Why is the topic of manipulation and manipulators so in demand lately? Some teach to recognize manipulations in negotiations, relationships and counteract them. Others, on the contrary, tell how to get what you want, even when it is not available.
We all have needs: think of Maslow’s pyramid. Everything seems to be clear with natural, basic ones – if you feel hungry – eat, thirst – drink, natural need – go to the toilet, if you want sex – have sex. Although at the level of sex, manipulations are already beginning. It’s not easy to walk up to a person and say “I want sex, let’s go get it.” Unless you trust someone. And I want sex. Here men and women begin to manipulate. Men pretend they want a serious relationship in order to get sex. Women, on the other hand, pretend that they don’t want sex at all in order to get a serious relationship. One need is masked by another. This is how manipulation occurs.
There is an even more complex level of needs – for love, security, acceptance and belonging to a group. If in childhood a child had these needs met in a direct way, then everything is OK, growing up, he receives and gives love, acceptance, and security in the same direct way. But if there was a failure in childhood and this failure was long-term, the child learns to manipulate in order to get at least something. Otherwise, do not survive. No wonder orphans are the most desperate manipulators I have ever seen. On the one hand, they have a huge, unfulfilled need for love, for hugs, for the attention of an adult, and on the other, anger and distrust, because once the closest adult has already betrayed and abandoned them. In this conflict between the two forces “love-need” – “distrust-hate” they learn masterful tricks: how to put pressure on pity, how to like it, how to get a gift, and so on.
Types of manipulations
But back to adults and manipulation. Not all manipulations are harmful and harmful. Some of them are built on the complimentary principle “I won, you won.” To say a compliment to the official in the instance, so that they would quickly serve and issue the necessary piece of paper. To go from below, that is, to seek advice from a colleague in order to show how we recognize his authority and win over. Recognizing the importance of any person’s actions and praising them is an almost win-win way of interacting with the world. Maybe the importance is recognized and not from the bottom of my heart, well, I don’t like bureaucratic paperwork, but sometimes I have to enter into it, which means I use manipulations to quickly finish and exit.
Toxic and dangerous are manipulations built on the principle “I won, you lost”, because in them to get something is connected with destroying the one who gives. Or very strongly undermine his faith in himself and his ability to distinguish “I feel good – I feel bad.”
The same gaslighting, I don’t like this word and would call this type of manipulation “everything seemed to you”. The manipulator says one thing and does another. You see a discrepancy, you try to talk to him “how is it, I don’t understand what is happening.” In response, “it all seemed to you” or “you didn’t understand everything.” As a result, from a long-term belief “everything seemed to you,” you really begin to doubt the objectivity of your perception of reality, and, therefore, doubt yourself.
Very often, mothers use this to keep a grown child with them. Mom is scared to be alone, especially if her personal life is not established. It is also impossible to admit this fear, it is rarely realized. So she uses this false guilt so that the child is always there – I gave you my whole life, and you …, I didn’t get married so that my stepfather wouldn’t beat you, like your classmate Masha beat, I didn’t sleep at night – the arsenal of these claims is huge . The child feels not only responsible for the mother’s life, but also guilty that she supposedly turned out wrong because of him. And hangs on the hook of false guilt.
Victimblaming is also manipulation. The aggressor uses it to force the victim to defend himself, that is, to become the aggressor, thereby masking his own aggressive actions. Society uses this tactic to avoid facing its own helplessness and insecurity. Identify with the aggressor so as not to face the realization that “I too can become a victim.”
The role of the victim
Playing the role of the victim. Unlike a real victim, a simulated victim repeatedly exaggerates the damage that has been inflicted on her or a single damage stretches for many years, using as a cover “everyone offends me and everyone owes me.” The received attention and sympathy does not appreciate, but constantly wants to receive more. When tired of pouring water into the sand, a person stops giving attention – writes him down as offenders and aggressors, and suffering enters a new round, with a new person, only the old one is already recorded in the category of “terrible ungrateful people.”
I am ok, you are not ok
There are many more types of toxic manipulations, they can be used in combination or some one is in the lead, but the essence is the same for everyone. Or the principle “I am ok, you are not ok”. Convincing another that something is wrong with him, but everything is fine with the manipulator.
Bringing the manipulator to clean water is useless. This is the place where even more strength is spent, which means that the damage from manipulation increases many times over. If in communication and in relationships with a person you have one or more symptoms:
- a background feeling of discomfort, when everything seems to be so, but inside there is irritation, fatigue, unwillingness to answer a call or letter, sometimes a signal in the body is a stomach cramp or an increase in heart rate;
- doubts whether you see this world correctly and understand reality;
- a feeling of guilt when you didn’t do anything wrong, but you feel guilty or indebted to a person;
you are almost certainly in contact with a toxic manipulator. And the safest way to react is to leave.
The manipulator will not change, you will not fix him with the power of your love or kindness. The damage from a relationship with a manipulator is severe. It is difficult to admit that you spent your strength, feelings, actions, and in return you were left in the cold, that is, without a resource. But it’s better to admit and leave once, thus you will save the rest of your strength and recover. From “not quite ok” you will become “I’m fine.” If you try to engage in an unequal battle to force the manipulator to admit that he is wrong, you will definitely lose.