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How To Analyze People: 13 Laws About the Manipulation of the Human Mind.

13 Laws of Manipulation Would you believe that at every waking moment of your life, your mind is being manipulated or controlled in one way or another? Not necessarily always by someone you know either. Social media, online news content, the things you see and hear in traditional media, advertisements, conversations we see and hear at work or in our personal lives. They’re all some form of manipulation or mind control, and most of the time, it’s happening without you even realizing it. Even what you’re about to read throughout the next chapters in this book could be a form of “manipulation” that influences your thoughts to a certain extent. Why though, is the human mind so susceptible to manipulation? Could it be that our mind is full of what is known as “loopholes”? Let’s take a look at the Solomon Asch experiment which was conducted in 1957. This experiment on conformity was carried out by Asch in a series of psychological tests to reveal the degree to which an individual’s opinions could be influenced by that of a group of people. The results, Asch discovered, were that with the right amount of peer pressure, people were willing to ignore the facts or reality that was in front of them and resort to giving a false or incorrect response just to conform to the rest of the group. Before that, here’s a quick question…. 

Do you see yourself as someone who is a non-conformist? Or a conformist? Most people believe that they can be just the right amount of non-conformist to stand up against others when they know they are right about something. A conformist, however, would prefer to blend in with the group. While most tend to believe they’re non-conformist, research would suggest otherwise, and that people might be more prone to conformity than they initially think. Here’s a quick test. Imagine you’re now part of a psychology experiment with a group of several other people. Everyone is taking the same test where you’re shown a series of oddly shapes images and asked what you can see when you look at the image. On some occasions, some participants unanimously declare they can see the exact same image, but when you look at the picture, you’re seeing something entirely different. You’re the only one who’s seeing it too. Every other participant in the room has the same unified answer. What would you do? Do you stand by what you can see? 

Or do you go ahead and declare the same answer the other participants are giving? That’s precisely what the Asch conformity experiments aimed to discover. Conformity, which is a person’s tendency to go along with the unspoken behavior or rules of a social group that they are a part of. Asch set out to discover with his experiments if people could be pressured into conforming, even if they knew that everyone else in the group was wrong. Asch main purpose of his experiment was to demonstrate just how powerful conformity could be in a group. When Asch carried out his experiment, there were participants who were “in” on what was going on and pretending to be like all the other participants, along with those who were really unaware of what was taking place. Those who knew what was going on would behave in certain ways, and the aim was to see if their behavior was going to have any influence on the other participants. In each experiment that was carried out, there would be one naive participant who was placed with a group of the “aware” participants. 

There were 50 participants in the group, and everyone was told they would be taking part in some sort of “vision test”. In the “vision test”, those who were aware of what was going on were already told what their responses were going to be for the task that was presented. The naive participant had no clue that they were the only ones who were blissfully unaware. All the participants were given a line task, and each one had to announce verbally which line (A, B or C) was the closest match to the target line they were given. A total of 18 various trials were carried out, and the participants who were aware have incorrect answers for 12 out of the 18 trials. Asch wanted to determine if the naive participants would change their responses to conform to how everyone else (the aware group) responded. Everything was going well during the first half of the trials, with the aware responded answering the questions being given correctly. However, they later began providing incorrect answers, just as they were instructed to by the experimenters. 

The Results? Interestingly enough, at the end of the Asch experiment, it was revealed that 75% of those who took part in the conformity experiment went along with the answers from the rest of the group at least once. When all the trials were combined, Asch discovered that the naive participants conformed to the group’s incorrect answer approximately one-third of the time. To determine that the participants could in fact, actually gauge the correct length of these lines they were given during the vision test, each participant was asked to write the correct match individually. Based on the results, the participants’ judgments were accurate, with the right answer being chosen 98% of the time. Asch’s experiment also looked at how much effect the number of people who were present within a group could influence conformity. When there was only one other participant present, it had no impact on a participant’s answer. When there were two participants present (the aware group), their answers had a tiny effect on the naive participant’s answer. In the presence of three or more participants (aware), there was a significant difference in the answers provided by the naive participant. 

