Psychological Manipulation Techniques You May Be a Victim Of

Psychological Manipulation Techniques You May Be a Victim Of
Sara Clemente

Written and verified by psychologist and journalist Sara Clemente.

Last update: 20 October, 2022

They can be found anywhere, even in the places we frequent most. It could be your boss, your neighbor, a co-worker, a distant or close relative, or even a friend. We are talking about people who are masters of certain manipulation techniques and use them to confuse us.

Although they are around us, it is not easy to detect these people. Their characteristics and personality traits are not evident. Nobody carries a sign on their foreheads, warning that they are a narcissist or sociopath. So, how can we avoid them?

Why me?

These people feed on the pain of others. Therefore, it is not that you are weak, vulnerable or special, but that you are another victim for them. Just one more number.

We have all experienced guilt or distrust after certain situations in which we are involved. And the worst thing is that we feel it without knowing how or why. But the fact is that the consequences splash onto us, undermine our morale, complicate our lives and increase our insecurity. How do they do it with us barely noticing. 

psychological manipulation techniques 4

Psychological manipulation techniques

In general, there are many kinds of manipulative people: sociopaths, narcissists, liars or so-called psychological vampires. And detecting them is more a practical matter than a theoretical one. Therefore, if you have been a victim of them at some time, it will be easier for you to anticipate them.

However, the objectives of manipulative people can be considered very clear, and they follow a certain pattern. Some of these psychological manipulation techniques include:

  • Eradicating your willpower: seeking to sow doubt in order for you to remain under the manipulator’s “protection.”
  • Destroying your self-esteem: getting rid of everything you do or have done. They are not constructive in their criticism; they only try to highlight defects.
  • Passive-aggressive revenge: they punish you with by ignoring you. When you need them, they push you aside. Even if you ask them something, they may not speak to you.
  • Misrepresenting reality: they enjoy confusing people and creating arguments and misunderstandings between others. After having generated a dispute, they remain on the sidelines, having fun watching other people argue.

Learning to avoid psychological manipulation techniques

Manipulation can generate a deep impression in each of us. Therefore, it seems necessary for us to know about the most often used psychological manipulation techniques. The goal is to learn to anticipate their actions and to not be one of their puppets.

These people often laugh at our opinions, blame us or make us feel guilty, subtly attack us, interrogate us, do not do whatever does not interest them, try to create self-pity, deny truths … All of these things are necessary in order to control the situation. But what psychological manipulation techniques do they use to achieve it?


Gaslighting is one of the most insidious psychological manipulation techniques. “That has never happened,” “You’re imagining it,” or “Are you crazy?” are common things they say to distort and confuse your sense of reality, making you believe something that has not happened.

It infuses victims with an extreme sense of anguish and confusion, to such an extent that they stop trusting themselves or their own memory, perception or judgment.

psychological manipulation techniques


The manipulator transfers his negative traits or shifts responsibility for his behaviors to another person. The narcissists and psychopaths use it excessively, affirming that the evil that surrounds them is not their fault, but yours.

Meaningless conversations

Ten minutes of conversation. That’s surely when you will leave the conversation. Manipulators talk nonsense, give illogical explanations, create smoke screens, etc.

They just mess around. They make monologues and try to surround you with their talk. A tip? Cut it short for your sake. If you can leave after 5 minutes, all the better. Your mind will thank you.

Generalizations and disqualifications

They make general, vague statements. They may seem intellectual, but, in reality, they are vague. Their conclusions are too general. Their goal is to dismiss you and ruin your opinions.

For example, they might say: “you always want to be right,” “everything bothers you,” or “you never agree.” Stay calm. You can throw in a little sarcasm with a simple “thank you” or ignore them with a resounding, “I think you’re somewhat upset, we’ll talk later.”

psychological manipulation techniques 3

The absurd

Remember that manipulators seek to undermine your morale and make you rethink what you believe. They can put words in your mouth that you have not said. They will make you think that they have the ability to read your mind. But no, they are just tricks. You can tell them they have a right to their opinion, but you stand by your position. You can also respond to their blackmail with a “voucher” or with laconic phrases.

The important thing is that you move your self-esteem away from their power. They want to throw your self-esteem on the ground in order to control you. Once you are weak, the task is much easier for them.

There is no greater contempt than not being appreciated.

Good-natured costume

“Yes, but …” If you just bought a house, they will tell you what a pity it is you don’t have another one at the beach. Or if you look more elegant than ever, they will note that you should be wearing better earrings. If you have completed an impeccable report, they will notice that the clip is not fixed correctly.

But that should not affect you. You know your worth! Your achievements and virtues are worth more than their manipulation techniques. Do not give them credibility, and get together with people who spend more time stressing what is right and encouraging you with constructive criticism, not destructive comments.

psychological manipulation techniques

Resist their attack of rage

When you oppose a manipulator, the most normal thing is that their anger will increase quickly, especially if you do not follow the game. Their frustration tolerance is usually not very high. It is possible that they will begin to say atrocities and even insult you, referring to you in derogatory and pejorative terms. It is the fruit of their own distrust.

These are the most subtle and frequent psychological manipulation techniques that people use to humiliate you. Dominate your emotions and keep a cool head: this is the only way to escape their control. If you do not succumb, they will get bored and end up looking for another victim. Life is always much better away from toxic people.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.