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Psychological manipulation

Psychological manipulation

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Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence
Social influence
Social influence occurs when an individual's thoughts, feelings or actions are affected by other people. Social influence takes many forms and can be seen in conformity, socialization, peer pressure, obedience, leadership, persuasion, sales, and marketing...

 that aims to change the perception
Perception
Perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of the environment by organizing and interpreting sensory information. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical stimulation of the sense organs...

 or behavior of others through underhanded, deceptive, or even abusive
Abuse
Abuse is the improper usage or treatment for a bad purpose, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit. Abuse can come in many forms, such as: physical or verbal maltreatment, injury, sexual assault, violation, rape, unjust practices; wrongful practice or custom; offense; crime, or otherwise...

 tactics. By advancing the interests of the manipulator, often at the other's expense, such methods could be considered exploitative, abusive
Abuse
Abuse is the improper usage or treatment for a bad purpose, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit. Abuse can come in many forms, such as: physical or verbal maltreatment, injury, sexual assault, violation, rape, unjust practices; wrongful practice or custom; offense; crime, or otherwise...

, devious, and deceptive.
Social influence
Social influence
Social influence occurs when an individual's thoughts, feelings or actions are affected by other people. Social influence takes many forms and can be seen in conformity, socialization, peer pressure, obedience, leadership, persuasion, sales, and marketing...

 is not necessarily negative. For example, doctors can try to persuade patients to change unhealthy habits. Social influence is generally perceived to be harmless when it respects the right of the influenced to accept or reject it, and is not unduly coercive. Depending on the context and motivations, social influence may constitute underhanded manipulation.

Requirements for successful manipulation


According to George K. Simon, successful psychological manipulation primarily involves the manipulator:
  1. concealing aggressive
    Aggression
    In psychology, as well as other social and behavioral sciences, aggression refers to behavior between members of the same species that is intended to cause humiliation, pain, or harm. Ferguson and Beaver defined aggressive behavior as "Behavior which is intended to increase the social dominance of...

     intentions and behaviors.
  2. knowing the psychological vulnerabilities of the victim to determine what tactics are likely to be the most effective.
  3. having a sufficient level of ruthlessness to have no qualms about causing harm to the victim if necessary.


Consequently the manipulation is likely to be covert (relational aggressive
Relational aggression
Relational aggression, also known as covert aggression or covert bullying, is a type of aggression in which harm is caused through damage to relationships or social status within a group rather than by means of actual or threatened physical violence...

 or passive aggressive).

According to Braiker


Braiker identified the following basic ways that manipulators control their victims:
  • Positive reinforcement: includes praise
    Praise
    Praise is the act of making positive statements about a person, object or idea, either in public or privately. Praise is typically, but not exclusively, earned relative to achievement and accomplishment...

    , superficial charm
    Superficial charm
    Superficial charm is "the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile."The phrase often appears in lists of attributes of psychopathic personalities, such as in Hervey Cleckley's The Mask of Sanity and Robert Hare's Hare Psychopathy Checklist.Associated expressions are...

    , superficial sympathy
    Sympathy
    Sympathy is a social affinity in which one person stands with another person, closely understanding his or her feelings. Also known as empathic concern, it is the feeling of compassion or concern for another, the wish to see them better off or happier. Although empathy and sympathy are often used...

     (crocodile tears
    Crocodile tears
    Crocodile tears are a false or insincere display of emotion such as a hypocrite crying fake tears of grief. The phrase gives its name to crocodile tears syndrome, an uncommon consequence of recovery from Bell's palsy where faulty regeneration of the facial nerve causes sufferers to shed tears...

