To manipulate means to use language in one’s favor, not only to control the other but also to do harm. Communication training can reveal the pitfalls of manipulation. Here are the main signs of manipulation, used in communication:
1. Manipulation of the facts:
Any expert in psychological manipulation in communication is a great strategist in distorting the truth. He will always turn it in his favor and mitigate his share of responsibility to project all the guilt into us. What’s more, he will use exaggeration and keep the key information to further simplify the facts and keep the scales always on the side of “his truth”.
2. You will be told that it is impossible to talk to you:
This sentence is simple, direct, and effective. If someone tells us “it’s impossible to talk to us,” they’re avoiding exactly what they don’t want: talking about this problem. So it’s common for us to be told that we’re too emotional, that we always take things too seriously, and that lately it’s become very difficult to talk to us. These people project something they are sorely lacking: communication skills.
3. Intellectual harassment:
The psychological and emotional manipulator also uses a very common communication strategy. This is intellectual harassment, which only aims to bring us a considerable amount of complex arguments, information, facts, and reasoning to convince us of something through information exhaustion and overload.
4. Ultimatums and little time to decide:
“If you don’t accept what I’m proposing to you, it’s the end. I’ll give you until tomorrow to think about what I told you.” This type of communication strategy is very painful and distressing. We are put back against the wall, which creates anxiety and plunges us into states of great emotional suffering.
It is necessary to understand that someone who truly respects and loves us will never use these threats of all or nothing. This is another very common manipulation strategy.
5. The person very often pronounces our first name during the conversation:
When, in a conversation or dispute, someone pronounces our first name in an almost continuous and exaggerated way, they are using a very clever control mechanism. In doing so, he forces the other person to pay attention to him and at the same time plunges him into a continuous state of intimidation.
6. Irony and black humor:
Irony and the use of this sense of humor that humiliates, ridicule, and denigrates us is another sign of psychological manipulation in communication. The aggressor or manipulator seeks to make us feel small and to impose his or her supposed psychological superiority on us.
7. The use of silence or fugitives:
“I don’t feel like talking about it. This is not the time. Why are you talking about this now?” … This type of dynamic is very recurrent in emotional relationships, especially if one of the parties lacks communicative skills, willpower, and a sense of responsibility.
8. Pretend ignorance: “I don’t understand what you mean”:
This is a very classic tactic. One that is to do one who does not understand what the other wants to be said or done. It means playing with the other person by making them see that she’s complicating things too much, that she’s taking the conversation to a level that doesn’t make sense.
We are faced with a classic passive-aggressive manipulator strategy that avoids taking responsibility and seeks to hurt the other.
9. We will let you speak first:
Among the most delicate signs of psychological manipulation to perceive in communication is that of the person seeking to make us speak first. Thanks to this strategy, she manages to do several things. First, save time to prepare your argument, and second, find our weaknesses.
On the other hand, it is common that after listening to us, the emotional manipulator avoids exposing his ideas or opinions. He may confine himself to asking us questions, exploring points which, far from being useful to a possible agreement, seek to reveal our faults, to guide the problem on its own ground and make us look like awkward, weak, or exaggerated people all the time. You will easily learn how to recognize manipulation, if you follow all these clues.
In conclusion, while it is true that there are many other strategies for psychological and emotional manipulation in the field of human communication, these are certainly the most common. These are forms of intimidation that not only prevent any possibility of effective dialogue but also serve to subdue the other, to trap him at all levels: personal, emotional, and mental.