Manipulators, users, narcissists, and abusers have one common goal: to take control of your life. It is difficult to combat them because they can resort to various techniques to achieve their objectives. Armed with their arsenal of controlling tools, they can be highly skilled at manipulating how others feel, think, perceive and behave. How they can direct situations to their agenda is tied to their methods. They may employ one, usually more, in getting things to go their way. An effective way to avoid the traps they set is to be aware of a manipulator’s weaknesses.
What is a Manipulator and How to Spot One
To avoid being used, it is essential to understand how to spot a manipulator. Knowing the techniques they employ is effective in revealing their true agendas. This knowledge can naturally help you identify them.
A manipulative person can be defined as one who utilizes influence through mental distortions and emotional exploitation to gain an advantage, usually at the expense of the person being used. Their chief goal is getting their way, irrespective of the harm it may cause.
It is hard to identify them quickly because they do not always present as being abusive. They can be charming, entertaining, and even flattering. Their personas are often in stark contrast to their actions. They can disarm with their charms.
Using intense emotional relationships as a way to persuade their victims that they are someone to be trusted is an indication of a user at work. Even moving too quickly into a relationship can be a tell-tale sign of someone with eyes set on taking advantage of people and circumstances. They can behave as if they are deeply invested in you and your well-being. They do all this with explicit plans to use that intense attention to gain whatever they want. Their kindness, compassion, and attentiveness prelude to potential emotional abuse of trust to come later.
Should someone be too generous too quickly in a relationship, this can be a warning sign of trouble ahead. Simon Halyut, made famous in the Netflix Documentary “The Tinder Swindler,” scammed numerous women out of thousands of dollars via charm, good manners, and extravagance.
He would lavish attention on his targets by providing gratis vacations to exotic locations on private jets. This was coupled with dining in exclusive restaurants, going to nightclubs frequented by the rich and famous, and offering expensive gifts, all free-flowing. Little did anyone know the dashing man of means was a con artist funding this rich lifestyle through lies, deceit, and psychological manipulations of unsuspecting women.
Signs You're Being Manipulated and the Four Stages of Manipulation
Those who aim to control use sophisticated methods. Knowing the four stages of manipulation can help you see if you are being used or even being set up to be abused.
Targeting - The very first stage of abuse comes in the form of “Targeting.” Those seeking control make it a point to find weaknesses they can exploit. They deliberately go after those in a vulnerable place in their lives or with some insecurity that can be used. Users are master profilers in determining who can be manipulated with as little effort as possible. This is why they tend to be attracted to those experiencing a lack of confidence or dealing with life challenges that render them especially vulnerable.
Friendship Forming Stage - Friendship forming follows after an abuser locates a target. They start off by trying to gain your trust by acting as if they are looking out for your best interests. They can be attentive, great listeners, and look sincerely motivated to be close to you while at the same time planning and scheming ways to gain more and more control over various aspects of your life.
Loving Relationship Stage - Once trust has been secured, the third phase involves creating a nearly idyllic love relationship. They can be generous, free-flowing with compliments, and overly attentive. They can be enthused and literally shower you with attention, gifts, and the appearance of real love. When love comes on strong, over the top, and nearly obsessive, that can be a good indication you are being set up for the final stage of manipulation.
Abusive Relationship Stage - After your trust and love have been earned and secured, this is when the real abuse starts. This is when you are in a relationship where all the controlling behavior starts. Now that the relationship has been set up and secured, the abusive aspect of the relationship appears. Techniques like “gas lighting,” economic exploitation, outright lies, and assorted mind games all start in earnest once the relationship has been formalized. At this point, your feelings, emotions, heart, and resources are vulnerable to total exploitation.
What are a Manipulators Weaknesses and How to Escape One
How to escape becomes vital knowledge if you find yourself subject to a user’s abuses. It is also helpful to be knowledgeable about a manipulator’s weaknesses.Awareness of a manipulator's weaknesses is a key to escaping one. You can escape from their schemes when you know the vulnerable spots and become proactive.
Placing the spotlight on a manipulator by asking probing questions is one way to change the power dynamic of the relationship. They tend to shy away from having their actions and choices questioned. It can put them off guard. Questions along the lines of:
- “Does this make any sense to do?”
- “Exactly who benefits from this? Is it just you, or do we both gain something from this?
- “Are you simply telling me what to do, or are you asking me what to do?”
- “Do I have any input in the decision making, or have all the choices and options been made?”
- “Must we do this, or are there alternatives?”
While they are hesitant to answer questions, abusers tend to want their queries answered quickly. Use the time to your full advantage. Rather than providing answers when requested, take your time in replying. This has the added benefit of you being able to consider if what is proposed is really good for you.
Escaping the grasp of a manipulator can simply come down to keeping a distance from one. When you see the behaviors of one, avoid engaging further.
Protect Yourself and Get Supported
The principal obstacle in identifying controlling people is that they are excellent students of human nature. They study people in order to locate exploitable weaknesses. Their ability to hide their motivations behind acceptable, even desirable behaviors can render them invisible. However, once you know their methods and how they can exploit vulnerabilities, you have the skills to identify them. Manipulators like to find passive victims. They deliberately seek out those most susceptible to being manipulated. Being confident in yourself and not being afraid to ask probing questions, these things can render you less likely to be controlled and contained.
If you are stuck in a manipulative relationship and need help moving forward, get connected to me or another Psychic here at PathForward. I can show you the light, expose the truth, and help you take steps out and into a healthy relationship that you deserve.