    ), excessive apologizing; money, approval, gifts; attention, facial expressions such as a forced laugh or smile; public recognition.
  • Negative reinforcement: involves removing one from a negative situation as a reward, i.e. "You won't have to walk home if you allow me to do this to you."
  • Intermittent or partial reinforcement: Partial or intermittent negative reinforcement can create an effective climate of fear and doubt. Partial or intermittent positive reinforcement can encourage the victim to persist - for example in most forms of gambling, the gambler is likely to win now and again but still lose money overall.
  • Punishment
    Punishment (psychology)
    In operant conditioning, punishment is any change in a human or animal's surroundings that occurs after a given behavior or response which reduces the likelihood of that behavior occurring again in the future. As with reinforcement, it is the behavior, not the animal, that is punished...

    : includes nagging, yelling, the silent treatment, intimidation, threats, swearing
    Profanity
    Profanity is a show of disrespect, or a desecration or debasement of someone or something. Profanity can take the form of words, expressions, gestures, or other social behaviors that are socially constructed or interpreted as insulting, rude, vulgar, obscene, desecrating, or other forms.The...

    , emotional blackmail
    Emotional blackmail
    Emotional blackmail is a term used to cover a central form of psychological manipulation - 'the use of a system of threats and punishment on a person by someone close to them in an attempt to control their behavior'. "Emotional blackmail.....

    , the guilt
    Guilt
    Guilt is the state of being responsible for the commission of an offense. It is also a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes—accurately or not—that he or she has violated a moral standard, and bears significant responsibility for that...

     trap, sulking, crying, and playing the victim.
  • Traumatic one-trial learning: using verbal abuse, explosive anger, or other intimidating behavior to establish dominance or superiority; even one incident of such behavior can condition
    Classical conditioning
    Classical conditioning is a form of conditioning that was first demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov...

     or train victims to avoid upsetting, confronting or contradicting the manipulator.

According to Simon


Simon identified the following manipulative techniques:
  • Lying
    Lie
    For other uses, see Lie A lie is a type of deception in the form of an untruthful statement, especially with the intention to deceive others....

    : It is hard to tell if somebody is lying at the time they do it although often the truth may be apparent later when it is too late. One way to minimize the chances of being lied to is to understand that some personality types (particularly psychopaths) are experts at the art of lying and cheating
    Cheating
    Cheating refers to the breaking of rules to gain advantage in a competitive situation. The rules infringed may be explicit, or they may be from an unwritten code of conduct based on morality, ethics or custom, making the identification of cheating a subjective process. Cheating can refer...

    , doing it frequently, and often in subtle ways.

  • Lying by omission: This is a very subtle form of lying by withholding a significant amount of the truth. This technique is also used in propaganda
    Propaganda
    Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

    .

  • Denial
    Denial
    Denial is a defense mechanism postulated by Sigmund Freud, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.The subject may use:* simple denial: deny the reality of the...

    : Manipulator refuses to admit that he or she has done something wrong.

  • Rationalization
    Rationalization (psychology)
    In psychology and logic, rationalization is an unconscious defense mechanism in which perceived controversial behaviors or feelings are logically justified and explained in a rational or logical manner in order to avoid any true explanation and made consciously tolerable by plausible means...

    : An excuse made by the manipulator for inappropriate behavior. Rationalization is closely related to spin
    Spin (public relations)
    In public relations, spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing an interpretation of an event or campaign to persuade public opinion in favor or against a certain organization or public figure...

    .

  • Minimization
    Minimisation (psychology)
    Minimisation is a type of deception involving denial coupled with rationalisation in situations where complete denial is implausible. It is the opposite of exaggeration....

    : This is a type of denial coupled with rationalization. The manipulator asserts that his or her behavior is not as harmful or irresponsible as someone else was suggesting, for example saying that a taunt or insult was only a joke.

  • Selective inattention or selective attention
    Attention
    Attention is the cognitive process of paying attention to one aspect of the environment while ignoring others. Attention is one of the most intensely studied topics within psychology and cognitive neuroscience....

    : Manipulator refuses to pay attention to anything that may distract from his or her agenda, saying things like "I don't want to hear it".

  • Diversion
    Distraction
    Distraction is the divided attention of an individual or group from the chosen object of attention onto the source of distraction. Distraction is caused by: the lack of ability to pay attention; lack of interest in the object of attention; or the great intensity, novelty or attractiveness of...

