Probably, most of us have encountered manipulation during some time of our life. So what is manipulation and how to avoid it?

Manipulation is a type of social influence which has a huge impact on others and affects their behavior and perception through deceptive, violent and misleading actions. The common ways of manipulation are called informative, psychological and subconscious.

The most significant step of avoiding manipulation is to be aware of your rights and recognize whenever they are being violated. Being treated with respect, having freedom of speech and religion, acquiring what you paid for, answering “no” without feeling guilty are some of our fundamental rights. Occasionally, manipulators do not recognize them and try to take advantage of their victims.

Other method for fighting against manipulation is to maintain your distance from people who radically change their behavior depending on their environment and people they are surrounded by. For instance, when an individual is extremely chivalrous to someone and completely disrespectful to someone else-or absolutely uncontrollable one moment and severely assertive the next, try to persevere a healthy distance for preventing possible threats.

Manipulators usually aim to exploit your weaknesses, which will cause self-blame, decrease your self-esteem and force you to feel guilty. Therefore, in that cases it’s important to realize that you have nothing to do with the problem and carefully contemplate your relationship with the manipulator.

If you feel that you are undergoing any kind of manipulation, try to ask your manipulator probing questions, which will help to save time for deciding your further steps and analyzing the certain situation. The following are the question examples: “Do you think this is reasonable?”, “Are you asking me or forcing me?”, “What are your anticipations from this?”, “Can I have a word in this?”, etc.

Sometimes manipulators can demand things, which are not reasonable, acceptable, or desirable for you. In such cases, do not be afraid to say “no” and simply reject them. This is because going against your wishes and values will not lead to any good consequences.

Finally, giving undue flattery is one of the traits of manipulators, especially, when you have not done anything to truly deserve it. Even though, it’s indisputably pleasurable to be praised, it can cause undesirable results. Through this mechanism manipulators want to have a positive impact on you and gain your trust. Don’t be fearful to politely thank them and state that you have not earned their compliment. Always speak up about your feelings and fight for your rights and values.

Written by Anush Margaryan