11 Techniques of Mental Manipulation: What are the effects of manipulation on a person?

11 Techniques of Mental Manipulation: What are the effects of manipulation on a person? There is a positive visualisation technique, mental projection – often used in hypnosis – that usually allows you to imagine and project. The art of manipulation intrigues many of us. Indeed, it would be almost unusual or magical, as it would allow you to get whatever you want from others.

Mental manipulation can also have a dark side. Manipulation can literally break and destroy some people’s mental health if it is used for bad purposes. That’s why it’s important that you can learn about the different mechanisms of psychological manipulation so that you can be more vigilant and be able to protect yourself from them. Discover 10 techniques of psychological manipulation to spot and be protected.

In this article you will learn:

  • Mental manipulation: what are we talking about? Definition
  • What are the different techniques to gain psychological control?
  • What are the effects of manipulation on the victim?

“Mental manipulation aims to control or influence the emotions, thoughts and behaviour of others in a positive or negative way, consciously or unconsciously of the subject”.

Mental manipulation: what are we talking about? Definition

manipulation: what are we talking about?

So, we are sometimes manipulated and manipulated.

It is therefore important to remember that mental manipulation is an integral part of human relationships, but also to realise that manipulation is not necessarily a harmful action if it does not weaken the other person.

“Mental manipulation induces a power relationship that results in mental control over the individual”.

It becomes dangerous when it is used deliberately and constantly to get what we want from someone without regard for the other, and the manipulation causes the other to suffer.

Mental manipulation can include seduction, subjugation of another, persuasion or even suggestion and can take many forms.

Finally, it is found both in the private sphere (unhealthy romantic, friendship, family relationships) and in the professional sphere.

What are the different techniques to gain psychological control?

There are many mental manipulation techniques that allow you to gain psychological control over someone and get them to do things they would not normally do themselves.

Manipulation: technique #1 emotional blackmail is used

One of the first techniques of manipulation is the use of emotional blackmail.

“Emotional blackmail consists of coercing another under the weight of fear, guilt, or duty in order to create a mental fog in the other that will alter the thought process”.

Mental manipulation occurs as blackmail – often found in toxic families, or in harmful relationships in couples, as the manipulator uses intimacy, affection and the emotional dimension to control the other and have control over them. The person who is manipulated, wanting to maintain the relationship, is forced to accept the manipulation for fear of losing the object of their affection.

This is, for example, the case when someone close to you says to you ‘look at all I do for you, if you loved me you would do it for me too’, or a parent who would say to their child during a ‘divorce’ I am either your father, but if you choose the second one, there is no point in coming to see me anymore’. This type of emotional blackmail can take 4 different forms:

  • Insult threat: blackmail that involves punishment if you don’t do what your insulter wants you to do.
  • Threat of self-punishment: blackmail when the manipulator threatens to harm himself if his demand is not met.
  • Victim threat: blackmail where the manipulator implies that by granting his request you will make him feel better, and if you don’t, he will feel bad.
  • Seducer’s Threat: blackmail where a potential reward will be required if you honour the request.

Manipulation: technique #2 Making the other person feel guilty

This second technique of mental manipulation involves using a person’s guilt to get them to do or get something. The idea is to suggest to the other person that their behaviour is wrong and that they feel bad.

This can include phrases such as ‘I never thought you could do that’, ‘it’s 5pm and you’re already leaving?’. Did you take the day off?’ or even “I trusted you, I’m disappointed”… Which imply that if you had done things differently, your interlocutor would not have experienced negative emotions.

Because of the repetition, the victim has guilt that gnaws at them from the inside, thinks about their actions, blames themselves and thinks that everything is their fault if the other person is not happy.

This is an insidious technique because it often supports unspoken or hidden expectations that cause others to doubt and weaken them emotionally.

These guilt techniques allow the manipulative person to change the dynamics of the relationship by moving the other person from the position of conscious victim to that of unwitting abuser”.

Manipulation: technique #3 Threats and Intimidation

“Threat or intimidation is another technique of mental manipulation, but this time it has a more direct intention. It is about using fear to bend another to your will”.

In this practice, you are well aware that if you do not do what is expected of you, something negative will happen. It therefore leads to anxious thoughts about the consequences of your behaviour in the face of threat.

In a professional environment, it could be a supervisor who would tell you, ‘If you don’t file this on time, things will go badly for you and the position you hold,’ and who would put you in a stressful environment. In the personal realm, it could be a toxic partner telling you, ‘If you don’t do this, it doesn’t matter, I’ll find someone else.’