    : Manipulator not giving a straight answer to a straight question and instead being diversionary, steering the conversation onto another topic.

  • Evasion
    Evasion (Ethics)
    Evasion is, in ethics, an act that deceives by stating a true statement that is irrelevant or leads to a false conclusion.For instance, a man knows that another man is in a room in the building because he heard him, but in answer to a question, says, "I have not seen him," thereby falsely implying...

    : Similar to diversion but giving irrelevant, rambling, vague responses, weasel words.

  • Covert intimidation
    Intimidation
    Intimidation is intentional behavior "which would cause a person of ordinary sensibilities" fear of injury or harm. It's not necessary to prove that the behavior was so violent as to cause terror or that the victim was actually frightened.Criminal threatening is the crime of intentionally or...

    : Manipulator throwing the victim onto the defensive by using veiled (subtle, indirect or implied) threats.

  • Guilt
    Guilt
    Guilt is the state of being responsible for the commission of an offense. It is also a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes—accurately or not—that he or she has violated a moral standard, and bears significant responsibility for that...

     tripping: A special kind of intimidation tactic. A manipulator suggests to the conscientious victim that he or she does not care enough, is too selfish or has it easy. This usually results in the victim feeling bad, keeping them in a self-doubting
    Doubt
    Doubt, a status between belief and disbelief, involves uncertainty or distrust or lack of sureness of an alleged fact, an action, a motive, or a decision. Doubt brings into question some notion of a perceived "reality", and may involve delaying or rejecting relevant action out of concerns for...

    , anxious and submissive position.

  • Shaming: Manipulator uses sarcasm
    Sarcasm
    Sarcasm is “a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter jibe or taunt.” Though irony and understatement is usually the immediate context, most authorities distinguish sarcasm from irony; however, others argue that sarcasm may or often does involve irony or employs...

     and put-downs to increase fear
    Fear
    Fear is a distressing negative sensation induced by a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger...

     and self-doubt
    Doubt
    Doubt, a status between belief and disbelief, involves uncertainty or distrust or lack of sureness of an alleged fact, an action, a motive, or a decision. Doubt brings into question some notion of a perceived "reality", and may involve delaying or rejecting relevant action out of concerns for...

     in the victim. Manipulators use this tactic to make others feel unworthy and therefore defer to them. Shaming tactics can be very subtle such as a fierce look or glance, unpleasant tone of voice, rhetorical comments, subtle sarcasm. Manipulators can make one feel ashamed for even daring to challenge them. It is an effective way to foster a sense of inadequacy in the victim.

  • Playing the victim role ("poor me"): Manipulator portrays him- or herself as a victim of circumstance or of someone else's behavior in order to gain pity
    Pity
    Pity originally means feeling for others, particularly feelings of sadness or sorrow, and was once used in a comparable sense to the more modern words "sympathy" and "empathy"...

    , sympathy
    Sympathy
    Sympathy is a social affinity in which one person stands with another person, closely understanding his or her feelings. Also known as empathic concern, it is the feeling of compassion or concern for another, the wish to see them better off or happier. Although empathy and sympathy are often used...

     or evoke compassion
    Compassion
    Compassion is a virtue — one in which the emotional capacities of empathy and sympathy are regarded as a part of love itself, and a cornerstone of greater social interconnection and humanism — foundational to the highest principles in philosophy, society, and personhood.There is an aspect of...

     and thereby get something from another. Caring and conscientious people cannot stand to see anyone suffering and the manipulator often finds it easy to play on sympathy to get cooperation.

  • Vilifying the victim
    Victim blaming
    Victim blaming occurs when the victim of a crime, an accident, or any type of abusive maltreatment are held entirely or partially responsible for the transgressions committed against them. Blaming the victim has traditionally emerged especially in racist and sexist forms...

    : More than any other, this tactic is a powerful means of putting the victim on the defensive while simultaneously masking the aggressive intent of the manipulator.

