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Recognizing personal & societal manipulation + the importance of strengthening your intuition in a fast-paced technological age

Written by Chelsea Hansen

It is becoming clearer and clearer that there are many things about life, ourselves and our society that are false. These things are easily overlooked as we are massively distracted by the day-to-day; working our lives away for money and the subsequent mind-numbing escape that social media and the other forms of media that our handheld computer/fifth limb provide.

With my experience with personal manipulation, that began when I was a very young child, I have come to understand the patterns and angles in which a manipulator keeps one in a place of which they desire. But why would someone want to keep you in this smaller place? I assure you, it has nothing to do with you and more to do with the jealousy in which they feel towards you for one reason or another, or the power they feel they need to have over someone else to feel more "powerful" themselves. And how honest are we being with ourselves in the part we are playing in this cyclical game of manipulation?

Let's start with the bones of what manipulation actually is. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, manipulation is: 2a. to manage or utilize skillfully 2b. to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means, especially to one's own advantage and 3. to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one's purpose. So it's obvious here that one who manipulates only has one person's feelings in mind: their own.

Recognizing the Patterns and Angles of a Master Manipulator

Master manipulator's are crafty, yet they do have patterns, angles and traits that give them away if you really zoom out. They use these angles in tandem with one another and will shift from one form of manipulation to the next to keep you in a loop. This makes it harder for you to see the pattern/the truth ie. distracting you with gifts and kindness to make up for their angry outburst. Some of these traits include:

  • anger

  • sulking/marytdom

  • gifts & "kindness"

  • distance/coldness/division/removal

  • displacing blame/distraction/persuasion

  • transfer manipulation


  • verbal abuse: lashing out on you to make you feel in the wrong and smaller than them

  • diminishing/invalidating your opinions/feelings

  • making you feel stupid

  • when you show them any trace of your power they diminish you to put you back in your “place”

  • extreme versions of this can look like physical abuse or domination (This requires more extreme measures and in this particular article, I am talking about the more basic version of manipulation)


  • using emotions to make you feel needed/to sway you or to pull you back in

  • pulling on your heart strings/getting you to feel sorry for them

  • using sickness/illness to get you to help them/feel like you have to help them

  • making you feel like if you don’t help them when they are in these states that you are a monster (even when they don’t support you when you are in these states or in general)

Gifts & "Kindness"

  • buying you gifts to make you feel like they care, even though they have other motives or to pull you back in

  • using kind words to make you feel cared for with other intentions or to pull you back in

  • trying to look generous to others in your life (especially when you display boundaries or are pulling away from them) ie using this tool with your friends/family

  • using gifts as a way to show their “support” but not showing up for you in any other way ie. listening to you, helping you with a dilemma


  • acting distant and cold when they don’t get what they want or don’t like your boundaries

  • removing “perks”/people/things from you as a form of punishment for not getting what they want

  • creating a division between you and another person


  • constantly blaming other people for their actions and why they are the way they are

  • constantly making others feel bad for their actions, but taking no accountability for their own

  • spinning your words so you are left feeling in the wrong or confused

  • making jokes around things you like/trying to make you feel bad about your own likes

  • distracting you while doing things behind your back

  • LIES and being INGENUINE to get what they want/weave their web

  • persuading you to see things the way they do

  • invalidating your feelings

Transfer Manipulation

  • you shrink yourself and meet them at their level, usually because you want their love and acceptance or because it’s “easier”

  • you in turn begin to try to manipulate the situation or hurt them through manipulation

  • if you wrong them, they can hold it against you always and remind you of it when they feel threatened

  • manipulators like when you behave this way because it makes them feel better about their own actions or they like when you mess up because they can use it against you in the future

  • this is how they really win

When we get to this point of transfer manipulation, which is a blanket term I'm using for various reactions that can happen from being manipulated, this is when things get complicated. We've actually gone against who we really are, our authenticity and values to meet someone's standards outside of ourselves, in turn, harming ourselves and lowering our vibration. When we do this, it is clear that we don't understand our own worth. We have to become very honest with ourselves in this moment. Why are we accepting this behavior? As implied above, we want their acceptance and love so badly that we endure these cyclical relationship patterns. But we are putting that love we are craving, above loving and respecting ourselves. Immense self compassion is required at this point and the cliche saying rings in our ears: we must love ourselves first. You can see start to see where this relationship pattern that was created begins to manifest in other relationships in our lives; where we've accepted others in our lives that treated us with this disrespect. This can be an incredibly hard pill to swallow, my loves. I am an incredibly observant human being and this went right over my head for most of my life. It is incredibly important that we recognize this in ourselves and begin to rebuild.

What Do Manipulators Want From You and Where Can It Lead?

  • YOUR POWER. It sustains them. It gives them power.

  • THIS IS AN ILLUSION. You are more powerful than you know. You can take back your power at any time

  • Empaths and kind souls can be easy targets for manipulators because they play on our kindness like its a weakness, but being a compassionate human being is actually a huge strength! It’s actually a very weak act when someone thinks they need to diminish someone else to feel powerful. It is important to recognize that this is a learned behavior. Compassion is necessary. Compassion is our strength.

  • We are keeping ourselves in this position by accepting this behavior. We are allowing it by interacting with this behavior. We are giving our power away.

  • This can lead to falling into a victim-mentality ie. if we keep this relationship pattern going we have someone to blame instead of facing ourselves/triggers/shadows. We may have been in this pattern so long that we are afraid of our own power, thus staying in the loop. This requires immense self-compassion.

