If you want to manipulate someone, you tell a good story. You make them part of it: a main character. A protagonist. A hero.
You hook their interest. You lead them into a narrative. You get them emotionally invested. Then you tell the story you want them to believe about themselves and the world they’re in.
There has to be a conflict but there doesn’t have to be a resolution. In fact, many of these stories are more powerful without a resolution. The lack of resolution leads to a sense of ongoing tension in the reader: they feel a personal sense of urgency to enter the story and help make the resolution happen.
There are two ways to reduce the manipulative power of these stories.