Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that aims to change the behavior or perception of others through abusive, deceptive, or underhanded tactics. By advancing the interests of the manipulator, often at another’s expense, such methods could be considered exploitative, abusive, devious, and deceptive. Social influence is not necessarily negative. For example, doctors can try to convince patients to change unhealthy habits. The process of manipulation involves bringing an unknowing victim under the domination of the manipulator, often using deception, and using the victim to serve their own purposes.
In Trumpian politics, the primary manipulative strategy is to vilify or in street terms “bad mouth” the media, public officials and all opponents. Unable to accept ever being wrong, Trump projects all blame on his adversaries and steals all credit for anything considered positive, like an increase in employment. When he feels the pressure of things not going HIS way, then he scapegoats the media, President Obama or Trump’s own staff. The goal is to create alternative facts, promote fake news, so that eventually the people will only believe HIM.
Any one with a background in church politics or “piety” can uncover a connection between Trumpism and the social relationship between ministers as pastors and authority figures in the institutional church who push various messages, particularly the prosperity gospel. The leadership in the institutional church consistently and continually utilize manipulative tactics with the following doctrines and practices:
1. Through tithes and offerings. Many are taught that tithing is a biblical requirement and that failure to tithe would result in a curse. Offerings were to be given in addition to the tithe and were seeds that had to be sown in order to reap a harvest or a hundred fold blessing.
2.The false doctrine of covering. It was stressed that the pastor and church leadership are an authoritative covering and as such, the members are accountable for the safety and well being of the members. This manipulation leads to the fear and the vulnerability of individual members. IT is Believed that with ought this covering, Members are left be vulnerable to the wolves. The irony is that those who teach the covering doctrine are themselves “the wolves.”
3. Submission to authority. This teaching promoted the false doctrine that the leadership of the church represent authority and to disobey leadership was disobeying God. If the leadership was wrong, leadership would have to answer to God. Members are manipulated to believe that if they disobeyed the leaders, God will punish them.Authority was not to be questioned or challenge in any way.
4.Greasy grace. Manipulative ministers teach that we are saved by grace so repentance was not necessary. Anything we did was covered by grace so there was no need to consider or try to follow God’s commandments or His Word.
5. Decisional salvation. They taught that salvation could be obtained through reciting the sinner’s prayer and accepting Jesus and inviting Him into one’s heart, thereby creating false conversions that deceive many.
6. Speaking in tongues. LEaders teach that speaking in tongues is evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Being born again was not enough. A sign was necessary and tongues represented that sign. Manipulated into believing this, Many forced themselves to speak in tongues.
7. Salvation by works. Although Jesus said “It is finished” at the cross, the manipulation is designed to cause people to believe that church attendance and participation are biblically required along with tithing etc.
8. Leaving the church. Many are taught that it is a violation of God’s word and will to leave a church unless God gives permission. To do so without God’s consent or a pastor’s consent is presented as being very dangerous, causing dependence and fear.
Pinpointing motive is the first step to discerning whether or not someone is trying to manipulate you. First you want to assess the following, either in yourself or others:
1. the need to advance their own purposes and personal gain at virtually any cost to others
2. a strong need to attain feelings of power and superiority in relationships with others
3. a want and need to feel in control (aka. control freak)
4. a desire to gain a feeling of power over others in order to raise their perception of self-esteem
boredom, or growing tired of his/her surroundings, seeing it as a game more than hurting others
None of us can successfully negotiate social relations without running into someone who uses manipulative strategies upon us. What are some of the strategies and techniques that others have used on you or you have used on others?
I found the following list of vulnerable traits that attract the manipulation of others:
dependent – dependent people need to be loved and are therefore gullible and liable to say yes to something to which they should say no.
immature – has impaired judgment and believes the exaggerated advertising claims.
naïve – cannot believe there are dishonest people in the world, taking for granted that if there were they would not be allowed to operate.
impressionable – overly seduced by charmers. For example, they might vote for the seemingly charming politician who kisses babies.
trusting – people who are honest often assume that everyone else is honest. They are more likely to commit themselves to people they hardly know without checking credentials, etc., and less likely to question so-called experts.
lonely – lonely people may accept any offer of human contact. A psychopathic stranger may offer human companionship for a price.
narcissistic – narcissists are prone to falling for unmerited flattery.
impulsive – make snap decisions about, for example, what to buy or whom to marry without consulting others.
altruistic – the opposite of psychopathic: too honest, too fair, too empathetic.
frugal – cannot say no to a bargain even if they know the reason it is so cheap.
materialistic – easy prey for loan sharks or get-rich-quick schemes.
greedy – the greedy and dishonest may fall prey to a psychopath who can easily entice them to act in an immoral way.
masochistic – lack self-respect and so unconsciously let psychopaths take advantage of them. They think they deserve it out of a sense of guilt.
the elderly – the elderly can become fatigued and less capable of multi-tasking. When hearing a sales pitch they are less likely to consider that it could be a con. They are prone to giving money to someone with a hard-luck
Psychological manipulation at the hands of both political and religious leaders can put you in bondage. If you need help, call 888-818-1117. Resources to help you overcome passivity can be found here.