A broad definition of manipulation is anyway of trying to get something other than asking directly. The term is used most however, to describe a situation in which someone ends up doing what they do not really want to do, because someone has made the alternatives difficult. There are always situations in which a person has to pick between two unwanted alternatives. With manipulation, though, it is the active efforts of another person that brings the two choices together artificially, and that is what is so unnerving and unfair for the target.

In coercion, force or threats of real harm are used to get someone to do what they do not want to do. In manipulation, usually the target's beliefs or self-image is used against his self-interest or real desire. Manipulation can work even if the target understands what is happening, because it is still difficult to say no. In this sense, manipulation is not invincible, and alone cannot constitute abuse. Just like other forms of subtle control, however, manipulation is useful to understand because no controlling person fails to use it frequently. Anything can be manipulated, especially by someone who knows the target well, but below are some examples based on common situations:

The antidote to manipulation includes: