First person: “I am sure you don’t know how to do this, it needs someone who is skilled”
Second person:” you bet I can”
First person:” am sorry to say so, but you don’t have the required skills”
Second person:”Ok you will see what I can do”
The previous dialog was an example of someone who used reverse psychology against someone else in order to motivate him to do something. When words are rephrased in such a way that triggers someone’s fighting spirit, they are said to be using the reverse psychology principle.
Examples of reverse psychology statements
I am sure you can't do so
Don’t try to put the things back to their place because you wont be able to do it
Don’t lift that weight not to crush your bones
Do your best and when you fail come back
Is reverse psychology effective?
Yes it is, if you avoided the two common pitfalls people fail to avoid which are 1) using it against the wrong person and 2) over using it.
Reverse psychology works best with narcissists, over confident people, people having exaggerated self worth and stubborn people. As for the first three, it works because those people think that they can do anything in the world and that’s why using such phrases ignites their fighting spirits making them wanting to prove you wrong.
Stubborn people on the other hand hate to be faced with one option but instead they like to see all the options available for them to choose from, when you tell them that the only option is that they will fail they will do their best to prove you wrong.
In my book how to make someone fall in love with you I used few techniques from reverse psychology to force stubborn people, over confident people and those having an exaggerated sense of self worth to fall in love with you. The concept Is very similar, you just exploit those people’s thinking patterns in order to make them do what you want.
Over using reverse psychology may result in letting the other person notice that you are trying to program him to do something and thus you find yourself having the opposite effect. I strongly recommend using reverse psychology in dealing with people but on one condition which is to avoid the two previous pitfalls that were just mentioned.
What is reverse psychology
Reverse psychology is the act of motivating someone to do something by telling him to do the exact opposite of it. For example telling your friend “I bet you can’t arrive before 6” might motivate him to do the opposite just to prove you wrong.
Reverse psychology is a dangerous weapon because if the person you are dealing with realized that you were trying to manipulate him he might not be able to trust you again that’s why reverse psychology should only be used on the person’s subconscious mind and not his conscious mind.
Thus in order for reverse psychology to be used properly You must make that person think that you believe in what you are saying and that you are not just saying it to motivate him.
Reverse psychology must only be used when the person knows the actions he should take in order reach the outcome you want. So in the previous example you should have motivated your child to study instead of motivating him to get high grades simply because he can study if he wanted but getting high grades is subject to many other factors other than doing his best.
Telling him something like “I bet you can never finish your homework tonight” is much more effective and healthier than telling him “you will never get good grades”
How to use reverse psychology on people
Not every person will respond to reverse psychology, for example, those who lack self confidence might actually take your defeating statements and make from them new limiting beliefs that makes them become even worse.
Reverse psychology should best be used with narcissists, stubborn people, Type A personality and those who have inflated egos.
In my book How to make someone fall in love with you i described how using reverse psychology against those types of people can even help you in preserving your relationship with them and even in making them love you. By simply telling anyone of them that people are anticipating that you both are going to breakup, you will ignite his fighting spirit and he will do his best to keep you.
Once you managed to challenge someone’s dormant ego without letting him notice that you are doing it on intention you will be able to make that person do whatever you want
When to use reverse psychology?
Lets suppose that your child got bad grades, telling him something like “You will never get higher grades” might ruin his self confidence, make him believe that its really impossible and create a new false belief in his mind that affects his personality.
After all if you kept telling someone that he is bad or dishonest you might program him to believe that these traits are parts of his personality and that he can’t do any better.(see Subconscious mind programming)