Matters of Great Personal Importance: Mind Manipulation.

21 May 2024

My Psychologist Is Me: A Space To Learn, Grow And Heal From Within.

Tips, reflections and resources on how to take care of your mental health, improve your self-esteem and develop your potential. I do not intend to replace professional help, but rather to complement it and motivate you to be your own psychologist. I hope you like it and that it inspires you.

In life, we often face challenges that lead us to question ourselves, to look inward for answers. We become our own psychotherapists when we embrace this invitation to self-reflection, exploring the deepest corners of our minds and hearts. The idea of becoming our own healers may seem like uncharted territory, but in reality, each of us possesses the innate power to understand and heal our own emotional wounds. Without the need for complicated theorizing or incomprehensible technicalities, we can embrace a practical and humane approach to our mental well-being. Furthermore, by developing this skill of self-reflection and self-therapy, we not only benefit our own lives, but we can also become a source of support and guidance for others. With empathy and understanding, we can offer our support without psychological jargon, but with a genuine and compassionate approach to the well-being of those around us.

Mental manipulation or mental control occurs when an individual or group of individuals attempts to take control of the behavior of a person or a group, using techniques of persuasion or mental suggestion, seeking to eliminate critical abilities or self-criticism of the person, that is, their ability to judge or refuse information or orders. It refers to a wide range of psychological tactics capable of subverting an individual's control over his or her own thinking, behavior, emotions, or decisions. The methods by which such control can be obtained (whether directly or subtly) are the focus of study among psychologists, neuroscientists, and sociologists. Furthermore, the issue of mind control is discussed in relation to religion, politics, prisoners of war, totalitarianism, covert operations, neurocellular manipulation, cults, terrorism and torture.

Certain forms of manipulation could be altruistic, but the notion of mental manipulation generally has a negative connotation that evokes manipulators' selfish or malicious behavior. Extreme forms of manipulation would be, for example, brainwashing or those leading to suicide or collective behaviors of a totalitarian and genocidal type.

Others distinguish mental manipulation, a fairly general term, from domination in which the latter seeks to obtain from the individual or group that they behave without clear awareness of the external origin of the suggestion, in the manner intended by the manipulators, eventually using violence. Certain governments and totalitarian regimes, individuals, groups and sects have used or use methods of mental manipulation, sometimes associating them with physical violence. Thus, Aum Shinrikyo made its followers wear experimental devices that inflicted electroshocks on them, a technique inspired by 19th century psychotherapy.

In a certain way, manipulation is very frequent in societies, democratic or not, at the professional, marital or family level because as soon as there is a lie, omission or voluntary distortion of the truth, there are attempts at manipulation. Thus, people who simply show an unusual ability to convince, without having malicious or selfish objectives, are sometimes described as manipulative. Advertising is sometimes considered by some to be a form of mental manipulation.


The term manipulator is likely to affect individuals from all social backgrounds. The manipulator may appear sympathetic or not, even as a victim. It seems that each one is more or less manipulative in the course of her life.

According to these definitions, different types of manipulators can be distinguished: those who use others without remorse, with a narcissistic goal of power, commercial fraud, or with bad intentions. They can rely on lies or seduction, even coercion by threat or force, or even destabilizing their victim by double coercion. Psychic manipulation can be one of the tools of certain forms of torture.

It may be a behavior understood as deviant or perverse, a personality disorder, the causes of which go back to childhood or the education of the manipulator, for example, if he himself has been manipulated by his parents or educators. Psychologists are frequently confronted with manipulative behaviors in family or socio-professional systems.

Mental manipulation could be a particular form of selfishness. Often the manipulator demands socially acceptable behavior from others, without conforming themselves. It appropriates the ideas of another, attempting inversely to make another take their own responsibilities. A manipulator's arguments always seem, at first glance, logical and moral. Usually, he uses pretexts such as the norm, the "good behavior" that should be had in society or the group, knowing how to use the weak points of others, making them feel ridiculous, guilty or hurt in their modesty, for example, which places or maintains them in a mental situation favorable to manipulation.

Mental manipulation is recurrently supported by various registers:

The emotional register; fear, anguish, shame, modesty, shyness, hope, the need for recognition and justice, trust, the family bond, friendship, the need for love, desire, professional conscience... They are feelings that can be exploited by the manipulator.

  • The exploitation of cognitive bias through false information, simplifications or rhetorical jargon, and sophistry or paradoxical orders.
  • Physical or psychological pressures, repeated or continuous, individual or in a group dynamic that the manipulator seeks to control.
  • The maintenance of scapegoat type roles, where a group becomes the "persecutor" of a victim that the manipulator keeps isolated with the more or less unconscious or conscious support of the group.
  • The record of domination that develops in fear and the principles of "reward", "punishment" and submission.

Poor self-esteem, feelings of guilt or inferiority make individuals much more vulnerable to manipulation, as well as other factors or contexts such as:

  • Depression, which can itself result from mental manipulation.
  • A traumatic shock and situations of loss of references (loss of parents, death of one or more loved ones, breakup, divorce, loss of employment, exile, attack, rape, prison, war situation, illness, serious and unjust accusations, incitements to violence, etc.).
  • A repressed trauma that has taken place in childhood (Freudian / Jungian theory).
  • A schizophrenia or schizoid of the individual.
  • Certain chemicals, drugs, medications or toxins, including alcohol, that attenuate lucidity and seem to make individuals more vulnerable to mental manipulation, at least temporarily.
  • Age, children and young people are reputedly more influenceable and, therefore, potentially manipulable, but older people (especially dependent ones) can also be sensitive to arguments based on fear, dependence, death, etc.
  • Devotion, some special hobby or fanaticism of individuals that keeps them submissive to the will of a manipulator who appears to know a lot or to be a scholar on the subject of devotion

Contrary to a widespread idea, a good level of education and a good social situation do not protect against certain forms of manipulation. It is important to remember that manipulating our ideas and emotions can be detrimental to our mental health and well-being. In the modern world, where information and medicine are abundant, the ability to manipulate people's thoughts and emotions has become a powerful resource for those who seek to control it. As I mentioned previously, it manifests itself in various ways, such as through propaganda, political campaigns and even in interpersonal relationships.

The manipulation of mental states is a complex matter that can have distant and harmful consequences. It is important to be aware of the resources used to manipulate our thoughts and emotions and take steps to protect ourselves from manipulation. This includes being aware of the information we consume, being critical consumers of media, and being independent in our beliefs and values. In this way, we can help combat manipulation and promote mental health and well-being for ourselves and others.

Write & Read to Earn with BULB

Learn More

Enjoy this blog? Subscribe to 1nfinity


No comments yet.
Most relevant comments are displayed, so some may have been filtered out.