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How to Analyze People: 13 Laws About the Manipulation of the Human Mind, 7 Strategies to Quickly Figure Out Body Language, Dive into Dark Psychology and Persuasion for Making People Do What You Want By Daniel Spade © Copyright 2019 by Daniel Spade - All rights reserved. The transmission, duplication or reproduction of any of the following work including specific information will be considered an illegal act irrespective of whether it is done electronically or in print. This extends to creating a secondary or tertiary copy of the work or a recorded copy and is only allowed with an express written consent from the Publisher. All additional rights reserved. The information in the following pages is broadly considered to be a truthful and accurate account of facts and as such any inattention, use or misuse of the information in question by the reader will render any resulting actions solely under their purview. There are no scenarios in which the publisher or the original author of this work can be, in any fashion, deemed liable for any hardship or damages that may befall them after undertaking information described herein. The author does not take any responsibility for inaccuracies, omissions, or errors which may be found therein. Additionally, the information in the following pages is intended only for informational purposes and should thus be thought of as universal. As befitting its nature, it is presented without assurance regarding its prolonged validity or interim quality. The author of this work is not responsible for any loss, damage, or inconvenience caused as a result of reliance on information as published on, or linked to, this book. The author of this book has taken careful measures to share vital information about the subject. May its readers acquire the right knowledge, wisdom, inspiration, and succeed. Table of Contents Introduction Chapter 1: 13 Laws of Manipulation Chapter 2: I Think I’m Being Manipulated Chapter 3: The Dark Side of Manipulation Chapter ; 4: The 7 Strategies to Reading Body Language Chapter 5: Dealing with the Manipulators in Your Life Conclusion Introduction Congratulations on downloading this book and thank you for doing so. Have you ever walked into a confrontation feeling so sure of yourself, then walk out feeling confused, but with no valid reason why you would be convinced by the other person? Have you ever walked out of a conversation agreeing to do something for someone but could not identify why you agreed to it in the first place? Chances are, you’ve manipulated. Whether by playing on your emotions or through persuasive words, you were brought to believe in or act on something that you were not entirely agreeable to initially. You could be utterly convinced and so sure of yourself before you began the conversation but midway, you found yourself at a loss for words, confused, frazzled and disoriented. Manipulation can feel like you are being controlled, and leave you doubting your own abilities. Being manipulated constantly can leave you frustrated, demoralized and despondent, wondering how you didn’t see this coming. Could you have prevented it though, IF you knew just how to analyze the signs that indicate one someone may be up to no good? Manipulators exercise their influence by exploiting your emotions and distorting your mental perceptions to control and gain benefits from you. They prey on your weaknesses and take advantage of you through communication strategies designed to distract you enough that you don’t see what they’re up to until it’s too late. It is important to identify whether you are being manipulated to protect yourself from being taken advantage of, and facilitate a healthy balance of power in relationships. And it begins by learning how to analyze people. One of the other ways to tell whether you are being manipulated is through body language. The powerful, unspoken and subtle cues that speak volumes when you know what to look out for. By recognizing the gestures, postures and facial expressions emitted, one can identify and understand the complete message of what someone is trying -or trying not- to say. Learning how to analyze another can yield some fascinating revelations, and more importantly, open your eyes to the signs that you may be taken advantage so you can take the steps to prevent or stop the advances completely. Thanks for picking our books. Know that we are aware that there are plenty of reading materials for the same subject and we try to get you the most information you can use every day. Chapter 1: 13 Laws of Manipulation Would you believe that at every waking moment of your life, your mind is being manipulated or controlled in one way or another? Not necessarily always by someone you know either. Social media, online news content, the things you see and hear in traditional media, advertisements, conversations we see and hear at work or in our personal lives. They’re all some form of manipulation or mind control, and most of the time, it’s happening without you even realizing it. Even what you’re about to read throughout the next chapters in this book could be a form of “manipulation” that influences your thoughts to a certain extent. Why though, is the human mind so susceptible to manipulation? Could it be that our mind is full of what is known as “loopholes”? Let’s take a look at the Solomon Asch experiment which was conducted in 1957. This experiment on conformity was carried out by Asch in a series of psychological tests to reveal the degree to which an individual’s opinions could be influenced by that of a group of people. The results, Asch discovered, were that with the right amount of peer pressure, people were willing to ignore the facts or reality that was in front of them and resort to giving a false or incorrect response just to conform to the rest of the group. Before that, here’s a quick question…. Do you see yourself as someone who is a non-conformist? Or a conformist? Most people believe that they can be just the right amount of non-conformist to stand up against others when they know they are right about something. A conformist, however, would prefer to blend in with the group. While most tend to believe they’re non-conformist, research would suggest otherwise, and that people might be more prone to conformity than they initially think. Here’s a quick test. Imagine you’re now part of a psychology experiment with a group of several other people. Everyone is taking the same test where you’re shown a series of oddly shapes images and asked what you can see when you look at the image. On some occasions, some participants unanimously declare they can see the exact same image, but when you look at the picture, you’re seeing something entirely different. You’re the only one who’s seeing it too. Every other participant in the room has the same unified answer. What would you do? Do you stand by what you can see? Or do you go ahead and declare the same answer the other participants are giving? That’s precisely what the Asch conformity experiments aimed to discover. Conformity, which is a person’s tendency to go along with the unspoken behavior or rules of a social group that they are a part of. Asch set out to discover with his experiments if people could be pressured into conforming, even if they knew that everyone else in the group was wrong. Asch main purpose of his experiment was to demonstrate just how powerful conformity could be in a group. When Asch carried out his experiment, there were participants who were “in” on what was going on and pretending to be like all the other participants, along with those who were really unaware of what was taking place. Those who knew what was going on would behave in certain ways, and the aim was to see if their behavior was going to have any influence on the other participants. In each experiment that was carried out, there would be one naive participant who was placed with a group of the “aware” participants. There were 50 participants in the group, and everyone was told they would be taking part in some sort of “vision test”. In the “vision test”, those who were aware of what was going on were already told what their responses were going to be for the task that was presented. The naive participant had no clue that they were the only ones who were blissfully unaware. All the participants were given a line task, and each one had to announce verbally which line (A, B or C) was the closest match to the target line they were given. A total of 18 various trials were carried out, and the participants who were aware have incorrect answers for 12 out of the 18 trials. Asch wanted to determine if the naive participants would change their responses to conform to how everyone else (the aware group) responded. Everything was going well during the first half of the trials, with the aware responded answering the questions being given correctly. However, they later began providing incorrect answers, just as they were instructed to by the experimenters. The Results? Interestingly enough, at the end of the Asch experiment, it was revealed that 75% of those who took part in the conformity experiment went along with the answers from the rest of the group at least once. When all the trials were combined, Asch discovered that the naive participants conformed to the group’s incorrect answer approximately one-third of the time. To determine that the participants could in fact, actually gauge the correct length of these lines they were given during the vision test, each participant was asked to write the correct match individually. Based on the results, the participants’ judgments were accurate, with the right answer being chosen 98% of the time. Asch’s experiment also looked at how much effect the number of people who were present within a group could influence conformity. When there was only one other participant present, it had no impact on a participant’s answer. When there were two participants present (the aware group), their answers had a tiny effect on the naive participant’s answer. In the presence of three or more participants (aware), there was a significant difference in the answers provided by the naive participant. Asch also discovered that having one aware participant provide the right answer while the rest of the aware participants gave incorrect answers dramatically lowered the level of conformity experienced, with only 5% to 10% of the participants going along with the other members of the group. Studies which were carried out, later on, have also supported Asch’s findings, which then suggests that when it comes to conformity, social support was an important element that needed to be present. When the naive participants were questioned later on why they chose to go along with the rest of the group, even though they knew the answers were wrong, most responded with although they knew everyone else was wrong, they didn’t want to put themselves at risk of being ridiculed. A few of the participants believed that the rest of the group had the right answers, and they were the ones who were wrong. The findings of Asch’s experiment reveals the truth about conformity, which is that it is in fact influenced by both a belief that other people could be smarter or more informed, and a desire to fit in with the rest of the group. This “loophole” then, is where the human mind thus becomes susceptible to manipulation. Why Do We Conform? For those who understand how the human mind works, it then becomes so easy to take full advantage of the leverage that they have. Using this knowledge to their benefit, they can easily influence all the other unsuspecting individuals with just a few well-placed words or simple commands. Manipulation easily puts you in a position of power when you play on someone else’s emotions, the easiest target. If you could someone convince another, and make them believe that in doing what you want them to, they will be happy, they’ll be more than willing to bend to your rules. If you make them feel guilty enough, they’ll try and do what they can to “fix” the situation. Even playing on someone else’s fear makes them an easy target. Make them believe they’re in danger of losing something they cannot afford to lose and they’ll jump at any opportunity that’s presented to them. If your supervisor were to dangle the possibility in front of you that you might lose your job, wouldn’t that fear spur you into doing whatever request they ask of you? Emotions make manipulation so easy. Asch conducted even further experiments and discovered that the reasons we become susceptible more to conforming when: There are more