When you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing you do?
You turn off the alarm on your smartphone, check your emails and read notifications on social media. We are used to doing so. It is a natural habit for us.
We have become one with our phones.
We feel inclined to post nice tweets every day, inform our Facebook friends about our dinner with friends and when we don’t receive enough likes, we are demotivated.
Technology and social media were originally invented to connect and advance mankind, however, they often tear us down, destroying our good character and attitude.
Does social media destroy our good morale?
The big problem is:
We hide behind our computer screens and say whatever we please, even though we wouldn’t dare mumble the words in person.
Sincere compliments are no longer essential, social media shows the real ME.
With the rise of social media, we often forget how important it is to speak courteously to others.
Now we could ask:
Technology and social media, are they really aiding in the connections and progress of mankind, or do they often dehumanize us?
The consequence is:
Our high morale is steadily tested and we lack the ability to decipher between right and wrong. We believe everything we see and hear to be true and get into online disputes with people for simply having different viewpoints.
When a person knows another person’s weaknesses and triggers, it is very easy to manipulate people. A skilled emotional manipulator can destroy your self-esteem and in the end, you doubt yourself.
Emotional manipulation is dangerous.
Just because such emotional manipulation is so dangerous, it is important that we recognize it when it happens.
Emotional manipulators act very skillfully – first, they start out with subtle manipulation and with time they raise the bar.
Manipulative people play on your emotions or play a martyr role in order to try to make you feel sorry for them.
Emotional manipulation is one of the worst types of abuse you can suffer. People use your own kindness, fears, and weaknesses against you to get what they want and to reach their goals.
WHAT WE SHOULD LEARN …
In a relationship, the key to success is love, respect, and trust. Respect and creating trust are the most essential elements here. We cannot build effective relationships when we don’t respect and trust the other person. Trust is too often taken for granted. And trust starts with respect, that is the Law of Respect. (says, John C. Maxwell)
Emotional manipulation is a form of relationship between people where respect and trust are violated. But there are manipulators who personally demand respect and appreciation from their contacts, fans, and followers. They do this because they are narcissists or because they want to appear in a good light.
What is a narcissist?
Narcissists are people who steadily seek admiration and approval. They are not able to feel empathy and don’t like any criticism. They exaggerate the own success and skills and feel extremely important. They live in an atmosphere of extreme self-love.
Manipulation is not the same as influence
Now we could say:
Emotional manipulation is like influence.
In fact, there are people who are influencers, who use some kind of “manipulation” to achieve goals.
But let’s be clear:
Manipulation is not the same as influence. We all use influence to reach our goals. Influence recognizes the boundaries of other people and is based on direct and honest communication. Emotional manipulators instead tend to disregard others‘ feelings.
What you should know about emotional manipulators …
9 kinds of manipulators
According to the book “Who’s Pulling Your Strings?“ by Harriett B. Braiker there are several different ways a person can manipulate you. In fact, according to the author, there are nine different kinds of manipulators.
Here is a list of these nine kinds of manipulators:
- The Machiavellian: Machiavellian personalities tend to exploit others to their own (often self-serving) end.
- The Narcissist: This personality is characterized by an inflated sense of self-image, along with a sense of entitlement. Narcissists think very highly of themselves, believe they deserve a special attention and are not able to show any empathy.
- The Borderline: Such a person has unstable relationships and changing moods.
- The dependent: This person is very reliant on the support and help of others.
- The histrionic: The histrionic person steadily tries to be the center of attention.
- The passive–aggressive: Their behavior is sneaky and you don’t always notice what is going on.
- The angry type: Such people often get angry in traffic, or when someone holds them up. They also have an almost insatiable need to win.
- The “Con”: Such people lie and steal. They have no conscience.
- The “Addict”: Addicts notoriously lie, and exploit others—all for the sake of their substance abuse or addiction.
Fortunately, emotional manipulators are easy to spot if you only read postings exactly.
Examples of emotional manipulation
On Facebook, we find such people, successful experts, who have formed the belief that everything they do must impress. They try to influence the masses with postings that go below the belt and offend common decency. They have developed the own brand in that orientation that we begin to doubt whether this is normal or not. And one day we really realize: They manipulate people.
