People have been emotionally manipulating others for ages. Probably since the beginning of time.
Maybe they do it without realizing. Or maybe they think it’s OK. Whatever the case, they’re going to keep doing it until we no longer fall for it.
A popular form of manipulation is either-or statements. But they don’t need to have either-or in the statement.
For example: “anyone with intelligence would agree that option A is the best.”
They want you to choose their option, option A. So they insinuate that you’re not smart if you don’t choose it. If you consider yourself a smart person you may think “well I’m smart so I guess I agree with option A.”
They try to force you to choose and try to limit your option. They also create a divide between you and people who would choose option B.
Because you were told option A is the “smart person’s choice” then you think anyone who chooses option B isn’t smart.
Not only have they influenced you to choose their option, they restrict you from being open to other perspectives because other perspectives (option B) are from “stupid” people.
The thought processes they’re encouraging you to have here are cognitive distortions called all-or-nothing thinking and labeling.
Example in Politics
“You can either go down in history as a patriot or you can do down in history as a pussy.”
Translation: “you either do what I want or you’re a coward.” (ref)
9 Ways to Respond
- “I’m sorry you think that way.”
- “An intelligent person would look into all options before making a decision. If you give me your research I’ll consider it.”
- “Fuck off.”
- “Ah, ok.”
- “Do you really think I’m going to fall for this bullshit?”
- “All-or-nothing thinking and labeling are cognitive distortions. They’re really not healthy for you. You should work on that.”
- “That’s extreme.”
- “You do realize that’s a manipulation tactic right?”
Image by Karolina Grabowska
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