people present When the task is more difficult and we are faced with uncertainty. We then tend to confirm when we believe others might be better informed than we are on the subject. When we view others in a group as having more “power” or “influence”. Asch did discover though, that the power of conformity does decrease when the participants were able to respond individually or privately away from others. Further research does show that less conformity takes place if the person in question has at least one other person within the group that supports their point of view. Interesting indeed. The 13 Laws of Manipulation Manipulators can come in all shapes and sizes. As different as they may be as individuals, there are certain things that manipulators have in common with each other, and that is the fact that they’re sneaky, deceptive, and underhanded and will resort to using any tactic if it means they get what they want at the end of the day. They care little about your feelings or anyone else’s for that matter, even the people they love. The only thing that matters is them is their own agenda and getting what they want. Manipulators resort to one, two or several tactics to get to achieve their goals, always at someone else’s expense. While the tactics may vary from one manipulator to the next, there are 13 laws of manipulation that every manipulator will use at one time or another: Law #1 - Hide Your Intentions. Lying is perhaps the oldest and most effective form of manipulation around. Manipulators often resort to this tactic when they try to avoid responsibility or twist to the truth for their benefit. Some manipulators even resort of lying when there is no real reason to do so, simply thriving on the pleasure of creating chaos or the knowledge that they’re playing with someone else’s feelings. A skilled manipulator knows how to work this angle so subtly that you don’t even realize the lie that they spin until it's too late. There could be several reasons why a manipulator resorts to lying. It could be to take advantage of another. To conceal their true intentions so you don’t know what they’re up to. Or perhaps even to level the playing field, so they can remain one step ahead of you. An employee who was concerned about their job might approach the boss and ask about the possibility of being laid off or fired. The boss, in an attempt to conceal what’s really going on, might tell the employee there’s nothing to be worried about when in fact, plans were already being made to replace him once he has completed work on the project he was assigned to. A colleague who has been eyeing that same promotion you are might withhold potential information so that they could put themselves ahead of you. Law #2 - Attention Seeking. A little bit of drama in life keeps things interesting, but for a manipulator, drama happens all too frequently. Why? Because they created it on purpose. Manipulators like being the center of attention to validate themselves and give their egos the confidence boost they believe they need. A colleague at work might resort to creating conflict between colleague A and B by telling tales to each of them about the other. This thereby ensures that while colleague A and B are at odds with each other, they then turn to the manipulator for “comfort”, which then makes the manipulator feel important. In a relationship, one partner could constantly pick a fight to ensure that the other’s attention is continually focused on them and trying to resolve a problem which may not exist. Law #3 - Behaving Emotionally. Manipulators could be highly emotional individuals, prone to dramatic or even hysterical outbursts when they want things done their way. Melodramatic, loud, obnoxious, over-the-top, even at the slightest provocation a manipulator will resort of emotional behavior, which is most of the time inappropriate in a social setting. A couple loudly arguing in the restaurant because one partner is behaving unreasonably when things are not done their way resorts to this behavior, hoping their partner might be embarrassed enough to give in to their demands makes this an extremely effective manipulation technique when used correctly. Law #4 - Playing Victim. Everyone always feels sorry for them. They seem to have the worst luck in the world. No matter what problem you may be having, they find a way to make you feel guilty for even talking about it by pointing out how their problem is “10 times worse” than yours. We all suffer from a stroke of bad luck every now and then, but the manipulator has managed to skillfully use that unlucky streak to elevate their own “victim” status and put themselves above everyone else. A friend who constantly plays up all the negative aspects of their life while dismissing your problems is resorting to this manipulative tactic to get the attention they want. Tell them you had a bad day because you had a flat tire on your way to work this morning and they’ll tell you how you could be lucky you even have a car to complain about while they have to endure the hardships of public transportation. Manipulators resort to this emotionally draining tactic to gain sympathy from others, which is another way of seeking attention and making sure that everyone is focused on them. Law #5 - Taking Credit Where It’s Not Due. Manipulators have no qualms about getting you to do most of the legwork, and then swooping in at the last minute to take credit like they have done the lion’s share of the job. A common tactic which is often used in a professional setting, especially in group projects or teamwork. These crafty manipulators flit around delegating jobs, seemingly appearing “busy” when in fact they’re not really doing anything at all, but when it comes time to take credit they have no problems about pushing you aside and taking credit for the ideas and the work that you’ve put in. Law #6 - Depend on Me. Manipulators want you to feel like you “need” them in your life. That you simply cannot live without them. In a social setting, they’re the “popular” ones whom everyone else seems to flock to, making you desperate to want to be a part of that group. In a relationship, they could be the partner that constantly reminds you “what would you do without me”, or “how would you survive without me”. They do you favors and help you out at a time when you need it most, making you feel indebted to them so they can come and cash in on these favors at a later date (with a manipulator, no favor ever comes for free). Manipulators create this false belief that you need them in your life, because the more you depend on them, the more control they have over you, which is exactly what they want. They prey on the vulnerable and make themselves the “indispensable friend” in your life, basking in this special status they have created. The more you lean on them for support, the more opportunities they have to prey on your emotions and exploit you for their own advantage. Law #7 - Selective Honesty. Have you ever felt so disarmed by how a generous person you know could suddenly turn around and stab you in the back? Or felt so wrong-footed when you realized you only knew half of what was going on? That’s because the person who was feeding you with information was a manipulator, and the reason you feel stabbed in the back or wrong-footed is that they only fed you information that they wanted you to know while purposely withholding the rest. Selective honesty, a powerful manipulative tactic that can be used to disarm an unsuspecting “victim”. A tactic which is today very prominent within professional settings especially. Manipulators at work use it all the time to get ahead. If there are five people up for the same promotion at work, the manipulator will try to give themselves the upper hand by withholding important information that they know while simultaneously assuring everyone else that “this is exactly what’s going on”. They lead you to believe that they are being generous by clueing you in on what’s taking place but in reality, they’re making sure you’re at least two steps behind them every step of the way. Law #8 - Pretending to Be A “Friend”. Don’t be fooled by the overly friendly person you just met on your first day at the office. They could be pretending to be your friend while gathering information about you which they could later use to their advantage. While some people may genuinely be friendly, start to raise the red flag if this person is being a little too friendly by asking very personal or probing questions, especially if you’ve only just met them. This tactic is prominent within a professional setting, and if your gut is telling you something is off, it probably is. The manipulator could even exist within your own circle of friends. They pretend to be your “friend” by subtly being the one who is in control of the conversation. The conversation will always be what they dictate it should be, and it will only happen when they determine it should happen. This “friend” might also pressure you into making decisions by giving you very little time to think about it. Phrases like “if I’m really your friend, you’ll do this for me” roll off the tongue of the manipulator too easily and always for their benefit. Law #9 - Non-Committal. Do you know anyone in your life who has a hard time committing to anything? Even after you’ve told them how important it is and that you could use their support right now? The non-committal individual is no friend of yours, they’re a manipulator. They take pleasure in withholding their approval or support if it means there’s an opportunity for them to give themselves the upper hand to control the situation for their benefit. They’re only looking out for themselves, and they will especially refrain from committing to anything if it means having to assume responsibility. Being non-committal is a manipulation tactic often used in romantic relationships. When a romantic partner is being non-committal, it keeps the other on their toes and keeps them coming back for more, thereby giving the manipulator the upper hand. The longer they withhold their commitment, the more bending over backward you’ll be willing to do just to get their approval. Law #10 - Playing Dumb. Is that colleague you know genuinely unaware of what’s going on? Or are they feigning innocence to avoid taking on extra responsibility? Playing dumb is a manipulative tactic that often goes overlooked, but if you pay close attention, you’ll find it apparent within a lot of professional settings. If you a leader of the group project at work, would you assign extra responsibility to that one team member who “wasn’t as sure of something”? Or assign that extra responsibility to another? The employee who was then “playing dumb” gets away with doing far less, but getting the same amount of recognition as everyone else in the group. When there’s a conflict between a group of friends, could that one friend who “doesn’t know what’s going on” be telling the truth? Or could they be feigning innocence, knowing full well they were responsible for instigating the conflict in the first place? In a romantic relationship, could your partner who “doesn’t know what you’re talking about” be telling the truth when you confront them about an issue? Or could they be “playing dumb” to avoid being caught in a lie? Sometimes, the “innocent party” may not be so innocent after all. Law #11 - Pointing the Finger at Others. A manipulator will always try to keep their hands clean by first, never assuming responsibility, and secondly by always trying to point the finger at someone else so they get off scot-free whenever there’s a problem. Especially when that problem could potentially jeopardize their reputation and expose them for who they are. If you know anyone in your family, friends or even among your colleagues who always blames the problem on anything and anyone but themselves, you could be dealing with a manipulator. Keep a lookout for anyone who’s the pattern of behavior involves always making someone else the scapegoat. Law #12 - Telling You What You Want to Hear. It’s hard not to feel good when you’re being flattered, and you’re more inclined to like the person’s who’s doing all the flattering more than others. If there’s one person in your life who’s always telling you all the things you want to hear, wouldn’t you be more inclined to want to follow them or spend more time with them? It’s hard not to feel good around people like these, but telling you all the things you want to hear is not necessarily the sign of a good friend. They could be buttering you up so they can cash in on a big favor at a later date which you’ll be “guilted” into