In either case, the manipulator plays on his position of dominance. to fulfil his expectations because threatening another implies a balance of power over the other, so the suggestion caused by the threat is entirely deliberate on the part of the person using it understand that repeated intimidation over time is like real psychological domestic violence and that words can be just as violent as physical violence.

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Manipulation: technique #4 playing on each other’s insecurities

“When you get intimate with someone, it’s normal for you to confide about your fears and doubts. Someone who wants to manipulate you may well play on your insecurities to make you doubt yourself and feel bad about yourself “.

Take the example of a woman who is self-conscious about her weight. Someone who wants to manipulate this may well say something like ‘that dress looks so good on you, it’s a shame it makes you feel belly fat’.

This is an offensive comment to the person receiving it, as it not only insinuates that the dress does not fit her after all, but also highlights the person’s emotional vulnerability (as she is unaware of her weight). Repeating such comments over time can be self-destructive.

Mental Manipulation. Attacking a person’s self-esteem allows them to be better manipulated later, because when a person doubts themselves, they can’t always set healthy boundaries in relationships. This is especially true for people who suffer from attachment disorder and often feel that they are unworthy of love. They may then tend to cling to unhealthy people as soon as they receive emotional expressions from someone.

What are the effects of manipulation on a person?

Some people use mind manipulation techniques without realising it. They need psychological superiority over others because they feel a deep insecurity that ultimately prevents them from treating others in a balanced way. They are toxic in spite of themselves. Whereas other profiles are perfectly aware of what they are doing. This is especially true of sociopaths or narcissists who, despite what one might think, have real emotional intelligence – alas, abused – that allows them to understand the emotions of others in order to deal with them.

Manipulation: technique #5 Constant vilification, criticism and ridicule

“Another technique of mental manipulation is to vilify the other person or constantly criticise them in order to damage their confidence and make them doubt themselves”.

While criticism is constructive for self-improvement, it becomes unhealthy when it is used repeatedly and for the purpose of mentally weakening another in order to gain weight over them.

It could be a parent who is never satisfied with the effort put in when a child reports good grades but it’s not perfect, or a partner who minimises the tasks the other does on a daily basis.

It can also be a person who enjoys humiliating you publicly, making you doubt your words in front of others or privately, making ironic or sarcastic comments about yourself.

The same applies to repeated ridicule or taunts that, while cloaked in humour, are often harmful to the person, as the object of ridicule is often the person’s perceived insecurity. The person using ridicule can often protect themselves from wanting to hurt you by telling you that you lack self-deprecation and pretending to be a victim despite your lack of humour.

In this context, it is important to bear in mind that criticism concerns more the one who utters it than the one who receives it. The manipulative person projects their own responsibility onto the person being manipulated in order to protect themselves from a reality they cannot accept.’

Toxic personalities often have a way of criticising you, turning the situation to their advantage and using victimisation to get rid of their offensive words.

Manipulation: technique #6 Denying the existence of the other through the technique of silence

“Manipulation by silence is another emotional manipulation technique that involves punishing another person for their behaviour by ignoring them for a few days”.

If you have upset or disappointed your partner, they may decide to ignore you and not respond when you talk to them for a few days.

Conflict resolution requires communication. By depriving you of this opportunity – unilaterally – the manipulator asserts his superiority and leaves you in complete submission, punishing you.

This passive-aggressive behaviour should alert you, especially if you try to start a discussion to analyse the situation and the other person refuses to communicate with you. This is real psychological abuse.

Manipulation: technique #7 Be ambiguous about your expectations

If you are dealing with a person who constantly changes his mind about what he wants, putting you in a kind of mental fog about his expectations, you may be dealing with a manipulation technique to destabilise you.

Except for the borderline state, which includes ambivalent behaviour and opposite extremes, some people have the gift of changing hot and cold when it comes to their behaviour and sometimes it can be difficult to understand what they expect from you and guess their intentions to you.

This is the case when someone asks you about something, you take it into consideration and they still blame you for your behaviour. In the end, you can’t live up to their expectations because they keep changing. No matter what you do, it will never be enough.

It could be a friend asking you to be more available to them, and when you do, they may respond that they don’t need you, that they can manage on their own. This is called friendship toxicity. Another example would be a supervisor who asks you to do something and then accuses you of wasting your time on the task.

“Not knowing what the other really expects from you is particularly emotionally taxing and leads to mental fog with the fear of constantly disappointing the other”.

