribute the failure of their plan to the lack of proper performance, understanding and deployment by other people.
And it’s not that the manipulators aren’t aware of the flaws in their planning, they just don’t like to be accounted for their actions.
If it’s a win, manipulators would take all the credit. If it’s a loss, they will start a blame game.
3. Manipulators act differently in front and behind of you
A manipulative person won’t hold a single stance in every case. Rather than holding on to a single and uniform statement, their opinion and thoughts will change to suit the current scenario.
To show false support and empathy to the person that they are with, they will do anything to prove their loyalty. They will backbite others in front of you, make others look like your enemy, try to remind you again and again of how much they regard your interest at heart, etc.
When with another person, they will again involve in the same tactics. They will be polite with them while spitting all the negativity about others.
Even if caught, a manipulative person would still try to throw someone else under the bus instead of accepting their fault. They will still stick with the explanation of how someone else influenced their opinion and made them do what they did.
4. Their actions and words don’t complement
Probably you are familiar with the saying that, ‘Actions speak louder than words’.
Well this applies perfectly to a manipulative person. A manipulative person would say one thing and then engage in acting on a completely different believe.
Their actions and words would never complement each other. Again if you ask them the reason for this, they won’t either remember themselves ever saying anything like that or even if they do, they would try to steer away.
5. They know your trigger spots
A manipulative person would certainly know the art of learning the factors that trigger other people.
So even if you try to avoid or ignore them, they will come to you and hit you directly on the spot where it will hurt you most.
Then if you react, they will play like an innocent and make others sympathize with them rather than with you. And whether they do this on purpose or not, it is just not a big deal for them to ignite others and make them react.
6. Manipulative persons are invaders
Manipulative persons do not respect the personal boundaries of other people. Either willingly or unintentionally, for the purpose of their own sake they will cross into your private space.
They will deploy tactics through emotional, spiritual, physical and psychological means to pursue what they want from you. Then whatever the cost or expense you get charged with is none of their concern.
They just really don’t care to understand the limits which govern another person and separates them as an individual from the rest.
In simple words, there understanding of what is acceptable and what is unacceptable in a relationship is overshadowed by their personal gratification.
7. Manipulators look for the good and kind side of others
If you are naturally inclined towards showing a good and kind behavior, then you are most likely to fall prey to a manipulative person.
This is because manipulative people will most likely try to exploit the good and kind attitude in you for their personal gains.
Just because you are more emotionally sensitive and cannot see others suffer, is something that manipulators would want to take advantage of.
Even if you try to resist at first, they will repeatedly insist you on doing them the favor. They will praise you for your talent and how much they value it.
They will also let you do them the favor whenever you feel like doing it for example in your free time or after completing your tasks first.
But as soon as you make a commitment, they will play an opposite role. They will now bother you, remind you again and again and even taunt you for making a commitment and now being careless about it. This also means that they will bully you for their own sake and to get things done from you.
8. Manipulators play as an innocent and the real victim
As evident from the other traits explained before, a manipulative person will always want to act as an innocent and a victim.
If they get caught, they will become rude and deny all charges levelled against them. They will still want others to believe how well they thought about doing good to other people but were unable to do so.
And the reason is obvious because the other person always misunderstands and never believes in the manipulator’s true and loyal intentions.
Had the other person really given a chance to the manipulator to do what they actually wanted, things would have been completely different.
A manipulative person will never try to pass an allegation through them even if it is true. They are like a bounce pad from which everything not in their favor rebounds.
9. Manipulators avoid risking themselves
Manipulators will always try to avoid taking risks themselves even for their own benefit. They will always ask someone else to take the first step and do it for them.
If they find someone with the same needs as theirs but which involves a great amount of definite risks, they will invoke others to do it first. This way they will try to learn the extent and potential of any possible damage.
To invoke others for this purpose, they will try to praise their capabilities and work ethics and would even offer to form a team for the purpose, etc.
But once the task is done, they will take all the credit and deprive others of their effort. Or they will try to induce them into diving again in the risky depths.
In simple words, a manipulative person will always try to hide their wants into other people interests and then try to motivate them on how much they want that thing.
6 Ways to deal with manipulators and plan your escape
Now that you are very well fond of the signs to judge a manipulator or any such situation, it is important to learn on some ways to plan an escape from a manipulator.
1. Don’t even bother slightly
Don’t even bother slightly to what a manipulator is trying to talk you into. Don’t pay any kind of attention.
Simply ignore and avoid them. Do not answer or show any kind of interest. Not showing any kind of interest involves not even trying to correct them for their mistakes or reminding them for their past misdemeanors.
Remember that once you begin engaging or responding to them, you are near to falling prey to them.
2. You know yourself better than anyone else
Before relying on the suggestions of a manipulator, just remind yourself of the fact that the only person that knows you better is you.
And there shouldn’t be any doubt in believing that manipulators will always put their own interest first.
So without accepting their judgements and opinions, do the thing that comes to your mind and you think will suit you better.
3. Try to be different
Manipulators will try to persuade you based on their past experience with you and what they already know about you.
If you think that a manipulator is trying to build something out of your past, try to show them a different side of you and surprise them.
While an expert manipulator might try to flow with your changed pattern, most of the manipulative persons will be stunned, overwhelmed and not able to continue with their tactics.
4. Stop feeling guilty
Making mistakes and learning from them is a usual human behavior. Whining about it is not.
Manipulators often try make you feel guilty and ashamed of your past mistakes and failures. When this thing happens, just remember that you owe nothing to no one and how far you have come from your past.
5. Learn to say ‘No’
Most people don’t feel comfortable in rejecting others a favor and saying ‘No’ even if it means causing them personal damage or expense.
If you think that granting a favor to a manipulative person would actually result in self-harm than it is better to reply with a negative response.
6. Stop caring for other unnecessarily
People who care, are kind and could not see other people suffer, are themselves vulnerable to being a target of a manipulative person.
You might have heard about the saying that, ‘Caring only makes you weak. They think you care, they walk all over you’.
While we are not asking you to lose your side of caring and kindness, we want you to always keep your interests first.