Asch also discovered that having one aware participant provide the right answer while the rest of the aware participants gave incorrect answers dramatically lowered the level of conformity experienced, with only 5% to 10% of the participants going along with the other members of the group. Studies which were carried out, later on, have also supported Asch’s findings, which then suggests that when it comes to conformity, social support was an important element that needed to be present. When the naive participants were questioned later on why they chose to go along with the rest of the group, even though they knew the answers were wrong, most responded with although they knew everyone else was wrong, they didn’t want to put themselves at risk of being ridiculed. A few of the participants believed that the rest of the group had the right answers, and they were the ones who were wrong. The findings of Asch’s experiment reveals the truth about conformity, which is that it is in fact influenced by both a belief that other people could be smarter or more informed, and a desire to fit in with the rest of the group. 

This “loophole” then, is where the human mind thus becomes susceptible to manipulation. Why Do We Conform? For those who understand how the human mind works, it then becomes so easy to take full advantage of the leverage that they have. Using this knowledge to their benefit, they can easily influence all the other unsuspecting individuals with just a few well-placed words or simple commands. Manipulation easily puts you in a position of power when you play on someone else’s emotions, the easiest target. If you could someone convince another, and make them believe that in doing what you want them to, they will be happy, they’ll be more than willing to bend to your rules. If you make them feel guilty enough, they’ll try and do what they can to “fix” the situation. Even playing on someone else’s fear makes them an easy target. Make them believe they’re in danger of losing something they cannot afford to lose and they’ll jump at any opportunity that’s presented to them. If your supervisor were to dangle the possibility in front of you that you might lose your job, wouldn’t that fear spur you into doing whatever request they ask of you? Emotions make manipulation so easy. Asch conducted even further experiments and discovered that the reasons we become susceptible more to conforming when: There are more people present When the task is more difficult and we are faced with uncertainty. 

We then tend to confirm when we believe others might be better informed than we are on the subject. When we view others in a group as having more “power” or “influence”. Asch did discover though, that the power of conformity does decrease when the participants were able to respond individually or privately away from others. Further research does show that less conformity takes place if the person in question has at least one other person within the group that supports their point of view. Interesting indeed. The 13 Laws of Manipulation Manipulators can come in all shapes and sizes. As different as they may be as individuals, there are certain things that manipulators have in common with each other, and that is the fact that they’re sneaky, deceptive, and underhanded and will resort to using any tactic if it means they get what they want at the end of the day. They care little about your feelings or anyone else’s for that matter, even the people they love. The only thing that matters is them is their own agenda and getting what they want. Manipulators resort to one, two or several tactics to get to achieve their goals, always at someone else’s expense. While the tactics may vary from one manipulator to the next, there are 13 laws of manipulation that every manipulator will use at one time or another:

Law #1 - Hide Your Intentions. 

Lying is perhaps the oldest and most effective form of manipulation around. Manipulators often resort to this tactic when they try to avoid responsibility or twist to the truth for their benefit. Some manipulators even resort of lying when there is no real reason to do so, simply thriving on the pleasure of creating chaos or the knowledge that they’re playing with someone else’s feelings. A skilled manipulator knows how to work this angle so subtly that you don’t even realize the lie that they spin until it's too late. There could be several reasons why a manipulator resorts to lying. It could be to take advantage of another. To conceal their true intentions so you don’t know what they’re up to. Or perhaps even to level the playing field, so they can remain one step ahead of you. An employee who was concerned about their job might approach the boss and ask about the possibility of being laid off or fired. The boss, in an attempt to conceal what’s really going on, might tell the employee there’s nothing to be worried about when in fact, plans were already being made to replace him once he has completed work on the project he was assigned to. A colleague who has been eyeing that same promotion you are might withhold potential information so that they could put themselves ahead of you.

Law #2 - Attention Seeking. 

A little bit of drama in life keeps things interesting, but for a manipulator, drama happens all too frequently. Why? Because they created it on purpose. Manipulators like being the center of attention to validate themselves and give their egos the confidence boost they believe they need. A colleague at work might resort to creating conflict between colleague A and B by telling tales to each of them about the other. This thereby ensures that while colleague A and B are at odds with each other, they then turn to the manipulator for “comfort”, which then makes the manipulator feel important. In a relationship, one partner could constantly pick a fight to ensure that the other’s attention is continually focused on them and trying to resolve a problem which may not exist.

Law #3 - Behaving Emotionally. 

Manipulators could be highly emotional individuals, prone to dramatic or even hysterical outbursts when they want things done their way. Melodramatic, loud, obnoxious, over-the-top, even at the slightest provocation a manipulator will resort of emotional behavior, which is most of the time inappropriate in a social setting. A couple loudly arguing in the restaurant because one partner is behaving unreasonably when things are not done their way resorts to this behavior, hoping their partner might be embarrassed enough to give in to their demands makes this an extremely effective manipulation technique when used correctly.