helping them with “because they’ve been so nice to you”. Law #13 - Controlling Your Decisions. A classic setting when manipulation in the form of controlling another’s decision is present is within a romantic relationship. While it is perfectly normal for you to base or change your decisions because of your partner, is it because there exists within you a genuine desire to make them happy? Or are you doing it because you don’t want to risk making them angry? There’s a very fine line between what constitutes manipulation in a relationship. If you find yourself canceling plans far too often with friends because your partner expresses their displeasure or makes you feel bad, that’s manipulation in play. If you refrain from wearing clothes that your partner dislikes (even though you love it), or stop yourself from getting a haircut because your partner said “they don’t like short hair”, that’s a subtle form of manipulation. They’re controlling your decisions without making it seem obvious that they are. It could start off innocently enough with a remark or two, with something so minimal like expressing how the clothes you are wearing does not look good on you or the kind of dress you are wearing should be something else and suddenly you find that your life has turned into nothing but decisions that don’t make you happy because they’re being dictated by someone who supposedly loves you. The Ethics of Manipulation - Is It Possible Manipulation Could Be Both Good and Bad? Mention the word ‘manipulation’ and what immediately springs to mind is the negative connotations which are associated with this term. Manipulation means deceit. Manipulation means using unscrupulous and underhanded tactics to take advantage of someone else. Manipulation means fraud and outright lying. Manipulation is unethical. The term has certainly got a bad reputation over the years, and even the phrases used to describe manipulation in play paint a picture that is fairly ugly or unpleasant. “She’s got him completely wrapped around her little finger”, “I told my boss exactly what he wanted to hear”, “He’s got a reputation for being a heartbreaker”, “I talked my friend into doing what I wanted.” These typical examples of manipulation certainly don’t put a positive spin on the situation for both parties involved in the process. It makes the manipulator out to be someone who is selfish, self-serving, deceitful, and unconcerned about using someone else for their own advantage, and it makes the one who is being manipulated seem foolish, clueless and possibly even weak of character for “allowing” themselves to be fooled so easily. Manipulation has always been viewed as an act that is ruthless, clever yet cunning, and always where one person ends up being exploited or taken advantage of. Manipulation is viewed even more negatively when it becomes apparent that the conniving individual has heartlessly ignored the feelings of the other, putting their own selfish needs above everyone else. Even worse than the manipulator has exploited the other by pretending to be their friend and then using information shared in confidence against them. Whether in our personal or professional lives, there is one fact which remains. No one likes knowing they have been manipulated. No one. With such negativity associated with this hard, it becomes almost impossible to believe that there is a possibility manipulation could be used for a good, or even that it could possibly bring about change for the better. As surprising as it may sound, manipulation is not all bad. Manipulation exists all around us, and you often don’t have to look very far to find evidence of it. Take marketers and advertisers for example, with their constant messages telling us to buy this, buy that, stop doing this, and stop doing that. They’re all trying to manipulate our decisions in one way or another. Which forms of manipulation though, are in fact trying to get us to change for the better? Ads that tell us to stop smoking and eat healthier are trying to manipulate our decisions, but in this case, they’re trying to do it to incite positive change. Quitting smoking is for your own benefit. So it eating healthy. If it is for your own good, doesn’t that make it a positive form of manipulation? Governments around the world manipulate their people. So does religion. Yet, we sometimes choose to ignore it because it comes from a more “authoritative” source, so to speak. Businesses manipulate their customers all the time, by creating products to boost their sales figures and then telling consumers “they cannot live without it”. Whether it’s used for “good” or “bad”, manipulation is still, at the end of the day, manipulation. Do any of us really have any right to dictate another’s decisions or actions, even if we believe it is for their benefit? What makes the idea of manipulation such an uncomfortable notion to deal with is perhaps the fact that we don’t like the idea of someone else trying to dictate what we should do, or pushing us into doing something we wouldn’t otherwise be inclined to do ourselves. Managers at work try to manipulate their staff all the time, although the good leaders do it to try and keep their staff motivated or perform at their best. Effective managers have skillfully mastered the art of positive manipulation and turned it into an effective tool used to manage their employees’ performance, pushing them to reach their goals. This distinguishing detail is the defining difference between what’s classified as manipulation, and what’s referred to as persuasion. Persuasion is still a form of manipulation, but what separates it from the negative reputation associated with manipulation boils down to three things: Your intention. Your honesty. What the benefit or positive impact is going to be for the person you’re trying to persuade. Manipulation vs Persuasion These three key points are doing to be the deciding factor as to whether you’re attempting to manipulate or persuade. When your manipulation, your intention you're selfish. When you persuade, it’s usually well-meaning for the good of the other person. When you manipulate, you lie, deceive and try to hide what’s really going on. When you persuade, you’re able, to be honest and upfront about what you’re trying to do, because you have no reason to hide if it isn’t done for personal gain. When you manipulate, there is no positive impact or benefit on the other party, only yourself. When you persuade, the other party you’re trying to influence is the one who reaps the most benefit out of the situation. Non-profit organizations resort of persuasion all the time, trying to get others to act and change for the better to create a positive impact on the world. They persuade donors, raise the necessary funding and try to promote awareness among others regarding important issues which need to be addressed or changed. Manipulation and Evidence of These Laws in Our Daily Routine Manipulators are the puppet masters who sit behind the scenes pulling the strings, playing mind games so subtle and persuading you to do their dirty work for them. When you find yourself in a problem and you don’t know how it happened, the manipulator could have had something to do with it. The evidence of manipulation is more apparent in a work environment because this is where you spend most of your time, Monday to Friday, coming into contact with all sorts of individuals. A few signs to watch out for that signal you could have a manipulator in your midst include any of the following: Too much flattery to a point it seems insincere. Showering you with superficial charm. False sympathy. Negotiations which end up being one-sided, and you’re the one who doesn’t usually benefit from it. Attempts to intimidate you verbally. Team projects where you find yourself taking on more responsibility than others who are just as capable of sharing the workload but somehow don’t. Exposure to passive-aggressive behavior. Feeling wrong-footed or being left in the dark about what’s going on until the very last minute. Feeling out of the loop on the important decisions that get made, realizing too late that you weren’t privy to certain information. Rumors or gossip being circulated around the office, trying to put one colleague against another. There always seems to be more confusion than solutions after you’ve had a talk with them. Colleagues who refuse to admit their mistakes and attempt to cover it up by shifting the blame to someone else, even though they were clearly in the wrong. What makes these manipulators so dangerous is that these tactics sometimes don’t stop at the office alone. You may even be surrounded by such individuals in within your immediate circle of friends or family, except that it's much harder to see them for who they are and what they’re doing because, on some level, you don’t want to believe that these people whom you care about could resort to such behavior. Sadly, these people exist all around us, and it is only when we wake up and pay attention to the following evidence that we start to realize our lives may be surrounded by more manipulators than we would like to admit, and the 13 laws of manipulation could be happening to you right this minute: They Build Your Confidence - Only to tear you down when it works in their favor. When you’re meeting someone for the first time and if they immediately start showering you with praise and flattery, be warned that this could be one of the 13 manipulation laws at play when they tell you what you want to hear. They could be playing you like a fiddle by telling you everything that you want to hear, and if you think they could be laying it on just a little bit too thick, you’re probably right. They could be building up your confidence, coercing you into believing that you could trust them enough to reveal information, only to tear you down at a later time when it's convenient for them. They Make You Question Your Reality - The friend that tells you “you’re just imagining it” or “you’re making a big deal out of it”, dismissing your concerns is not doing it to be a good friend. Alleviating your fears once in a while is alright, but if your concerns are being dismissed or ridiculed whenever you bring it up, that could be a sign of manipulation at work. One of the classic tactics a narcissist or manipulator resorts to is trying to shift your perspective or reality by making you question your own judgment. They make you believe you’re overreacting, or that you’re the only one feeling this way so perhaps there’s something wrong with you instead. Seems harmless enough, but if this goes on for too long it can make you start doubting everything, making it hard for you to trust your own judgment. They Start to Digress - A classic sign that you’re dealing with a potentially manipulative character on your hands is when they go completely off topic and steer the conversation in a completely different direction. There’s a reason they do this, and that reason is often to leave you feeling confused and frustrated. This is a favorite tactic of many politicians, using digression as a form of distraction. They Belittle You - By telling you that your opinion does not matter, or that you’re far too emotional to make a rational decision. The berate you for your thoughts and even give you a negative label so that you begin to think twice about raising your opinions. Social media has made it easier than ever for manipulators to comfortably sit behind their keyboards or their screens and make tall, general statements aimed at causing maximum emotional damage to their targets. Pay close attention and you’ll notice that a lot of their statements actually have no rational basis to these claims. Their sole purpose is simply to belittle their target. They Love Extreme Labelling - Who do you know in your life that loves making you feel bad by exaggerating claims that highlight just how biased you can be? A colleague that makes unpleasant remarks about the way your dress and passes it off as “simply joking around” will very well turn around and make you out to be the bad guy if you point out how much you dislike having remarks made about the way that you dress. You can’t take a joke, can you? Or Are you honestly THAT sensitive? Are examples of exaggerated statements aimed at making you out to be the bad guy. They Never Appreciate You - No matter what you do for them, it’s never going to be food enough. No matter what you do, it will never be satisfactory enough to warrant any gratitude. Tell them you can dance and they’ll ask you if you can do math while you dance. Tell them you’re happily single and they’ll ask isn’t it a struggle