13 subtle mind tricks manipulators use to gain control over you

Manipulative people can be very smart. They improve their tactics as they go, using what works and adapting it to get around your defenses.

Here are the most subtle mental tricks that manipulators use to pull your strings.

If you pay attention to the following cunning techniques, you will make sure that you are always one step ahead of those with bad intentions.

Here’s what you should pay attention to:

1) Negligence
Negging is a term that entered the lexicon several decades ago outside of the “manosphere” or the male dating counseling industry.

It originally referred to a method proposed by some pick-up artists to pick up women by combining an insult or subtle judgment with a compliment.

For example, it could be someone complimenting your new shoes and adding that they look “so vintage” and then asking you if they are regular with a twinkle in their eyes.

It’s not a “deep” insult or anything like that, but a joke with a tinge of spite.

Related : 8 Telltale Signs You’re The Placeholder In A Relationship — Don’t Ignore Them!

As Anne Pietrangelo explains:

“They make you feel so good – and then they knock you down.

It’s a tried and true method to keep you on unstable ground. It’s especially effective when there are witnesses, so you’re more likely to smile and bear it.

2) Isolation
Manipulative individuals know that someone is more vulnerable to their tricks if that person is isolated.

As such, the manipulator often undermines everyone else in your life.

“Your brother isn’t very smart, your mother is jealous, your best friend is a psychopath, and your coworkers don’t understand you.”

These judgments may be partly true, but they are presented to you with the agenda of excluding the influence and influence of these people on your life.

Who’s left? Who is still on your side and trustworthy?

He’s the one who tells you how untrustworthy everyone is – what are the chances!

3) “You owe me”
There is nothing more sublime than transactional generosity and transactional love.

A manipulative person will often use this trick after they have done something very nice or seemingly selfless for you.

Then they come out after a few days and ask:

“Well, I was thinking… I have this thing I could really use your help with and…”

It sounds good on the surface, but this request comes on the heels of your help, and it’s not actually a request.

You are asked to serve them in exchange for them doing something nice. It wasn’t nice. It was a service with invisible conditions attached. Now they claim this to their advantage.

They will decide the amount and nature of the favor they feel you owe them as well.

4) Mood manipulation
Manipulators often manipulate your emotions. It’s no secret, but the methods they use to manipulate your mood are often not well understood.

The most common but often overlooked is to simply bring up a topic they know upsets you. Then they act innocently as if your frustration or annoyance is a surprise to them.

As a result, they can then turn the conversation to whatever they want and put you in a weak emotional state to respond to them the way they want.

Other subtle mind games that a manipulator engages in with your mood include:

makes you jealous;
Withholding important information about you;
Made you worry about their safety but are vague about it;
Create a highly stressful emotional state to exhaust you…

5) Cold shoulder
Giving you the cold shoulder is another high-level tool in your manipulation arsenal.

However, this is not necessarily true in advance.

The cold shoulder can be very subtle and the manipulator may still talk to you and seem “mostly” normal.

But like pressing the left pedal of a piano and half-silencing all the strings, this individual sounds quieter, more withdrawn, and empty.

If you ask them about it they feign ignorance and ask what in the world you are talking about. It should all be in your head, and you start thinking…

6) Pretending to be helpless
We all have things we’re not good at, but a manipulator tends to have sudden moments of “helplessness” at odd times:

When they want your tenderness or intimacy…

When they want to borrow money from you…

When they try to make you feel bad and come after you in a relationship…

Suddenly they realize how helpless and incompetent they are, and it’s up to you to save the day.


7) Convenient memory lapses

A manipulator likes to forget things easily when they don’t help him.

They then tend to remember things easily when it helps them! And I ask you to remember those things too!

Related : 12 signs that you’re finally healing from a toxic relationship (even if you don’t know it yet)

This forget-and-remember habit can be very effective, because it’s hard to tell someone they’re lying about forgetting something if you don’t know for sure.

8) Hunting for pity
A manipulator is known to play the victim in order to gain power.

This is certainly true, but the more subtle version of this mind game is that they will prey on compassion in subtle ways by weaving a simple victim narrative into seemingly normal conversations and interactions.

Instead of outwardly acting like “woe is me” or complaining openly, the manipulator tells a seemingly happy tale or acts well while in reality loading it all up with doom and gloom.

For example, your manipulative friend tells you about his vacation and how fun it was to see family “despite what was going on with my finances and mental health situation.”

You don’t follow through, but they keep talking more, adding oblique references to being abused as children and their hatred for their family.

You are supposed to see that they are a victim without them explicitly saying it!

9) Double binding
Double binding is another subtle mind trick used by a manipulator that gives you a false choice:

“You either do A or you do B!”

the problem? Both options A and B are both terrible and disgusting in their own ways. You don’t want to choose either, but the person urging you to decide has convinced you that there is no third or fourth option.

Be very careful that the design of your choice is not structured by the manipulator in a way that falsely limits you and prevents you from many of the options actually available outside the binary dilemma.

10) Lying hose
The hose of falsehood is a term that comes from psychological warfare and military operations.

It refers to modern methods of misleading the population by broadcasting multiple messages through many incorrect or partially correct channels.

These messages may be interconnected or contradictory, but their main purpose is to spread so many confusing and misleading messages that the viewer gets lost in controversy, confusion, and selective belief.

Manipulators love this method, because by bombarding you with all kinds of vague, ambiguous statements and misleading information, they can exhaust your defenses and eventually make you give up.

“Well, whatever you say,” is what they want to hear from you.

11) False security
Creating a sense of false security is a tactic used by a manipulative individual.

This essentially plays the role of “good cop.”

For example, a manipulator will make you feel like he or she understands and sympathizes with you and says, “You can tell me anything.”

Then when you say something you did wrong or feel insecure about, suddenly they have a hold on you and can use that to influence you, make you feel guilty or bully you.

On the other hand, a manipulator will sometimes resort to false accusations to throw you off balance…

12) False accusations
Projection can be a very effective form of psychological warfare, which is why manipulators often use it.

False accusations are a typical form of projection, because the manipulator will often accuse you of something they are doing (or thinking of doing).

This puts you on the defensive, wondering if you’ve actually done something wrong or at least trying to defend against that doubt coming your way.

“I saw the way you looked at her!” The guy’s girlfriend says accusingly, hiding her phone away as she’s in the middle of a rather heated sexting session with a guy she recently met online.

13) Artificial urgency
Manipulators and con artists thrive in an atmosphere of urgency.

If an urgent situation does not already exist, they will do their best to create it or act as if it is already happening.

“If you don’t elect me this country will literally collapse!”

“I want to know if you can lend me the money by tomorrow, because I have a meeting with the bank at 3 p.m., okay?” (They do not have a meeting with any bank on any day).

And so on and so on…

Beware of these tricks!

Do your best to stay away from manipulative people and be aware of their subtle but highly corrosive ways.