How to recognize manipulation and effectively protect yourself from it

Reading time 6 minutes
How to recognize manipulation and effectively protect yourself from it

Manipulation is part of the reality of our lives. We are all exposed to it on a daily basis, whether at work, in a partnership or in the family. However, not all attempts at manipulation are deliberate and there is not always a malicious intent behind them.

This makes it all the more important to deal with the topic of manipulation. Otherwise, you will quickly become the plaything of other people. In the following, we would like to show you how you can recognize manipulation attempts and protect yourself effectively from them.

Manipulation: What does it mean?

The term manipulation is composed of the Latin words "manus" and "plere" and translates as "handling". In everyday life, this refers to influencing other people in favor of one's own, usually selfish interests. Manipulation can happen either openly or subtly. Sometimes it even takes place unconsciously.

Recognizing Manipulation: How to Learn to See Through Manipulation

A skillful manipulator manages that his counterpart does not notice anything about the manipulation. However, there are some alarm signals. We have summarized the most striking behaviors for you.

5 typical manipulative behaviors

1. reciprocity

What sounds so complicated is actually quite simple: reciprocity is about kindness with an ulterior motive. Let's say you're in a restaurant and originally intended not to tip. Now the waitress is talking to you in a very friendly way and even gives you a nightcap or dessert on the house.

Do you think you could still get up without tipping without your guilty conscience haunting you? Most likely not. There's a good chance you'll deviate from your intention. Reciprocity awakens in us a great desire to return kindness. This is exactly what skilled manipulators know and exploit.

2. too much approval

If someone literally tells you what you want to hear or always tells you exactly what you think you want to hear, you need to be careful. For example, if a salesperson tells you that a pair of trousers looks particularly good on you, even though this is not the case, he is probably trying to manipulate you in order to increase his sales figures. This example can be applied to many everyday situations.

3. forced sympathy

People who are sympathetic to us can expect a favor more quickly than unsympathetic contemporaries. Skilled manipulators take advantage of this knowledge and try everything to win your sympathy. This includes, for example, that they want to be similar to you.

For example, if you are interested in handball, the manipulator will also pretend to be a big handball fan. If you like to travel to Scandinavia, he immediately starts raving about the wonderful landscape, even if he has never been there...

4. excessive openness

Manipulators often show themselves to be particularly open. They share personal thoughts and experiences with you. Through this, they hope that you will also let them share your soul life. In this way, they find out your weak points in order to manipulate you to their advantage. Whether the stories of the manipulator are true, by the way, is another matter.

5. distortion of facts

Distorting facts is one of the most common manipulative behaviors. Manipulators bend the truth so that they are always in a favorable position. They do this so skillfully that other people begin to doubt their own perception.

manipulation examples

5 Examples: What are the types of manipulation?

Manipulation can manifest itself in various ways and is therefore not always easy to recognize. In the following, we would like to familiarize you with five different types of manipulation.

1. manipulation through fear

Fear is one of the most effective ways of manipulation. In this case, you are threatened with negative consequences that do not necessarily correspond to the truth. Example: "You'd better not apply for that job posting. I hear the team is terrible." In case of doubt, the same colleague who advised you not to apply will now apply for the coveted position himself.

2. manipulation through false information

Who for himself advantageous make decisions should know all aspects of a matter as far as possible. Manipulative people know this and therefore like to withhold information or spread half-truths. In this way, they can steer the decisions of those around them in their own favor.

3. manipulation through favors

We humans want to belong to a group. It's been in our genes since time immemorial. Therefore, it is perfectly normal that you find it difficult to refuse a favor. In principle, there is nothing wrong with helping other people. However, you should make sure that you are not constantly being given unloved tasks disguised as favors.

4. manipulation through repetition

This type of manipulation is particularly well known from advertising. It is not for nothing that the same commercials are broadcast over and over again on television and radio. The idea behind it is simple: the more often you hear something, the more reliably it is remembered.

5. manipulation through scarcity

"Today only and while supplies last!" Has this statement ever made you buy something you don't really need? The tactic of "now or never" tempts you to impulse actions.

Interesting to know: Did you know that manipulation also plays a big role in social media? This is the result of a recent Study out.

8 tips against manipulation: How to protect yourself from manipulative tactics

You encounter manipulators again and again in everyday life. However, you are by no means at their mercy.

1. set limits

You can recognize that you are being manipulated by the fact that you inwardly resist the manipulator's wish. Please do not act against your convictions! Your gut feeling is a good indicator of what is right for you personally. Stand up for your convictions to other people.

2. strengthen your self-confidence

People with a low Self-confidence are easier to manipulate because the urge to please others is significantly higher. Conversely, strong self-esteem helps you resist attempts at manipulation. To increase your self-esteem strengthenprofessional coaching, for example, is suitable.

3. always ask for time to think

Many manipulators work with the tactic of being caught off guard. This is familiar from door-to-door sales, for example. Therefore, always ask for time to think it over, no matter how tempting the offer may sound.

4. critically question information

Anyone who blindly agrees to everything is an easy victim for manipulators. So don't be afraid to ask questions if you are unclear. This is not impertinent, but your right to make a decision that is reasonable for you.

5. build your social network

Manipulators often play people off against each other. However, this is only possible if communication between the parties involved does not work. Therefore, try to build and maintain a stable social network in your professional and private life.

6. keep your own goals, values and interests in mind

If you know exactly what you want, you won't be so easily manipulated. That's why it makes sense to take a good look at yourself before you do someone a favor: Is the particular favor in line with your Values compliant? Does the request take you away from your personal goals?

7. do not make yourself vulnerable

Trust is a process. So it's not necessarily a good idea to tell your new colleague your whole life story right away. Wait a bit to see which people actually turn out to be trustworthy over time and which ones are not.

8. glimpses behind the facade

Manipulators like to slip into a role to achieve what they want. Don't be impressed by this. So if you notice that someone is constantly playing the self-sacrificing Samaritan and then asking for something in return, be alert.

Manipulation of people: Is it fundamentally bad?

Manipulation does not have a good reputation. Nevertheless, it is not fundamentally a bad thing. Whether manipulation is evidence of a selfish character depends on the intentions of the manipulator. For example, if parents tell their children that water tastes much better than lemonade, this is also manipulation, but it is done for the benefit of the child.

An egoistic manipulator, on the other hand, is concerned exclusively with his personal advantage. The fact that other people are harmed by his attempts at manipulation is not important to him. indifferent.

Conclusion: Avoid manipulation and preserve your freedom

It will not be possible to banish manipulation from your everyday life. Therefore, it is even more important that you know the different manipulation techniques and are armed against them.

The most important thing to protect yourself from manipulative attacks is a healthy self-confidence. Do not allow yourself to be unsettled or pressured. Most manipulators give up quickly if their manipulation attempt doesn't work on you. successful have been.


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