What is manipulation? Some experts say that influence is means you are using honesty and respect with other people to advance your goals. Influence is rather anything you communicate to another that at least partly causes them to do something or think something. Manipulation is a form of influence. People say manipulation is a form of influence that does not mind harming others or contravening their rights so that you can get what you want. Manipulation seeks to make people err in thinking that they are doing their will not yours. Force would be a different thing altogether. Manipulation is not force. Or is it? We all absorb influences without even realise we are being influenced so being influenced is unavoidable. In a sense influence is force. It is certainly force in the way that trickery is intended to be force and often is.
Assertiveness is an example of being manipulative. It is using techniques to get others to allow you to press forward with your demands.
If somebody says something to degrade you, fogging means you agree with some of what they say. This is strategic and to get the person to do what you want without them releasing they are being tricked. It is based on the principle that if people think you are on their side they will be more willing to do what you want.
Another assertiveness tip is when you are criticised, you indicate that you listen to and are pondering the criticism. Your ambition is to make the critic feel she or he is being honoured by being taken seriously. You want to put that feeling in them so that you can get the upper hand.
If you smile no matter how hard it is and the smile is false you are better off still smiling. Smiles spread happiness than can come back to you. Smiling while frowning inside is not manipulative as long as the motive is to help yourself smile from the heart by trying to do it.
If you improve your looks with cosmetic products and your body shape with exercise you are being manipulative. You are putting an attractiveness that is not there naturally into your body. We all know people use things to make themselves look better. We are all dodgy when it comes to being manipulative.
If you tell somebody a white lie to help them to feel better, you are manipulating them and making them think better of you. You must find some way to avoid doing this. People can force you to tell them white lies.
If you are polite to somebody you hate, you are said to be manipulating them and pretending you feel different to them than you do. You are not for you must feel some respect for them to manage to be polite. But in so far as you influence them and try to you are manipulative.
If you fancy someone, you will behave friendlier and nicer than you usually are, to attract them. That makes you a manipulator. It is what these do to you that make you attractive to the other person. It is not the real you that does it.
Manipulation is said to arise from insecurity. If so, then you are unsure of yourself and your capabilities so you feel the need to exploit others. However, manipulation can arise from reasonably healthy self-esteem. For example, the woman who feels unattractive in the office may adore the Adonis who is her boss. She may try to manipulate the other women in the office to feel that they are less attractive than she is. Or she may try to manipulate the Adonis to see that her beauty is not skin deep and that she has the right kind of beauty for him. The latter kind of manipulation is based on self-esteem. It is a wiser course than the former kind. The former kind is clearly doomed to failure as it depends on her creating a false image of herself because she doesn't like who she is.
Suppose you don't have clear and firm values. Your perception of what you stand for is too vague. The dangerous manipulator will be attracted to your company for they can trap you into living their values when you don't have strong enough values of your own. It is vital to have strong but liberal values. That is the way to healthy relationships. You will see where you end and where other people begin and where others end and you begin.
If manipulation is a fact of life, it follows that we should eschew religion for there is enough to manipulate over without it adding its tuppence worth.
If manipulation is a fact of life and we all do it both deliberately and without realising it, then surely it is easy for us to imagine that God is no better? It must influence how we see God - we worship this great manipulator and thus sanctify our craftiness. The atheist does not celebrate manipulation in that way to her or his credit.

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