Law 44: Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect (48 Laws of Power)

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Overview of Law #44: Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect

Use the mirroring technique to control people. When you mirror opponents’ actions, doing as they do, they can’t figure out your strategy. Seduce people by mirroring their emotions and interests; create the illusion that you share their values. Few can resist when you reflect their deepest needs and desires.

Principles of Law 44

When you pass by a mirror and suddenly see yourself, it has a startling and powerful effect. You can create a similarly powerful effect on others when you use the psychological technique of mirroring. 

According to Law 44 of the 48 Laws of Power, you can neutralize an opponents’ impact by doing what they do. Repeating their actions or words frustrates and distracts them from their objectives. Throwing their words or actions back at them can also disguise what you’re up to and give you time to maneuver. It works well in military and political campaigns. This is one way to disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect.

But more commonly, you’ll want to use mirroring psychologically to charm, manipulate, and deceive. Most people try to dominate interactions with their opinions, feelings and experiences, and that’s what others expect. When you instead mirror or reflect back (and appear to share) their deepest thoughts and feelings, they’re disarmed.

Find out what sets the other person apart and reflect it; fuel their fantasies. Watch their expressions and gestures for indications of their emotions; consider their clothing and style, whom they associate with, and their habits. This is key to executing Law 44 of the 48 Laws of Power effectively.

Surprise them with your deep understanding of their psyche and they’ll be so touched and grateful that they become putty in your hands.

Putting Law 44 to Work

Here is an example of how to apply Law 44 of the 48 Laws of Power: When she was 18, Marie Mancini, the plain-looking daughter of a baroness, plotted out and successfully implemented a campaign to become the future king Louis XIV’s mistress. 

Because she lacked the beauty of her sisters, she learned everything she could about Louis long before he became king: He disliked scheming and pettiness and from reading adventure stories and plays, he had a romantic nature, high ideals, and a desire for heroic feats and glory.

She read the same things he did, and talked with him about the great deeds of knights, instead of gossip or fashion. Besides mirroring his interests and emotions, she treated him as the heroic king he aspired to be.

He fell in love with her, and showered her with gifts and attention, even taking her along on his military campaigns so she could watch him in action from a position of safety. He promised to marry her but was pressured by elders to marry someone else. To the end of his life, he never loved anyone as much as he loved Marie Mancini. Mancini knew how to use the mirror effect to her advantage.

Exceptions to Law 44

Are there any exceptions to Law 44 of the 48 Laws of Power? Should you ever not disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect? You may unwittingly find yourself in a situation that mirrors a past scenario that you’re unaware of. People will expect you to behave the way someone else did in the past. You won’t be able to live up to their expectations and will suffer as a result. This is a bad place to be, so if you find people associating you with something or someone from the past, break the reflection or association as quickly as possible.

Don’t overdo mirroring, or people will feel used. But in general, it’s safe to follow Law 44 of the 48 Laws of Power: Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect.

Law 44: Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect (48 Laws of Power)

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  • Why you should never outshine your boss
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Amanda Penn

Amanda Penn is a writer and reading specialist. She’s published dozens of articles and book reviews spanning a wide range of topics, including health, relationships, psychology, science, and much more. Amanda was a Fulbright Scholar and has taught in schools in the US and South Africa. Amanda received her Master's Degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.

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