[INFJ] - Manipulation | INFJ Forum

[INFJ] Manipulation

Discussion in 'The INFJ Typology' started by Chackabuu, May 3, 2021.

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  1. Kinda

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  2. Not really

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  1. Chackabuu

    Chackabuu Regular Poster

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    It has been said before that INFJs have a tendency to be manipulative. I think I have manipulated people in the past without realizing it at the time. Probably even more than I realize now.

    Do you think INFJs are manipulative? Have you ever been accidentally or purposefully manipulative? Have you been manipulated by an INFJ?

    I am sure I have manipulated people in different ways, both harmless and harmfully. I'm not sure if this example is truly considered manipulation but it's within the same realm. I was in a verbal argument with coworkers after work one night. What started out as drunken banter quickly got heated. My boss who I had a squabble with was really trying to hurt me with his words, and he was on the brink of wanting to use his fists. I knew this at the time and decided to see how far he would go if I threw words at him that hit deeper. For my own drunken entertainment I guess. We were throwing insults at each other but when I pulled out something that hurt him personally he had nothing but shock and anger. By-standing coworkers were able to stop us then. Knowing someone well gives you an advantage in situations like these.

    INFJs have an easy time understanding others. That plus intuition makes it easy to adjust yourself to adhere to certain people/circumstances to reach an end goal. We know what people like and dislike and we can tell them what they may or may not want to hear. I'm not saying this is good, but I think it can probably be used with good intentions.



    Someone once told me they were attracted to my "talent for manipulating people with words." Really still not sure what to think about that, and to be honest it's a little bothersome. If I'm truly that manipulative then I don't want to be.
     
  2. slant

    slant amour-propre
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    You know, I'm not sure that I am comfortable ascribing a behavior to a specific personality and broad brushing them.

    Can INFJs be manipulative? Certainly. So can any other personality type. The method of manipulation and reason for manipulation is going to differ by type I think.

    You also have to see manipulation for what it is. It's not inherently a negative characteristic, you can manipulate a situation in a positive manner.

    Manipulation is really just an attempt to influence or control a situation or another person's behavior. The positive word for manipulation would probably be "influence".

    I think the negative aspect in the word manipulation is related to deception. When people feel they've been manipulated it's mainly that they were influenced in a way by somebody who was being dishonest or withholding information. Basically they thought in doing something it was resulting in a certain thing, but because of the actions of another person it resulted in something undesirable and the person or people involved gave the impression that this would not happen.

    I think with INFJs why they would be perceived as manipulative may be the "the end justifies the means" attitude that many INFJs hold. That often you might have to conduct unsavory behavior in order to create justice; that you might have to sacrifice somebody for the good of the whole.

    So typically if an INFJ is being manipulative it is motivated by their idealism, the belief that they must deceive somebody in order to obtain the ultimate justice or truth.
     
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  3. Wyote

    Wyote (#/-\[]$ ([]`/[]'|'[-
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    I think most people perceive themselves as being good manipulators until they run into people who understand the game they are playing.
    The best game is to never play unless you have to, and only do so when you are certain you will win.

    I say this knowing full well that I am not a great manipulator, probably average because I tend to be average in everything besides spatial reasoning.
    I can make it work when I have to and that's all I care to bother with.
    Manipulation is too much work/expended energy. I prefer to divert streams of energy. I'm not really great at that either, but it's my preference.
     
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  4. Moranga

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    I think it is really situational. Is it realistic to be able to love everyone regardless? Were not perfect, but everyone has or should have limits and boundaries. I would say it is more dangerous to simply let toxic people steamroll you in every interaction. There are a lot more narcissist than INFJs. I speak from experience that there is No way of dealing with them and not be engaged in some type of underlying mental warfare for the simple sake of self preservation. What if complete avoidance it not an option? Is it manipulative to deal with them is a manner that disarms them and makes the interaction smoother? Is that considered being deceitful if you tell them something you don't necessarily mean, in order to create the most manageable interaction? To throw an insincere bone their way. I might have jumped off of the topic of the question, I think situations will happen in life that will call for an approach that ultimately protects you, your dignity and those you care for as the priority. I have made mistakes in life but generally learn from them and for the most part do not repeat them. I know I have struggled with regret from the past, but there is nothing that can reverse what has already happened. Ya know? All you can extract from it is the lesson to absorb from it. None of this applies to good and genuine people, but you don't usually have issues with good people.
     
