Here's a little trick question you can ask to figure out if you or someone else is being manipulated.
Do you defend the potentially manipulative person?
You can see this with Andrew Tate fans. A lot of people will defend Andrew Tate, and yet he clearly doesn't need to be defended. For all his faults, he's clearly not a coward and is able to stand up for himself.
So, who are they defending if he doesn't need it? They're defending themselves.
They're trying to prove that their belief in him is right. They don't need to prove his worth, he’s capable of doing that on his own. They need to prove their own faith in his worth.
This was a humbling lesson I learned working with manipulative criminals.
If a co-worker challenged me about being “got” by one of them, the biggest warning sign that they were right was me trying to prove that he wasn’t a manipulative guy. What I was really trying to prove is that he hadn’t manipulated me, because my ego didn’t want to admit it.
Put it this way, when I wasn’t attached to my ego, I’d never feel the need to defend myself or anyone else. When challenged, I’d just say, “I don’t think so but it’s worth having another look, let’s review the case to make sure”.
Andrew Tate fans get defensive because deep down in their lizard brain they recognise his psychopathy. Some part of them is afraid that they’ve invested in a fraud, and rather than experience loss of face by admitting, “I was wrong about him”, they’re going all in, hoping their investment pays off.
So if you're fighting to defend your belief in someone, it probably means that some part of you deep down knows that you shouldn't be so strong in your faith. It knows there’s something wrong if you have to convince yourself and justify yourself and others of the belief.
If somebody is just right and good, and it’s healthy to believe in them, you won’t feel the need to defend them, and you’ll be open to exploring scepticism.
Have a great 2024!
To ensure you can’t be manipulated, check out my Shamelessness course