Dirty Tactics

Mini Online Training Part 3

How does it apply to me?

1/ What dirty tactics are used against me?

2/ How does it make me feel? (one by one)

3/ How does it make me react? (one by one)

4/ My takeaway from this chapter.


Welcome to: “From Strings To Wings” Zita Fekete’s mini online training 3rd part.  I’m happy to have you here.

In this chapter I would like to talk about the dirty tricks manipulators use to get what they want.

Dirty tricks are communicative tools.

Most of the time they have no connection to reality or the manipulator’s real opinion.

Their only function is to evoke certain feelings from you.

How are dirty tricks delivered?

With hints, messages, planting ideas.

It can be comment, request, question, story, scenario, role play, facial expression, body language, tone of voice.

Sometimes what was said, but more often than not: how it was said.

The purpose of dirty tricks:

Triggering feelings: guilt, shame or anxiety.

Sometimes making you feel loved or appreciated.

Through those, evoking certain reactions.

Probably what they want, would not be done, had it been asked straightforward.

Hiding Behind The Mask

They might use well developed “façades”.

Pressurizing façade to get you do things.

Pressure releasing façade to get you off their back.

False mentor, friendship, advocate or even partner.

The purpose of hiding behind the mask is: Covering their real goals and intentions.

Hiding behind the mask makes you feel: loved and cared for, pressured to comply, confused by some falsity.

The guilt trip makes the target feel guilty.

What makes it effective?

Motivates the target.

Not recognized as guilt trip.

Full of cognitive distortions that makes it believable.

Comes from a half truth.

Relies on self doubt.

Attached to a deep need like love or belonging.

Re-establishes the alignment with the Manipulator.

Guilt Trip – Forms

Love guilt trip – “If you loved me, you would…”

Moral guilt trip– “If you were a good person…”

Victim guilt trip – “You know what I have been through.”

Friendship guilt trip – “If you were a real friend…”

Ego guilt trip – “If you knew what you were doing…”

Purpose: Change your action. Do or don’t do something for me.

Guilt trip makes you feel: guilty, pressured, motivated, uncertain, confused, frustrated, angry that he or she made you feel guilty.


Pretending to be the victim of others, while exploiting them.

Red flags:

failure, not trying

blaming – everything is other’s fault

“Life isn’t fair” stories

Not taking responsibility.

Purpose: Change your action. Do or don’t do something for me.

Victimization makes you feel: ashamed, guilty, pressured, motivated to change, uncertain, confused, angry.


Threatening with physical aggression, blackmail, or any negative outcome.

Here it comes in handy to know the target’s weaknesses, fears or secrets.

Purpose: Change your action. Do or don’t do something for me.

Threatening makes you feel: scared, in danger, disrespected, unfairly treated pressured, motivated to comply, angry.


Communicating with an “in –charge” attitude. The target feel he or she “has to” follow the commandment.

The attitude is: “Jump when I talk.” or: “This is beneath me.”

Purpose: Getting their needs met without return.

Commanding makes you feel: annoyed, unequal, inferior, taken advantage of, angry.


Demanding you to do or stop certain actions with the attitude of:

“Make my irritability go away immediately!” – abusing your negative emotion avoidance.

Meaning 1: “Something needs to change!”

Meaning 2: “You don’t change quick enough!”

Meaning 3: “If you want to avoid my fury, make sure I get what I want!”

Purpose: Getting their needs met quickly and without return.

Irritability makes you feel: Walking on eggshells.

Covert Badgering

Bothering, criticizing the target constantly.

Creating circumstances from which he or she believes something is wrong with him or her.

Turning others against the target while staying kind to his or her face.

Purpose: Creating controllable relationship and situations through the target uncertainties. Getting their needs met without return.

Covert badgering makes you feel: hurt, desperate, not appreciated, uncertain, full of self-doubt, confused, angry.

Reasoning, Persuading

Not letting the other’s opinion or desire prevail by persuasion or reasoning.

Sometimes hard to differentiate from rational influence.

Purpose: To get what they want.

Reasoning, Persuading makes you feel: tense, pressured, annoyed, not respected.

Attacking self-esteem

Put downs, labels, judgment, mocking.

Telling inconvenient stories about others – possibly with a pretentious loving or caring attitude. “Darling.”

Recalling stories when others failed or played a negative role:

Purpose: Making the target feel inferior and either comply or overcompensate for their flaws.