to be that lonely. Tell them you’ve been happily married for a while now and if it’s just you and your spouse, they’ll ask what you’re waiting for and why haven’t you started a family yet. No matter what you tell them, they’ll always find some kind of fault with it. They Make You Feel Bad - About everything. Quite literally everything. If you go out with another group of friends, they’ll make you feel bad about not inviting them. In a relationship, the manipulative partner can make you feel bad when you don’t live up to their expectations. If you tell them you can’t manage both dinner and a movie because you need to work late and ask if just dinner alone is okay, you might be met with a response like “Sure, I guess so. I was really looking forward to both, but I guess if you’re happy with it then it is okay”. Subtly turning things around and making it seem like you’re the one at fault is what manipulators do best. These toxic individuals could even be your own family members, and that’s one of the hardest truths to accept. To think that your own family could be capable of manipulating you is an idea no one wants to be confronted with, but it happens. Keep an eye out for the following signs if you suspect you could be dealing with manipulative family members in your household: Every encounter leaves you feeling drained because it’s always about them, and almost always involves high strung emotions. They make you feel bad about yourself whenever they’re around. They push your buttons and constantly try to find fault with you, constantly either playing the victim or refusing to admit their mistakes. You find yourself making excuses to avoid their company because you don’t want to be around them. You always have to set aside your own desires to accommodate their needs. You find yourself having to watch what you say around them because this isn’t the first time they have tried to use what you say to personally attack you. They make you feel guilty for not spending time with them. You feel like you have to pretend to be someone you’re not when you’re in their presence. Chapter 2: I Think I’m Being Manipulated There are certain people in your life that just make it so difficult for anyone to get along with them. They could be disagreeable, bossy, emotional, domineering, volatile, arrogant, rude, and a whole host of other challenging personality traits. While a lot of these behaviors can be neutralized when you carefully manage them, some characteristics and traits can be more damaging than others to a point that no amount of management will be able to neutralize the toxic effects of their behavior. These people are usually the manipulators. Manipulation, Persuasion and Dark Psychology Explained As bad as this behavior can be, we often don’t want to come right out and call someone manipulative. Being called a manipulator is a criticism against yours or someone else’s character. If manipulation and persuasion are almost similar (separated only by intention), why is manipulation viewed as immoral and just plain wrong? Humans are always trying to influence each other in one way or another, but certain traits associated with manipulation make this form of influence far worse than all the others. We are exposed to manipulation all the time. Sometimes we’re on the receiving end, and sometimes we’re the ones who are doing the manipulating. Gaslighting, a common manipulative term, is when you try to encourage someone else to doubt their own decisions in favor of going along with yours instead. When you make someone feel bad (whether directly or indirectly) about not being able to follow through or backing out of a promise, that’s a form of manipulation. Being pressured to go along with the group just to gain acceptance or approval is a form of manipulation. It’s happening around us and in society all the time. What sets manipulation apart from all the other persuasive methods we use is because manipulation tends to directly harm the one who is being manipulated. Take cigarette ads for example. They manipulative you into thinking it is “cool”, but it directly has a harmful effect on your health. Phishing or scams that manipulate you into thinking you stand a chance at winning a substantial sum of money are directly harmful to you because they result in fraud or identity theft. Politicians in some countries rely on manipulative tactics to weaken the notion of democracy. The direct and more often than not, the harmful impact of manipulation is what sets it apart from all the other persuasive tactics out there. That’s why it’s not referred to as persuasion instead, even though the two methods rely on more or less the same approach. In the end, it all comes down to your intent. The intention that lies behind your actions is what separates persuasion from manipulation. If your intentions are good, and there is a genuine desire to create a situation that benefits the other party, that’s persuasion. If your intention is to do well, that’s persuasion. If you’re honest from the very beginning about what you’re trying to do, that’s persuasion. If you can say wholeheartedly that you have the other person’s best interest at heart, that’s persuasion. Needless to say that manipulation produces a far less desirable outcome. If your intent is to confuse, ridicule, blame, instill guilt and use them for your own benefit, regardless of whether they get hurt by your actions along the way, that’s manipulation. If you knowingly engage in behavior that you know might cause someone else to get upset or look bad, yet you do it anyway, that’s manipulation. If you don’t care about the consequences of your actions and what they might do to someone else as long as your own agenda is served, that’s manipulation. At the end of the day, it is intention which determines if your actions make you a manipulator or not. Understanding the Dark Triad Just when you thought manipulation was bad enough, here comes an even darker side of psychology, known as the Dark Triad. The triad is made of up three very distinct, yet interrelated personality types, which are narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. Why are these three referred to as the Dark Triad or the darker side of human psychology? It’s because these three terms define the very tactics - manipulation, persuasion, and coercion - that some people resort to in order to get what they want. The term Dark Triad certainly has a sinister ring to it, and it is a term that many psychologists and criminologists use as a defining predictor that signals criminal behavior in an individual. Let’s take a closer look at the three personality traits which make up this trifecta: Narcissism - The term stems from the Greek mythology about Narcissus, the hunter who fell in love with his own reflection when he saw it in a pool of water that he drowned as a result. So consumed was he by himself that he couldn’t focus on anything else. Those with narcissistic personality traits often display symptoms which include being boastful, selfish and arrogant, thinking only of themselves and nothing else. Narcissistic individuals also lack empathy and are extremely sensitive (one might even say hypersensitive) to any form of criticism, because they can’t bear the thought of being imperfect or flawed. Machiavellianism - This term stems from Niccolo Machiavelli, a renowned diplomat, and politician who lived in 16th century Italy. Machiavelli became notorious when his book, The Prince, was published in 1513. This publication was interpreted as Machiavelli’s endorsement of the deceit and cunning that takes place in diplomacy. Those who tend to display Machiavellianistic tendencies are often occupied with only their own self-interest, and they are manipulative and duplicitous. These individuals lack both morality and emotion, and they are not for anything else except for what’s going to be beneficial to them. Psychopathy - Antisocial behavior, manipulative, volatile, hostile, a lack of remorse or empathy are traits which are associated with a psychopathic personality. Psychopathic and being a psychopath are two distinctly different traits, with the latter commonly associated with or directly linked to criminal violence. The Dark Triad In 2010, Dr. Peter Jonason who was at the time an assistant professor of psychology based at the University of Western Florida and Gregory Webster, his co-author and assistant professor of psychology based at the University of Florida came up with what is now being referred to as the Dirty Dozen Scale. This scale was developed by Jonason and Webster as a method of measuring the traits that the Dark Triad comprised of. Within the triad, these three personality traits tend to overlap at some point and are generally characterized by the degree of self-centeredness, exploitation, disagreeableness, and manipulation that takes place. Jonason, Webster and their team of researchers were trying to determine if sadism could, in fact, be captured within the laboratory. They were also trying to discover if these sadistic personality measures could be used to predict behaviors beyond the already established measures that the Dark Triad consisted of. In a second and related study that was conducted, the results interestingly revealed how individuals who displayed a high tendency of sadism, narcissism and (or) psychopathy were willing to act aggressively against an innocent party when aggression proved to be the easier choice. It was only a sadist who showed a tendency towards higher levels of aggression when it became apparent that their “victim” could not fight back, and that unlike other “darker personalities”, it was the sadists who were willing to spend the additional energy and time needed if it meant that extra effort was going to give them a chance to hurt someone else. This was a huge revelation, considering that in past, other research studies revealed that while psychopaths had no problems inflicting hurt on others, they were much more likely to do so only if it served a specific purpose. Narcissists, on the other hand, were far less likely to engage in aggression unless they felt that their ego was being threatened, while Machiavellians resorted to aggression only if they felt the benefits were sufficient to warrant such action, and only if it involved acceptably low risks to themselves. Jonason and Webster’s study measures the responses that people gave when they were asked to rate themselves against the following statements: I have a tendency to lack remorse I have resorted to manipulating others if it means getting my way, and I still have a tendency to do it. I have a tendency to rely on deceit to get my way. I have used flattery in the past to achieve my goals. I have exploited others as a means to an end, and I still have a tendency to do so. I have a tendency to expect “special treatment or favors” I am not concerned about morality, nor am I not concerned about the morality or outcome of my decisions and actions. I have a tendency to be insensitive and callous towards others at times. I have a tendency to display cynicism. I like to seek status or prestige. I want to be admired by others. I want to be paid attention to. The individuals who took part in this study were rated from a scale of 1 to 7, and they were given a score which ranged anywhere from 12 to 84. The higher a participant’s score was the higher the possibility that they were individuals with one of the Dark Triad personality traits. Covert manipulative tactics are everywhere we look, from social media to the commercials that we are exposed to, even the sales tactics were bombarded with when we try to make purchases in person. Even children resort to manipulative tactics from time to time, as they begin experimenting with the different ways that work to give them the autonomy they seek. These tactics are even used by the people you love and trust the most, and here are some examples of everyday ordinary individuals who might resort to dark psychology more so than others: True Narcissists - This one goes without saying. Those who are clinically diagnosed as narcissists especially tend to carry with them an inflated sense of their own self-worth, which means they always have a need to validate this belief by making themselves superior to others around them. Narcissists harbor dreams of being adored and worshipped by the masses, and they will resort to all sorts of manipulative and unethical behavior to get the adoration they want. True Sociopaths - Those who are clinically diagnosed as sociopaths often appear intelligent and charming, but their downfall is impulsiveness. Since sociopaths tend to lack the