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30 Covert Emotional Manipulation Tactics: How Manipulators Take Control In Personal Relationships
- They attempt to hide who they really are by creating a seemingly normal—and often a charming and likeable—persona, but their malicious intent remains active behind the mask. These individuals are detrimental to the mental health of anyone who has close contact with them.
- At its worse, emotional manipulation methodically wears down your self-worth and self-confidence and damages your trust in your own perceptions.
- In order to be successful, a malicious manipulator must know your vulnerabilities, conceal their aggressive intentions and behavior, and be ruthless enough not to care what harm their manipulation causes you. Taking control and getting what they want are all that matters.
- The questions that need to be asked are very simple. ‘Are they using their charms or behavior to control you or others for their own benefit? Are they manipulating you? Are they doing things that hurt you or put you at risk? Do you feel like this relationship is one sided? Are you hurting in this relationship?’ If the answer to these questions is yes, it is time to untangle yourself from the toxic strings that control you so you can get your life back. Take heed – you have no social obligation to be victimized – ever.
- Intermittent reinforcement occurs when a manipulator gives his victim positive reinforcement—attention, praise, appreciation, affection, sex, adoration, declarations of love—only on a random basis. They may give positive reinforcement in response to a behavior they are trying to increase, or they can withhold it to create uncertainty, anxiety and longing in the victim.
- Using the tactic of negative reinforcement, the manipulator stops doing something you don’t like when you start doing something he or she does like. This makes it more likely that you will do what they like in the future.
- You always overreact! You’re unstable! You have a problem with anger! You’re crazy! A manipulator will say such things after intentionally causing you to have an emotional meltdown. The purpose is to create a confusing and emotional scene that will distract you from an issue you confronted the manipulator about. The issue instead becomes your apparent emotional instability. This tactic also allows the manipulator to gain more power and control.
- When you’ve been backed into an emotional corner, acting out does not mean you’re crazy or that you have an anger management problem. It means you’re a normal person reacting to an intensely stressful situation. But when you have an emotional reaction to that stress, you’re made to believe you have a problem.
- when the manipulator—someone whom you consider close to you and whom you believe has your best interest at heart—zeros in on your biggest insecurities or disparages what you consider your best qualities.