Updated: Mar 2, 2022
Anyone can be manipulative – your friends, romantic partners, colleagues, employers, family members, and maybe even you. Not to be confused with healthy social influence and persuasion that is commonly present in constructive relationships, I’m talking about the kind of manipulation that occurs when someone is used to benefit another. The psychological and emotional manipulation that occurs when someone creates an imbalance of power and exploits victims to suit their needs. Or in its basic definition, “the use of devious means to exploit, control, or otherwise influence others to one’s advantage.” While some forms are blatant, manipulation is often subtle; which is why it’s imperative for our mental and emotional health to be able to recognize manipulation, proactively address it, and learn how to set boundaries when a person refuses to acknowledge and/or change their behavior.