ability to feel any kind of remorse, they take advantage of these dark personality tactics to build relationships which are superficial and not genuine since they’re only doing it for their own benefit. The Selfish People - Anyone with a hidden agenda that benefits themselves before others have the potential to resort to these dark manipulative tactics if the outcome for them is a win. The Politicians - To get the votes that they need, and to get the masses to vote the way they want them too, politicians are guilty of resorting to dark tactics of persuasion as a means to serve their end. The Lawyers - Some attorneys will stop at nothing if it means they get to win their case, even if it means they have to resort to dark tactics to do so. The Salespeople - Just like attorneys and politicians, some salespeople can be so focused on nothing but making a sale that they have no qualms about resorting to manipulative tactics to coerce a buyer into doing what they want. The Leaders - Not all leaders are there to inspire, and some rely on manipulation to get others to comply with their demands. The Public Speakers - Not all public speakers can be trusted, and there are some out there who will resort to manipulation if it means there’s an opportunity to sell more products to do so. These are just some of the many examples out there of people who will resort to the more malevolent side of the human personality spectrum, and always for no one else’s benefit but their own. German-Danish research conducted recently revealed that while psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism do make up the Dark Triad, other personality traits could fall within a similar spectrum. Examples of these include egoism, spitefulness, and sadism to name just a few, and as the research revealed, these malevolent traits all share one common thing, which is that they have a “dark core”. It is very likely that if you display any one of these tendencies, you’re might have a tendency for the others as well. Sadists have been mentioned several times throughout this chapter because those with the Dark Triad tendencies harbor within them the potential to overlap into sadistic behavior. You might even have encountered a sadist in your life once or twice. Maybe they’re still in your life now. If you know anyone who would purposefully cause another emotional harm and derive great pleasure from it, that’s a sadist. What makes a sadist dangerous is that their actions can range from anywhere between petty and severe. Some common examples of what sadistic behavior might look like include: Purposely portraying another person in an unflattering way or false manner with the intent to damage to their reputation. Purposely repeating secrets which they know are meant to be private. Purposely trying to get a colleague fired behind their back. Purposely jeopardizing a colleague’s reputation in their absence. Purposely marginalizing a colleague, family member, friend, or even an acquaintance. Purposely trying to cause harm to someone else’s relationship. Resorting to bullying or cyberbullying. Resorting to the theft of intellectual, physical or financial property. Characteristics of A Sadist A skillful sadist will set these situations up so carefully that it becomes difficult to prove they were they guilty party involved. What makes it worse is that they will never own up to the responsibility or feel any kind of remorse for the damage that they have inflicted. People may even be reluctant to believe the sadist is behind the chaos because of their charming and likable personalities. A sadist will intentionally seek out to harm someone else because they believe that it is going to benefit them to do so. They might resort to these underhanded tactics whenever they feel envious or threatened by another, or even if they perceive someone else to be weaker and less likely to retaliate. In some cases, it may not be clear as to why the sadist has chosen to launch an attack on the victim. We don’t often think - or want to believe - that the sadist could exist within our own immediate circle of connections, but they do, and they could be your parents, siblings, extended family members, spouse, friends and the people that you work with. Here’s an example of a scenario when a sadist might be lurking in your midst among your family. Let’s say this person - John Smith - lost his job not too long ago and he was struggling with frustration and anxiety because he was having a hard time trying to find another. John seeks comfort and support by talking to his brother about it but specifically requests that his brother keep the information to himself. John’s brother agrees. After some time, John gets an invite to his brother’s house for a casual get together. Thinking nothing of it, John is then taken aback when several guests offer their sympathies over the fact that he had lost his job and couldn’t land another. Embarrassed, hurt and angry, John immediately knows that his brother was the one who leaked his secret since he hadn’t confided in his troubles with anyone else. When John confronts his brother, later on, his brother denies any knowledge and “has no idea” what John is talking about. John’s brother continues to adamantly deny the accusations, making John feel guilty for suspecting him as the guilty party. It takes John a while to realize that this is not the first time he and his brother have been engaged in the same situation in the past, where John’s brother has been responsible for several incidences which cause John either hurt or embarrassment while denying any kind of responsibility. The sadist could be anyone, anywhere and they’re always lurking undercover making you question your own sanity as they purposely inflict harm and hurt in your life and then denying any kind of responsibility for it. Clues That Indicate You’re Might Be Manipulated Have you ever had that feeling that something wasn’t quite right with one of the relationships you have? Even with a casual encounter with someone you just met. Something just didn’t quite feel right and you left feeling even more stressed, frustrated or confused than when you first started. That could be a sign you were in the presence of a manipulator. The reason why manipulators resort to the tactics that they do is that they’re often incapable of simply asking for what they need, or being able to express their needs in a healthy, direct manner. Since they lack these skills, the resort to this emotionally unhealthy strategy in an attempt to try and control the other people around them and force them to bend to their will. Manipulation comes in several forms, and it can range anywhere from abusive to simply just being around a bossy personality. Some manipulative behaviors are much easier to spot than others, and if you suspect you could be a victim of a psychological bully, these are the tell-tale clues you want to keep an eye out for: You’re Always Forced to Oblige - If you don’t go along with what they want, they make you feel guilty about it. Even though you had every right to say no. If you constantly feel pressured or forced into doing something you don’t want to do, you’re being manipulated. If you’re afraid of saying no, you’re being manipulated. If you feel bullied into going along with someone else’s demands, you’re being manipulated. Manipulators are experts at playing the victim card, and they will play it for all its worth to make you feel as guilty as possible like you’re doing something wrong because you chose to say no to them. You Question Your Own Judgement - Every time you’re around a certain someone, you always find yourself questioning your own judgment. Suddenly, something you were so sure of a minute ago fills you with doubt, making you second guess your own decisions after having a conversation with a manipulator. Present an idea or opinion to them and they’ll somehow find a way to twist and turn it around, making you unsure and uncomfortable. Spend enough time with them and they’ll make you feel unworthy like you’re a complete failure and nothing you could do will ever be the right choice. No Favor Comes for Free - If they do you a favor, you can bet there will always be strings attached to that request. Nothing a manipulator does is ever a “genuine favor”, there will always be an ulterior motive for why they are helping you out. If accepting help or a favor from someone makes you feel uncomfortable because you know you’re going to owe them for it later, you’re dealing with a manipulator. When the manipulator does you a favor, there’s an expectation to be repaid. They’ll be the first ones to tell you that you owe me this, and you’ll feel obliged to go out of your way to help because you feel guilty about saying no. Say no to them and they’ll make you feel like the most ungrateful person in the world. You’re Always Getting Blamed - Even when you haven’t done anything wrong, you’re somehow the one to blame. That one manipulative friend who always has an excuse for their bad behavior or poor judgment, the one that always makes you the scapegoat, that’s not a friend. That’s a manipulator. It’s your fault, you made me think I should do it, I wouldn’t have done it if you agreed it was a bad idea. The hallmark of a manipulative “friend” is when somehow, you’re always in the mix and the one made to feel like you’re in the wrong. They’re Not Really Listening - Another sign you could be manipulated is when they don’t really listen when you’re speaking. They may look at you while you’re talking, but at the first chance they get, they twist the conversation back around unto something that involves them. Everything is always about them. In fact, the only time they seem to be engaged in when they’re gathering the information that they can later use against you when the time is right. Beware of what you say when you’re around them, and never trust them with confidential or important information. They Come to You When They Need Something - Do you have that one friend who only ever seems to get in touch with you when they conveniently need a favor? That friend could be manipulating you, especially if you’re the one who is constantly doing those favors but when you need help the most, they’re never around. Or they’ve always got some excuse up their sleeve as to why they can’t help you. When they need something from you however, they behave like you’re their best friend in the whole world. Clues That Indicate Your Partner May Be a Lying Manipulator One of the worst sinking feelings you could feel is knowing that your partner, the person whom you love and who supposedly loves you, turns out to be using you for their own benefit all this time. A relationship is supposed to be the one place where we believe we can receive the support, love, commitment and the care that we all yearn for deep down inside. To love and to be loved wholeheartedly in return. Sadly, there are many out there who have their hearts broken when they realize that not only is their partner someone unreliable, but someone who has been controlling their strings like a puppet all along. We all have certain expectations and romanticized notions of what we think love is, thanks to the way love has been portrayed in society through the movies we watch, articles we read and social media posts were scrolling through almost every day. When we see jealousy playing out on screen, we believe it’s a sign of intense love because the two people in the movie are afraid of losing their loved one to another. The popular Twilight movies and literature leads us to believe that true love and relationships are about obsession. That love is an all-consuming feeling. That when two people are in love, nothing else matters and no boundaries exist. This romanticized notion blinds to the fact that this is not what reality is at all, and that kind of love only exists in movies and between the pages of books because they make for a good storyline. In real life, that kind of behavior are indicators of manipulation. Being controlling isn’t about love, it is manipulation. Being obsessed isn’t being passionate, it’s manipulative. On some level, we know we should be able to recognize the signs of an abusive partner in a relationship. We know that we should, but it’s easier said than done. When we love, we tend to blind ourselves to our partner’s fault. We make excuses for the behavior that should be setting off alarm bells in our head because we’re trying to avoid facing the truth. We don’t want to have our hearts broken that way and we try to convince ourselves that they’re not really like that at all. When a relationship escalates from controlling to just