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Think about it this way, if there are a concentration of electrons in one particular side of a molecule and it comes in interaction with another molecule which also has electrons but is less electronegative than the first molecule then the first molecule will push away the electrons because a negative charge repulses another negative charge (like a magnet). This way, the electrons are pushed away thus creating a distortion.
It involves atomic radius. So you can think about it as the smaller the cation the stronger its going to be attached to the nucleus charge making it easier to take away electrons from the anion and if the cation takes away those electrons then its going to distort or mess with the structure of the anion. So, the smaller the cation the greater its going to be able to distort or mess with structural shape of the anion.
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