It is all a game for them. They lack empathy, compassion and conscience. But they understand how the human mind works and how emotions affect us. This is why a sociopath always targets the most compassionate people and uses their manipulative tactics to control you. They distort your perception to make you believe that rescuing them is your reward. They will make you believe that the opportunity to fix them is a matter of pride for you.
But the more you believe their lies, the more you will get addicted to their toxicity. They will make you extremely desperate for their toxic, unhealthy love, which actually doesn’t exist. For them, love is simply a tool to control others.
Influence vs manipulation
Although we may think that there is a thin line between influence and manipulation, these are completely different things. Most of us influence others to make them think or behave in a way we want them to. This may be done to help them or to make them understand our perspective. Manipulation, however, involves using devious influence with malicious intent to use you for their own benefit. Educator and life coach Alana Palm writes “We all have influence, but when people influence in a way that is not honest or based on integrity, it can be damaging.”
Manipulative narcissists influence you through emotional exploitation and mental distortion to gain control, power and privileges at your expense. Author Preston Ni M.S.B.A. writes “It is important to distinguish healthy social influence from psychological manipulation.” Positive social influence is primarily a mutual constructive relationship. However, when you are in a psychological manipulation, you will be exploited and used by the other person. “The manipulator deliberately creates an imbalance of power, and exploits the victim to serve his or her agenda,” adds Preston Ni.
How to spot the signs of a manipulator
California-based therapist Sharie Stines says “Manipulation is an emotionally unhealthy psychological strategy used by people who are incapable of asking for what they want and need in a direct way.” Manipulation is simply a way to control you. “When you are being manipulated by someone you are being psychologically coerced into doing something you probably don’t really want to do,” adds Sharie. This is why it is crucial that you learn to identify the signs of a manipulator.
Most abusive manipulators have the following common traits:
- They are experts at identifying what your weaknesses are
- They will never hesitate to use and exploit your weaknesses against you to get what they want
- They will manipulate and convince you to make certain compromises using their conniving schemes. This is done mostly to serve their own interests.
- They will keep controlling, manipulating, abusing and taking advantage of you repeatedly until you find the courage to stop it. This can happen whether you are in a romantic relationship, in a family situation, a social contract or at work.
Read also: How To Spot Manipulation
Apart from these, there are some other common signs of a manipulator that you need to watch out for to protect yourself, such as:
- They will mirror your needs, emotions, thoughts and energy to gain your trust and to create a fake persona. But it is simply an illusion.
- They don’t engage in genuine, intimate and honest communication and will use passive aggressive techniques to dominate the conversation.
- They never express their actual emotions, desires or needs. They seek out vulnerabilities in others and hide their own.
- They make you doubt yourself and your understanding of reality by using sickening strategies like gaslighting.
- Their words and actions will never match as they never walk the talk.
- They only look out for their own interests and don’t hesitate to use your guilt to their advantage.
- They pretend to be the victim all the time and act like nothing is ever their fault. There is always someone else to blame.
- They may help you with a lot of things in life and will then act like a martyr.
- They will know all about your weak spots and will use them against you repeatedly.
- They are unreliable, inconsistent, irresponsible and are control freaks.