outright abusive, there is cause for concern, but being in a manipulative relationship can be just as hurtful and damaging too. Being in a relationship with a manipulator can be just as damaging on you emotionally and mentally. Manipulative partners will seek to control you, minimizing your independence. They try to control every decision you make, belittle you and damage your self-esteem so you come to doubt yourself and believe you’re the “lucky” one because no one will love you as they can. They make you afraid about losing this relationship and make you fearful of entering into any future relationships because you’ve been traumatized by this past experience, scare of getting into yet another relationship with someone who manipulates you. Being in a relationship with a manipulator can leave you with emotional wounds and scars that will take a very, very long time to heal if they ever do. Some of the more common signs you’re in a relationship with a manipulator is when your partner is constantly forcing you to look or dress in a way that only they approve of, or dictates who you can and cannot spend your time with. The love and support that’s supposed to come from genuine relationships is not something you’re going to find when you’re in a relationship with a manipulator. If your partner is someone who is manipulative, lying to try and control you and the situation in their favor is something that’s going to be a common occurrence in your relationship, and these are the clues to watch out for: Lying to Make You Feel Guilty About Spending Time with Others - Since the manipulator wants to be in control, they’ll try to cut you off from your support system as much as possible by trying to restrict the amount of time you spend with your family and friends. They’ll resort to lies and sob stories about how hurt they feel that you’ve neglected them when they needed you most (even though that may not be true), and tell you that they feel you’re always putting other people’s needs above theirs when you claim that you love them. Their goal is to try and isolate you from the other people in your life so you become totally dependent on them, and the more you rely on them, the more controlling power they have over you. They may not outright tell you to stop spending time with other people, but rather they try to subtly nudge you inch by inch away from your social circle through the lies that spin to make you feel guilty about your actions. They Lie and Criticize - Every little thing you do is subject to criticism when you’re with someone who is manipulative. The worst part of it all is that they lie so convincingly when they tell you they’re doing it because “they love you” or that “it’s for your own good”. They will constantly criticize just about everything that you do, the longer you continue to remain in a relationship with them. They’ll criticize everything from the way you dress, the way you talk, the things you say, the way you spend your money, your passion, your hobbies, your interests, the decisions you make, even when you suggest fun ways to spend quality time together if it’s not something they want to do, they’ll find a way to critique it. They’ll criticize you so often that you feel incompetent and insecure enough that you no longer feel comfortable making decisions without running it by them first. They’re not trying to help you. They’re trying to undermine you. They Create Mistrust - You may be the most completely honest and trustworthy person there is, but a manipulator can make you feel otherwise. As deeply in love as two people are, they are still individuals in their own right and everyone is entitled to their privacy. Unless you’re in a relationship with a manipulator that is, because they’ll completely disregard this fact, given that they’re never satisfied unless they can control every aspect of your life. A manipulative partner will refuse to acknowledge your right to privacy, and has no problems spinning lies and guilt to make you out to be the bad guy when you try to protect your privacy. They make you feel like you’re the one who has something to hide, that you’re the one who cannot be trusted because you choose to keep your emails or text messages private. They’ll even try to make you feel bad for protecting your diary if you have one. The manipulator thirsts for control, and when they can’t get it, they resort to any means necessary to try and invade your privacy. Your privacy is your right, and you should never have to feel forced to reveal what you’re not comfortable with. Manipulators might demand access to your passwords, social media accounts, and even more private information by spinning some tale about how they’re “afraid” that you might break their heart by cheating on them. They could even tell you tales of how they have been cheated on in the past and how much it hurt them to have their hearts broken that way (even though it may not be true). The point is, they’ll tell you whatever story it takes to get you to feel guilty enough to reveal your private information, even going so far as to claim that two people who are in love should never have secrets from each other. However, there is a big difference between being secretive and having a right to privacy, and being in a relationship does not mean you have to sacrifice the latter. They Talk a Lot About “Protecting” You - Which is, of course, nothing but another lie when it’s coming from the manipulator. They’re not protecting you, they’re not even thinking about that when all they care about is their own self-interest. Deep down, who wouldn’t love the idea of knowing that there’s someone out there who loves them enough to protect them from the big bad world? That person does exist, just not with a manipulator, unfortunately. When you love someone, there is a natural desire to want to protect them and keep them from feeling hurt. When you love someone, you’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep them safe, and you never want to see them hurt, upset or unhappy in any way. The manipulative partner will lead you to believe that this is what they want for you, but the red flags should start to go up when “protecting” on their terms means they get to make all the decisions for you about how you should live your life. They’ll tell lies about wanting to “protect” your finances, “protecting” you from friends who are not a good influence in you, “protecting” you by constantly keeping tabs on where you’re going and what you doing. When you tell them you’re uncomfortable with this kind of control, they turn around and lie once more by convincing you they’re doing it out of love and because they want to “protect” you, when the truth is they’re trying to do the complete opposite. They want you to depend on no one else but them so they will always have the upper hand. If you really were in a healthy relationship, your partner will be protective, but they’ll also be realistic. They know they can’t protect you from everything, and they certainly won’t try to by dictating how every aspect of your life should be run. When you’re in trouble, they’ll find constructive ways to help you instead of making you feel bad for not listening to them. They won’t demand that you hand over your password or any other private information in the name of “protecting” you. They Provoke You with Lies - Sometimes a manipulator could resort to provoking you into an argument by lying and exaggerating, blowing things out of proportion just because they know it pushes your buttons when they do. They purposely say things which are targeted at triggering negative emotions within you, even going so far as to lie just to make their argument more convincing. You are left with the nagging question of why they do things the way they do. Because sometimes they simply want to push your buttons just to make you angry enough to say something that they can use against you later on. When you tell them their argument makes no sense, they’ll put on a show worthy of an Oscar about how deeply you’ve hurt them. They’ll keep pushing and pushing and if you let them, they’ll push you right over the edge and everything you say can and will be used against you at the next opportunity they get. They Tell You They’ll Die Without You - Possibly one of the biggest lies a manipulator spins are the lies that tell you that they simply cannot live without you. That if you leave them, they will die. They’re not going to, and they’ll certainly never do anything to harm themselves. It’s just a lie that they’re spinning to make you feel guilty for even entertaining the notion of possibly ending the relationship when you see them for who they really are. There’s a term for this kind of behavior, and it’s called emotional blackmail, and it is arguably one of the most selfish characteristics of being in a relationship with a manipulative individual. No one should have to make you feel scared or guilty about doing what’s best for you, and they certainly should not be shoving the responsibility of their life onto you in such a manner. Telling you that they will die if you ever leave them is nothing but an empty threat, and once you know for sure you want to cut ties with the manipulator, never let them make you feel guilty for this decision. You have a responsibility for your own wellbeing and what they choose to do with their life is up to them. Twisting Lies with Even More Lies - Manipulators can spin lies as intricately as a spider spins its web. They’ll lie, twist those lies, and then twist those lies even more until you don’t know what’s real and what isn’t anymore. Twisting and distorting the facts, tangling lies on top of more lies is a favorite tactic of the manipulator to confuse and frustrate you. They’ll drive you insane and make you question your own sanity and they do it so skillfully to the point that you believe something is wrong with you instead of them. It can be hard to keep tabs on a manipulator’s tangled web of lies, but you must learn to trust your instincts and rely on your own judgment, even if they’re trying hard to convince you that you’re wrong. If something doesn’t sit right with you, learn to trust your gut, because you’re probably right, especially if you know you’ve caught them in a lie more than once. You trusted your own judgment before you got into a relationship with them, and you need to trust your own judgment now more than ever. Don’t let them confuse you with their lies. Chapter 3: The Dark Side of Manipulation We know manipulators exist and that they’re all around us, but who are these people exactly? What sort of personalities do they have? In a romantic relationship, they’re the partner who is abusive and controlling, damaging not just the relationship the two of you have built but taken your self-esteem down right along with it. In a family dynamic, they’re the family member who constantly creates disharmony and chaos, or the one who always wants to be the center of attention. They could be the sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, mother or father who makes subtle remarks aimed at making everyone else around them feel inadequate or insecure. The manipulator could be your next door neighbor or friend who is spreading rumors and gossip, the one who enjoys pitting one person against the other and then standing back and watching the fight. At work, the manipulator could be that colleague who has a track record for being dishonest and unethical, willing to stoop as low as they can to get what they want and stepping on everyone else’s toes on their way to the top. Out on the streets, the manipulators are the criminals and con-artists who rely on deception and distraction to swindle you out of your hard earned cash, robbing you in broad daylight without you knowing it and them stealthily covering their tracks to avoid being detected. The manipulator can come in any shape or form, sometimes in the form of a person you least expect, and among the several things that a lot of these manipulators have in common is the fact that they suffer from some form of personality disorder that makes them who they are. In 1835, physician Dr. James Cowles Prichard proposed the term moral insanity to describe these individuals who, although not technically insane by today’s standards, had very significant and distinguishing differences in their attitudes and the way they behaved when it came to morality, ethics, and their emotional reactions or responses to certain situations. Yet, despite these obvious differences when compared to other individuals, those classified under moral insanity showed very little social or emotional distress over their