According to psychology author George K. Simon, successful psychological manipulation primarily involves the manipulator:
- Concealing aggressive intentions and behaviors and being affable.
- Knowing the psychological vulnerabilities of the victim to determine which tactics are likely to be the most effective.
- Having a sufficient level of ruthlessness to have no qualms about causing harm to the victim if necessary.
Consequently, the manipulation is likely to be accomplished through covert aggressive (relational aggressive or passive aggressive) means.