Law #4 - Playing Victim.

Everyone always feels sorry for them. They seem to have the worst luck in the world. No matter what problem you may be having, they find a way to make you feel guilty for even talking about it by pointing out how their problem is “10 times worse” than yours. We all suffer from a stroke of bad luck every now and then, but the manipulator has managed to skillfully use that unlucky streak to elevate their own “victim” status and put themselves above everyone else. A friend who constantly plays up all the negative aspects of their life while dismissing your problems is resorting to this manipulative tactic to get the attention they want. Tell them you had a bad day because you had a flat tire on your way to work this morning and they’ll tell you how you could be lucky you even have a car to complain about while they have to endure the hardships of public transportation. Manipulators resort to this emotionally draining tactic to gain sympathy from others, which is another way of seeking attention and making sure that everyone is focused on them.

Law #5 - Taking Credit Where It’s Not Due.

 Manipulators have no qualms about getting you to do most of the legwork, and then swooping in at the last minute to take credit like they have done the lion’s share of the job. A common tactic which is often used in a professional setting, especially in group projects or teamwork. These crafty manipulators flit around delegating jobs, seemingly appearing “busy” when in fact they’re not really doing anything at all, but when it comes time to take credit they have no problems about pushing you aside and taking credit for the ideas and the work that you’ve put in.

Law #6 - Depend on Me.

 Manipulators want you to feel like you “need” them in your life. That you simply cannot live without them. In a social setting, they’re the “popular” ones whom everyone else seems to flock to, making you desperate to want to be a part of that group. In a relationship, they could be the partner that constantly reminds you “what would you do without me”, or “how would you survive without me”. They do you favors and help you out at a time when you need it most, making you feel indebted to them so they can come and cash in on these favors at a later date (with a manipulator, no favor ever comes for free). Manipulators create this false belief that you need them in your life, because the more you depend on them, the more control they have over you, which is exactly what they want. They prey on the vulnerable and make themselves the “indispensable friend” in your life, basking in this special status they have created. The more you lean on them for support, the more opportunities they have to prey on your emotions and exploit you for their own advantage.

Law #7 - Selective Honesty.

 Have you ever felt so disarmed by how a generous person you know could suddenly turn around and stab you in the back? Or felt so wrong-footed when you realized you only knew half of what was going on? That’s because the person who was feeding you with information was a manipulator, and the reason you feel stabbed in the back or wrong-footed is that they only fed you information that they wanted you to know while purposely withholding the rest. Selective honesty, a powerful manipulative tactic that can be used to disarm an unsuspecting “victim”. A tactic which is today very prominent within professional settings especially. Manipulators at work use it all the time to get ahead. If there are five people up for the same promotion at work, the manipulator will try to give themselves the upper hand by withholding important information that they know while simultaneously assuring everyone else that “this is exactly what’s going on”. They lead you to believe that they are being generous by clueing you in on what’s taking place but in reality, they’re making sure you’re at least two steps behind them every step of the way.

Law #8 - Pretending to Be A “Friend”.

 Don’t be fooled by the overly friendly person you just met on your first day at the office. They could be pretending to be your friend while gathering information about you which they could later use to their advantage. While some people may genuinely be friendly, start to raise the red flag if this person is being a little too friendly by asking very personal or probing questions, especially if you’ve only just met them. This tactic is prominent within a professional setting, and if your gut is telling you something is off, it probably is. The manipulator could even exist within your own circle of friends. They pretend to be your “friend” by subtly being the one who is in control of the conversation. The conversation will always be what they dictate it should be, and it will only happen when they determine it should happen. This “friend” might also pressure you into making decisions by giving you very little time to think about it. Phrases like “if I’m really your friend, you’ll do this for me” roll off the tongue of the manipulator too easily and always for their benefit.

Law #9 - Non-Committal.

 Do you know anyone in your life who has a hard time committing to anything? Even after you’ve told them how important it is and that you could use their support right now? The non-committal individual is no friend of yours, they’re a manipulator. They take pleasure in withholding their approval or support if it means there’s an opportunity for them to give themselves the upper hand to control the situation for their benefit. They’re only looking out for themselves, and they will especially refrain from committing to anything if it means having to assume responsibility. Being non-committal is a manipulation tactic often used in romantic relationships. When a romantic partner is being non-committal, it keeps the other on their toes and keeps them coming back for more, thereby giving the manipulator the upper hand. The longer they withhold their commitment, the more bending over backward you’ll be willing to do just to get their approval.