behavior. These individuals who suffered from a personality disorder of some sort had a long history of emotional, personality, relationship and behavioral difficulties that were very significantly different from that of their families or even culture. The behavior patterns exhibited were dysfunctional and intruded into just about every aspect of their life, which created problems in their emotional and personal ability to function, which likely contributes to their manipulative tendencies. Among the personality types that are more like to resort to manipulation include: The Histrionic Personality Type - The individual with this pervasive behavior has a tendency to seek out attention and resort to excessive displays of emotion, often referred to as being dramatic. When involved in a relationship, they can resort to highly manipulative behavior in order to get what they want. The Antisocial Personality Types - These individuals are capable of being manipulative because they hold little regard for the unspoken societal rules that everyone else follows. These antisocial personalities could consist of a range of behavior patterns, which include being unsupportive, chronically unreliable and irresponsible, conning others and for the ones who have no regard for another person’s fundamental rights could even resort to criminal activity and show no remorse for it. Clinically, these individuals are extremely selfish, with lying, deception, intimidation and even physical assault being part of the many behavioral patterns they could potentially exhibit. The Borderline Personality Disorder - These individuals can be intense, volatile and unstable when it comes to their self-perception, moods, and relationships. They have little to no ability to control their impulses, and the common characteristics associated with this type of behavior include fear of abandonment, being unstable when it comes to their self-image, social relationships, displaying inappropriate but intense feelings of anger and paranoia, and even resorting to impulsive or self-damaging acts which include substance and alcohol abuse. This instability could then lead them to perform acts of manipulation. The Narcissistic Personality Disorder - Previously discussed in Chapter 2 as being a part of the Dark Triad, having a narcissistic personality is a disorder which leaves to a sense of entitlement, a need to be admired and an inflated sense of self-worth. It is not uncommon for these individuals to have a huge ego, and they care little for anyone else but themselves. This lack of empathy for others, arrogance, inflated self-esteem, sense of entitlement which leads them to believe that they deserve to have special privileges and attention can lead towards feelings of jealousy or envy when their needs are not being met. This high sense of entitlement also leads them to believe that they have a right to punish or exact revenge on anyone whom they perceive as not giving them the attention, due respect or admiration that they believe they deserve. Psychologically, narcissism is not capable of genuine self-love, since those who struggle with narcissism are more in love with the grandiose and idealized, unrealistic image of themselves that they have built up in their minds. These delusions of grandeur that they harbor within them are exactly what leads to such dysfunctional behavior, and why these individuals are more often than not described as demanding, selfish, patronizing and manipulative. Their friendships, family life, romantic relationships, and even professional relationships are not safe from their narcissistic tendencies, and what makes it harder is that those with this personality disorder are reluctant to change, preferring instead to expect others to conform to their needs. Personalities Likely to Manipulate What Makes the Narcissist A Dangerous Manipulator It’s not just arrogance and vanity that contribute to a narcissist’s delusion of superiority, but the grandiose idea that they are more important than everyone else around them that leads the narcissist to believe they are special enough to warrant getting anything that they want. They see themselves as being better than everyone else, and they only want to associate with those whom they deem to be on the same level as they are. What makes the narcissist such a dangerous type of manipulative personality (which is why it is part of the Dark Triad) is because they don’t just believe they deserve respect and recognition, they demand it. They've created a skewed perception of reality in their mind in which they are the star of their own show, and everyone else is merely a supporting player. Anything and anyone that is perceived as a threat just waiting to burst the bubble of their fantasy world is going to be met with extreme reactions which could include defensiveness, threats and even outright rage. Since they have a constant need to be praised, admired and recognized (even though they may have done nothing outstanding), maintaining a healthy relationship with a narcissist becomes nearly impossible. The relationship is doomed to be one-sided from the start, a relationship where mutual benefit does not exist since the only one that stands to gain anything is the narcissist. Since they genuinely believe they deserve to get anything they want because they’re better than everyone else around them, they expect everyone to automatically bend over backward and comply with their every demand without question. To the narcissist, anyone who doesn’t meet their demands or go along with what they want is considered useless and invaluable. Should you be brave enough to deny their requests or even be so bold as to ask for a favor in return for all the help you’ve given them in the past, it won’t take much for them to fly off the handle and react aggressively in anger, outrage or even emotionally torture you by subjecting you to the silent treatment. The narcissist is a danger to your mental and emotional well being for the simple reason that they have no regrets and will be more than willing to take advantage of exploit you for their own personal gain without shame or remorse for their actions. This inflated sense of self-worth leads them to believe that they are entitled to treat you any way that they see fit, and they’ll never see their actions as being wrong or immoral in any way. In several ways, the narcissist has almost earned their spot in the Dark Triad, and one of the biggest reasons why is that they view everyone else around them as objects to be used. To the narcissist, you exist for no other reason other than to serve their needs and that is it. They will never stop to think twice about taking advantage of you, only to discard you when you no longer serve any useful purpose to them. They can be both malicious and oblivious at the same time, blinded mostly by their own self of entitlement. They are incapable of thinking how their actions could have consequences on everyone else, even if you were to point it out to them, they’ll simply dismiss and refuse to believe you. The narcissist will demean you, bully you and belittle you if it means they’re going to get their way. If they feel threatened by you or perceive you as trying to “push back” against them, they resort to putting you down to inflate their already inflated ego. In their mind, this is how they neutralize their “enemies”, by stomping on them until they feel too insecure to rise up and challenge them in any way. Threats, bullying, insults, shaming, dismissiveness, and ridicule are just some of the many tactics they will employ in an attempt to get you back in line and put you in your place. Manipulators and Their Covert-Aggressive Personalities When it comes to aggression, there are two categories they could fall into. They either resort to overt-aggression or covert-aggression. When someone is obvious, direct and open in the manner with which they choose to stand up or fight back, that’s over-aggression. This is a category the manipulator is unlikely to fall into since they never want anyone to know what they’re really up to. No, a manipulator prefers to go with the second option, which is covert-aggression, a method which allows them to be deceptive, subtle and underhanded enough to hide their true intentions. However, a very powerful manipulator will know how to use both traits and harness the combined power of both, avoiding any outright displays of overt-aggression while still being able to intimidate another enough to get them to do what you want. Covert-aggression is a manipulator’s preferred mode of operation when it comes to interpersonal interaction. Covert-aggression is not necessarily an act that is reserve for manipulators alone. Almost everyone has engaged in some form of covertly aggressive behavior every now and then. Occasionally have to resort to covert-aggressive behavior for one reason or another does not mean you have a covert-aggressive type of personality. When you habitually repeat this type of behavior the way a manipulator does, then it becomes part of your personality. Manipulators with covert-aggressive personalities rely on a steady diet of control, deception, and manipulation to keep them going. This tactic has become a part of who they are, and their preferred way of dealing with everyone else around them to get things done the way they want it to go. For those who have never experienced it first-hand, they might have a hard time understanding why victims of manipulation have a hard time realizing what’s going on, and why they fail to see that they’re being taken advantage of. It can be tempting to brush the victims off and assume that they’re foolish for allowing themselves to be manipulated in that way. That is until you come to understand that there are very good reasons why the victims fail to realize they’re being manipulated until it’s too late. Especially when the manipulator relies on covert-aggression to hoodwink their targets. Covert-aggression in the hands of a manipulator is so effective because: The manipulator’s aggression is well hidden. It makes it hard for the victims to fight back against something they cannot clearly pinpoint or find any evidence against. Even if their gut feeling is telling them something is off, and that perhaps this person in front of them is trying to take advantage, the manipulator does it in such a stealthy manner that it becomes difficult for the victim to identify their true motives. It makes the manipulator seem like their resorting to any other tactic except fighting. Covert-aggression allows the manipulator to cover their tracks by making it seem as though they’re defending their victim, perhaps even caring for them and standing up for them. It is difficult to know for sure that these tactics are nothing more than a clever ploy when the manipulator does it in such a way that it makes just enough sense to be believable enough that the victim begins to doubt their own gut instincts which tell them they might be manipulated. Besides being a clever maneuver that keeps the fact the manipulator is actually fighting the victim well hidden, covert-aggression simultaneously keeps the victim consciously defensive, making it very difficult for them to think straight when they feel drained from being on the run emotionally. This is why manipulators love covert-aggression because it’s such an effective psychological weapon. It gives the manipulator power to know exactly which buttons to push in their victim. Everyone has their own insecurities and weaknesses that they deal with, and if the manipulator has been around you long enough, they will know these weaknesses better than you might like, using covert-aggression to exploit you in just the right manner that it becomes easy to forget you’re being taken advantage of. Take a parent for example who knows that one of their weaknesses is the fact that they can easily be made to feel guilty. When their manipulative child who has been able to detect this weakness pushes on the right buttons to get what they want, it becomes easy for the parent to forget what’s really going on when they want to give in to their child and make them happy. It allows the manipulator to be the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing. Manipulators with these covert-aggressive personality types work hard and keeping their aggressive behavior well and truly hidden behind a mask that prevents others from seeing what’s really going on. They hide their less than honorable intentions behind the guise of being charming and a personality so likable it’s hard to believe that underneath that layer is an aggressive and ruthless