Four Fake Nice Gestures That Are Actually Manipulative
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As the name implies, it means they give you just enough signals to keep you engaged. They like all your social media posts, send you messages, flirt with you in person. They may have very sporadic communication or seem to come and go in bursts. Or, if you are already dating, and bring up making a commitment, they may get dodgy or turn into a sudden zen philosopher on the virtues of independence.
Not only are we deceived more than we realize, manipulators often forget they are doing it. The behavior was ingrained during childhood. It got them what they wanted, out of trouble, into good graces. It went unchecked for years. By the time you deal with them as adults, they are very good at what they do. Here are four signs their smile means you are being played like a fiddle.
Ben Franklin had a political enemy who was making speeches against him. Franklin remembered an old quote, “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.” Then he asked that political enemy to loan him a rare book. Then, Ben returned it to him with a nice thank you note. Suddenly, their political rivalry vanished and Franklin had a new friend.
Gaslighting is a form of control where the victim begins to question reality. For example, your parents might insist some trauma in your childhood never happened. They’ll smile and say, “Oh you are just imagining things, that never happened!” Your partner may swear they were never late getting home, even though you’ve seen them come home hours late every night. Gaslighting will cause some of the biggest fights you’ll ever have in a relationship. Don’t back down from calling it out.
Humans are strongly reciprocal in nature. Healthy relationships are built on giving and getting in return. A gulf in reciprocity creates a power imbalance. This is why gifts are a common tool for manipulation.
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