  • Release/letting go required

I had a dream once, that actually turned out to be the scariest nightmare I’ve ever had. I was driving around around a bend on a cold dark night. I could barely see with my headlights. I was just driving around this bend, but it was for so long that I realized that I was driving in a circle (because math). That that was all there was and would ever be. And the sheer terror that I felt from that, that I was forever going in a circle was TERRIFYING. I woke up in a sweat. I just want you to sit with this for a moment.

What a Manipulator Can Look Like

  • family member

  • partner/relationship

  • friend

  • teacher

  • “bot”

  • boss/coworker

  • government

  • corporation/institution

  • the media

  • commercial/advertisement

  • social media platform

What Manipulation Can Look Like on a Societal Level

  • creating a commercial that affects the way you feel/your emotions to sell a product

  • the media spins a story based on the personal political agenda that they are endorsed by

  • getting a fraudulent email impersonating a company you have an account with with the intention of hacking your account

  • I could go on and on here, but I chose not to. I don’t want it to overshadow the personal aspect of manipulation, which it has the power to and it is necessary to start with ourselves

  • but I will say that manipulation on a societal level is usually fueled by money/power/greed

The more we accept and take back our displaced power, the more opportunity for a shift on a societal/global scale.

What You Can Do on a Personal Level

  • Start with what you can control: triggers/reactions/addressing within/being honest with yourself/awareness/noticing patterns

  • Recognize how you manipulate. Manipulation is going against flow. We have to check ourselves to make sure we are coming from a genuine place. We don’t want to act like the people who are hurting us. It sends mixed signals to the universe

  • Surrender to the mystery: trusting your intuition is perfectly mysterious and difficult because we like to be in control and understand things logically yet we sure do know how to listen to our egos because they’re are so much louder (because we listen to it more than our intuitions)

  • Strengthen your intuition: listening to it, listening to your body (they send us messages all the time!), meditation, breath-work, tarot/oracle cards

  • Trust that claiming your power and being authentic to who you are and your value will get you to where you need to be

  • Create boundaries, or in some cases, end contact (temporarily or permanently, depending)

  • Having hard conversations/communicating your needs and addressing what is necessary for your healing ie. what you will no longer accept. (I know this is hard. I can't tell you how many letters I've written and had them read it, read aloud letters to them that I had written, written letters over and over to really try to solidify my feelings so I would be less likely to get scrambled when they lash out on me for my opinion etc.)

  • Practice makes perfect. You will grow stronger every time.

  • Forgiveness

Forgiveness is Key

  • Forgive yourself for putting up with this as long as you did, we can focus too much on “wasted” time and self-shaming behavior which keeps us in a cycle/loop

  • Forgive them. I am not condoning their behavior AT ALL or saying you need to even keep these people in your life. No one deserves to be manipulated! But forgiveness is a release.

  • FORGIVENESS = PROCESS OF LETTING GO and a process takes time

  • This is necessary because this is where a cycle can truly end. You are no longer affected by the actions of this person and stand strongly in your power. You may even realize that this was a very necessary lesson in your life to get you to claim that power.

  • In my personal experience, I’ve thought I’ve closed cycles in certain relationships, because I saw the bigger picture and why it all occurred so I assumed that I had forgiven them, but then I noticed the quality of my thoughts if they crossed my mind….and that was a key indicator of where I was holding. I had forgiven the situation/experience/struggle, but I had not let my anger towards them go- thus I was not ending the cycle at all, because I was holding onto it. I would think- what an amazing experience (horrible, painful and confusing!) but look at where I am now because of it! I wouldn’t be here if that they (that fucking asshole) hadn’t done that to me. I had to let go of the anger and face the trigger (that led to the shadow- rejection) We MUST face our own personal shadows.

Truth Always Comes to the Surface

What goes around comes around: every action has a reaction. Manipulators create loops (making it harder for the truth to surface.) It is crucial to break the chain/cycle. This is how really change begins

You will be rewarded for trusting your intuition and following your truth. Those who don't will learn the necessary lessons for their soul contract and that is not your responsibility. I know this can be hard in some cases. We can really love these people and we really want to see them healed, but they are the only ones who can facilitate that healing in themselves. We can only inspire.

What You Can Do on a Societal Level

  • the more you build your intuition, the more you can feel what is real and what is false

  • research- using that intuition! There is so much false information out there.

  • shop locally

  • don’t give your business to companies that don’t have your security/privacy/health care needs in mind ie. be mindful of what you’re putting “stock” into

  • install a VPN to disguise your data traffic to protect it from external access ie. hackers

  • sign petitions/protest/vote

  • write a book

  • run for office

  • build other structures within your own community

We Must Sharpen Our Senses

In an age where things are happening very quickly and information is transferred in a second, it is easy to get distracted and confused or numb to what’s happening around us, especially at higher levels of privilege who get distracted and numb because of their comforts. There is an explosion of misinformation happening and false advertising for insidious means ie. bots(controlled by people) impersonating influencers to get their followers money

This is a Crucial Period for Getting in Touch with Our Intuitions

When we are saying NO to the manipulation around us, we are saying YES to our intuitions. When we are saying YES to our intuitions, we are saying YES to our authenticity/our truth/WHO WE REALLY ARE AND WHAT WE DESERVE- which is abundance.

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