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  5. ruji

    ruji Well-known member

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    People have problems with words.

    If manipulation means you affect the way someone behaves, then aren't we all doing that?
     
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  6. GreenTea

    GreenTea Community Member

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    I feel that whatever we put out in the world comes back to us in one way or another. I can be manipulative if I try but it's best not to.
     
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  7. John K

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    I think it’s important to keep a clear distinction between a personal attribute, skill or gift and the ethics of how we behave. To put it into context the issue you raise is a bit like asking if it’s ok to be big and strong compared with other folks. As @slant suggested, the word manipulative combines a sense of both the ability to influence others easily with the morally negative tendency to do this in a harmful way. So to take the analogy a bit further, it’s a bit like asking if it’s ok for a big guy to bully someone.

    The gift of influence is a precious one that can be used to great good, just as great physical strength can also be used to benefit yourself and others. Like with practically anything human though it can be turned to great harm as well. It’s not the gift that’s a problem but the way it’s used may be either for good or ill.

    Just to complicate the issue slightly, there can be a certain amount of envy of people who are good influencers. Negative feedback can come from this as well as from a reaction to actual negative manipulation.
     
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  8. ThomasJ79

    ThomasJ79 Regeneratively Speaking

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    A coworker of mine once said I should've been a preacher. Not bad for an agnostic, lol.

    There is great power in knowledge. It can be hard to not use that to one's advantage, especially when you believe in your truth. You want to share that and want others to believe in it too. It brings connectivity with others. It takes a moral fortitude to use that knowledge wisely, to not put yourself a head of others. Sometimes what you think is "better" for others, is really a reflection of one's own self, trying to impose on others.

    Empathy. It is what lets you recognize the autonomy and individuality of another person. It helps you not use knowledge to manipulate people for the simple fact that it cause harm and violates a part of their personhood. Manipulation is selfish behavior. It is a valuation of self over other.

    As Papa John, mentioned, this is different than influencing. Influencing is healthier way to get your needs met, your feelings expressed, without violating the equal worth of others.
     
    #8 ThomasJ79, May 3, 2021
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
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  9. SpecialEdition

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    Manipulation can be a very powerful tool if someone is fairly adept at it. Whether it's negative or positive depends on the intent. I don't have a problem using it if it nets a positive result for all involved. I don't have any interest in using it to cause harm to another person for my own personal gain. If I can't get what I want without actively causing harm to someone else then I haven't earned it. I think this is what a lot of manipulators miss when they're causing harm for personal gain. It's a slippery slope and usually snowballs and creates a disaster for them down the road. I don't really have any interest in making my own life worse in the long term.

    I do like to influence people's thoughts and behaviour to move them in a positive direction but I do not have any interest in having anyone on puppet strings to get them to live their best life. At the end of the day if I'm not willing to prop someone up indefinitely then it doesn't matter what my influence was if they are not in a place to take consistent action for their own benefit. In that sense, I suppose I'd much rather plant seeds to encourage growth than be dumping buckets of Miracle Grow on them day and night.
     
  10. David54

    David54 David
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    To work successfully in mental health you have to be manipulative. It is the task at hand. But I don't think any mbti type is inherently manipulative
     
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  11. Sandie33

    Sandie33 Love Often & Absolutely ♡
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    Kinda. I believe INFJ's see the potential in some one and can often use the power of persuasion to assist them in seeing that potential in themselves. In the same regard an INFJ can tell when another is using manipulative ways on them...be it to spotlight potential, or for malice.
     
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  12. Hostarius

    Hostarius R E P R E S S

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    Manipulation is violence.

