9 Tactics Master Manipulators Use To Control Their Victims

August 28, 2015
By: Crime Feed Staff

They’ll never admit to their devious ways

Photo by: iStock

iStock

They’ll never admit to their devious ways

When faced with a true master manipulator, the warning signs can be surprisingly subtle. We often think that we would never fall victim to bribes, tricks and mind games. Once you read about these common manipulation tactics, you might just realize that you've been had. We certainly hope that's not the case. At least now you'll know what to look out for…

1. Never Breaks Character

For master manipulators, sticking to their story is essential. When you're dealing with someone who wants to control your every move, you'll be hard-pressed to get them to admit to their cunning ways. An expert manipulator might be completely self-aware, but as their victim, the never want to show you their cards. Of course, if you're dealing with a true narcissist or a sociopath, they may be incapable of feeling enough empathy to recognize their bad behavior.

Playing the victim card is a hallmark move

Photo by: iStock

iStock

Playing the victim card is a hallmark move

2. Claims to Be the True Victim

This is where a narcissistic manipulator excels; at making their victim feel like an oppressor. It's hard to imagine that you could feel pity for someone who is out to control your entire world. But trust us, a true abuser will skillfully gain your sympathy and call upon it at your most vulnerable moments.

A little money goes a long way for a manipulator

Photo by: iStock

iStock

A little money goes a long way for a manipulator

3. Employs Good Ol' Bribery

Now, if the manipulator has access to disposable cash, they can take their control to whole new level. Once the dominant manipulator establishes that they control the funds, it's hard for their victims to break away. Can you really hold a grudge after you get a new car, jewelry or expensive vacation? Perhaps, but it makes matters much more complicated when you're dependent on someone else for financial survival.

They know how to spot a prime victim

Photo by: iStock

iStock

They know how to spot a prime victim

4. Seeks Out the Guilt-Prone

A real manipulator can spot someone prone to extreme feelings of guilt and exploit that insecurity to dark ends. Once the manipulator makes it clear that their victim is in the wrong and has a debt to repay, the cycle of guilt can last for decades. A victim may even forget the details of their initial "transgression" if the manipulator is a real pro.

Stopping the spread

Stopping the spread

Normalcy quickly changes when you are victim to a manipulator

Photo by: Yuri Arcurs / iStock

Yuri Arcurs / iStock

Normalcy quickly changes when you are victim to a manipulator

5. Counters Fear With Brief Periods Of Relief

This is where control becomes an art form. A seasoned manipulator will always be two steps ahead of their victim, balancing catastrophic scenarios with brief periods of relief. Once this dance from terrible to seemingly OK is set in motion, the sense of "normalcy" for a victim will be forever altered.

Business people at office

Business people at office

Speaking up among a group of followers can feel impossible

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iStock

Speaking up among a group of followers can feel impossible

6. Isolates and Punishes

Being isolated from a group is a horrible feeling. And what seems banal among some circles can change greatly when a master manipulator is running the show. When a narcissist has taken the lead within a group, stepping out of line can bring on serious, even fatal, consequences.

"It wasn't me!"

Photo by: iStock

iStock

"It wasn't me!"

7. Projects the Blame

This seems like a tactic you could easily spot, right? Wrong. Manipulators are able to shift the blame in small and consistent intervals, expertly convincing those around them that they are innocent. Before long, the manipulator will be able to project their own warped thinking onto the scapegoat. If someone is lying about a lie, then what's the truth?

Aggression and abuse are key tools for a manipulator

Photo by: iStock

iStock

Aggression and abuse are key tools for a manipulator

8. Instills Fear With Traumatic One-Trial Learning

Just liking using negative reinforcement to train an animal, a master manipulator will employ intimidation, verbal abuse and explosive anger to establish their dominance. Once they have set themselves as the "top dog," their victims will do anything to avoid upsetting, confronting or contradiction them out of fear.

Screaming women. Pain and panic.

Screaming women. Pain and panic.

Are you going insane or a victim of gaslighting?

Photo by: iStock

iStock

Are you going insane or a victim of gaslighting?

9. Gaslights

You might have been exposed to gaslighting, but probably weren't aware that it was happening. A mental abuser will continually lie about the past, making you question your own memory, perceptions and eventually your sanity. The manipulator will likely take on a calm tone and an extremely reasonable line of questioning, leaving you wondering if you ever had a grasp on reality.

Go deeper inside a world of murder and corruption. Watch Hand of God on Amazon Prime.

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