When we are still working on grounding ourselves and clearing out our weaknesses -we may sense manipulation but overlook it because we don’t want to accuse someone of something that is not true. But people with predatory mentalities are counting on you doing just that. My first suggestion would be to follow your intuition without fear. That will help when trying to apply other concepts.
Manipulating Your Perceptions
There’s a difference between telling someone about yourself, and trying to shape how someone sees you. When someone is trying to control your perceptions, as opposed to letting you come to your own conclusions that might be a sign to keep yourself aware.
In my experience this often comes in the form of someone who always says “I’m a nice person”. But, if you are, that will be apparent. You don’t have to tell people that.
Another one I’ve experienced is “I’m honest and I don’t lie” when the topic of lying had nothing to do with the conversation. The point here is that manipulators try to gain your trust through words as opposed to actions.
Paper Cutting Your Self Esteem
I’ve had this play out twice in my life with different people. The first time I was confused. The second time I recognized it because it was the exact same tactic.
The way this works is that a person will throw out a small and random insult to have you questioning yourself in terms of your importance, or your appearance, or anything. I call this trying to paper cut your self esteem, but in some circles this is known as “negging”.
Negging is when someone tries to knock you down a bit so that you will respond by trying to prove yourself to them. The first time this happened to me, I was baffled as to why someone would make such a flippant remark. The second time it happened (with a different person) I immediately recognized what it was. This allowed me to call it out directly while stating that I am not available for those types of interactions.
(For more information see: What is Negging )
Denying Your Experiences
It’s not uncommon for us to have experiences where we say something and our intent is misunderstood or misrepresented. Sometimes people have different interpretations of events, and there needs to be communication to clear up misunderstandings.
That is entirely different than someone lying to your face, denying your experiences, or gaslighting you.
Let’s say we are having a conversation with someone who says something rude or abusive. We immediately call them on it, and they respond by saying that they did not make that comment. This is an attempt to mess with your perception of reality by getting you to question your instincts or memory.
Another example would be someone saying something hurtful and then telling you that you are too sensitive.
Controlling Your Energy
Manipulation and control go hand-in-hand. This doesn’t always present itself in a way that seems negative. People can put forth the most lovely intent and rationalizations for controlling people in order to get a desired result.
Maybe there’s the idea that “it’s for their own good”. Or perhaps there are thoughts that “it’s for the greater good”. But none of this is true. People have a right to self-determination and to make their own choices as long as they are not causing harm.
But even then we must be careful, because sometimes people accuse others as potentially causing harm as a way to erase personal responsibility and to promote authoritarian agendas.
This often presents itself in situations where the tone is “I am uncomfortable, and it’s your job to make me feel more comfortable or else you are not a good human being.”
There is also the tactic of disguising tyrannical control as peaceful progress.
Above all, we must learn to use our own discernment to assess the situation that is before us so that we can make choices aligned to our personal resonance.