Recently, I published a series of three articles on how to spot manipulation and stop it dead in its tracks. I explained how manipulation works, gave advice on how to spot it and stop it dead in its tracks. The first article dealt with interpersonal manipulation, revealing 12 ways manipulators attempt to control their target and systematically diminish his or her inner life. The second article revealed 10 ways American media outlets attempt to manipulate everyday citizens, and the third article listed 12 ways American politicians do the same.
The notion of manipulation carries with it the idea of one person trying to control another person and thus infringing on that person’s autonomy while doing so. The person doing the manipulating may be doing so consciously in a cold and calculated manner, or may be doing so unconsciously because that is the form of interpersonal relations he or she grew accustomed to as a child or adult. Either type of manipulation is a form of “heart theft” in which the manipulator tries to change the conditions of the encounter in order to engineer a change in the other person that the person is not aware of, would not agree with, or does not desire.
So, let’s be on guard against manipulation, wherever we may find it—in personal relationships, job relationships, media outlets, political leaders, or elsewhere. And let’s remember that there is a potential “manipulator” within each of us. But, by God’s grace, we can resist the temptation and deal openly and honestly rather than covertly and dishonestly. In so doing, we respect other people’s hearts as their own rather than treating those hearts as if they are our own.
With that said, here are the three brief articles on manipulation—interpersonal, media-based, and political: