Manipulation and toxic friendships
As harsh as it might sound, some friendships can be toxic. There are friends who want to receive from us but they give little or nothing in return out of selfishness. Truth be told, we do not have enough energy to invest in friendships and relationships that drain us and give nothing in return. Sometimes, friendships need an analysis like businesses. You have to check your returns on investment. Is the person on the other end of the pole balancing with you? If there is a gap, are there justifiable reasons for it?
Friendships are basically established on the basis of common interest, similarities between acquaintances and proximity. We tend to open up to valuable relationships where there is some affinity with the other person. However, befriending a manipulator can be very costly.
Deepening of relationships
Relationships deepen as we get into deeper levels of disclosure. Because of privacy and confidentiality, we gauge the amount of information to share and what to hold back depending on the relationship we have with the other person. If the friend relative or acquaintance shares a lot with you, you might feel the need to open up to them. There are other friends who you would never reveal certain information. Yet there are others who will encourage you to share al the glossy details, blow by blow. They will ask for detailed descriptions of a fight you had with your spouse, the lifestyle of your parents, interactions with other friends or even our personal mistakes. Other friends will ask for more help than they would be willing to give. Majority of us find pleasure in giving and making the dreams of other people come to life but, being taken advantage of in any relationship only brings resentment and frustration.
Manipulators are experts at convincing other people to give them more than they receive. At first, it feels good to have a friend who seems to care, encourages you to share your thoughts and feelings and to also talk about your weaknesses and fears. We normally value a listening ear when we are down but anyone who uses the information they gather at this moment as a weapon is not appreciated. The manipulate friends are aware of their needs and they are skilled at getting them done at little expense on their side, but a significant cost to others. Master manipulators have many ways of coercing you and getting your assistance in a way that can leave you angry, confused or bewildered. In fact, they can easily make accusations or dire predictions when you turn them down, for instance, telling you what will happen if you fail to give them a ride home. On the other hand, the manipulators may choose to play with your soft side, for instance, by telling you that you are the best cook, therefore, you should make them some food every day.
A successful manipulator is very keen t on evaluating human behavior and nature. He/she can create a situation where meeting their needs makes you feel happier and stronger, even after giving up all you have. If you feel that a particular friend is manipulative, your instincts might be right
How do you know there is a problem with your friendship?
Firstly, we all have to acknowledge that the first step to solving a problem is admitting there is one. You will not find a solution unless you admit that something feels wrong. Some signs indicating that you might be in manipulative friendship include;
Unbalanced levels of disclosure – If you feel that you are sharing more about your life than your friend, then he/she might be looking for your weaknesses and strengths. This is more applicable in cases where you feel coerced to share the details of your life, yet when you ask questions about the life of the friend, he/she avoids them.
In availability of the friend when you need him/her – If you feel that you are always available for your friends but they are never available when you need them, then you might be in a manipulative relationship. A good friend will be there for you as much as he/she can.
The needs of the other person are always more important than yours. – If you realize that your friend is always dismissing of belittling your challenges, then painting theirs as the real deal, then you might be in a manipulative relationship.
Observations made by the people around you. – When you are in a manipulative relationship, it can be hard to see the imbalance by yourself. Trust makes one feel like they share a lot with the other person. However, the people watching you will detect the imbalance early enough because their reasoning is still rational. If a friend makes pointed observations involving the equality and rationality of your friendship with a particular person, then he/she might be onto something.
If you find yourself in a manipulative friendship, it is important to identify a plan for dealing with the situations. Unfortunately, leaving or ending manipulative relationships; whether romance or friendship, is easier than trying to fix it. Normally, a manipulator takes his/her time to create a world in which you meet their needs. Manipulators will ensure that you trust them or depend on them before implementing their plans. As such, you might be biting off a lot if you try to shake the foundation laid by the manipulator. In such cases, it is better to walk away.