Here some examples that highlight how people manipulate others on social media
(we have omitted here the authors‘ names, with reason – and we have translated the original German words into English):
- Original: „Ich stehe dazu: Ich bin enttäuschend intolerant.
Dumme Drecksäue werden in meinem realen und virtuellen Umfeld nicht geduldet. Und wen ich für eine dumme Drecksau halte, bestimme allein ich.
Die scheindiplomatische Kuschel-Kacke-Heuchelei unserer Tage mache ich nicht mit – frei nach Ron Hard: Ich bin die Sau, die manche Leute gerne rauslassen würden.“
Translation: “I stand by it: I am disappointingly intolerant. Stupid bastards are not tolerated in my real and virtual environment. And who I think is a stupid bastard, I alone determine. The pseudo-diplomatic, cuddly-crap hypocrisy of our days, I won’t be a party to that – loosely based on Ron Hard: I’m the sow that some people would like to let out.”
- Original: „Ich plädiere fürs Hashtag #Drecksau – für undifferenzierten, unrecherchierten, faktenfremden Bullshit.“
Translation: “I plead for the hashtag #fuckturd – for undifferentiated, unreviewed, extraneous to facts bullshit.”
- Original: „Welche Sozialschlampe in Dir hindert Dich daran, Deinen Wert einzufordern?“
Translation: “What social slut in you prevents you from claiming your value?”
- Original: „Emotional geladener Inhalt wird der Treibstoff des Marketings der Zukunft sein.“
Translation: “Emotionally charged content will be the fuel for marketing in the future.”
The last sentence expresses what we might expect in the future.
How bad is such behavior?
What I really want is that we think about our behavior for a moment …
Is such a behavior essential to success?
To become a brand, an influencer, an expert?
Now the question:
How shall we encounter such emotional manipulators on social media?
What kind of behavior is here to recommend?
First, we should be clear:
We can’t gain happiness from staring at a screen.
Happiness is obtained by getting out in the world and doing something for ourselves. Connecting with people outside of the social world. Getting to know people in real life. Visiting business meetings, by booking events or presentations.
When we concentrate too much on social media, we will eventually become numb to everything around us. And one day our humanity dies.
Emotional manipulation: How to deal with it
When we are not able to change the behavior of the manipulator, we can only change our own attitude and reactions to raise the own integrity.
And here some tips how we can encounter such emotional manipulators:
- Don’t fall into their trap.
Just ignore them or say something nice to them.
- Tell them “You’re right!”.
Just for the sake of keeping your peace of mind, simply let them win the argument.
- Never overreact!
Stay calm and try to seize the situation!
- Evaluate what the context is.
Do the words make sense? Listen to your feelings.
- Know that the problem is the other person and not you.
The other person has problems and not you.
- Stop responding to their techniques.
- Quit trying to beat them with their own weapons.
- Distance yourself from them emotionally.
Approach your interactions with them like they’re a research project.
- Develop an awareness.
You can’t stop someone from pushing your buttons if you don’t recognize when it’s happening.
- Limit your interactions with the person as much as possible.
You will save yourself a lot of energy from doing so.
- Set boundaries and decide who belongs into your life.
Let go of harmful relationships.
- Set goals.
If you clearly define your goals (personal improvement, professional career, relationship goals and more) it will become much harder for someone else to manipulate you to their own advantage.
- Practice and develop an inner strength.
All emotions, whether good or bad, serve a purpose in our life – but be aware of emotional manipulators who use the mighty power of emotions to manipulate you.
Manipulative people will manufacture an artificial drama or emotionally charged situations in order to elicit strong emotions from you and prevent you from thinking clearly.
The only way to deal with a manipulator is to change ourselves.
Remember these words:
Nobody can manipulate you without your consent and cooperation.
You only are responsible for your emotions.
“Belief can be manipulated. Only knowledge is dangerous.” – Frank Herbert
“Self-centered leaders manipulate when they move people for personal benefit. Mature leaders motivate by moving people for mutual benefit.” – John C. Maxwell, (Author of “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership“)
Did you have an experience with an emotional manipulator in your life?
How did you deal with their behavior?
Further reading tips on the topic:
“How To Deal With Emotional Manipulators Who Make You Feel Guilty“ by Isaiah Hankel