Law #10 - Playing Dumb.

 Is that colleague you know genuinely unaware of what’s going on? Or are they feigning innocence to avoid taking on extra responsibility? Playing dumb is a manipulative tactic that often goes overlooked, but if you pay close attention, you’ll find it apparent within a lot of professional settings. If you a leader of the group project at work, would you assign extra responsibility to that one team member who “wasn’t as sure of something”? Or assign that extra responsibility to another? The employee who was then “playing dumb” gets away with doing far less, but getting the same amount of recognition as everyone else in the group. When there’s a conflict between a group of friends, could that one friend who “doesn’t know what’s going on” be telling the truth? Or could they be feigning innocence, knowing full well they were responsible for instigating the conflict in the first place? In a romantic relationship, could your partner who “doesn’t know what you’re talking about” be telling the truth when you confront them about an issue? Or could they be “playing dumb” to avoid being caught in a lie? Sometimes, the “innocent party” may not be so innocent after all.

Law #11 - Pointing the Finger at Others.

 A manipulator will always try to keep their hands clean by first, never assuming responsibility, and secondly by always trying to point the finger at someone else so they get off scot-free whenever there’s a problem. Especially when that problem could potentially jeopardize their reputation and expose them for who they are. If you know anyone in your family, friends or even among your colleagues who always blames the problem on anything and anyone but themselves, you could be dealing with a manipulator. Keep a lookout for anyone who’s the pattern of behavior involves always making someone else the scapegoat.

Law #12 - Telling You What You Want to Hear.

It’s hard not to feel good when you’re being flattered, and you’re more inclined to like the person’s who’s doing all the flattering more than others. If there’s one person in your life who’s always telling you all the things you want to hear, wouldn’t you be more inclined to want to follow them or spend more time with them? It’s hard not to feel good around people like these, but telling you all the things you want to hear is not necessarily the sign of a good friend. They could be buttering you up so they can cash in on a big favor at a later date which you’ll be “guilted” into helping them with “because they’ve been so nice to you”.

Law #13 - Controlling Your Decisions.

