Manipulation can be defined as the exercise of undue influence through mental distortion and emotional exploitation, with the intention to seize power, control, benefits, and privileges at the victim’s expense. It is important to distinguish healthy social influence from psychological manipulation. Healthy social influence occurs between most people and is part of the give and take of constructive relationships. In psychological manipulation, one person is used for the benefit of another. The manipulator deliberately creates an imbalance of power and exploits the victim to serve his or her agenda.
In order to learn how to deal with manipulator, we need to look at what researchers believe about liars in general.
What is Habitual Lying
The Habitual Liar habitually deceives not only others but also themselves. And they lie about many things. Moreover, some lie so frequently and so ardently that they even come to believe their own lies. Habitual liars can eventually lose appreciation for what is real and what is not.
Some habitual liars are what many call “pathological” liars. That’s because they lie for no apparent reason. They are untruthful even at times when the truth would suffice or might serve them better.
Lying is the Ultimate Manipulation Tactic
Manipulators do not want you to know what they are really all about or what they are up to. It is that simple. They lie to keep one-up on you and a step ahead of you. Of course, they lie for other reasons, too. But mainly they lie because it gives them an advantage or an edge. If you knew what they were really like or really doing the “playing field” would be level and they would lose their edge and you could properly fend for yourself. Manipulators don’t want that. They would rather you be in the dark and second-guessing the situation. They deceive simply to take advantage of you.
In terms of habitual lying, I tried to rationalize if my wife was “really” different in the beginning, or did she somehow change during our marriage. Manipulation victims like myself rarely consider there are people who by nature will not allow themselves to be vulnerable to create an equal partnership.
From the beginning, manipulators are about a world where they have a decisive position and a constant need for impression management. They are forever scoping out opportunities, exploiting vulnerabilities, and seeking an advantage.
Recovery from a Manipulator
A victim’s guts or intuition may churn at all the “red flags.” However, they tend to discount their instincts and feelings. This is because they find it unfathomable there could actually be people like this in the world outside of the entertainment industry. They just cannot imagine that a person (especially a loved one) can be so hell-bent on maintaining a position of advantage that they carefully cloak their true nature and agendas.
Realizing and accepting this truth can be painful. I have struggled with shame and guilt after learning how badly I was “conned.” Sometimes, I even question my ability to make good judgments. Surviving a relationship with a habitual or pathological liar can leave you feeling both unnerved and confused. When you begin to understand the nature of the character flaw, your acceptance improves. Once you accept that some people simply lack the capacity (or willingness) to relate on equal and respectful terms, you can reclaim a sense of personal integrity and self-respect.
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