At a psychological level, the art of manipulation primarily involves two things: concealing aggressive intentions and behaviors and knowing the psychological vulnerabilities of your opponent well enough to know what tactics are likely to be the most effective weapons against them. Psychological manipulation is most often accomplished through covert-aggression or aggression that is so carefully veiled or so subtle that it’s not easily detected. Manipulators want what they want and fight hard to attain their goals. But the tactics they use can make it appear like they’re doing almost anything but simply trying to get the better of you.
The tactics are also very effective weapons of power and control. That’s because even though they’re hard to recognize as aggressive moves at a conscious level, at an unconscious level others feel backed into a corner and are thrown on the defensive. This makes it more likely that they’ll back down or give in to their manipulator.
Skilled manipulators know the vulnerabilities of their opponents. If vanity is someone’s weakness, a seduction tactic might be the best manipulation tactic. If over-conscientiousness is their weakness, perhaps guilt-tripping would be the most effective way to gain the upper hand. Most manipulators have a significant disturbance of character (i.e. have too little conscience or sensitivity). Their easiest prey are neurotic individuals (i.e. people with high levels of sensitivity and conscientiousness). Tactics like Playing the Victim, or Shaming will effectively manipulate the average neurotic because conscientious individuals neither want to see someone else as suffering, nor do they want to feel badly about themselves. If a neurotic person were to try these same tactics on a disturbed character, they would soon learn that they have no effect.
Psychological Manipulation is a type of influence that attempts to change the behavior or perception of others through underhanded, deceptive and abusive techniques. This advances the interests of the manipulator, generally at the victim’s expense, in methods that may be considered abusive, devious, deceptive, and exploitative. In order to be successful, the art of manipulation involves two things – concealing aggressive or subversive intentions and behaviors while knowing the psychological vulnerabilities of the victim well enough to know what will be the most effective psychological weapons or tactics to be used against them.
This is most often accomplished through covert-aggression or carefully veiled aggression – which may be so subtle that it’s not easily detected. Psychological Manipulators know what they want and fight hard to get it. The tactics Psychological Manipulators use are very effective methods of power and control, because they’re almost impossible to be seen as aggressive on the surface, at the unconscious level, the victim feels backed into the corner. Once a victim is backed into a corner, it is more likely that they’ll back down or give into the manipulator’s demands.