Manipulation is somehow part of human nature. But when someone turns manipulation into his or her philosophy of life, be careful. Some become master manipulators.
A master manipulator uses another person to get what he or she wants. Jamie Cannon is an expert in mental health and writes about the master manipulator in his article Psychology today. According to her, you can recognize a master manipulator by certain traits. And by seeing the signals in time, you avoid a lot of trouble.
How do you recognize a master manipulator?
1. Too good to be true
If someone is “too good to be true” then they probably are. Master manipulators are particularly good at creating a ‘perfect’ image. They are helpful, sacrifice themselves for the weak and are often praised by others. In addition, they are only too happy to list their good deeds.
That bit of self-sacrifice is an important tool for a manipulator. By doing so, they gain confidence and gauge who will fall for their talk. Victims of manipulation sometimes exude a desire to be rescued.
An alarm bell should ring when someone announces that he or she knows what you need. A good relationship requires time to build trust. The master manipulator skips that time. So it often goes faster. Because manipulators bypass the trust phase, their true nature is not discovered too quickly. Before you know it, you are ‘addicted’ to the relationship. An effective approach for the manipulator is to discover what impresses you as soon as possible. And take full advantage of it.
2. To hold a grudge
Master manipulators like to talk about all the people they helped and what they meant to them. But often there is also the one person who once (wrongly) hurt the manipulator. Often manipulators talk about the person who hurt them years ago. That while they themselves behaved so exemplary.
Manipulators often hold grudges. And are only too happy to tell you about the unfair treatment they once received from a friend, relative or loved one.
Always remember, there are always two sides to a story. Most people will recognize their own past role and be able to let it go. Manipulators don’t. In addition, people only share these kinds of topics later in the relationship, when it has more depth. The manipulator often uses these kinds of subjects to establish contact.
3. The chameleon effect
Master manipulators can easily adapt to a conversation or environment. Do you like football? Then the manipulator is probably just as big a fan. Or do you like listening to rock music? Then the manipulator suddenly has all the AC/DC records at home.
According to Cannon, victims of manipulation are often shocked to realize that their relationship was mostly “hot air.” Master manipulators are stars at creating similarities. They adapt their hobbies and shift in their interests.
One trick of master manipulators is to make you believe that you are their key to success. That someone you just met tells you that he or she needs you. That you know something they would like to learn, or that you are indispensable. Ring Ring!, alarm bell. It may stroke your ego at first, eventually the manipulator will use this to use you.
Master manipulators are experts in connections. They are likeable, easy to talk to and down to earth. They like to start a conversation with a stranger, especially if they maintain their created image.
A master manipulator makes you do things you wouldn’t normally do. Often this is to their advantage. These requests take all kinds of twists and turns, just based on the “good” connection you had from the first moment.
When you meet someone and it feels like there’s more going on, that’s an alarm bell ringing. You simply can’t put your finger on it. When a conversation bends to the other person’s wow effect, there may be a manipulator sitting across from you.
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