 A classic setting when manipulation in the form of controlling another’s decision is present is within a romantic relationship. While it is perfectly normal for you to base or change your decisions because of your partner, is it because there exists within you a genuine desire to make them happy? Or are you doing it because you don’t want to risk making them angry? There’s a very fine line between what constitutes manipulation in a relationship. If you find yourself canceling plans far too often with friends because your partner expresses their displeasure or makes you feel bad, that’s manipulation in play. If you refrain from wearing clothes that your partner dislikes (even though you love it), or stop yourself from getting a haircut because your partner said “they don’t like short hair”, that’s a subtle form of manipulation. They’re controlling your decisions without making it seem obvious that they are. It could start off innocently enough with a remark or two, with something so minimal like expressing how the clothes you are wearing does not look good on you or the kind of dress you are wearing should be something else and suddenly you find that your life has turned into nothing but decisions that don’t make you happy because they’re being dictated by someone who supposedly loves you. The Ethics of Manipulation - Is It Possible Manipulation Could Be Both Good and Bad? Mention the word ‘manipulation’ and what immediately springs to mind is the negative connotations which are associated with this term. Manipulation means deceit. Manipulation means using unscrupulous and underhanded tactics to take advantage of someone else. Manipulation means fraud and outright lying. Manipulation is unethical. The term has certainly got a bad reputation over the years, and even the phrases used to describe manipulation in play paint a picture that is fairly ugly or unpleasant. “She’s got him completely wrapped around her little finger”, “I told my boss exactly what he wanted to hear”, “He’s got a reputation for being a heartbreaker”, “I talked my friend into doing what I wanted.” These typical examples of manipulation certainly don’t put a positive spin on the situation for both parties involved in the process. It makes the manipulator out to be someone who is selfish, self-serving, deceitful, and unconcerned about using someone else for their own advantage, and it makes the one who is being manipulated seem foolish, clueless and possibly even weak of character for “allowing” themselves to be fooled so easily. Manipulation has always been viewed as an act that is ruthless, clever yet cunning, and always where one person ends up being exploited or taken advantage of. Manipulation is viewed even more negatively when it becomes apparent that the conniving individual has heartlessly ignored the feelings of the other, putting their own selfish needs above everyone else. Even worse than the manipulator has exploited the other by pretending to be their friend and then using information shared in confidence against them. Whether in our personal or professional lives, there is one fact which remains. No one likes knowing they have been manipulated. No one. With such negativity associated with this hard, it becomes almost impossible to believe that there is a possibility manipulation could be used for a good, or even that it could possibly bring about change for the better. As surprising as it may sound, manipulation is not all bad. Manipulation exists all around us, and you often don’t have to look very far to find evidence of it. Take marketers and advertisers for example, with their constant messages telling us to buy this, buy that, stop doing this, and stop doing that. They’re all trying to manipulate our decisions in one way or another. Which forms of manipulation though, are in fact trying to get us to change for the better? Ads that tell us to stop smoking and eat healthier are trying to manipulate our decisions, but in this case, they’re trying to do it to incite positive change. Quitting smoking is for your own benefit. So it eating healthy. If it is for your own good, doesn’t that make it a positive form of manipulation? Governments around the world manipulate their people. So does religion. Yet, we sometimes choose to ignore it because it comes from a more “authoritative” source, so to speak. Businesses manipulate their customers all the time, by creating products to boost their sales figures and then telling consumers “they cannot live without it”. Whether it’s used for “good” or “bad”, manipulation is still, at the end of the day, manipulation. Do any of us really have any right to dictate another’s decisions or actions, even if we believe it is for their benefit? What makes the idea of manipulation such an uncomfortable notion to deal with is perhaps the fact that we don’t like the idea of someone else trying to dictate what we should do, or pushing us into doing something we wouldn’t otherwise be inclined to do ourselves. Managers at work try to manipulate their staff all the time, although the good leaders do it to try and keep their staff motivated or perform at their best. Effective managers have skillfully mastered the art of positive manipulation and turned it into an effective tool used to manage their employees’ performance, pushing them to reach their goals. This distinguishing detail is the defining difference between what’s classified as manipulation, and what’s referred to as persuasion. Persuasion is still a form of manipulation, but what separates it from the negative reputation associated with manipulation boils down to three things: Your intention. Your honesty. What the benefit or positive impact is going to be for the person you’re trying to persuade. Manipulation vs Persuasion These three key points are doing to be the deciding factor as to whether you’re attempting to manipulate or persuade. When your manipulation, your intention you're selfish. When you persuade, it’s usually well-meaning for the good of the other person. When you manipulate, you lie, deceive and try to hide what’s really going on. When you persuade, you’re able, to be honest and upfront about what you’re trying to do, because you have no reason to hide if it isn’t done for personal gain. When you manipulate, there is no positive impact or benefit on the other party, only yourself. When you persuade, the other party you’re trying to influence is the one who reaps the most benefit out of the situation. Non-profit organizations resort of persuasion all the time, trying to get others to act and change for the better to create a positive impact on the world. They persuade donors, raise the necessary funding and try to promote awareness among others regarding important issues which need to be addressed or changed. Manipulation and Evidence of These Laws in Our Daily Routine Manipulators are the puppet masters who sit behind the scenes pulling the strings, playing mind games so subtle and persuading you to do their dirty work for them. When you find yourself in a problem and you don’t know how it happened, the manipulator could have had something to do with it. The evidence of manipulation is more apparent in a work environment because this is where you spend most of your time, Monday to Friday, coming into contact with all sorts of