How do psychopaths manipulate?
To manipulate means "to handle or control in a skillful manner".
When applied to a human being, there is the tendency to modify this meaning only slightly. So it can then be made to mean almost anything that any human being would do in their lives, eg influencing someone else, or befriending them or a spoilt child. Thus I don't think a simple definition is enough.
One needs to look at motive to get a clearer view because simply influencing someone doesn't necessarily amount to manipulate. You can "influence someone" by giving them information that is of benefit to them. I don't think this can be put in the same category as influencing someone by giving them misinformation that may harm them. This is quite evident when a person discovers that they have been manipulated by a psychopath, they are always angry or at least annoyed. And the person is angry for good reason because even in the least case they have been used. In the worst case they may suffer harm and sometimes serious harm.
From my own experience I found that how psychopaths manipulate is in two vastly different ways, but both depend on deception, and both are aimed to exploit and/ or do harm.
Firstly way of manipulating is by the use of their mask. The mask is not a persona, which all humane people use. A persona is like the role that an actor plays. You recognize the actor, who plays the part, so too you can still relate to the conscious being who is the persona, the role played.
The mask of the psychopath is totally artificial. There is no "feel" of the person or conscious being . It is totally made up of words and body movements, e.g., grimaces or hand movements, which are made at appropriate times as to cause a response, and specifically an emotional response in the other person. So there is never the case of the psychopath interacting with the other person, neither directly nor indirectly.
The psychopath creates a shadow show and it is to this shadow show that the other person responds. There is no direct interaction. I only appreciated this when my husband started to talk about himself and "his people", meaning other psychopaths and the methods, by which they manipulate other people. I saw him without the mask because he was unable to talk about these things without exposing himself. It was a shock.
He was a professor of chemistry and appeared very pro-social, e.g., he was on various safety committees and for all appearances he took safety very seriously. He admitted to me that his interest in safety had nothing to do with people being safe and everything to do with him being able to legitimately tear strips off anyone at any time. All he had to do was point the finger at them, even for the slightest reason. And he thought it was very funny that through this deception he had manipulated all of the people in the department to see him as being one of the good guys for what he did. And even though he sometimes attacked other academics in front of students, usually for some insignificant issue or a fabricated one.
The second way of manipulating is through the use of foul game play and other psychopaths, i.e., his network of "friends" or those that he called "my people" PLUS some criminals, He told me that the criminals were obtained from corrupt police, who are also part of the inhumane sub-culture (actually psychopaths on parole hired out from corrupt parole officer on an hourly basis) . This is something that I would have never believed except for the fact that there was an incident, which I describe in the first few minutes of my video on what is really the basic cheat (I have called this series the Underlying Conditions of Disease). See my profile for the first video and starting at 2:38 mins and upto 5:58 mins.
The means of manipulation are extremely subtle and require relationship. I had experienced physical symptoms, such as chest tightness, some trouble breathing and chest pain but I never, even in the remotest possibility, would have ever thought that this was contrived to try and stop me from leaving him. I would have been none the wiser, except for the fact that my husband decided to explain. And his action arose when he could not stop me from leaving. I was determined to go, sick or not. He showed me from the window that he had brought criminals outside of the house, and admitted that he had threatened to bring them into the house.
He later explained that the means of manipulation are an extremely cunning misuse of relationship. In a relationship, especially a close relationship, there is mental entanglement between the two or more parties. this enables a closely related party, my husband in this case, to make a mental suggestion. And of course the mental suggestion is made under the condition of a concealed threat. So the victim is hugely disadvantaged but never considers the extreme criminal measures that are used.
Furthermore the mental suggestion was made by way of intent and the mental imagery of bringing the criminals into the house. These means make it very hard for the victim because these perception are subconscious. Thus the victim experiences extreme anxiety, which can give rise to the physical symptoms.
In the course of the following 2 to 3 years he explained how many different forms of manipulation could be "achieved" in his words. And this is possible because in a concealed threat (which I explain in the video series on youtube if you are interested) the victim lacks knowledge as to the cause and thus nature of their bodily reactivity. All they are aware of is some heightened bodily reactivity. So many and very different sorts of manipulation can be done, without the victim realizing that they are being manipulated. For example.
If the idea presented is a veiled threat, as in "something terrible can happen" then the person will appraise their bodily reactivity as fear but can't see the danger so they may panic. In this case the victim's fight or flight response is blamed and seen as "faulty". It justifies psychiatrists as labeling them as mentally ill and hence a customer for drug.
If the idea presented is "oh she divine" / "oh he so handsome", then the bodily reactivity may be wrongly appraised as high charge and the person may mistakenly think that they have fallen in love or are at least strongly attracted to the person they see in front of them. In these cases the victim is blamed as "the type who falls in love with psychpaths".
If the idea presented is that some substance, e.g., plant or food is toxic or disagreeable, then the person may again appraise their bodily reactivity as fear. This is mistakenly used to gives the idea of toxic / disagreeable validity so as to upgrade the idea to a belief. Thus the person's body may launch an unnecessary and harmful inflammatory response. In this case the substance is blamed as the physical cause of an inflammatory response. And the victim is blamed as being "predisposed" to an allergic reaction.
And he said "anything and every thing can be manufactured using a concealed threat and ideas mentally presented by a closely-related, psychopathic person". And I found that this was true. In the course of the last 15 years since that time, I have been hassled with many and various attempts to manipulate me and all of the efforts made used a concealed threat and suggestion, sometimes mentally presented and sometimes through physical cues.