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 receiving a manipulator’s subtle “suggestions” rarely recognize the insidious motives until lasting damage has been done.
Ten Behaviors That Reveal Manipulators
Deceit, exploitation, and control mark manipulators. Manipulative people use a variety of tactics to achieve their goals, whether it be getting their way in a particular situation, gaining power or status, or simply satisfying their personal needs.
Manipulative behavior is often seen as harmful, as it can lead to manipulating others and exploiting vulnerable people. It is essential to understand the typical behaviors of manipulative people to protect yourself and others from being harmed.
Here are some of the key behaviors of manipulative people:
1 – Lying and Deception Reveal Manipulators
One of the most common behaviors of manipulative people is lying and deception. They often use lies and half-truths to get what they want and may even create elaborate stories or scenarios to manipulate others. They may also withhold information or give false promises to gain control over a situation.
2 – Guilt-Tripping
Manipulative people often use guilt-tripping as a way to get what they want. They may make others feel responsible for their problems or make them feel bad for not doing what they want. It can be especially effective if the person on the receiving end has a strong sense of empathy or a desire to please others.
3 – Gaslighting Reveals Manipulators
Gaslighting is a form of emotional manipulation involving making someone doubt their perceptions and experiences. Manipulative people may use gaslighting to make others question their memory, sanity, or judgment. They may deny things they previously said or did or try to convince others that they are wrong or crazy.
4 – Manipulators Rely on Flattery and Charm
Manipulative people are often very skilled at flattery and charm. They may use compliments or acts of kindness to gain trust and manipulate others into doing what they want. They may also use their charisma and social skills to make themselves likable or trustworthy.
5 – Manipulators Love Playing the Victim
Manipulative people may also play the victim to gain sympathy and manipulate others. They may exaggerate their problems or make themselves seem more vulnerable than they are. It can be especially effective if the other person has a strong empathy or a desire to help others.
6 – Threats and Intimidation
Manipulative people may use threats and intimidation to gain control over others. They may use verbal or physical threats or make others feel afraid of the consequences of not doing what they want. It can be especially effective if the victim is in a vulnerable position or is afraid of confrontation.
7 – Control and Dominance Reveal Manipulators
Manipulative people often seek to control and dominate others. They may use their power or influence to get what they want or try to manipulate others into giving up their power and control. They may also try to isolate others from their support networks or use their position of authority to make others feel powerless.
8 – Passive-Aggressive Behavior
Manipulative people may also use passive-aggressive behavior as a way to manipulate others. It can include snide comments, sarcastic remarks, or subtly sabotaging to get what they want. They may also use guilt-tripping or other manipulative tactics more indirectly or subtly.
9 – Withholding Affection
Manipulative people may also use their affection or attention to control others. They may withhold affection or attention to punish others or make them feel guilty. It can be especially effective if the manipulated person strongly desires love or approval.
10 – Using Information Against Others
Manipulative people may also use information against others to gain control or manipulate them. They may use secrets or private information to blackmail or threaten others or use sensitive information to gain leverage or power over others.
Here are five phrases manipulators say to make you feel crazy:
Those who practice manipulation have a standard set of phrases. These phrases serve as smokescreens, making it difficult for you to understand what is going on in the mind of a manipulator. They use this confusion to accomplish their mischievous goals, considering others merely a means to an end. Are you someone a manipulator is trying to use? If you’re not sure, read on …
1. “You’re misunderstanding what I said.”
This is a common phrase uttered by manipulators when they’re “caught” 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 fact, you probably understand fully what they said or did, which is the opposite of the manipulator’s intent. If you encounter someone who consistently utters this phrase, consider 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 anything other 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 to make it sound less personal. Please 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 precisely what the manipulator does. 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 sensitive, you naturally comfort and sympathize with others.
Unfortunately, sensitive people are more likely to examine their thoughts and actions closely, and a manipulator wants them to do just that. Examine, and examine some more … and then concede defeat.
Please don’t allow it to happen!
4. “I don’t like drama.”
Yes, they do. Indeed, 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” by manipulating others subtly.
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 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 and refusing the psychological tricks that manipulators often use to get their way.
Here’s the caveat: making sense of a manipulative person is difficult, perhaps impossible. 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.
Final Thoughts on Knowing the Behaviors and Words That Reveal Manipulators
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.