What is manipulation?

Being manipulated is no fun most of the time. According to Jacques Regard, there are three types of manipulation that are distinguished by the specific and particular intention of the manipulator:

  • Positive manipulation (type I): the manipulator’s intention is always good, useful or pleasant for the person who is the object of it.
  • Egocentric (type II): the manipulator makes the world revolve around his or her personal desires and interests. He does not care about the consequences for his victims.
  • Malicious (type III): the intention of the manipulator, of a paranoid nature, conscious and voluntary, is malice, the destruction of others.

Positive handling

This type of manipulation is not always perceived as manipulation since its intention always appears to be good or pleasant. Consider, for example, a surprise for a friend or a gift for a child. It is also the case when a nurse says that everything will be fine before a shot. A mother uses gentle persuasion to get her son to do his homework. “If you finish your homework this morning, you’ll have all afternoon to do whatever you want.”

Finally, it is also the case of an individual who tries to show the positive aspects of something that isa priori unpleasant: ” I’m going to come home late tonight because I have to stay at the office. It’s annoying, but it will allow me to be off tomorrow at noon, so we can leave for the weekend earlier !” The manipulation is undeniable, but the intention is always from the heart. It is therefore in no way condemnable, but it may be useful to recognize it.


In this type of manipulation, the manipulator is an individual who only thinks about his own interests, without worrying about others or the discomfort that his behavior may generate. It is this manipulator who will do anything to sell encyclopedias to the elderly, without any concern for their interests. He is also very capable of getting in the way of his colleagues to make himself look good to management or to get promoted instead of them. It is this manipulator who makes promises at every turn to be elected. It is for example this teacher, who terrifies his class to establish his authority. The type II manipulator does not act out of malice, he/she does not seek to harm anyone. Except that by thinking only of his interests, he inevitably harms others.


Marketing has become an expert in this type of manipulation to get the customer to buy products.

When offered a sample of pizza at the entrance to their supermarket, one out of two people agreed to try it. But if the demonstrator touched them on the arm with his offer to taste, two out of three of them accepted his offer and twice as many of them then put that same brand of pizza in their panier. Excerpt from ” Petit traité de manipulation à l’usage des honnêtes gens” by R.V. Joule and J. Beauvois.

Malicious manipulation

The type III manipulator consciously and willingly attempts to destroy others. Of course, this is the most vile type of manipulation. Its purpose is to ruin the actions of an individual, to destroy an aspect of his personality, to harm his interests, to subdue his victim. It is a malicious and hidden intention.

Recognizing a manipulator

The manipulator can hide under very diverse and even familiar features. Author Jacques Regard has identified a number of characteristics and traits that manipulators may share.

  • Manipulators are often overly proud and tend to put others down.
  • He/she regularly uses misinformation, lies or slander.
  • He insidiously harasses by never intervening directly, preferring to push others to act in his place.
  • He always claims to be acting for a good cause and rarely admits his wrongdoing.
  • Speaks often in a roundabout way, never stating anything categorically but sowing doubt in the minds of others.
  • He spreads rumors and slander without ever giving the impression that he is doing so. Sometimes sends messages under the guise of candor or awkwardness. He does not assert anything, he only repeats what he has heard or what the public rumor says.

Soup with milk…

  • Instantly becomes indignant when someone tries to expose him or her and does not take responsibility for his or her words and actions. He turns everything to his advantage.
  • Does not listen to the problems of others except when it helps him/her achieve a goal.
  • He devalues a lot, belittles often, lies with incredible aplomb, is capable of contradicting or disavowing what he has just affirmed a few minutes before.
  • Likes to surround himself with incompetents at work: ” by rewarding those who work poorly, he ensures that he has allies who are very devoted to him because without him, they would be nothing. “
  • It exhausts the energy of those who are in contact with it.

Dealing with a type II or III manipulator is far from easy. Even worse if it is our spouse. How do you realize this and get rid of it? Make an appointment with one of our professionals to help you accept that you may be being manipulated. Give yourself the means to get out of it.