Psychological manipulation refers to actions made by a person to try and manipulate others, generally for their own purpose. The same techniques are used in emotional manipulation to purposefully elicit strong emotional responses in an effort to deplete another person’s energy or undermine their emotional stability.
According to psychologists, violent cycles, narcissism, or poor connections in the manipulator’s own upbringing are usually the fundamental causes of manipulative behaviour. Any type of relationship, including ones with family, friends, partners etc. is open to manipulation.
Here are 7 signs of emotional manipulation,
- Been on Guilt trip
As a child, did you ever receive sarcastic comments about your work or progress, encountered adults who were frustrated but said nothing when you questioned them, received harsh remarks about your body and weight or been reminded of previous mistakes? This is called guilt tactics. It is done to manipulate somebody to make them feel guilty every time they say no to a request. Leaving the person mentally disturbed.
- Emotional punishment
Guilt trip is usually followed by emotional abuse to make children feel powerless. Adults manipulate children by doing emotional blackmail through affection, shame, patience, fear or threats to manipulate the child’s emotions so that they will obey their demand.
- Gaslighting – Psychological manipulation
Although manipulation has many sides to it, one of the important one is gaslighting. This psychological manipulation is done to control children by making them doubt what they know. This technique can impact any person’s self esteem, affecting their emotional and mental health. Such as twisting the truth for own reasons, neglecting the child’s experience and emotions etc.
- Influence with gifts
Gifts can be a big influence to children’s behaviour. Often this is used by adults to manage and control children’s choices and actions. Giving them everything they want can keep them under your control, but it also prevents them from becoming independent. This may have an effect on a child’s development and, as an adult, may result in a lifetime of dependence.
- Adults not offering privacy
As the child grows up in age, parents try to control their lives to keep them obedient by denying them any privacy. Everybody needs some privacy as we grow up to learn things in our own way. Checking children’s belongings regularly, regulate who they talk to or how they talk, regulate their daily life in own ways, monitor their timing in everything etc. will only make your relation with children bitter, specially if they are teenagers as they go through hormonal and physical change.
- Setting unreasonable standards
Setting high expectations for children in everything, comparing them with other kids, rarely considering their age and abilities will not provide a good growing environment for children. Instead, children will be under lot of pressure which will affect their grown up life as they will continue to validate their thoughts and success through others.
- Relationships based on conditions
The last thing parent can do is show unconditional love to children. Love with criteria or expectations is another manipulation to make children seek approval from parents, making them long for love and affection as they need to constantly meet parents expectations.
Manipulation has the same devastating long-term effects on adults as it does on children if left untreated. These emotional and physiological wounds have a negative impact on our relationships, careers, happiness, health, etc. when we carry them into adulthood. Hence, it is very much needed they these are checked and corrected on time. And, we can do this by educating ourselves first and making others aware of it.