  • Playing the servant role: Cloaking a self-serving agenda in guise of a service to a more noble cause, for example saying he is acting in a certain way for "obedience" and "service" to God or a similar authority figure.

  • Seduction
    Seduction
    In social science, seduction is the process of deliberately enticing a person to engage. The word seduction stems from Latin and means literally "to lead astray". As a result, the term may have a positive or negative connotation...

    : Manipulator uses charm
    Superficial charm
    Superficial charm is "the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile."The phrase often appears in lists of attributes of psychopathic personalities, such as in Hervey Cleckley's The Mask of Sanity and Robert Hare's Hare Psychopathy Checklist.Associated expressions are...

    , praise
    Praise
    Praise is the act of making positive statements about a person, object or idea, either in public or privately. Praise is typically, but not exclusively, earned relative to achievement and accomplishment...

    , flattery
    Flattery
    Flattery is the act of giving excessive compliments, generally for the purpose of ingratiating oneself with the subject....

     or overtly supporting others in order to get them to lower their defenses and give their trust and loyalty
    Loyalty
    Loyalty is faithfulness or a devotion to a person, country, group, or cause There are many aspects to...

     to him or her.

  • Projecting
    Psychological projection
    Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person subconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, usually to other people...

     the blame
    Blame
    Blame is the act of censuring, holding responsible, making negative statements about an individual or group that their action or actions are socially or morally irresponsible, the opposite of praise. When someone is morally responsible for doing something wrong their action is blameworthy...

     (blaming others): Manipulator scapegoats in often subtle, hard to detect ways.

  • Feigning innocence
    Innocence
    Innocence is a term used to indicate a lack of guilt, with respect to any kind of crime, sin, or wrongdoing. In a legal context, innocence refers to the lack of legal guilt of an individual, with respect to a crime.-Symbolism:...

    : Manipulator tries to suggest that any harm done was unintentional or did not do something that they were accused of. Manipulator may put on a look of surprise or indignation. This tactic makes the victim question his or her own judgment
    Judgment
    A judgment , in a legal context, is synonymous with the formal decision made by a court following a lawsuit. At the same time the court may also make a range of court orders, such as imposing a sentence upon a guilty defendant in a criminal matter, or providing a remedy for the plaintiff in a civil...

     and possibly his own sanity.

  • Feigning confusion
    ConFusion
    ConFusion is an annual science fiction convention organized by the Stilyagi Air Corps and its parent organization, the Ann Arbor Science Fiction Association. Commonly, it is held the third weekend of January. It is the oldest science fiction convention in Michigan, a regional, general SF con...

    : Manipulator tries to play dumb by pretending he or she does not know what you are talking about or is confused about an important issue brought to his attention.

  • Brandishing anger
    Anger
    Anger is an automatic response to ill treatment. It is the way a person indicates he or she will not tolerate certain types of behaviour. It is a feedback mechanism in which an unpleasant stimulus is met with an unpleasant response....

    : Manipulator uses anger to brandish sufficient emotional intensity and rage
    Rage (emotion)
    Rage is a feeling of intense anger. It is associated with the Fight-or-flight response and oftentimes activated in response to an external cue, such as the murder of a loved one. The phrase, 'thrown into a fit of rage,' expresses the immediate nature of rage that occurs before deliberation. If left...

     to shock the victim into submission. The manipulator is not actually angry, he or she just puts on an act. He just wants what he wants and gets "angry" when denied.

Vulnerabilities exploited by manipulators


According to Braiker, manipulators exploit the following vulnerabilities (buttons) that may exist in victims:
  • the "disease to please"
  • addiction to earning the approval and acceptance of others
  • Emotophobia (fear of negative emotion)
  • lack of assertiveness
    Assertiveness
    Assertiveness is a particular mode of communication. Dorland's Medical Dictionary defines assertiveness as:During the second half of the 20th century, assertiveness was increasingly singled out as a behavioral skill taught by many personal development experts, behavior therapists, and cognitive...

     and ability to say no
  • blurry sense of identity (with soft personal boundaries
    Personal boundaries
    Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify for him- or herself what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around him or her and how he or she will respond when someone steps outside those limits.'Personal boundaries define...

