7 personality traits of people who consistently fall victim to manipulation

Some people are more easily manipulated than others.

Does that mean that falling into the manipulation trap is their fault?

Not at all.

But could they benefit from learning more about manipulation and making sure they aren’t as easily influenced?

Absolutely.

And it all begins with self-awareness. What follows is a list of 7 personality traits that people who consistently fall victim to manipulation share.

1) They see the best in everyone

One of my friends once told me, “I just like to give people the benefit of the doubt.”

While that is good and well – you should always try to get to know people better and let them come out of their shells before making harsh judgments – my friend often took it too far.

The result? He surrounded himself with many people who didn’t have his best interests at heart, treated him poorly, and made for terrible friends.

And yet he didn’t cut them off or exhibit more assertive behavior.

Whilst he saw the best in everyone – a redeeming quality overall as it erases black-and-white thinking and allows for deeper connections with a rich variety of people – he was also completely blind to their worst.

The people you let into your life have an incredible impact on your well-being. Don’t make snap decisions just because you want to believe people can be better.

Look at the reality in front of you. Analyze the evidence. Be friends with people for who they really are, not for who they could be.

2) They measure others by their own yardstick

I’m a very honest person.

Since I rarely ever lie, I automatically assume other people won’t lie to me, either. I’ve had to go through a fair share of disappointments just to realize that this isn’t how the world works.

People who consistently fall victim to manipulation tend to have very pure intentions. And since they mean well, they believe that others wouldn’t intentionally harm them or manipulate them.

In other words, they project their own kindness onto the people around them because that’s their main modus operandi.

When the harsh truth punches them in the face, they try to pretend it doesn’t hurt and keep their spirits up.

But in order to become someone who isn’t easily manipulated, it’s important to accept the fact that not everyone has your best interests at heart.

3) They struggle to establish firm boundaries

When I was younger and in a very toxic friendship, I found myself unable to tell my friend what bothered me.

Every time she did something that made me feel uncomfortable, I’d suppress my anger and dismiss the issue, thinking it wasn’t that big a deal.

When I did speak up and try to set firmer boundaries, she’d either flip out or cross them in the future. I struggled a great deal to call her out on it.

Over time, she overstepped many boundaries and manipulated the hell out of me while my resentment slowly built up, until one day… the friendship fell apart.

People who are easily manipulated find it incredibly difficult to speak up, say “no”, and voice their boundaries in a firm and assertive manner.

Why?

Because…

4) They always strive to avoid conflict

Avoid conflict 7 personality traits of people who consistently fall victim to manipulation

I grew up surrounded by conflict.

As a result, I learned to always distance myself from conflict as much as possible – even at the peril of my friendships, relationships, and my own mental health.

When you’re always doing everything in your power to prevent an argument from occurring, however, it’s very easy to let yourself get manipulated and get stuck in a toxic dynamic.

This is because you’re so terrified that speaking up could cause a potential fight that you keep all your issues to yourself, go out of your way to accommodate others’ wishes, and always place their own needs above your own.

It took me a long time before I realized that conflict wasn’t a terrifying monster. It’s a productive tool that helps people grow and get to know each other better if both parties are willing to communicate.

Manipulators go after people who struggle to stand their ground. When you display assertive and firm behavior, they’ll be much less likely to target you.

5) They are people pleasers

It probably comes as no surprise that alongside developing conflict aversion, I also grew up to be a people pleaser.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve catered to everyone’s needs but my own. I’ve always tried my best to manage everyone’s emotions, keep peace, and make sure every member of the group is as happy as can be.

People pleasers are taught to think that they always need to look after others, even if it means sacrificing their own well-being.

Unfortunately, this makes them very easy targets for manipulators. A people pleaser will fall victim to manipulation just to avoid conflict and to make sure the person in question isn’t mad at them.

If this sounds like you, I want you to know that your needs matter. It isn’t selfish to look after yourself. It’s a gesture of healthy self-love and self-respect.

All that energy you’re pouring into ensuring other people’s happiness? You deserve to receive it, too.

6) They seek validation and approval from others

It’s difficult to hear, but one of the reasons you may constantly fall for manipulation tricks is that you don’t feel confident enough and therefore always seek validation in your relationships with others.

Remember that manipulators can be incredibly charming people whose presence is extremely magnetic.

Just being around someone like that might make you feel like you’ve been elevated to a new level, and if you admire them a great deal, one small compliment from them could make your whole day.

But the truth is that you don’t need anyone to validate your importance, no matter how charming they seem.

What’s more, seeking validation is a never-ending process. As long as you can’t validate your own feelings and feel self-assured in who you are, you will always chase after other people’s opinions of you.

And that, my friend, is a manipulator’s best weapon: your own self-esteem.

7) They ignore their gut instinct

You may not consciously realize you’re being manipulated, but your gut instinct always tells you a lot of valuable information – if you only choose to listen to it.

Unfortunately, people who are easily tricked often ignore the voice of their intuition because they doubt themselves, like to see the best in everyone, and are so scared of conflict that they’d rather not listen to what their body is telling them.

Therefore, a very effective way to get better at gauging who’s manipulating you and shielding yourself from their tricks is to take a deep breath and… listen.

How do you truly feel around this person?

Your gut feeling may already have the answer you need.

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Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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