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 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 and the destruction of others.

Positive manipulation

This type of manipulation is not always perceived as such 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 is a 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 cart. 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/her personality, to harm his/her interests, to subdue its 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.
  • They regularly use misinformation, lies or slander.
  • They insidiously harass by never intervening directly, preferring to push others to act in their place.
  • Manipulators always claim to be acting for a good cause and rarely admit their wrongdoing.
  • They often speak in a roundabout way, never stating anything categorically but sowing doubt in the minds of others.
  • Manipulators spread rumors and slander without ever giving the impression that they are doing so. Sometimes they send messages under the guise of candor or awkwardness. They don’t assert anything, they only repeat what they’ve heard or what the public rumor says.

Easily offended…

  • Instantly become insulted when someone tries to expose them and don’t take responsibility for their words and actions. They turn everything to their advantage.
  • Don’t listen to the problems of others except when it helps them achieve a goal.
  • They devalue a lot, belittle often, lie with incredible poise, are capable of contradicting or disavowing what they’ve just affirmed a few minutes before.
  • Like to surround themselves with incompetents at work: ” by rewarding those who work poorly, they ensure that they have allies who are very devoted to them because without them, they would be nothing. “
  • They exhaust the energy of those who are in contact with them.

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