    )
  • low self-reliance
    Self-sufficiency
    Self-sufficiency refers to the state of not requiring any outside aid, support, or interaction, for survival; it is therefore a type of personal or collective autonomy...

  • external locus of control
    Locus of control
    Locus of control is a theory in personality psychology referring to the extent to which individuals believe that they can control events that affect them. Understanding of the concept was developed by Julian B...



According to Simon, manipulators exploit the following vulnerabilities that may exist in victims:
  • naïveté - victim finds it too hard to accept the idea that some people are cunning, devious and ruthless or is "in denial" if he or she is being victimized
  • over-conscientiousness
    Conscientiousness
    Conscientiousness is the trait of being painstaking and careful, or the quality of acting according to the dictates of one's conscience. It includes such elements as self-discipline, carefulness, thoroughness, organization, deliberation , and need for achievement. It is an aspect of what has...

     - victim is too willing to give manipulator the benefit of the doubt and see their side of things in which they blame the victim
  • low self-confidence
    Confidence
    Confidence is generally described as a state of being certain either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective. Self-confidence is having confidence in oneself. Arrogance or hubris in this comparison, is having unmerited...

     - victim is self-doubting
    Doubt
    Doubt, a status between belief and disbelief, involves uncertainty or distrust or lack of sureness of an alleged fact, an action, a motive, or a decision. Doubt brings into question some notion of a perceived "reality", and may involve delaying or rejecting relevant action out of concerns for...

    , lacking in confidence and assertiveness
    Assertiveness
    Assertiveness is a particular mode of communication. Dorland's Medical Dictionary defines assertiveness as:During the second half of the 20th century, assertiveness was increasingly singled out as a behavioral skill taught by many personal development experts, behavior therapists, and cognitive...

    , likely to go on the defensive too easily.
  • over-intellectualization
    Intellectualization
    Intellectualization is a defense mechanism where reasoning is used to block confrontation with an unconscious conflict and its associated emotional stress, by 'using excessive and abstract ideation to avoid difficult feelings'. It involves removing one's self, emotionally, from a stressful event...

     - victim tries too hard to understand and believes the manipulator has some understandable reason to be hurtful.
  • emotional dependency - victim has a submissive or dependent personality. The more emotionally dependent the victim is, the more vulnerable he or she is to being exploited and manipulated.


Manipulators generally take the time to scope out the characteristics and vulnerabilities of their victim.

According to Kantor, the following are vulnerable to psychopathic manipulators:
  • too trusting - people who are honest often assume that everyone else is honest. They commit themselves to people they hardly know without checking credentials, etc. They rarely question so-called experts.
  • too altruistic - the opposite of psychopathic; too honest, too fair, too empathetic
  • too impressionable
    Weak mindedness
    Weak mindedness is the state of being easily impressionable or possessing a weak sense of self-will, judgement or conviction.A weak minded individual's opinion may be easily swayed by propaganda or emotional manipulation tactics, as they do not possess an adequate ability to judge or discern the...

     - overly seduced by charmers
    Superficial charm
    Superficial charm is "the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile."The phrase often appears in lists of attributes of psychopathic personalities, such as in Hervey Cleckley's The Mask of Sanity and Robert Hare's Hare Psychopathy Checklist.Associated expressions are...

    . For example, they might vote for the phony politician who kisses babies.
  • too naïve
    Naïve
    Naivety , is the state of being naive—having or showing a lack of experience, understanding or sophistication. One who is naive may be called a naif.- Etymology :...

