manipulation tactics

Manipulation Tactics: 12 Red Flags You Should Watch Out For

Use and be used is the way of the world. Sometimes people can be incredibly selfish, corrupt, and deceitful when they want something from you or feel jealous or threatened by you. It’s important to be cautious of any signs of manipulation so you can protect yourself from being taken advantage of.

Manipulation can take many forms, and this can often make it quite difficult for people to detect since it doesn’t always look the same. This article has listed 12 classic red flags or manipulation tactics that you should be able to watch out for.

What Is Psychology Manipulation?


Psychology manipulation is described as the use of nefarious means to influence someone’s behavior or perception to one’s advantage. It involves trying to exploit or control a person’s emotions or thought process. And this is often done at the expense of the person being manipulated. That is why you must be careful when dealing with manipulators.

Sociopaths and narcissists are the most devious manipulators you could ever come across. They lack empathy but have a keen understanding of emotions and how people think. This allows them to hijack your mind using underhanded tactics to break down your personality and remold it to their liking.

12 Manipulation Tactics


Here is a comprehensive list of 12 classic manipulation tactics that you should make note of. If you notice any of them consistently, you may be dealing with a manipulator.

#1. Lying

The number one and easiest way to manipulate someone is to lie to them. Manipulators may suffer from a lot of things, but a lack of creativity and the ability to persuade someone of their beliefs and convictions is not one of them.

Lying is second nature to manipulators who only care about getting what they want, regardless of what it costs you. If you ever catch someone in a lie, do not let it slide casually.

#2. Insinuating Comments

Comments designed to break your sense of self or hurt you are the trademark of a manipulator.

People trying to manipulate you into banding with them or joining with them will try to lower your sense of self-worth because it makes them seem more attractive. But if you wise up to their play early on, they will fail miserably.

#3. Threats

If the manipulator is trying to bring you to submission, they may try to intimidate you with threats. Unless the threats are violent or followed up with action, there’s nothing to be worried about.

That person is simply trying to get a rise out of you, or see if they can get you to go along with what they’re saying by pretending to be dangerous.

#4. Objectifying

Being objectified is something both men and women have to deal with. Men are often objectified for their possessions, whereas women are often objectified for their appearances.

A person trying to reduce your sense of self-worth might try to tell you that you’re a one-trick pony. Their goal is to make you want their approval so they can take advantage of you.

#5. Shaming

Shaming is a popular gaslighting tool among narcissists to manipulate your behavior. Once they’ve made you want their approval for something, it’s very easy for them to then shame you.

If someone is constantly trying to belittle you, undermine you, or humiliate you for your shortcomings, they’re likely trying to manipulate you.

#6. Blaming

Are you always the one being blamed for anything that goes wrong in your friendship or relationship?

Manipulators remain confident and claim that they are never at fault and convince others of the same. They know how to avoid accountability for their actions.

#7. Invalidation


Manipulators withhold their validation from you to dangle it in front of you like bait. It’s a tactic that only works on people with insecurities, low self-confidence, or self-image.

The only way to break this tactic is to understand that your self-worth is something you create and decide. No one person can be the judge of the sum of your being.

#8. Amplification

Manipulators will often exaggerate certain past events involving you, exaggerate your words or actions when retelling stories, or exaggerate their disapproval for something you said or did.

They love drama, and amplification creates the best kind.

#9. Emotional Blackmail

If you’re a sensitive and kind-hearted person, you are particularly vulnerable to this manipulation tactic.

It’s a very dangerous tactic because emotional coercion has been known to cause many people to make life-ruining decisions, like getting married or going beyond your means to do favors.

#10. Emotional Barriers

If a person is trying to manipulate you, they need to set up emotional barriers to hide their true feelings and intentions from you.

Sometimes, they accidentally make it obvious by dodging personal questions, withholding personal information while expecting information from you, or demeaning your emotional response to how they treat you.

#11. Guilt Trip

This is kind of like emotional blackmail, except it focuses on manipulating your conscience specifically.

Manipulators will use your fear of guilt to taunt you into doing things for them that you wouldn’t normally do.

#12. Inappropriate Restrictions

Manipulators are interested in achieving as much control as they can over your life and personhood. From time to time, they may impose restrictions on you that are completely inappropriate, such as not allowing you to talk to a particular person.

No person should have that kind of authority in your life. It is only for you to decide who you want to be, how you want to live, and what kind of people you want to surround yourself with. Manipulators want to prevent you from exploring the joy this freedom gives you. They will do it by making you believe they’re the only person you can trust to keep you safe.

How To Deal With A Classic Manipulator


Here are some pro-tips for dealing with manipulators without ever having to lose your temper, emotional stability, or peace of mind.

#1. Once you’ve picked up on a sign or tactic, take everything they say next with a grain of salt.

#2. Feel free to level scrutiny and criticism right back at them as politely as you can.

#3. If they’re lying to you, give them the silent treatment. It will scare them into thinking you might know something and they may just end up divulging the truth to protect their relationship with you.

#4. Tell them you’re more than happy to give them a hearing if they need to make some arguments, criticism, or comments. And once they’re done, pretend you weren’t paying attention, pretend you were lost, or crack a joke. Show them that their approval means nothing to you in the most casual manner possible.

#5. If it’s a person you can avoid and don’t have to see regularly, politely confront them on their behavior and break off any relationship you may have with them.

#6. Speak to people whom you trust and who have a history of looking out for you during your lowest moments.

#7. Never give obedience or submit, and only take requests that are made with the level of respect that you deserve.

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