Psychological manipulation, also known as emotional manipulation, is a form of coercion or persuasion. It can involve brainwashing or bullying, and is usually deceptive or abusive in nature. It is usually employed in an attempt to control the behavior of others. It typically uses various forms of abuse, such as emotional blackmail, to coerce others into doing things that they may not want to do.
People who practice this behavior generally use bullying, brainwashing, or mind control tactics to get others to do things for them. Manipulative people may lack appropriate sensitivity and caring for others, or they may believe that manipulating others is the best way to get what they want. Manipulative people may be afraid to form healthy relationships, or afraid of not being accepted. Manipulative behaviors often stem from an inability to accept responsibility for one's own life, problems, and behaviors. Psychological manipulation tactics are often employed in an attempt to foist that responsibility off on others.
Most manipulators use the same mind control tactics to exercise influence over others. Emotional blackmail is considered one such tactic, in which the psychological manipulator seeks to inspire guilt or sympathy in the manipulated person. Guilt and sympathy are considered two of the strongest human emotions, and are capable of spurring most people into action. Manipulative people often take advantage of this, using guilt or sympathy to coerce others into helping or cooperating with them. They are often capable of inspiring degrees of guilt or sympathy vastly disproportionate to the situation at hand.
Another tactic used in manipulation is a form of abuse known as crazy-making. Crazy-making usually aims to foster self-doubt in the manipulated person, to the point where some victims may in fact feel as if they are going crazy. Crazy-making tactics can involve passive-aggressive behavior. A manipulative person might express approval or support verbally, while giving contradictory non-verbal cues. Those who use psychological manipulation might even actively attempt to undermine certain behaviors, all while openly claiming to support or approve of them. They may employ deception, rationalization, justification, and even outright denial of any ill intent if confronted with their behavior.
Persons who practice psychological manipulation often may not fully recognize the needs of others, and usually lose the ability to consider or meet the needs of others. They may find it difficult to form long-lasting relationships and friendships, as others may find them difficult to trust. It can be difficult for the victims to maintain an emotional connection with the manipulative person, who may often give the impression of putting his own problems, needs, and experiences before those of others.