     - cannot believe there are dishonest people in the world or if there were they would not be allowed to operate.
  • too masochistic - lack of self-respect and unconsciously let psychopaths take advantage of them. They think they deserve it out of a sense of guilt.
  • too narcissistic - narcissists are prone to falling for unmerited flattery.
  • too greed
    Greed
    Greed is an excessive desire to possess wealth, goods, or abstract things of value with the intention to keep it for one's self. Greed is inappropriate expectation...

    y - the greedy and dishonest may fall prey to a psychopath who can easily entice them to act in an immoral way.
  • too immature
    Maturity (psychological)
    Maturity is a psychological term used to indicate how a person responds to the circumstances or environment in an appropriate manner. This response is generally learned rather than instinctive, and is not determined by one's age...

     - has impaired judgment and believes the exaggerated advertising claims.
  • too materialistic - easy prey for loan sharks or get-rich-quick schemes
  • too dependent
    Dependent personality disorder
    Dependent personality disorder , formerly known as asthenic personality disorder, is a personality disorder that is characterized by a pervasive psychological dependence on other people...

     - dependent people need to be loved and are therefore gullible and liable to say yes to something to which they should say no.
  • too lonely
    Loneliness
    Loneliness is an unpleasant feeling in which a person feels a strong sense of emptiness and solitude resulting from inadequate levels of social relationships. However, it is a subjective experience...

     - lonely people may accept any offer of human contact. A psychopathic stranger may offer human companionship for a price.
  • too impulsive
    Impulsivity
    Impulsivity is a personality trait characterized by the inclination of an individual to initiate behavior without adequate forethought as to the consequences of their actions, acting on the spur of the moment. Eysenck and Eysenck related impulsivity to risk-taking, lack of planning, and making up...

     - make snap decisions about, for example, what to buy or whom to marry without consulting others.
  • too frugal - cannot say no to a bargain even if they know the reason why it is so cheap
  • the elderly - the elderly can become fatigued and less capable of multi-tasking. When hearing a sales pitch they are less likely to consider that it could be a con. They are prone to giving money to someone with a hard-luck story. See elder abuse
    Elder abuse
    Elder abuse is a general term used to describe certain types of harm to older adults. Other terms commonly used include: "elder mistreatment," "senior abuse," "abuse in later life," "abuse of older adults," "abuse of older women," and "abuse of older men."...

    .

Motivations of manipulators


Manipulators have possible motivations, including:
  • the need to advance their own purposes and personal gain at virtually any cost to others,
  • a strong need to attain feelings of power and superiority in relationships with others,
  • a want and need to feel in control (aka. control freak
    Control freak
    In psychology-related slang, control freak is a derogatory term for a person who attempts to dictate how everything around them is done — "a control freak. Scared to let us have differences"...

    ery),
  • and gaining a feeling of power over others in order to raise self-esteem
    Self-esteem
    Self-esteem is a term in psychology to reflect a person's overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs and emotions such as triumph, despair, pride and shame: some would distinguish how 'the self-concept is what we think about the self; self-esteem, the...

    .

Psychological conditions of manipulators


Manipulators may have any of the following psychological conditions:
  • machiavellian personality
    Machiavellianism
    Machiavellianism is, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, "the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct", deriving from the Italian Renaissance diplomat and writer Niccolò Machiavelli, who wrote Il Principe and other works...

  • narcissistic personality disorder
    Narcissistic personality disorder
    Narcissistic personality disorder is a personality disorder in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity...

  • paranoid personality disorder
    Paranoid personality disorder
    Paranoid personality disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis characterized by paranoia and a pervasive, long-standing suspiciousness and generalized mistrust of others....

  • borderline personality disorder
    Borderline personality disorder
    Borderline personality disorder is a personality disorder described as a prolonged disturbance of personality function in a person , characterized by depth and variability of moods.The disorder typically involves unusual levels of instability in mood; black and white thinking, or splitting; the...

  • avoidant personality disorder
    Avoidant personality disorder
    Avoidant personality disorder is a personality disorder recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders handbook in a person characterized by a pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, extreme sensitivity to negative evaluation, and avoidance of...

