Manipulators know that many people are susceptible to flattery. They understand that there’s a universal human need for acceptance and approval.
They actively offer flattery and acceptance to people whom they perceive as being needy or unsure of themselves. They do the same thing with people who are outwardly strong and capable, but in a different way.
With people who are needy and unsure of themselves, they offer moral encouragement and support, to gain trust.
With people who are strong and capable, they express their admiration, and how impressed they are with the target’s accomplishments. They will tell you what they think you want to hear, or need to hear.
They want something from you, and they go to great lengths to obtain what they want.
They work at creating wedges between people to further their objectives.
They will practice subtle forms of character assassination or gossip, to plant seeds of doubt. They will often drop casual hints or remarks about people that they’re trying to supplant in your life. This causes you to question your established relationships and their foundations.
The difference between an honest approach to understanding another person and a dishonest approach is the motive behind it.
An honest person seeks to understand you because they value you as a person. A manipulative person seeks to understand you to determine your weaknesses.
When they find that chink in your armour, then they work themselves into your confidence and trust.
Once a manipulator has gained your confidence and trust, they begin to put into motion their agenda. You’re used as a tool to further their interests, sometimes as an accomplice.
Courses of action are suggested to you, which seem to hold a benefit for you, but in reality only serve to advance the manipulator’s objectives.
You’re asked to perform a task, or say something to somebody, acting as a mouthpiece for the user, who stays safely in the background, manipulating the action behind the scenes.
Even the most honest and upstanding people can be fooled.
Trust your intuition; if it doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t.
“One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.” – Machiavelli