Break the cycle. Do not stay in manipulative relationships. You might have heard of the saying “The only person with enough power to change your life is yourself.”. As cliché as it sounds, this saying is true. The best way to deal with manipulative friends is to become less susceptible. No one will manipulate you more than you allow him/her thus you need to take charge. Manipulators will make us feel good when fulfilling their wishes but we have to realize that there are better ways of raising our standards and building our self-esteem.
1. It is okay to turn people down and sometimes, Nos are essential to our wellbeing. Practice saying no whenever something does not fit right with you. You may use the help of a mirror if need be.
2. Create boundaries, and then enforce them. Once you realize there is an imbalance between you and your friend, it is important to do an analysis. How far can your friend go for you in case of a problem? Use this answer to guide your boundaries. Avoid giving more than you can get.
3. A good relationship is a give and take, and even best friends should know their limits. There are things that friends should not ask of one another.
4. Friendships are hardly ever equal in the giving and receiving sector at any one time. However, a healthy relationship will provide both members with support and a sense of commitment from each other, over time.
5. True friends will not let their friends do all the work, all the time.
Points to note
If you feel that the levels of disclosure between you and your friend are not balancing, it might be an indication of manipulation. There are other friends who are never available when you need them yet you are ever available for them. A true friend will hold his/her end in the relationship and will avoid letting you down. If you sense that you are not important to your friend but he/she keeps you anyway, it is time to evaluate the friendship. Do not ignore the signs or make excuses for people; If they want to be in your life, they will find a way.
Positive and negative manipulation
Everybody uses manipulation at one point or the other. The difference between using manipulation consciously and being a master manipulator is the amount of planning, and types of techniques used by people. A master manipulator will take time to identify his/her victim and use different manipulation techniques such as trickery, and deceit to get what they want. On the other hand, anyone can use a form of manipulation unconsciously. For instance, if a child sees a toy he/she wants in a shopping mall and throws a tantrum to get it, then the parent is getting manipulated. However, the child did not sit and plan to make the parent a victim.
Gaslighting is a term used by people to define the manipulation that gets people to question themselves, their reality, Thoughts, memories and their ability. This technique can be used for good or bad intentions. For instance, if a psychologist /therapist is using manipulation techniques to make one improve his/her life, then it is positive manipulation. However, if someone is using manipulation to twist what you say and make you feel helpless, then it is bad. A person using manipulation without considering the possible consequences is selfish and you should watch out for such.
One of the main reasons why people become victims of manipulation is failing to think for themselves. Most of us do not take time to think of things we consider obvious. Consequently, we become vulnerable to manipulation. Unfortunately, manipulation has become associated with negative things. In fact, the word manipulation raises a sense of self-defence in most of us in the current world. What we fail to understand is that manipulation can be used for the good of the people.
If we look at manipulation from a positive aspect, we might embrace it wholeheartedly. However, we must be on the lookout for the people who use manipulation for their own benefit. Understanding that most people do not think for themselves will help you to use the power of manipulation to do good.
Positive manipulation creates self-disciplined, independent thinkers, with high self-esteem and a growth mindset. It further creates an attitude of success and high self-efficacy. Positive manipulation entails inspiring pushes. For instance, a parent may use manipulation to get his/her child to eat vegetables. We can agree that the parent has the best interest at heart for the children – better health. If you use a little positive manipulation in a work environment, you can help people identify their potential and become more productive.
On the other hand, negative manipulation creates unsure followers, low self-esteem, forced discipline, and a fixed mindset. The victims will have an attitude of mediocrity and low self-efficacy.
No one likes being manipulated. The whole idea of manipulation is considered to be a negative thing, in personal and professional life. However, whether we realise it or not, manipulation is taking place in every sector of our lives today. The power of manipulation has been analysed and applied by different people including marketers and businesses everywhere. We are living in certain ways and doing certain things. We are eating certain foods, wearing a brand of clothes, voting for one politician and not the other et cetera. Interestingly, we convince ourselves that it is our choices.