On the manipulator’s side, it provides an opportunity to instil a kind of constant anxiety in the other person and to control them through fear, while ensuring that they can downplay it no matter what they do.

Technique #8: Seducing with excessive compliments

“As we saw just above, seduction is also part of psychological manipulation techniques because it allows you to gain the sympathy and favour of others”.

Seduction can have positive consequences, but when it is used for the sole purpose of getting others to lower their guard in order to gain their trust and subsequently better control them, it becomes manipulative.

So, if you notice someone who spends their time complimenting you on everything you do, it could be a way of manipulating you.

It’s always nice to receive compliments, but when they become excessive and for everything you do or say, it can be a red flag that should alert you.

Manipulation often happens gradually, and at first you may have the impression that everything is fine with this new encounter, but once you are under the influence, it is much harder to realise that you are being manipulated.

It is important to remember that we all use manipulation from time to time to get what we want from others. This is not necessarily something bad. Psychological manipulation becomes problematic when it is repeated and causes others to suffer or leaves a negative impact on the person who suffers from it.

Technique #9: uses mental projection for mental manipulation

There is a positive visualisation technique, mental projection – often used in hypnosis – which usually allows you to imagine and project yourself into a state of future success. By accurately projecting yourself into a situation, certain areas of the brain are activated, allowing you to put yourself into a certain state of success.

“This technique is used to control the mind of another and bring them to a negative state of consciousness”.

This is when the manipulator keeps telling you in great detail that you are a loser, that you will never achieve anything in life, that you will be alone if you continue like this, that no one will love you, that you will never be able to get out of this on your own, etc.

It is a technique commonly used by PN (people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder) who engage in moral harassment to satisfy their dominance over a work colleague or even in their romantic relationship to control and have complete mental control over their victim.

It is already very difficult to hear this type of speech from time to time, but now imagine the disastrous consequences when the same speech is repeated to you almost every day.

You will end up believing the story the other person is telling you. This inevitably shakes your self-image and causes a state of severe psychological stress.

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Technique #10: uses the emotional kidnapping technique to drive another person crazy

Finally, the last technique of emotional manipulation is called emotional abduction, which consists in making people doubt the veracity of a person’s words or perceived reality, but above all by reversing the roles of perpetrator and victim.

Especially used by others with a personality disorder (sociopaths, etc.), this technique aims to sow total doubt in others by disproving the memories it puts forward about a certain situation and turning the situation in their favour.

This could be a situation where the victim of manipulation expresses her feelings about an experience and where the manipulator will tell her ‘but no, that’s not what happened at all, you always exaggerate things’ or ‘he never knows the past you’re talking about it’. By doing this, the person is delegitimising your perception of reality.

Gaslighting can make you feel like you are caught in a real Karpman triangle, where you don’t always know whether you are the victim, the stalker or the saviour of the relationship, because this technique makes you feel like you are In the long run, emotional kidnapping can be tantamount to brainwashing and make you feel like you are literally going crazy.

Technique #11: What are the effects of mental manipulation on the victim?

Mental manipulation has harmful consequences for the person who experiences it, as it is a form of psychological abuse that can be a source of real trauma.

In the short term, a person may feel shame, feel hopeless, have difficulty managing emotions or be overwhelmed by negative emotions, but also live in fear and expectation of their manipulator’s reaction. It takes time and good support to no longer be afraid of someone.

In the medium and long term, mental manipulation significantly increases the risk of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or other forms of anxiety disorders or even reactive depression in the most serious cases.

There are also sleep disturbances and difficulties with concentration, as the victim of manipulation may have constant intrusive thoughts and think about the consequences of their behaviour towards the person they fear.

In addition, mental manipulation mainly leads to devaluing oneself, which increases the risk of self-destruction, such as addictive behaviour.

‘Finally, there is a high risk of alienation and social isolation, which will increase feelings of general discomfort.’

The longer the mental manipulation has been going on, the more severe the consequences will be. This is why it is important to be alert to the toxic relationships of those around you and to be able to protect yourself.

To summarise, there are many mental manipulation techniques to have psychological control over others. They can be carried out unconsciously or consciously.

Whether it is emotional blackmail, threats, criticism, seduction or even persuasion, the goal is always the same: to establish your own dominance over another in order to be able to control them at will.

Psychological manipulation can have serious consequences for the emotional stability of the person who is subjected to it, and psychological support will often be needed to help them regain their personal identity, which is often lost after such experiences, and to be able to rebuild their self-confidence.

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