Attacking Self-Esteem makes you feel: ashamed, inferior, angry.

makes you feel: ashamed, inferior, angry.


Narcissistic trait that makes them think they are entitled for certain benefits.

“I should have what I want without earning it.”

“I should be able to do whatever I want without consequences.”

Purpose: Getting their needs met without return.

Entitlement makes you feel: annoyed, unappreciated, un-supported, unequal, frustrated, angry.

Silent Treatment

Withdrawal from communication, affection and sex, until the desired behavior is accomplished.

Pure force: need deprivation.

Purpose: To get what they want.

Silent treatment makes you feel: tense, anxious, ignored rejected, annoyed, disrespected. Maybe your old fear of rejection, or fear of abandonment gets triggered.


Isolating the partner from family and friends, not letting people meet, “forgetting” phone messages, disapprove friendships.

Purpose: Filtering out possible balancing influences. Cutting off support.

Isolation makes you feel: isolated, alone, not understood, helpless.


Forming alliances and turning them against others. – Easily breakable alliances.

Turn others against one, then come to “rescue”.

“Divide and conquer!”

The “buddy” is responsible for the attacks.

Purpose: Decreasing the manipulator’s doubt. Increasing power. More people, more pressure.

Sliding out of responsibility.

Triangulation makes you feel: first trusted, then betrayed.


The name derives from a 1944 movie, when the husband purposefully makes the gaslight flicker, but convinces his wife that nothing happened in reality, what she sees is her abnormal perception: Gaslighting is denying/editing someone’s reality.

– Denying things that happened

–  Stating things that did not happen

–  Pretending the target does not remember

–  Convincing the target he or she perceives things abnormally.

Purpose: Undermining the target’s sense of reality and trust in him- or herself, his or her perception and normalcy.

Gaslighting makes you feel: confused, scared, full of self-doubt, doubt, distrust in the manipulator.

Regression: Pouting, Sulking

Passive-aggressive way of showing discontent.

Purpose: To get what they want.

Regression makes you feel: guilty – for not serving their need, pressurized, rejected, angry.

Word manipulation

Is changing the meaning of words, sentences, thoughts or concepts, mis-interpreting situations.

Stories keep changing: lies, lies, lies…

The purpose it is: Make you believe in various things depending on the situation.

Or, changing the meaning of your words in order to use against you.

Word manipulation makes you feel: confused, uncertain, being cheated, annoyed.

Constantly misunderstood

Feigned game about other’s misunderstanding the motifs or the intention of the manipulator.

Pure denial.

Purpose: Cover up the real motives and intentions.

Constantly misunderstood makes you feel: uncertain, ambivalent – it might or might not be true -, confused.

Provocative Behavior

Gaining attention from the environment with behavior that does not fit the situation.

Sexually provocative behavior.

Purpose: Gaining extra attention, feeling No1, feeling attractive. Ego boost.

Provocative behavior makes you feel: surprised, attracted, excited, being promised something.


Narcissistic statements persuading the target to stick with the bad relationship, like:

– “You won’t be able to do it without me!”

–  “You’ll never find anyone as good as me!”

–  “I am the best you could ever get!”

Purpose: Keeping the relationship, opposing change.

Enticement makes you feel; anxious, worried, uncertain.

“I am your No 1 Fan”

So I can torment you with my special needs.


“You are the special one”

Flattery that makes you feel appreciated.

Purpose: Keeping the relationship, opposing change, making up after hurting you.

No1 Fan, Flattery Makes you feel: appreciated, loved (at long last), and have a second though about leaving or changing the relationship.


Compliments, presents, kind acts, favors, can be

manipulative tools if they are not genuine but given to evoke a certain purpose.

Purpose: Buying your commitment, making up for argument.

Charm makes you feel: appreciated, committed, ready to re-pay, but you also might feel “string attached”, expectation to pay back.

Your job: Recognize! Identify!

The first step in anti-manipulation fight is to recognize when it is happening with you.

Pay attention to your feelings and bodily reactions.

Gather experiences which dirty tactics are used against you.

Figure out the main goal!

All in all

There are many dirty tricks: overt or covert aggression.

All their goals are to evoke the desired guilt, shame or anxiety in the target.

They have nothing to do with the truth or reality.

Their goal is to control the actions of the target.

Coming next: Your Vulnerabilities