The Strategist

Pain points and weaknesses. How to resist manipulators

03/11/2022 - 10:49

Every person has weaknesses and pain points, and pushing on them tends to throw us off-balance. Let’s look at what pain points are most often pressed by those who want to manipulate us.

People have many weaknesses, and an astute manipulator knows them all. Let's focus on three general categories: weaknesses, needs, and fears.

1. Weaknesses. What's wrong with you: are you too fat, too thin, or too shy? We often see flaws in ourselves that others don't notice. Some of them do exist, but others belong to our imagination. Manipulators skillfully pick them up and use them. They will try to convince you that they accept you with all your shortcomings, be they true or imaginary.

Realistic view of our own shortcomings is very important to protect against manipulation. To have it, you need to cut off the list of your weaknesses, leaving only those that really matter, and then analyze them. You may decide to correct some of your "flaws", and simply try to accept others. Once you understand value of your weaknesses, it will be difficult for others to manipulate you using them.

2. Needs. What are you lacking in life: self-esteem, love, understanding, excitement? The belief that we have something less than we should have affects our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Sometimes we express resentment toward those who have more than we do, or we doubt our ability to provide for ourselves and succeed. Often we see ourselves as failures or feel the need to fill an inner void, sometimes at any cost.

The craving for the things we need makes us vulnerable psychologically, emotionally, and sometimes physically. Immersed in thinking and dreaming about satisfying their desires, people become easy prey to manipulators who express a willingness to help, for example, by promising something you really want.

This common approach is used by a variety of pyramid builders and street scammers. In this kind of economic scam you are led to believe that you can make huge profits, but you can lose everything before you realize that you have been fooled.

It helps to be clear about your needs and desires. This is where services of a good coach or consultant come in handy. Remember the old adage, "If something is too good to be true, it's probably a hoax," and be guided by it.

3. Fears. What are you afraid of: intimacy, loneliness, or public speaking? Everyone is overcome by fears, questions, and doubts. These conditions normal, as long as they do not exhaust you or interfere with your daily life. However, when a manipulator discovers your fears, they serve as a clue as to how you will react to certain situations and events. Thus, our fears become a potential tool of manipulation. It is difficult to defend oneself against this, because one's fears, the product of both nature and upbringing, are not easy to conquer. A certified counselor or psychotherapist can help us assess our vulnerabilities and teach us how to apply defensive strategies.

Based on 'Snakes in Suits. When Psychopaths Go to Work' by Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare

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