The Games We Play

From Wikipedia: Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that aims to change the perception or behavior of others through underhanded, deceptive, or even abusive tactics. By advancing the interests of the manipulator, often at the other’s expense, such methods could be considered exploitative, abusive, devious, and deceptive.


Basic Instinct (1992)
Basic Instinct (1992)

Manipulation can be demeaning and frustrating. In extreme cases, it may even be dangerous, as detective Nick Curran of the SFPD found out in Basic Instinct.

There are also times we are manipulated for “our own good”. We’re often grateful for this kind of benevolent leading; e.g. a trusted relation gently swaying us toward a better life decision.

But we should make an effort to distinguish the difference; know when someone is deliberately or otherwise leading us down a wrong path.  Do you recognize the signs?

Manipulation can hide behind numerous disguises; tactics are as varied as the individuals employing them. Our personalities determine the methods we’re prone to use. Do you know your particular brand of control? Let’s find out.

If you don’t already know your Enneagram personality type, take the test at this post, remember your type number and return here.

Look below, find your type and see if you recognize behaviors you’ve enacted toward others. Conversely, peruse the list; unless you’ve lived in a bubble, you should see underhanded ploys tried on you.

And keep in mind… as we observed with Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner… who is manipulating whom?

Wile E. Coyote
Wile E. Coyote

Type 1:  The Reformer feels that to be loved he must be good, and to be good he must be right. Whether his argument is correct or not is irrelevant; his method of manipulation is to persuade others to agree with his views in his attempt to satisfy his underlying needs.

Type 2: The Helper feels he must earn others’ love by putting their needs before his. His method of manipulation is to learn and cater to the needs and desires of others hence creating dependencies in his attempt to satisfy his underlying needs.

Type 3: The Achiever feels he is worthy due only to his achievements and performances. Leaving his true self behind to be “successful”, he will manipulate by charming others and by assuming whatever facade seems appropriate in the attempt to satisfy his underlying needs.

Type 4: The Individualist is on a life-long search for his identity. In his insistence that he is unlike anyone else and that he is true to himself, he manipulates through making others very uncomfortable with his moodiness and eccentricities in the attempt to satisfy his underlying needs.

Type 5: The Investigator can only recognize self-worth if he feels a degree of expertise in at least one area; if he has mastered some thing. He will manipulate by staying preoccupied and detaching emotionally from others in the attempt to satisfy this underlying need.


Type 6: The Loyalist longs for support and guidance and the ability to stand on his own. Though it may undermine the support he strives for, he will manipulate by complaining and testing the commitment of others in the attempt to satisfy these underlying needs.

Type 7: The Enthusiast desires to be happy and satisfied, escaping anxiety. He feels OK if he has “all he needs”. In the attempt to maintain these heightened feelings, he will manipulate by distracting others and insisting they meet his demands.

Type 8: The Challenger fears dependency of any kind in his quest for autonomy in this hostile world. Feeling he alone is strong and works hard, he will manipulate by demanding others to do his bidding; becoming domineering in his attempt to satisfy these underlying needs.

Type 9: The Peacemaker desires peace of mind and stability in his inner and exterior world and believes all is OK if those around him are OK. He will manipulate by passively-aggressively resisting others and by disappearing into his daydreams in his attempt to satisfy these underlying needs.

Armed with this knowledge, can you visualize maintaining a more disciplined, forthright mode of interacting? Can you visualize banishing the games and relinquishing control over others’ lives?

– debi

My Neighborhood (Part 4)

Cat, cat, kitten, kitten and dog.

How can five tiny beings consume so much of life?

For years, I had only two cats and no dog.  My Siamese, Mesey,

The Evil Siamese

ruled the roost and the backyard.  She was a pest of loud meowing proportions (those of you who are proud slaves of Siamese know exactly of what I speak). Continue reading

Why Do Opposites Attract?

It happens.  Often.  We’re attracted to someone who has strengths that we wish we had or someone who looks at life through a very different set of lenses than our own.

Why does it happen?  Is it a good thing?  The answers depend on the motivations behind the attraction.  Are you grasping at a characteristic in someone  in order to not have to own and nourish that characteristic in yourself OR are you attracted in the hopes of developing that strength yourself?

Continue reading

How To Ruin A Relationship

We go to the trouble of finding a mate who is enough different from us to create a complimentary relationship, and then we work hard to sculpt them to our image – this phenomenon is called “The Pygmalion Project”.

We each have a particular aim in life, which, of course, is so important to us that we feel all other persons, especially our mates, should share our desires.  The Artisan’s basic search in life is for exciting sensations; the Guardian’s is social and economic security; the Idealist’s is personal identity; the Rational’s is useful knowledge.  Continue reading

Who We Are First and Second

Now that we know our MBTI type (if you don’t know yet, please take this type test and remember your letters), we can explore further how our personality unfolds; how we interact, why we react the way we do.

The P or J at the end of our type combined with the E or I at the beginning tells us whether we use the second or the third letter as our primary personality function.  Clear as pea soup, right?

Ok, let’s unravel the mystery.  Find your letters below: Continue reading

Perceiving vs. Judging

This is the last or fourth set of MBTI letters, but definitely not the least.  This letter determines how we deal with the outside world.  It characterizes our expectations of others and our visible behaviors.  It influences how others see us!

If you don’t know your type, take this type test and remember your letters!  Your fourth letter will be either a J or a P. Continue reading

Thinking vs. Feeling

Ever wonder why you act the way you do; why you respond in a certain way to life situations?

The rational functions, Thinking (T) and Feeling (F), determine how we act (with the intention of keeping our life manageable and under control – we hope).  By compiling reams and reams of  memories and data from past experiences, we know how to act in the present situation.   We’re able to predict outcomes to incoming data and then react in the way that is uniform with our personality type.   (If you don’t know yet what your MBTI type is, please visit the post from March 24, 2009 and then read on.)

So, what, you may ask, are the differences? Continue reading

Sensation vs. Intuition

The first set of letters in Personality Type Categories was presented in the Introvert vs. Extrovert post from April 18, 2010.  The second set of letters: S vs. N define a totally different personal preference.  These letters illustrate how we perceive our direct surroundings, hence they are called the Perceiving functions.

We can only use one or the other at any given moment.  They are in conflict with one another.  As individuals we have a tendency to prefer one function over another: Sensation (S from now on) vs. Intuition (N from now on).

To stereotype these, we would assume an S type is very here and now and an N type has his head in the clouds.  But… that is way too simple of an explanation.  The waters run much deeper! Continue reading