Manipulation techniques are a common tool psychopaths, sociopaths, narcissists and other types of predators use to exert control over their victims.
We all use manipulation at some point in our lives, whether it be telling a little white lie to get out of a situation, or using flattery to get what we want. For some people, however, using manipulation is a way of life, and their first weapon in an arsenal of techniques to overpower their victims.
Who is at risk from a predator?
Predators use a range of manipulation techniques in order to control their victims, but they often target certain types of personalities. This is because they want to be able to easily manipulate a person, and particular vulnerabilities in a person lend themselves to manipulation. You are more likely to become a victim of a predator if you have low self-esteem, are naïve, easy to please, lack an assertive native and have no confidence in yourself.
Here are 20 of the most common manipulation techniques:
Predators are constantly lying about practically everything in their life. They do this to wrong-foot their victim and confuse them. Lying is one of the manipulation techniques psychopaths typically use because they have no qualms about it.
2. Not telling the whole story
This is different to lying as a predator will often keep a key part of the story to themselves in order to put their victim at a disadvantage.
3. Frequent mood swings
Never knowing what mood your partner is going to be in when you get home, whether they’ll be happy or angry is a very useful tool to the predator. It keeps their victim off balance and makes them more malleable.
4. Love-bombing and devaluation
Narcissists typically use love bombing as a manipulation tactic, they will go on a charm offensive and get you hooked into thinking this is the best relationship ever, then they’ll drop you like a ton of bricks without explanation.
This can include anything from constant nagging, shouting, the silent treatment, physical violence and mental abuse.
Often the simplest way a predator will manipulate a person is by denying the thing they are accused of ever happening.
7. Spinning the truth
How many times have politicians twisted the facts to suit themselves? This spinning of the truth is often used to disguise bad behaviour by predators such as sociopaths.
Where a predator will try and play down their actions as not important or damaging and shift the blame onto the victim for overreacting.
9. Plays the victim
The manipulator will themselves take on the role of victim in order to gain sympathy and compassion from those around them. We as humans are naturally drawn to helping people when they are suffering.
10. Targets the victim
When a manipulator accuses the victim of wrongdoing, they are making the victim defend themselves whilst the predator is able to mask their own manipulation techniques. The focus is on the victim, not the accuser.
11. Positive reinforcement
This includes buying expensive presents, praising them, giving money, constantly apologizing for their behaviour, excessive charm and paying lots of attention.
12. Moves the goal posts
You might think you know where you stand with a person, but if they are constantly moving the goal posts in order to confuse you, then it’s likely you’re dealing with a predator.
Diverting the conversation away from the perpetrator’s act and moving the conversation onto a different topic is a typical way predators manipulate their victims.
A predator will often be sarcastic about their victim in front of others. They do this to lower the self-esteem of the victim and to show others how powerful they are.
15. Guilt tripping
Someone who manipulates will often guilt trip their victim by saying that they don’t care about them, or that they are selfish or their life is easy. It all helps to keep that person confused and anxious.
Using charm, praise or flattering the victim is one way of gaining that person’s trust. The victim is naturally happy to receive such compliments but in doing do lowers their guard.
17. Playing the innocent card
A true manipulator will feign utmost shock and confusion at being accused of any wrongdoing. Their surprise is so convincing that the victim may question their own judgement.
18. Over the top aggression
Manipulators often use rage and aggression to shock their victim into submission. The anger is also a tool to shut down any further conversation on the topic as the victim is scared but focused now on controlling the anger, not the original topic.
It is far easier to keep a person under control if they are isolated from family members and friends who could shed some light and truth on the situation.
20. Feigns love and empathy
Predators such as psychopaths and sociopaths do not know how to love someone other than themselves, and cannot feel empathy, but they can pretend to in order to inveigle others into their lives.
If you watch out for the above manipulation techniques, you can keep yourself out of a predator’s clutches.
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