So, which manipulation should we look out for? How can you tell if someone is manipulating you? What are the feelings signalling you that you are being manipulated? There are various forms of manipulation – I can be a pushy salesperson making you feel guilty for not buying an item or a partner who keeps abusing you. Some of The behaviours of manipulative people are easy to identify while others are not.
If you feel that something is not right in a casual encounter or close relationship, for instance, you feel pressured, unsure, controlled or are doubting and questioning yourself more than usual, It could be manipulation. According to Sharie Stines, a therapist based in California who specializes in toxic relationships and manipulation, and need or wants directly. Consequently, they try to manipulate and control others to do their bidding.
Some of the telltale signs indicating that you might be a subject of manipulation include;
1. The feeling of fear, guilt or obligation.
Negative manipulation normally involves three aspects, guilt, fear and obligation. When a person is manipulating you, chances are, he/she is forcing you to do something you do not want. As such, you will feel scared if what you are doing is triggering fear, obligated if failing to do it will offend the other person and guilty, if it is wrong . there are two basic types of manipulators namely the victim and the bully. The victim will make you feel guilty most of the time. They target your guilt and act as the hurt victim. In actual sense, the victim is the cause of the problem even though he/she is acting as the hurt target. On the other hand, the bully makes one feel fearful. He/she tends to use aggression and anger to intimate the manipulated person. A bully may use threats and intimidation to control the other persons.
The person being manipulated often tries to help or bend to the wishes of the manipulator so that he/she can stop the feelings of guilt, obligation or fear. The manipulator usually ensures that the target feels guilty and responsible for the problem, therefore, obliged to help stop their suffering. If you find yourself often doing things to please another person out of fear, obligation or guilt, maybe you are being manipulated
2. Self-doubt and questioning
In manipulation, gaslighting involves making one question his/her decisions, memories, realities and thoughts. A person using manipulative techniques might twist your words to make you feel like you said or did something wrong. In fact, manipulators can easily make every situation about themselves. They can hijack your conversations and make a person feel guilty or wrong. If a person is manipulating you, chances are, you will feel guilty for reasons you cannot understand.
If someone is constantly gaslighting you, you might get defensive and even angry more often than not. A manipulate will always pass the blame to you and avoid taking responsibility.
3. One thing for another
If a person is doing for you a favor so that you can pay him her back, then it is not fun and free. When strings are attached to favors, it becomes manipulation. One type of person that uses favors to manipulate is called Mr Nice guy. It can be hard to suspect such a person because he/she is always nice and selfless to people. The only give away to their intentions is that each favor comes with an expectation. If you fail to meet the expectation, the manipulator sees you as ungrateful.
According to Jay Olson, a researcher analyzing manipulation at McGill University, One of the most common forms of manipulation involves exploitation of the expectations and norms of reciprocity. For example, a salesperson might place pressure on you to purchase an item just because they made you an offer or deal. Ina relationship, a partner might expect you to do their bidding because they brought you a gift. If you fail to meet the favor, the manipulator will make you feel guilty and selfish. Basically, this form of manipulation works because of the social norm that favor should be reciprocated. If you are reciprocating insincerely, it might be a sign of manipulation.
4. Foot in the door technique
A manipulator will try anything you get you to do what he/she wants. In the foot in the door tactic, a person starts with a small request and which is almost reasonable. For instance, he/she can start with ‘do you have the time’. This will lead to a bigger request such as ‘I need $ 100 for this or that’. This manipulation style is most common in street scams
5. Door in the face technique
Unlike the foot in the door technique, the door in the face tactic starts with a big request and when you turn it down, the manipulator places the smaller one. The intention is to trap you into agreeing. In fact, this technique works in many cases because the smaller request seems reasonable compared to the bigger one. For instance, a person may ask for a sum of money, say $100 and when turned down, he/she will ask for $20.
