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How to tell the difference between persuasion and manipulation - Robert Noggle | Aeon Ideas

When influence is manipulative

Influence is manipulative depending on how it is being used.

If the manipulator attempts to get someone to adopt what the manipulator himself regards as wrong, it resembles lying. The liar tries to get you to choose a false belief or to make a mistake in what he thinks, feels, doubts or pays attention to.

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How to tell the difference between persuasion and manipulation - Robert Noggle | Aeon Ideas

How to tell the difference between persuasion and manipulation - Robert Noggle | Aeon Ideas

https://aeon.co/ideas/how-to-tell-the-difference-between-persuasion-and-manipulation

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Key Ideas

Forms of manipulation

We are continually subject to manipulation. For instance:

  • Gaslighting: It involves encouraging someone to doubt their own judgment and to rely on the manipulator's advice instead.
  • Guilt trips: Making someone feel overly guilty for failing to do what the manipulator wants him/her to do.
  • Peer pressure: Caring so much about the manipulator's approval that she/he will obey the manipulators' wishes.

Manipulation

Manipulation often harms. Manipulative phishing and other scams make identity theft possible; manipulative social tactics can support unhealthy relationships.

Manipulation is wrong because it involves immoral techniques. It means treating the other as mere objects and not as a rational being.

When influence is persuasion

Sometimes, influences can improve the other person’s decision-making situation by leading her to believe, doubt, feel or pay attention to the right things.

What matters in identifying manipulation is the intention of the person using it - whether the influence is being used to put the other person into a better or a worse position to make a decision.

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Manipulation Techniques
  • The ‘foot-in-the-door’ technique consists of making a small and reasonable request, which then leads into a larger request. The initial appeal we supposed to make you feel more comfortable and invested in cooperating.
  • The ‘door-in-the-face’ technique consists of making a big request, having it rejected, then making a smaller one. Following the larger request, the smaller appeal seems reasonable comparatively.
Manipulation

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Common Types Manipulators

The two most common types of manipulators are bullies and “victims”.

Bullies make you feel fearful and might use aggression, threats and intimidation to control you, while “victims” engenders a feeling of guilt in their target by acting hurt when denied something.

Gaslighting

The term refers to manipulation that gets people to question themselves, their reality, memory or thoughts. Gaslighters twist what you say and make it about them, hijacking the conversation or making you feel like you’ve done something wrong when you haven’t.

Gaslighted people often feel a false sense of guilt or defensiveness, as if they failed completely or did something wrong when they didn’t.

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Confront Bullies, Safely
Confront Bullies, Safely

Manipulators become bullies when they intimidate or harms others, and pick on people they perceive as weaker. But standing up to bullies often cause them to retreat. 

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Set Consequences

When a psychological manipulator insists on violating your boundaries, and won’t take “no” for an answer, deploy consequence.

Effectively articulated, consequence gives pause to the manipulative individual, and compels her or him to shift from violation to respect.

Know How To Say “No”

Diplomatically but firmly. A well articulated “no” allows you to stand your ground while maintaining a workable relationship. 

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