Manipulation is, by definition, difficult to spot. Some ways are easier to see than others, but it does require vigilance to be aware, and a challenge to maintain balance within ourselves. The greatest danger of being a target of manipulation is not so much its direct impact, but the eventual eroding of our trust in others.
To become bitter or cynical are very real pitfalls, an after-assault, if you will, by the abuser intent on dragging their target to a sadder and darker place.
I think most of us have felt manipulated at one time or another. Sometimes, or maybe even most times, we couldn’t quite put on finger on it, didn’t quite know how to describe it to another or explain why we felt that way. Manipulation is a very toxic energy. In the words of young children, it’s “yucky”.
There is something within us that recoils when we are in the presence of manipulation, but although it’s a valuable warning sentinel, it’s not enough to feel like we’re being manipulated. It’s great when we are being told something is wrong, but if we don’t know what is wrong, then we are not likely to be able to respond to it or protect ourselves in a very effective and proficient manner.
The following posts over the coming weeks will be part of a series exploring the various tactics of manipulation and what they look like. If you don’t know what hit you, you’re not going to know where to stand, which direction to go and what defensive posture you may need to take when you get back up.
By no means a complete list, these are the tactics of manipulation we will be exploring, not necessarily in the same order:
- Feigning states of being, i.e., emotions – both negative and positive; intelligence – its presence or absence
- Faking relationships, friendships or alliances
- Shamming – faking personal history and accomplishments
- Gossiping and rumor mongering
- Lying with focus on half-truths
- Beautiful concepts as weapons
- Hidden Curses
- Clean slating
- Combining tactics
If you have any other suggestions for specific tactics, please list them in the comments section for this post, or on my facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/covertbullying. I’m learning too, so I do look forward to hearing from you!
Educating ourselves is one of the most important things we can do. In highlighting and dissecting the specific tactics of manipulation, we can better recognize and identify them in others…and in ourselves.
Because one of the best uses for any knowledge is self-knowledge.
It’s never as clear a line as we’d like to think. We have a tendency to see manipulation in the context of people — who is a manipulator and who is not. But if we look instead to the individual ways in which anyone may manipulate, we will put our knowledge of manipulation to a much more useful endeavor: to protect ourselves from others who would use it, and to empower ourselves to make better choices.
I invite you to examine these manipulations with me in these coming weeks.
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