Manipulation is an issue that concerns everyone, because at some point in our lives we have certainly felt like puppets in the hands of others. We want to get free from those invisible threads that keep us bound, but don’t know how to deal with a manipulator.
To free ourselves from manipulation first is necessary to detect the type of manipulator we’re facing, and although previously we referred to a figure that usually goes unnoticed: the hysterical victim, now we approach the quintessential three ways by which some people pretend to take on our will.
1. The Intimidator: is the quintessential prototype of the controlling and manipulative person; it is easily recognizable because usually has a choleric or sanguine character with an intimidating personality.
He responds quickly to environmental stimuli, especially to those situations he perceives can escape his control. His reaction is eminently emotional, unstructured and he doesn’t think too much about it. He’s not capable of providing reasonable arguments but the manipulation is imposed by the “strength”.
In his presence people have the perception that anything they say or do will pop an explosion of anger at them. The intimidator makes them feel threatened and unarmed. The tactic is simple, quite similar to the establishment of a regime of terror, because he has an intimidating personality; people feel unable to cope with him.
The most effective strategy to deal with the intimidator. Don’t face him, ignore his requests or postpone the discussion for another time (whenever possible).
2. The Victimizer: a person who, in his everyday speech, demands always a sort of compassion for all the negative events that happen in his life. Those events could not be that negative but magnifying their emotional impact he obtains compassion from the other person. At this very moment it begins the manipulation, the control. Of course, the victimizer never has the responsibility for the negative events, the fault belongs to others, therefore, he’s likely to also try feel guilty his interlocutor.
This type of behavior is made explicit in the classical prototype of the mother who has failed to control his son, even if she tried an array of stunning techniques, and uses illness or other unfortunate situation that knows in advance, to produce an emotional echo in her son to control his behavior.
The most effective strategy to deal with the victimizer. Make it clear that we understand his strategy with phrases like: “I understand I have some responsibility about what you say, however, I’m not going to take on …”
3. The Inquisitor: a person who uses criticism as its main weapon. His tactic is to make the interlocutor feel like a person who is unable to control his life, which is not up to the situation and can’t handle his problems. For this, he starts with critics that initially are quite subtle but undermine the security of the other person and then, little by little, is imposing his view of the reality, his rules and way to evaluate things, until the other begins to judge himself by the rule of the inquisitor.
The Inquisitor starts from a fairly comprehensive knowledge of the other person, he knows his mistakes, his ways of considering the world. This is the most subtle strategy because it is based on the manipulation of feelings and bringing together disparate reasons.
The most effective strategy to deal the inquisitor. If we have some responsibility in what we are charged with, nothing better than recognize it and, then, clarify that we all have different values and different ways of acting and this doesn’t means that some are worse than others.
In general, we can see that the desire to control, from the most diverse tactics of manipulation of others, at its base has a deep personal insecurity, an incapacity to deal with reality and adjust its plans. The manipulator want to take advantage of others because he’s not able to get the same benefits through the assertive communication, he feels he doesn’t have the necessary and sufficiently strong arguments as to impose his criteria, this is why he takes alternative routes, shortcuts that lead him to find our weaknesses and take advantage of them. Being able to identify his strategies is a good start to stop them.