individuals. A few signs to watch out for that signal you could have a manipulator in your midst include any of the following: Too much flattery to a point it seems insincere. Showering you with superficial charm. False sympathy. Negotiations which end up being one-sided, and you’re the one who doesn’t usually benefit from it. Attempts to intimidate you verbally. Team projects where you find yourself taking on more responsibility than others who are just as capable of sharing the workload but somehow don’t. Exposure to passive-aggressive behavior. Feeling wrong-footed or being left in the dark about what’s going on until the very last minute. Feeling out of the loop on the important decisions that get made, realizing too late that you weren’t privy to certain information. Rumors or gossip being circulated around the office, trying to put one colleague against another. There always seems to be more confusion than solutions after you’ve had a talk with them. Colleagues who refuse to admit their mistakes and attempt to cover it up by shifting the blame to someone else, even though they were clearly in the wrong. What makes these manipulators so dangerous is that these tactics sometimes don’t stop at the office alone. You may even be surrounded by such individuals in within your immediate circle of friends or family, except that it's much harder to see them for who they are and what they’re doing because, on some level, you don’t want to believe that these people whom you care about could resort to such behavior. Sadly, these people exist all around us, and it is only when we wake up and pay attention to the following evidence that we start to realize our lives may be surrounded by more manipulators than we would like to admit, and the 13 laws of manipulation could be happening to you right this minute: They Build Your Confidence - Only to tear you down when it works in their favor. When you’re meeting someone for the first time and if they immediately start showering you with praise and flattery, be warned that this could be one of the 13 manipulation laws at play when they tell you what you want to hear. They could be playing you like a fiddle by telling you everything that you want to hear, and if you think they could be laying it on just a little bit too thick, you’re probably right. They could be building up your confidence, coercing you into believing that you could trust them enough to reveal information, only to tear you down at a later time when it's convenient for them. They Make You Question Your Reality - The friend that tells you “you’re just imagining it” or “you’re making a big deal out of it”, dismissing your concerns is not doing it to be a good friend. Alleviating your fears once in a while is alright, but if your concerns are being dismissed or ridiculed whenever you bring it up, that could be a sign of manipulation at work. One of the classic tactics a narcissist or manipulator resorts to is trying to shift your perspective or reality by making you question your own judgment. They make you believe you’re overreacting, or that you’re the only one feeling this way so perhaps there’s something wrong with you instead. Seems harmless enough, but if this goes on for too long it can make you start doubting everything, making it hard for you to trust your own judgment. They Start to Digress - A classic sign that you’re dealing with a potentially manipulative character on your hands is when they go completely off topic and steer the conversation in a completely different direction. There’s a reason they do this, and that reason is often to leave you feeling confused and frustrated. This is a favorite tactic of many politicians, using digression as a form of distraction. They Belittle You - By telling you that your opinion does not matter, or that you’re far too emotional to make a rational decision. The berate you for your thoughts and even give you a negative label so that you begin to think twice about raising your opinions. Social media has made it easier than ever for manipulators to comfortably sit behind their keyboards or their screens and make tall, general statements aimed at causing maximum emotional damage to their targets. Pay close attention and you’ll notice that a lot of their statements actually have no rational basis to these claims. Their sole purpose is simply to belittle their target. They Love Extreme Labelling - Who do you know in your life that loves making you feel bad by exaggerating claims that highlight just how biased you can be? A colleague that makes unpleasant remarks about the way your dress and passes it off as “simply joking around” will very well turn around and make you out to be the bad guy if you point out how much you dislike having remarks made about the way that you dress. You can’t take a joke, can you? Or Are you honestly THAT sensitive? Are examples of exaggerated statements aimed at making you out to be the bad guy. They Never Appreciate You - No matter what you do for them, it’s never going to be food enough. No matter what you do, it will never be satisfactory enough to warrant any gratitude. Tell them you can dance and they’ll ask you if you can do math while you dance. Tell them you’re happily single and they’ll ask isn’t it a struggle to be that lonely. Tell them you’ve been happily married for a while now and if it’s just you and your spouse, they’ll ask what you’re waiting for and why haven’t you started a family yet. No matter what you tell them, they’ll always find some kind of fault with it. They Make You Feel Bad - About everything. Quite literally everything. If you go out with another group of friends, they’ll make you feel bad about not inviting them. In a relationship, the manipulative partner can make you feel bad when you don’t live up to their expectations. If you tell them you can’t manage both dinner and a movie because you need to work late and ask if just dinner alone is okay, you might be met with a response like “Sure, I guess so. I was really looking forward to both, but I guess if you’re happy with it then it is okay”. Subtly turning things around and making it seem like you’re the one at fault is what manipulators do best. These toxic individuals could even be your own family members, and that’s one of the hardest truths to accept. To think that your own family could be capable of manipulating you is an idea no one wants to be confronted with, but it happens. Keep an eye out for the following signs if you suspect you could be dealing with manipulative family members in your household: Every encounter leaves you feeling drained because it’s always about them, and almost always involves high strung emotions. They make you feel bad about yourself whenever they’re around. They push your buttons and constantly try to find fault with you, constantly either playing the victim or refusing to admit their mistakes. You find yourself making excuses to avoid their company because you don’t want to be around them. You always have to set aside your own desires to accommodate their needs. You find yourself having to watch what you say around them because this isn’t the first time they have tried to use what you say to personally attack you. They make you feel guilty for not spending time with them.

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