personality just waiting to take you down. They know how to pick just the right victims to target too, often going for those who are more openly vulnerable than others, conscientious or those with a softer, more sensitive nature that’s easier to take advantage of and less likely to fight back. Here’s an example of what covert-aggression might look like in a husband and wife scenario. Let’s say that the wife (the victim) one day decides to have a conversation with her husband (the manipulator) about the fact that he is not spending enough time with her and the kids that she would like him to, and she’s concerned that he is missing out on quality family time with the kids. The husband immediately responds by making himself out to be the victim in this situation by pointing out how he feels pressured by the wife who “constantly” makes unreasonable demands. He then goes on to portray himself as the one who is suffering and underappreciated because “no one” seems to be feeling grateful or acknowledging how hard he works to support the family. The husband then rounds it off by delivering the knockout punch which includes shame and making the wife feel guilty by claiming that all she seems to do is complain and nothing he does is ever good enough for her. The wife, who started off with a completely different intention in mind, one where she wanted to fix what she perceived to be a problem, is now being made to seem like the cruel, heartless and unappreciative bad guy, when in reality that was not what she was trying to do at all. If the wife doesn’t see this attack coming, she can be successfully manipulated into believing that she’s the one who is in the wrong, unable to see what the husband just did there, even if this pattern of behavior has repeated itself several times in the past. The wife will most likely in this scenario, apologize and give into the husband’s dominance, completely unaware that she was just manipulated into feeling like the guilty party. As American author Steve Maraboli so succinctly put it, the louder a person makes claims of sainthood, the bigger the horns they’re trying to hide. Only the manipulator will know the exact reasons why they choose to target the victims that they do, but when they do choose a target, it’s because that person has something that they either need or want. It could be a financial need, an emotional or even physical need, if you have it and they need it, you’re a target to them. Manipulators delight in this cat and mouse game that they play with their victims, reveling in the fact that the entire time, they are the ones in a position of power since the victim has no idea what’s going on. They use the connection and the bond that they have built with their victims to hold them hostage, and the poor victim is sometimes being made to feel like they have no other choice except to comply. And that is why people with personality disorders are so dangerous and manipulative. Mind Control - Could It Be Happening to You? It might sound like something straight out of a science fiction movie, but mind control is possible. Well, sort of. Not the kind of mind control where you have the power to turn anyone into a robot you can control any way you like, but close enough. The kind of mind control that subtly goes unnoticed most of the time is the kind of mind control that is taking place all around us every day. It’s the influence. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, a book written in the 1980s by researcher Dr. Robert Cialdini highlights several different scientifically proven methods and principles which are used to influence others, along with several suggestions as to how to go about doing it. Since it was written, it has become among the most important books in the marketing world, and businesses use these tactics all the time in trying to sell their products to consumers. Mind control isn’t about magic powers or having any kind of supernatural knowledge at all. In fact, mind control at its most basic form exists in the form of marketing and advertising, something which all of us are exposed to every day. On a more personal level, mind control techniques are tapped into by manipulators to control everyone else around them when they try to dictate the outcomes in their favor. Mind control techniques exist all around us, once we open our eyes and start looking around. Advertising and marketing is just one form of subtle mind control. Another big one that has most of the world addicted to it on a daily basis is social media. Facebook has successfully built its global empire which boasts 1.6 billion users who are actively participating on this platform and counting, and yet hardly any of the users are likely to realize how Facebook has managed to amass that kind of power through subtle mind control techniques, and one such technique is through inducing within its users the fear of missing out on what’s happening. Humans have always craved contact with other humans, and historically, we have never coped with loneliness. Each and every one of us has a deep-seated desire to be accepted, to have a community that we can relate to or identify with, and it is exactly the fear of losing connection with the friends and followers you have on your social media accounts (not just Facebook) that keeps you coming back for more. Social media is still not the full story, because mind control techniques don’t stop there either. What do you think happens each time to type in a quick search into your Google browser? Do you genuinely believe that you have complete autonomy when you’re conducting your online research? According to Robert Epstein, a psychologist, that’s not what’s happening at all. What’s really going on is what Epstein calls SEME (Search Engine Manipulation Effect). The SEME effect is rooted in the fact that each time a user hops online to search for something, half the time what we end of clicking on are the first two results that appear on the first page of Google. More than 90% of the clicks that take place are happening within the top 10 results which Google has displayed in front of you. There are pages and pages of other results, other websites, and links which still contain the keywords you’re looking for, but it is Google that ends up “deciding” what you’re going to end up reading. Which is most of the time, what’s on the first page? And here we thought we had complete control over our search choices too. Dr. Robert Hare, a researcher and an expert in the field of criminal psychology explains that basic mind control techniques are used all the time by psychopaths who attempt to form a relationship with someone with the intention to control and dominate them. The narcissist is another group of people who frequently resort of mind control tools to coerce their victims into doing their bidding. Mind control is nothing more than another extreme form of manipulation, and it is just as dangerous as all the other manipulative techniques applied because we don’t see mind control as something that is present in our day to day life. We tend to think of brainwashing as something that only cults or religious groups resort to, or something that advertisers and politicians are more likely to resort to than the average person. It can be hard to fathom that the colleague working alongside you in the next cubicle is more than capable of applying subtle mind control techniques as a way of exerting control over you. Common examples of mind control techniques taking place right in front of us through the manipulator we know include: Being offered several choices without realizing that all those choices lead to the same conclusion. This is how the manipulator leads to believe that you have a “choice” and you’re making your own “decisions” when in reality, they’ve already made the decision for you. Having the same idea or phrase repeated to you so often that it now sticks in your brain. Having the manipulator perform a technique known as intelligence-dampening on you. This is where they will provide you with a series of brief snippets of information on several different subjects, indirectly training your brain for short term memory and making you feel overwhelmed by the amount of information you’re receiving on several subjects. This overwhelming feeling is exactly what they want you to feel because it has you turning to them for answers and make you more susceptible to going along with what they want. Ever had a colleague who came and fired off a series of instructions to you before you’ve had time to process it? And then conveniently offer solutions (that they already wanted anyway) and you feel so relieved you accept without a second thought? Mind control at work. Manipulating your emotions by putting you in a state where your emotions are heightened to a point that it makes it hard for you to think straight. The harder it is for you to focus, the easier it is for them to control you by implanting ideas into your mind. Mind control techniques are effective in the hands of psychopaths because they know how to read the people around them effectively. They’ve worked hard at developing this into an art form, motivated mainly by the strong desire to control and exert dominance over their targets. Psychopaths have learned how to size up their targets quickly, doing a quick but accurate assessment of what their weaknesses and strengths may be, and as they go along, they continue to gather more information about their targets which provides them with more leverage and control. If you think someone you know could be using subtle mind control techniques against you, watch out for the following red flags: You Feel Isolated - One day you look around and you realize you’ve somehow managed to isolate all your friends and you’re feeling extremely lonely all of the sudden. You’re not quite sure how it happened, and the only “friend” left whom you can turn to is the one who caused the isolation in the first place. You Change Your Behavior for Them - When was the last time you did something that genuinely made you happy in your romantic relationship? Something that was for yourself without being worried or afraid of what your partner might say or how they would react. Sulking, being moody and getting you to change your behavior for them just to avoid an argument from happening is a tell-tale sign that mind control techniques in your relationship are starting to make themselves known. When you start changing your actions because of what someone else wants, you’re being controlled. Nonverbal Cues to Control - Relying on a technique known as metacommunication, the manipulator will attempt to mind control you by relying on nonverbal cues to get you to change your mind. For example, if you were to suggest that you and your partner go out to get dinner from that pizza place you like but they don’t, they could agree but accompany that “yes” with a loud, dramatic sigh and a slump of their shoulders which leaves no room for doubt that they would prefer to say “no” instead. Through Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) - The more skilled manipulators resort to using NLP as one of their many mind control methods. NLP is a technique in which the manipulator uses language to layer certain thoughts that they want to plant into your subconscious mind without you knowing it. NLP works by observing the different aspects of an individual and then using language to implant a suggestion. For example, if Person A was someone who was more visually oriented, then the manipulator might use NLP by turning to language through visual cues like do you SEE what I mean? If Person B was someone who was more inclined towards auditory cues, the NLP language used might be along the lines of I completely HEAR what you’re saying. Signs You’re Being Mind Controlled Not All Mind Control Is Bad In the hands of a manipulator, yes, mind control can be a bad thing. But mind control on its own isn’t all bad. In fact, there are several forms of mind control techniques which are being practiced today that have significant benefits in helping us improve our lives for the better. These techniques include: Meditation - A practice that has existed for centuries, meditation is one of the oldest, most effective mind control techniques in the world today. It literally encourages you to intentionally control your mind by calming your thoughts and emptying it of all the noisy chatter so that instead, peace and serenity can flow through you and help you relax when you need it most. Science has even successfully managed to prove that the alpha waves which are produced in the mind tend to peak after a good medita