    Only, it’s the violence of the weak, masked and unseen. Its effectiveness depends upon deception, robbing its victim of those most sacred of rights: human agency, free will, choice.

    In Kantian terms, human beings are ‘ends in themselves’, and their right to make free and informed choices over their lives is paramount in maintaining this. The only way of ethically ‘influencing’ them under this schema, therefore, is to supply them with facts, with evidence, with truths; to raise the level of ‘truth’ they’re able to utilise in making those free and informed choices.

    In other words, what you’re attempting to do is not ‘influence’ them at all but rather to grant them ever greater personal sovereignty, such that, if one is confident of the inherent ‘rightness’ or ‘correctness’ of one’s own choices, it would be hoped that those choices would be made by others too if only they had access to sufficient ‘truth’.

    The alternative condition – of manipulation – is utilised either by those who understand that their goals are to the detriment of their subjects, or those who believe that ‘manipulation’ might simply expedite a choice which would have been made under the ‘personal sovereignty’ condition as described above, if only given enough time.

    However, this assumes that the immediate ‘goal’ or objective is superior to any higher value like ‘human beings are ends in themselves’, and its use is thus only advocated for by those who do not understand either why or how to operate within an internally accordant and consistent hierarchy of values, where each value is a goal in itself, the undermining of which compromises the integrity of the whole structure.

    In this case, whatever immediate goals one is trying to achieve would be considered subordinate to the ‘higher principle’ of supporting the human sovereignty encoded within the subject’s capacity to make free, informed choices.

    Of course, part of the difficulty of doing this is that people are not free of manipulation even if they are free of your manipulation – they are locked within webs of social influence and the calculus of self-interest within their current circumstances, among other pressures. Hence, part of the process of attempting to have an influence that is properly ‘righteous’ (and ‘righteous’ in a sort of technical rather than rhetorical sense) is in also attempting to unlock individuals from their dependence upon these pressures. This, however, is unfortunately very difficult for those ultimately marching with herd moralities fuelled by ressentiment, since those pressures represent their safety in the world, however corrupt or unethical they may be.

    So no, if one maintains a functional hierarchy of values where the universal principle of ‘human sovereignty’ is superordinate to one’s immediate personal goals, then manipulation is never justified. However, if one does not have any such hierarchy of values (that is, if one is a psychopath, narcissist, &c.), or a hierarchy of values in which immediate personal goals are considered superordinate to any such consideration of ‘human sovereignty’, then it is justified. The answer in either direction is the output of a simple logical calculus resulting from whatever hierarchy of values is operant – lower values supervene upon higher ones in the functional moral agent, just as molecular properties supervene upon atomic properties in the physical laws of the universe.


    Are INFJs inherently manipulative? The diplomatic, influence-seeking and, ironically, ‘manipulative’ answer is ‘no’, but the true answer is probably ‘yes’, since the function of Extroverted Feeling (Fe) is fundamentally concerned with having influence upon the world (as a judging function) by mobilising social forces. For instance, one will often find INFJs engaging in ad hominems – some more subtle than others – in an attempt to reduce the credibility of their subjects in the eyes of others. Their favourite strategy – and this seems to be quite universal – is to make claims against the social competence of their targets. They’ll call them retarded, or unhealthy, or mentally ill; they’ll say they need therapy or insinuate that they have character flaws which will make them unsuccessful with the opposite sex.

    Their lack of a sense of righteousness forces them to engage with the world in a way in which ‘truth’ is not a consideration; that their immediate personal goals trump any ‘higher values’. Their lack of Fi means that they often do not even have a vision of any such hierarchy of values, leading to a general ‘ends justify the means’ approach to life, as has already been mentioned. That is, they are forced to resort to curses and hexes based upon some fictitious notion of their own ‘intuition’; an emblem of their own powerlessness to the same degree as the ancient crone was forced to rely upon the same strategies.
     
