The world can be a nasty place at times, when you fall into manipulative traps set by people around you. It leaves you with a feeling of being used by someone for selfish interests. Manipulative techniques are designed to mess up your mind and make you do things according to the manipulator's will. They range from the very subtle to the very obvious. While there is no need to be paranoid, it helps if you can understand when you are being played. Here is a clinical analysis of the most common traps to watch out for.
Psychological Manipulation Techniques
We would love to believe that the world is a beautiful place, with people who can all be trusted and loved. And don't get me wrong, there are people who live up to this ideal, but there are also some, who can take you for a ride, if you let them. We would like to see the best in every person and embrace him as he or she is, but reality forces us to reconsider this approach, at times. We understand that selfishness is a natural human trait, but a look at the depths of treachery, manipulation and deceit that people are capable of, forces most to take a different and cautious approach. I am not pushing you into paranoia, but you need to be careful in your dealings with people, who can play you, for their self-seeking goals. Here are the subtle and not-so-subtle manipulation methods, that we have all fallen for, at some point in our lives.
Manipulation Through Lying
This is one of the perennial manipulation methods of con artists. They create a web of lies laid around so thick, that it warps reality for you and makes you fall victim to their manipulation. The only way of saving yourself is to check for inconsistencies and recognize bluff. Be slow in trusting is my rule. Till you know a person closely enough, avoid sharing personal and financial information. Be wary of any offers, business proposals that are just too good to be true. On a more deeper level, avoid basing your decisions on flimsy bits of information. It is always best to verify sources of information and test the validity of statements before basing your judgment on them. Again, taking your time and thinking things through is always the best defense mechanism against getting sucked into a vortex of lies. Resist impulsive decisions and you should be fine.
Taking Advantage Of Your Emotional Investments
This is the worst kind of manipulation that anybody could be subjected to. Many are forced into doing something that they would never do, as the thing that they are emotionally invested in, is threatened. People with psychopathic tendencies tend to do this with other people. The way to save yourself in such a situation is preventing it from occurring. Do not be too vocal about what your emotional investments are, to strangers. Don't expose your weaknesses unnecessarily. There may be people around bent on taking advantage of it. Open your heart only to a trusted few.
Challenging Your Ego Through Provocation & Contempt
One of the greatest manipulation methods in politics, sports and just about every field of human endeavor is provocation and contempt. A man is forced into doing something silly through provocation, contempt or public humiliation. A hurt ego can be a dangerous thing, ripe for manipulation. When you are provoked in such a way to do something stupid, think about whether it is really worth it. It is easy to let your hurt ego drive you mad. Wait and pause it all, think it all through, before doing something silly. Provocation always has a purpose and don't react unless you get the purpose behind it. Otherwise, you blindly walk into a trap.
Tempting You to Err
The age-old nemesis that forces people into ruining their life is momentary temptation and greed. When you like something to the point where you are addicted to it, it becomes your weakness. Be wary of temptations, as they are manipulative traps waiting to be sprung on you. Instead of looking for short term gains, evaluate the long term implications of falling for a tempting offer. By knowing and feeding your temptations or needs, someone might take control of your life and dictate terms. In effect, you lose your freedom. Any kind of addiction, like dependence on drugs, booze, sex or money, can be your undoing. By freeing yourself from dependence on material things and obsessive desire, you deny any control to the manipulators, over your life!
Plain Old Brainwashing
This is one of the manipulation tactics used by marketing or advertising companies, as well as fundamentalists. You repeat and repeat a thing so many times in front of a person or a mass of people, that it overrides their reasoning. The only way to save yourself from such manipulative people is to pass things that you listen to, through a filter of reason. Don't accept things because somebody said them. Verify and investigate on your own before believing. Think on your own, is the best advice anybody could give you.
Subtle Emotional Blackmail
Subtle emotional violence is often inflicted in relationships. This is one of the manipulation techniques in relationships, that often goes unnoticed. You care about a person and he uses your feelings about him as leverage to have his/her way. This often happens in relationships and can only continue till the victim decides he or she has had enough. Sometimes, we let people ruin our lives and let them take advantage of our emotional involvement in them. Know where to draw the line. Self-sacrifice, beyond a point, is really not worth it. Think about yourself.
Deprivation is another class of emotional manipulation that forces people to do things against their will. This kind of manipulative psychology is rampant in family and social life. Deprivation is used to force a person into compliance. This one is a really tough one to beat. Being independent and creating your own source of income is the only way to beat this manipulative trap.
Caressing the Ego - Vanity
One of the most rampant emotional manipulation methods, that can tear relationships apart is ego caressing. You are fed lies and your ego is caressed until it is so big that the manipulator can turn you into a puppet anytime. In short, vanity can be your bane. This one can only be avoided by down right humility and being a fair judge of people.
So these were the machinations and emotional techniques that one needs to watch out for. Manipulation can be used in a positive way too. People may be manipulated to do good things and make better choices, but it is a risky game to play.
It is very important to maintain your independent opinion of things and make your own judgment to save yourself from falling victim to these mind manipulation techniques. In other words, do not let somebody else think for you, but think yourself. Try not to let anger, lust, greed and lies cloud your logic. That is quite a tight rope to walk, but the trick is to listen to everybody, talk to a few and trust fewer. Discretion, patience, independent thinking and good judgment will help you to avoid the manipulative traps set around you.