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We see manipulation every day. Whether it be in a teacher’s reward/punishment system at school or on a more serious level, or abuse in relationships, or even a doctor’s attempt to persuade a patient to quit smoking; manipulation is evident in daily society. Psychological manipulation can be defined as a type of social influence that aims to change the perception or behavior of others through underhanded, deceptive or even abusive tactics. (Braiker, Harriet B, 2004) But how does manipulation relate to MBTI?
When related to the manipulator, there are several traits that are apparent in a manipulator. According to the Health Psychology Consultancy, there are several traits that are evident in a typical manipulator. These traits of a manipulator include:
- Deceitful – they mislead others in order to get their own way.
- Controlling – they need to have control over people and circumstances.
- Self-efficient – they are independent and know how to progress in life.
- Compelling – they are charismatic and often have a hypnotic hold over others.
- Self-conscious – they are often over-concerned with their appearance and how they look to others.
- Paranoid – they have a tendency towards anxiety and worry that others are talking about them behind their back.
- Emotionally numb – they have difficulty expressing deep emotions such as grief.
After reading several of these traits, it should become apparent of a typical manipulators personality. It is evident that a paranoid, self-conscious, emotionally numb, controlling type of person is often likely to be a manipulator. This describes an unhealthy type 3 on the enneagram. Additionally, the site continues to suggest that controlling types who hold grudges, need control in their life and hold grudges are likely to be manipulative. They also suggest that there is a typical advantage to this personality- such as the desire to get things done, the high level respect they usually receive, they succeed at what they work towards and they never run out of energy.
From this compilation, it is evident that an extrovert is more likely to be manipulative. This is apparent in the level of energy that a manipulative person usually has, as well as their often charismatic persona and ability to understand how to control other people. Additionally, the typical manipulator is an introverted intuitive user, as evident in their desire to succeed, control their life, and their often paranoid and self-efficient nature. These traits all suggest a highly visionary Ni user. Finally, a thinking type most strongly correlates with the manipulative type, who is able to guilt free manipulative the more emotional feeling counterparts. Therefore, it can be concluded that the ENTJ is most likely to be manipulative.
This is further supported in the comparison of the manipulator to the type 3 enneagram, as evident in the traits of self consciousness, desire to succeed, value of reputation and control over their lives. Enneagram type 3 strongly correlates with the ENTJ (the second most common type behind the ESTJ), as written about in this blog entry.
On the other hand, there are several factors that describe those who are often manipulated. These include:
- the “disease to please”
- addiction to earning the approval and acceptance of others
- Emotophobia (fear of negative emotion)
- lack of assertiveness and ability to say no
- blurry sense of identity (with soft personal boundaries)
- low self-reliance
- external locus of control
(Braiker, Harriet B, 2004)
Several of these traits can be associated with the feeling type; such as the disease to please, the addiction to earning the approval of others and the fear of negative emotion. This makes sense; it is far easier for manipulative people to emotionally control another person, especially a hypersensitive person. A hypersensitive person is far more likely to be a feeling type, due to their inability to rationalize and their overreaction to emotional situations. Additionally, the low self-reliance, external locus of control and blurry sense of identity each suggest an Se type. This also makes sense, as an Se type does not desire as much control over their lives, hence it is easy for an Ni type to manipulate them and persuade them in the direction they want them to go. Finally, an introverted type is more easily manipulated, particularly with introverted feeling, due to their less assertive personality and often quite and gentle persona, which is often taken advantage of by a manipulative person. Therefore, an ISFP type is most likely to be manipulated. This type is often associated with the peacemaker enneagram type 9, which desires harmony, peace and the happiness of others, and is hence likely to give in to others due to their desire to please. This has been written about in another blog entry.
Breaking Bad provides a close case study on the manipulative/manipulated relationship. Walter White, the series villain, I have written about as an INTJ, whereas I have written Jesse Pinkman as an ESFP.
Although they are not exact matches, each contain the two cognitive types apparent in manipulators and the manipulated. This includes Ni/Te in Walter White and Se/Fi in Jesse Pinkman, both that are also apparent in the aforementioned types. Additionally, The Governor from the Walking Dead provides another example of a manipulative personality. Therefore, it can be concluded that the ENTJ type is most likely to be manipulative, and the ISFP type is most likely to get manipulated.
Do you agree with these typings? Do you believe that another type should be associated with manipulating/being manipulated? Or do you believe that manipulation can not be simplified to MBTI form? Post in the comments below, let’s get a discussion going, I’m in the mood for a debate