  • dependent personality disorder
    Dependent personality disorder
    Dependent personality disorder , formerly known as asthenic personality disorder, is a personality disorder that is characterized by a pervasive psychological dependence on other people...

  • histrionic personality disorder
    Histrionic personality disorder
    Histrionic personality disorder is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as a personality disorder characterized by a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention-seeking, including an excessive need for approval and inappropriately seductive behavior, usually beginning in early...

  • passive–aggressive behavior
  • type A angry personalities
  • antisocial personality disorder
    Antisocial personality disorder
    Antisocial personality disorder is described by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition , as an Axis II personality disorder characterized by "...a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood...

  • behavioral addiction
    Behavioral addiction
    Behavioral addiction is a form of addiction which does not rely on drugs or alcohol. Increasingly referred to as process addiction or non-substance-related addiction ) behavioral addiction includes a compulsion to repeatedly engage in an action until said action causes serious negative consequences...


Basic manipulative strategy of a psychopath


According to Hare
Robert Hare (psychologist)
Robert D. Hare, C.M. , is a researcher in the field of criminal psychology. He developed the Psychopathy Checklist and Psychopathy Checklist Revised , used to diagnose cases of psychopathy and also useful in predicting the likelihood of violent behavior...

 and Babiak, psychopaths are always on the lookout for individuals to scam or swindle. The psychopathic approach includes three phases:

1. Assessment phase


Some psychopaths are opportunistic
Opportunism
-General definition:Opportunism is the conscious policy and practice of taking selfish advantage of circumstances, with little regard for principles. Opportunist actions are expedient actions guided primarily by self-interested motives. The term can be applied to individuals, groups,...

, aggressive
Aggressive
“Aggressive” is a New York-based Grammy award-winning music video and commercial directing team of Alex Topaller and Daniel Shapiro.Aggressive has been described by Movie Creation Mag as “having a fascination with the wonderful, in the likes of the surrealist Rafal Olbinski” and “tenacious about...

 predators who will take advantage of almost anyone they meet, while others are more patient, waiting for the perfect, innocent victim to cross their path. In each case, the psychopath is constantly sizing up the potential usefulness of an individual as a source of money, power, sex, or influence. Some psychopaths enjoy a challenge while others prey on people who are vulnerable. During the assessment phase, the psychopath is able to determine a potential victim’s weak points and will use those weak points to seduce.

2. Manipulation phase


Once the psychopath has identified a victim, the manipulation phase begins. During the manipulation phase, a psychopath may create a persona
Persona
A persona, in the word's everyday usage, is a social role or a character played by an actor. The word is derived from Latin, where it originally referred to a theatrical mask. The Latin word probably derived from the Etruscan word "phersu", with the same meaning, and that from the Greek πρόσωπον...

 or mask, specifically designed to ‘work’ for his or her target. A psychopath will lie to gain the trust of their victim. Psychopaths' lack of empathy and guilt allows them to lie with impunity; they do not see the value of telling the truth unless it will help get them what they want.

As interaction with the victim proceeds, the psychopath carefully assesses the victim's persona. The victim's persona gives the psychopath a picture of the traits and characteristics valued in the victim. The victim's persona may also reveal, to an astute observer, insecurities or weaknesses the victim wishes to minimize or hide from view. As an ardent student of human behavior, the psychopath will then gently test the inner strengths and needs that are part of the victim's private self and eventually build a personal relationship with the victim.

The persona of the psychopath - the “personality” the victim is bonding with - does not really exist. It is built on lies, carefully woven together to entrap the victim. It is a mask, one of many, custom-made by the psychopath to fit the victim's particular psychological needs and expectations. The victimization is predatory in nature; it often leads to severe financial, physical or emotional harm for the individual. Healthy, real relationships are built on mutual respect and trust; they are based on sharing honest thoughts and feelings. The victim's mistaken belief that the psychopathic bond has any of these characteristics is the reason it is so successful.

