12 Tricks Manipulative People Use and How to Spot Them

Manipulative people can be hard to spot because they use clever tricks to get what they want. Understanding these techniques can help you protect yourself and make better decisions. From guilt-tripping to playing the victim, here are 12 tricks used by master manipulators that you should know about.

1. Gaslighting

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Gaslighting involves making someone question their reality, memory, or perceptions. Manipulators use this tactic to create doubt in the victim’s mind, leading them to question their own judgment and rely more on the manipulator.

2. Love Bombing

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In love bombing, the manipulator showers their target with excessive affection, attention, and admiration. This tactic is often used to create a strong emotional bond, making the victim more susceptible to manipulation and control.

3. Isolation

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Manipulators often try to isolate their victims from friends, family, and other support systems. This tactic makes the victim more dependent on the manipulator and less likely to receive outside perspectives or help.

4. Fearmongering

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By instilling fear, manipulators create a sense of insecurity and dependency. They might exaggerate dangers or consequences to ensure that their victims seek protection or advice solely from them.

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5. Triangulation

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Triangulation involves bringing a third person into the dynamics of a relationship. A manipulator might compare their victim to someone else or use another person’s opinions or actions to create doubt or jealousy.

6. Guilt Tripping

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Manipulators use guilt trips to control their victims by making them feel responsible for the manipulator’s feelings or problems. This tactic plays on the victim’s conscience and desire to help or be a good person.

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7. Projection

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Projection involves the manipulator projecting their own negative qualities or actions onto their victim. By doing so, they deflect blame and responsibility while making the victim feel they are at fault.

8. The Silent Treatment

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By refusing to communicate, manipulators punish their victims for perceived wrongdoings. This passive-aggressive tactic is used to control the situation and elicit a particular response or behavior from the victim.

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9. Moving the Goalposts

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This tactic involves constantly changing expectations or requirements. By continually shifting the criteria, manipulators keep their victims off-balance and perpetually trying to please or succeed.

10. Victimhood

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Playing the victim is a tactic where manipulators portray themselves as wronged or suffering. This tactic garners sympathy and excuses their behavior, shifting attention away from their manipulation.

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11. Flattery

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Excessive compliments and flattery can be used to disarm and charm a victim. While it appears harmless, it’s often used to soften a victim’s defenses, making them more receptive to manipulation.

12. Overwhelm with Choices

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Sometimes, manipulators will present an overwhelming number of choices or excessive information to confuse their victim. This can lead to decision fatigue, making the victim more likely to relinquish control or decision-making.

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