Bad things happen to good people, and we all are aware of this famous saying. But have you ever wondered why some people intentionally exploit others? Harming someone unintentionally and hurting someone intentionally have different meanings and different purposes behind them.
The real question is, why do people intentionally use others?
People in today’s world have become quite selfish and self-centered, which can be the main reason for exploiting other innocent individuals. They are often called exploiters and use someone else for their gains. They often target weak links which are easy to manipulate and people with low self-esteem who have little to no confidence in their abilities, and they thus depend on these exploiters to fulfill their emotional and physical needs.
These exploiters come in different shapes and forms and use sugar-coated words to make you believe that they are the right fit for you. You may find such people in your workplace, at school, with family members, even some of your closest friends. However, if you easily fall for their traps, you first need to understand the different exploiters out there searching for prey.
Exploiters have different tactics and skills to convince the naive. Some tactics commonly used by them include-
- They tend to attract victims by sugar coating the conversation and by changing the meaning of activities. They tend to attract individuals towards them by their charming personalities and use it as a tool to use and exploit others who are naive and feel unworthy. They constantly manipulate you into agreeing to their demands and make you question your intuition by twisting what happened. This leaves you in a vulnerable state, and thus you agree to their demands.
- Lying is their common tactic to gain your attention. They tend to hide the truth and use false accusations to make you believe that the thing you are saying never happened. They try to distort your reality.
- Sigmund Freud gave us the five defense mechanisms out of which the exploiter’s favorite is denial. It means denying the fact that something happened. This is a common mechanism used to avoid anxiety. The exploiters deny the situation happened to avoid anxiety. It feels as if they are always right and denies understanding the pain you are going through. They may call out your behaviors as attention-seeking to project their insecurities onto you. This is a common manipulative tactic used by these people.
- They also engage in selective attention. They tend to ignore people who they have already exploited and refuse to accept their existence. They are all set to find their next prey, who they can use for their benefit.
- Whenever you point out their behavior, they tend to deny it and shift the subject. They have extreme skills which help them escape such situations by diverting the topic and replacing everyone’s attention with something else.
- They often portray others as negative and spread false information about a particular person to exploit their vulnerability. They engage in guilt-tripping naive people and thus play with their trust to get their work done.
- After they know their prey, they tend to pass shameful comments about them to make them feel insecure and doubt their abilities. They use sarcasm and jokes to make others feel inferior, which causes low self-esteem, which they later take advantage of.
- They know how to take advantage of your naive nature. Every human being feels pity seeing someone else suffer. These exploiters use this tactic for their good. As they love to objectify their lives, they often share miserable moments with others to gain sympathy. They try to show how vulnerable they are, which compels individuals to feel sorry for them and help them. They personify themselves as victims even though they are the ones victimizing you. They love to gain attention and can do anything to gain it.
Such people often leave you emotionally and physically exhausted. As a result, you may feel like you are completely drained, leading to serious mental health issues.
Every individual has reasons to brave in the way they do. These can range from childhood problems, abusive parenting styles, genetic makeup, narcissistic personality, or just some cruel experiences in the past.
To deal with them effectively, we first need to understand the reason behind their actions.
Children born in abusive households tend to control others and manipulate others when they grow up. Abusive parents often steal the child’s sense of control, and the child starts feeling helpless and vulnerable. Due to their parents, they learn that controlling others and manipulating is right. They feel that extending power on friends and loved ones with some of them less vulnerable, and thus they can protect themselves and give the pain they felt in their childhood to others.
As human beings, we have certain basic needs like having self-control, having an opinion, or feeling confident, etc. When these needs are not met, people often engage in controlling behavior to avoid anxiety. They gain back their lost sense of control; they tend to control others’ lives and decisions to avoid their anxiety. By controlling others, they feel that they have gained back their lost control while, in reality, they don’t have control over their own lives. They engage in denial and ignore your opinions to show that their opinions are superior. They often pass negative comments about you or call out your behaviors as attention-seeking to make themselves feel confident. In reality, they are the ones who seek attention and live on it.
Many people suffer from severe mental disorders which are related to personality. This leads to abusive behaviors, and the person doesn’t realize that their actions might be harmful and hurting to someone else. Personality disorders like NPD- Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder can be reasons for the person’s behaviors.
- NPD- Narcissistic Personality Disorder- It is often associated with grandiose, manipulative, and controlling behavior. They tend to use others to avoid their internal anxiety. They show themselves to be extremely confident but are fearful from inside. They need professional help to overcome their complexes.
- BPD- Borderline Personality Disorder- This disorder is often confused with Bipolar disorder because the symptoms of both these disorders are quite similar to each other. Both are characterized by their instant shift in moods from feeling high to feeling low. BPDs are often highly sensitive, and thus, to avoid pain and getting hurt from others, they engage in controlling behavior to protect themselves.
These disorders are severe and require more than 10 to 12 years of therapy for complete recovery and additional rehabilitation to perform normally after therapy.
How can you prevent such people from using it?
Well, it all depends on your personality. Their main targets are codependent people who often fall for their traps. There are ways to avoid getting used by them, which include the following –
- Whenever you meet someone for the first time, do not overly share about yourself and try to attach yourself to the person in your first meeting. Try to understand their personality by the way they behave with you and your friends. Do they engage in controlling behavior to do they normally ghost people?
- If you get attached to someone you know is controlling and manipulative and tends to use others, you need to recall the last time you were used and the emotional and physical pain you experienced. This will help you avoid getting used and manipulated again.
- If you inertly tend to help others try to use it to help yourself first. You may be suffering from something due to which you constantly feel like helping others. Try to find out your personality and childhood wounds and work on them to avoid getting used again, especially codependents.
Not every exploiter would realize their mistakes, and so we need to keep our distance from them. We need to become mentally active and understand who is good and who isn’t. Hope you take appropriate steps to avoid getting used again.