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On the Nature of Reverse Psychology

by Lee Duane FitzSimmons

The basic foundation on which reverse psychology rests is that the perception of the manipulator's intent be the opposite of the actual intent of the manipulator so that action contrary to the expressed action of the manipulator is performed by the victim. Of course, if the true intent of the victim is to get the manipulator to use a form of reverse psychology so that the victim may perform an intended action, then the manipulator would instead be the victim. There are many reasons why this scenario might occur; however, the primary thread that stretches throughout all of this sort of intellectual musing is tied directly to the emotional honesty of all parties involved.

The emotional honesty being mentioned in this article is not the public display of emotion between two or more people; it is the interior honesty that is known by each person. If an individual possesses little emotional honesty, then there is a much greater chance that this individual will be the one being manipulated and not the one performing the manipulation. When the true elements involved with the task of being completely and utterly honest with one's emotions are sincerely identified, understood, and applied, a solid foundation of reality is established within the psyche of that individual.

Elegante Gesellschaft by Adolphe Stache (1856)

Emotional honesty is very important because psychology is a very highly subjective area of endeavor; perceptions differ greatly between each individual. Because of these differences, the desired outcome and the resulting outcome may vary drastically when reverse psychology is attempted. It would seem as though the best way to predict these variances would involve having more knowledge of the perceptions of the individuals involved. However, if the perceptions of any of the individuals involved with any part of a manipulative process are not accurately known, then the perceived perceptions are factored into the equation. When this process occurs, random outcomes will prevail. Since the basic nature of reverse psychology employs the use of negative or reversed emotions to gain a desired response, the perceptions of the manipulator and the victim must both be correctly fathomed or else the entire process deteriorates into chaos.

When these issues are not fully understood or addressed in a proper manner, an individual or entity who attempts to manipulate through the techniques of reverse psychology will very often end up being the party that is manipulated. Turning the tables on any attempt at reverse psychology is not a difficult thing to accomplish. However, if one of the parties rests solidly on a firm bed of emotional honesty, then that person can withstand almost any type of psychological assault and correctly perceive the true intents of almost any other entity that is not as emotionally intelligent.

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Copyright 2013 by Lee Fitzsimmons