3. Abandonment phase


The abandonment phase begins when the psychopath decides that his or her victim is no longer useful. The psychopath abandons his or her victim and moves on to someone else. In the case of romantic relationships, a psychopath will usually seal a relationship with their next target before abandoning his or her current victim. Sometimes, the psychopath has three individuals on whom he or she is running game: the one who has been recently abandoned, who is being toyed with and kept in the picture in case the other two do not work out; the one who is currently being played and is about to be abandoned; and the third, who is being groomed by the psychopath, in anticipation of abandoning the current "mark".

See also



Books

  • Alessandra, Tony. Non-Manipulative Selling (1992)
  • Barber, Brian K. Intrusive Parenting: How Psychological Control Affects Children and Adolescents (2001)
  • Bowman, Robert P.; Cooper, Kathy; Miles, Ron; & Carr, Tom. Innovative Strategies for Unlocking Difficult Children: Attention Seekers
    Attention seeking
    Enjoying the attention of others is quite socially acceptable. In some instances, however, the need for attention can lead to difficulties. The term attention seeking is generally reserved for such situations where excessive and "inappropriate attention seeking" is seen.-Styles:The following...

    , Manipulative Students, Apathetic Students, Hostile Students
    (1998)
  • Bursten, Ben. Manipulator: A Psychoanalytic View (1973)
  • Crawford, Craig. The Politics of Life: 25 Rules for Survival in a Brutal and Manipulative World (2007)
  • Ellul, Jacques
    Jacques Ellul
    Jacques Ellul was a French philosopher, law professor, sociologist, lay theologian, and Christian anarchist. He wrote several books about the "technological society" and the interaction between Christianity and politics....

    . Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes
    Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes
    Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes is a landmark work on the subject of propaganda by French philosopher,theologian, and sociologist Jacques Ellul. This book appears to be the first attempt to study propaganda from a sociological approach as well as a psychological one...

    . Trans. Konrad Kellen & Jean Lerner. New York: Knopf, 1965. New York: Random House/ Vintage 1973
  • Forward, Susan. Emotional Blackmail (1997)
  • Klatte, Bill & Thompson, Kate. It's So Hard to Love You: Staying Sane When Your Loved One Is Manipulative, Needy, Dishonest, or Addicted (2007)
  • McCoy, Dorothy. The Manipulative Man: Identify His Behavior, Counter the Abuse, Regain Control (2006)
  • McMillan, Dina L. But He Says He Loves Me: How to Avoid Being Trapped in a Manipulative Relationship (2008)
  • Sasson, Janet Edgette. Stop Negotiating With Your Teen: Strategies for Parenting Your Angry, Manipulative, Moody, or Depressed Adolescent (2002)
  • Stern, Robin. The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life (2008)
  • Swihart, Ernest W. Jr. & Cotter, Patrick. The Manipulative Child: How to Regain Control and Raise Resilient, Resourceful, and Independent Kids (1998)

Academic Journals

  • Aglietta M, Reberioux A, Babiak P. "Psychopathic manipulation in organizations: pawns, patrons and patsies", in Cooke A, Forth A, Newman J, Hare R (Eds), International Perspectives and Psychopathy, British Psychological Society, Leicester, pp. 12–17. (1996)
  • Aglietta, M.; Reberioux, A.; Babiak, P. "Psychopathic manipulation at work", in Gacono, C.B. (Ed), The Clinical and Forensic Assessment of Psychopathy: A Practitioner's Guide, Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ, pp. 287–311. (2000)
  • Bursten, Ben. "The Manipulative Personality", Archives of General Psychiatry, Vol 26 No 4, 318-321 (1972)
  • Buss DM
    David Buss
    David M. Buss is a professor of psychology at The University of Texas at Austin, known for his evolutionary psychology research on human sex differences in mate selection.-Biography:...

    , Gomes M, Higgins DS, Lauterback K. "Tactics of Manipulation", Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 52 No 6 1219-1279 (1987)
  • Hofer, Paul. "The Role of Manipulation in the Antisocial Personality", International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, Vol. 33 No 2, 91-101 (1989)