Saturday, March 14, 2015

How People Manipulate You

You are being manipulated when someone reduces, by any means, your ability to be your own judge of what you do. You know you're being manipulated when a gut feeling emerges from your pit and tells you 'something's not right'. But more often than not, we choose to ignore the feeling simply because we don't know its source.

An easy way to manipulate someone, or get manipulated is to set up arbitrary rules in a functional relationship. That is, form rules that have to be followed by both of you, but only understood by one. Rules can be helpful as they allow for clear understanding of the relationship. Something like one person handling certain duties. It spirals into the realm of manipulation when one person, despite being unsure of the rigid rules cannot challenge or change them. Usually because of insecurity and indecisiveness. Something like "You're not supposed to do that" or even "You cannot talk to me about that"

Another way people manipulate is by using their logic. Yes, logic. They use self serving justifications to make their point. The brilliance of this is that they don't have to explain their own logic to you. To them, it is absolute and unquestionable.
We've all been there where someone tells us "That doesn't make sense" or "That's simply ridiculous", trying to gain the upper hand. The important thing is that their logic doesn't need to be sound, and even if it is, as an individual human you bear the sole responsibility for your decisions and actions. By having to make your decision based on their logic you’re no longer the judge of your own actions.
Parents often use this way to change the mind of their kids. A father wants his son to become an engineer whereas he is more inclined towards arts and music. The father may seemingly rationally explain to his son how arts is a doomed career choice while being an engineer provides the best financial opportunities.

Morality is the bread and butter of most professional manipulators. There is no better way to silence dissent and subtly convince other than to simply point up at the sky or at the heart. But morality is completely subjective. There is no clear right and wrong with a moral judgement.
Yes, choosing to be a doctor and work at a private clinic might be less beneficial to the society than working voluntarily at public hospitals. But that in no way should be used as a way to manipulate what is, at the end solely your own decision. We make our own decisions and we bear the consequences.

The easiest way, and most overused is guilt. At this point, most people call out the guilt-tripping of people around them. Even then, it remains to be a driving force for some people who are easily manipulated or are too sensitive to the plight of the world.
A friend might ask you to go to a store and pick up something for him because 'you live closer'. Using guilt as fuel, subverting their goal. You might then say 'I am busy with my exams these days, and feeling a bit under the blue' in an attempt to counter-guilt them. A simple 'No, sorry maybe next time' is precise and assertive. No one can force you on a guilt-trip unless you aren't completely preordained about not getting driven by guilt.
Similarly, in the longer run, petty feelings are often misunderstood. Direct answers may seem brutal but are better in the way that they leave no room for confused feelings.

If you liked reading this, maybe you'll enjoy Reasoning Vs. Justification.

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