Am I manipulative 1

We are all manipulative at times: Manipulation means that someone tries to get others to do something that they even do don't want to do or something for sure Not to do. If someone shows a high degree of manipulative behavior, others feel exploited over time, which in the long term prevents personally important (interactional) goals from being satisfied, which in turn is exactly the opposite of what was originally intended! Manipulation as such is not a problem, but a high dose to a.

We assume that actions between people (= interactional actions) are aintention underlying that is more or less conscious. One can act in such a way that the intention is recognizable (transparent) or in such a way that the intention has to be 'deciphered' ('said through the flower', 'indirect messages') or even in such a way that the intention is very difficult to see through ( 'Camouflaged', non-transparent).

At transparent Intentions, the other person has the opportunity to decide whether they want to follow the intention or not. At opaque Intentions should get the other person to do something have tobecause 'the manipulator' assumes that it would never do that voluntarily. In order to achieve this, the manipulator has to give reasons other than the original intention.


  • Objective: to be hugged, physical proximity:
  • Transparent: 'Please take me in your arms'.
  • Assumption: the other person is - at least sometimes - willing to do that.
  • Intransparent('Camouflaged'), Although I am not feeling too bad, the manipulator says tearfully: 'I am doing very badly at the moment'.
  • Assumption: The other person only hugs me if they feel sorry for me and think that I 'need' it or if they feel good when they are doing good for other people and therefore hugging me got to.

The background of manipulative strategies are biographically negative experiences with transparent action:

  • The environment does not react at all and the conviction arises that you cannot achieve anything yourself with transparent intentions (e.g. desire for closeness, tenderness is ignored)
  • The environment reacts negatively (e.g. 'You are selfish', you disturb ', turning away) and the conviction arises that goals can only be achieved if one tries to get others to do something (by concealing one's actual intentions) To do specific.

example 1: Desire for recognition:

The manipulator mediates a positive image: 'I am great', 'I am particularly intelligent', I am successful, I only get on with the best '-> der appeal is: 'think I'm great, admire me, don't criticize me!'

Example 2: Request for support:

The manipulator mediates a negative image: "I can hardly stand it, I can't do anything myself, I'm weak, everything I do makes my condition worse" -> der appeal is: 'help me, take over You the responsibility, spare me, don't burden me! ’Manipulative actions work quite well for a while negative consequences ('Costs') only occur with a delay in that there is usually a point at which the other person 'recognizes' the manipulation and no longer wants to be manipulated but wants to decide again whether or not to carry out an action. Either then becomes the manipulator avoided (Reduce or break off contact), the manipulation uncovered and 'see through' ('You actually want ...,' It's about ... ') or you will Counter-strategies Designed to end the manipulation by being open about what the manipulator wants to achieve ('You want to achieve that I ...').

On the part of the Manipulated means a change, being able to protect yourself from manipulation in order to be able to maintain your own freedom of action. On the part of the Manipulator means a change from (previously helpful and sensible) non-transparent strategies to increasingly transparent action to come to maintain interpersonal relationships in a satisfactory way.


Sachse, R. (2014) Manipulation and Self-Deception. How do I shape the world in such a way that I like it: Use and avert manipulation. Berlin-Heidelberg: Springer.

Lic. Phil. Barbara Heiniger Haldimann