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  13. Misty

    Misty Spidey Sense Wielder

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    Whoa whoa whoa, Hos. Slow your roll. I have faith, many people who are INFJ do. There are also a great deal of morals and principles that I hold myself accountable to and if I tread on a single one of them I beat myself into oblivion. This stereotyping that you are applying to us all as INFJ, as people in general is hurtful, and well, just a stereotype that you have created in your mind based on personal experiences with some INFJ. Not to mention that you are judging those personal experiences through the lenses of your own perception of their motives, which is at best, skewed..

    When we defend ourselves or another it is in the effort to protect another, to protect the others that we see being abused, in example, and thus are following a very strong moral and principle in our own mind and well defined system of values.. Not sure where it says INFJ's will lie and manipulate to allow the greater outcome to spring to fruition, my friend.

    Also the intuition jab is low. Our intuition is not a fictitious notion... It's well known that of the two mbti types classified as Ni Doms, TJ's gather their insights from a system of logic, whilst FJ's through their gut. The problem is that logic does not account for human behavior and emotion, thus logic is not as accurate as intuition gleaned from the gut. The gut knows and there's no way to know how it does when it truly does, but the only times I've found myself in real hot water is when my fictitious notion of intuition told me not to do something or to do something and I failed to heed my gut's warning.

    I actually feel sadness that you keep going at us this way. Finding every thread and opportunity you can find to shred our morality and principles as though you are superior and as though we haven't any... I wish the old you would come back and be one of us again. I don't understand what is happening here, but it's heavy for us to handle, and clearly for you too.
     
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    #13 Misty, May 3, 2021
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
  14. Hostarius

    Hostarius R E P R E S S

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    There were no 'jabs', Misty. It's just a contribution to the thread, to which you can disagree or agree.

    Take care.
     
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  15. Moranga

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    So True Misty
     
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  16. Misty

    Misty Spidey Sense Wielder

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    It's a judgement and it's slanderous.

    You take care too, stranger.
     
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  17. Misty

    Misty Spidey Sense Wielder

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    It's wild right? My mother has it too and her mother before her. For example I got hit by a driver running a red light once and it was on a street I always took from a client's house on my way to college. On this day I heard it saying.. "Don't go that way, don't do it. Take the freeway." I was thinking... uhh... the traffic is nuts right now. If I take the freeway I will surely be late. So I told it to shut up. I was riding along and the light is green and I keep going through the intersection like any other day. Bam, car going 45 miles an hour rips through the red light to my right and bashes my car in.

    Coincidentally my mother had a similar experience only she listened to her gut. She had friends who were always going snow skiing and my mother had never been but always wanted to. It was sort of a joke between them all that whenever there was room for her she couldn't get out of work or there was some constant schedule conflict prohibiting her from joining in. So after a few years of this she finally gets invited and is totally free to go. But she said her gut kept saying no no no no, don't go. She had no idea why but listened to it and declined the trip.

    Well, that weekend she heard that the car wrecked and a pole from a truck in front of them went through the backseat spearing the man who took what was to be her seat.

    Sometimes some of us, myself included, believe that our gut is actually God speaking to us. Funny how that works heh.
     
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  18. OP
    Chackabuu

    Chackabuu Regular Poster

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    What @Moranga said. This is so familiar.
     
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  19. Jopetzki

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    I do not believe in manipulation, although I do look for the perfect words. I want to tell people the truth, and I want them to actually hear it. Irrational people won't hear what I have to say, so it's most important to not make them irrational.
     
  20. Moranga

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    Wow, I had a similar situation. I was pulling into the neighborhood which I then took an immediate Right with no stop sign for me but the Left and Right had Stops. I made this route hundreds of times without stopping or hestitating to check traffic from the Left or Right. This particular night something screamed out in my head "STOP!" and I did. Immediately (1-2 seconds) A car flew thru that intersection going at least 80 mph down my winding street. It would have hit me right in the drivers side door. I drove a little Toyota p/u at the time and would have died 100%. Also my daughters mother was in the passenger seat. This was before she became pregnant. It is really hard to put into words what this intuition feels like, but it is a familiar feeling once you notice and acknowledge it as a real phenomena. Thanks for sharing that and Yes we are being watched over. :)
     
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