Manipulative characters are covert-aggressors. This remarkable insight inspired my book In Sheep’s Clothing. And, as I’ve written before, such characters can make you feel crazy. (See, for example: Manipulators Can Make You Feel Crazy.) Such characters can make you feel crazy. In your gut, you know something is not right with them. But somehow they make you feel irrational for thinking so.
The “Gaslighting” Effect
I’ve written before on the “gaslighting” effect. Some recent writers have dubbed gaslighting a tactic. But in my books and online articles I explain that it’s more often the effect of many manipulation tactics.
For a moment, consider the tactic of rationalization. I also call this tactic excuse making or justification. For a long time, professionals considered this an unconscious defense mechanism. But it mostly represents a person’s deliberate, conscious attempt to sway you. Manipulative characters count on your conscientiousness and good nature to accomplish that. In your heart, you might believe what they did was cruel, selfish, or callous. But they offer a plausible enough sounding justification for it. Then you begin to wonder. Now, it’s not that they don’t know what they did is wrong. If they didn’t absolutely know most people would find it wrong, they wouldn’t seek to justify it. But to get you to defer to their way of seeing things, they have to build a strong case. If they do a convincing enough job, you end up feeling like the crazy one. Bingo! Manipulated!
Understanding Manipulative Characters
I’ve given hundreds of interviews over the years. Some of these interviews really stand out. And that’s largely because of the background of the interviewer. Below, I’ve pasted the YouTube link to one such interview. In it I describe what covert-aggression is and how folks get manipulated. And we talk about the gaslighting effect. I think it worthy of your viewing. And I certainly appreciate you sharing it, too. You never know who might need to hear just what we talk about in this interview!
Character Matters Sunday Feb 11, 2018 will feature a rebroadcast of an earlier program.
I’ll be resuming a discussion of character formation issues in upcoming posts.