Manipulate: to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage. – Merriam-Webster Dictionary
One thing is for certain: manipulators are great at what they do, namely, being deceptive. We can evaluate the above definition by Merriam-Webster to figure out exactly what manipulators are up to.
Are manipulators artful?
In no way does a manipulator create inspiring, beautiful pieces of art. At the same time, they do take their “craft” of playing on someone else’s emotions quite seriously. They operate in the same way that a talented artist painstakingly decorates an empty canvas. Disturbing, but true.
Are manipulators unfair?
“Fairness” isn’t an attribute that manipulators embody. They couldn’t care less about how fair or unfair they’re being. They care about what they can get from others, regardless of the magnitude of pain they may inflict, which is often severe.
Are manipulators insidious?
To be insidious is to knowingly create harm in an ambiguous manner, which manipulators certainly do. Those unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of a manipulator’s subtle “suggestions” rarely recognize the insidious motives until lasting damage has been done.
Those who practice manipulation have a common set of phrases. These phrases serve as smokescreens, making it difficult for you to understand what is really going on in the mind of a manipulator. They use this confusion to accomplish their mischievous goals, considering others as merely a means to an end. Are you someone a manipulator is trying to use? If you’re not sure, read on …
Here are 5 phrases manipulators say to make you feel crazy:
1. “You’re misunderstanding what I said.”
This is a common phrase uttered by manipulators when they’re “caught” in the act of saying or doing something deceptive. When this happens, they’ll turn the table on you to create a sense of doubt.
Manipulators thrive on creating negative emotions. They find satisfaction in someone else’s confusion. You can be confident that you’re not the one confused. In face, you probably understand fully what they said or did, which is the opposite of the manipulator’s intent. If you encounter someone that consistently utters this phrase, think seriously about whether this is a healthy, positive connection in your life.
2. “You’re acting crazy/irrational/illogical, etc.”
This second phrase is a close cousin to the first. The purpose here is to create a sense of doubt and/or confusion. This phrase aims a direct attack on your mental faculties. Yes, you read that right…it is a direct attack. Someone doesn’t call another person crazy, illogical, irrational, or worse, for any other reason than to hurt them.
It doesn’t matter the tone in which this phrase is uttered; it’s the context. Manipulators may sound detached when saying this in order to make it sound less personal. Make no mistake: it is personal. Not only that, but it is hurtful and purposeful. Such behavior requires a swift and direct response.
3. “You’re too sensitive.”
No, you aren’t; you’re a logical human being. Nobody would respond kindly to being taken advantage of, which is exactly what the manipulator is doing. What does this phrase do? It creates doubt (see a pattern here?)
Even if you are sensitive, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, sensitive people are the ones that often fall prey to acts of manipulation. Sensitive people care. If you are a sensitive person, you naturally comfort and sympathize with others.
Unfortunately, sensitive people are more likely to closely examine their thoughts and actions, and a manipulator wants them to do just that. Examine, and examine some more … and then concede defeat.
Don’t allow it to happen!
4. “I don’t like drama.”
Yes, they do. In fact, serial manipulators thrive on it, but in a different way than you. Generally speaking, manipulators don’t express drama in the physical sense. They don’t shrug their shoulders, sigh heavily, or speak loudly. They prefer to “go about their business” of manipulating others in subtle ways.
The point here is that the victim is, once again, forced to examine their actions. You might find yourself asking, “Am I being dramatic? Am I making too much out of too little?” No, you aren’t. Sadly, many people on the receiving end of a manipulator’s antics are more than willing to admit to wrongdoing when they have no reason to do so.
5. “You’re thinking too much.”
Maybe you are thinking too much, but maybe not. Even if you are, in this sense, it’s a positive development. It’s a positive because you’re rationalizing; you are refusing the psychological tricks that manipulators often use to get their way.
Here’s the caveat: it’s very difficult, perhaps impossible, to make sense of a manipulative person. It’s impossible because manipulation is not a rational behavior. It’s irrational, abnormal, and extremely hurtful. A person who truly cares for and loves someone else does not exhibit manipulative traits.
If you’ve been on the receiving end of manipulation, you’re probably hurting and filled with doubt. Take heart by understanding and believing that there is nothing wrong with you.
It’s the manipulator, and them alone.