Manipulation has devastating effects on the victim yet the manipulators tend to ignore them. In fact, some of the manipulators get so caught up in terroir ploys that they think their actions are a favor to the manipulated person. If you think there is a person in your life who is manipulating you or someone you know, you need to take steps to avoid further manipulation.
Outsmarting a master manipulator
‘Are you trying to make me feel guilty?’ maybe you have used these words at one time or the other. We find ourselves on the receiving end of a manipulative relationship very many times and sometimes we do not even realize. However, after experiencing all the consequences, failures and disappointments of being in the line of fire of a manipulative relationship, we seek ways of dealing with unfair relationships. We try to understand the things making a manipulator tick, their ploys and plans, and the ways to counter them.
The first step to understanding how a manipulator outsmarts you is by knowing their traits and being able to recognize them in time. Basically, a manipulator tries to influence the outcomes of situations using other people. They try to influence the outcome of a situation, to seize power, to turn others into scapegoats, to gain control of relationships or work, and to reap from the hard work of other people. The most common tools are guilt, lies, deceit, and false hope.
If your instincts tell you that something is off in a particular relationship or with a particular situation, do not ignore or dismiss the feeling. You might be onto something. The manipulator will most likely try to convince you that everything Is fine but you will still find some things warning you. In most cases, manipulators fall into certain patterns and behaviors. This means that they have certain strategies which they use to gain an upper hand on you. If you know what to look for in a manipulator, it will be easier to recognize and foil their attempts to control others. In simpler terms, it becomes easier to know and move a man if you know what he wants.
A master manipulator will make you talk about yourself more than he/she talks about him/herself. The manipulator will analyze your wants, strengths, and weaknesses from the information you share. He/she will also test your boundaries and try to get things they can use against you. Others will even try to induce a slip of the tongue (Freudian slip). Some people might have a genuine interest when talking to you but others have selfish interests. If you note that the person you are talking to avoids direct questions and keeps changing the topic when you ask about them, then you might be dealing with a manipulator. Listen to your gut and avoid falling prey to their plans.
Supposing you are at work and are anxious because of some deadlines which you have to meet. You have targets and need to stay at the top of your game. One of your workmates seems overly interested and even concerned about your take on the situation. After chatting for a few minutes during lunch break, you might feel like you just met your new best friend at work because he/she is very good and patient – listening to your worries. However, you might notice that you did not learn much about the person by the time the conversation is over. Every time the college had to answer a personal question, he/she changed the topic, making it about you. Many of the questions asked by a manipulator are very purposeful, pointed and direct, and their main focus is on you, regardless of the topic.
Knowledge can be very dangerous in the hands of a manipulator. After learning a little about you, the manipulator will directly or indirectly try to make you see him/her in a certain way, for instance, either in a positive light or in the position of a victim. He/she will also try to condition you to act and react in ways favoring their situation. Manipulators are known to try and twist the facts in an attempt to make the other person take action or draw a conclusion in a way that favors them.
In an office setting, a manipulator might tell you “Hey grace, I am a bit worried abbot you. There are some people in the office who are envious of your success. They hate how you get attention from the bosses. In fact, I heard Jane talking over the phone and she mentioned an arrogant bastard. I guess she was talking about you. This has been happening to meet too. I think we should stick together and have each other’s back. We can tell the big man how valuable your ideas are together. He will definitely listen to us when sees the obvious.”
In the above statement, you can see how the manipulator was expressing concern about your situation then he/she moved to ‘we’. The shift is so hidden that you might not even notice. The best interests of the manipulator become ‘our’ best interest. Interestingly, you will observe that we all have used manipulation tactics in our lives at one point or the other. Sometimes, we want to pass our point across and the easiest way to do this is through manipulation.
Knowingly or unknowingly, we sometimes try to drive our points across to spouses, children, colleagues, loved ones, or even supervisors. Somehow, we find an excuse for our behavior, knowingly, or unknowingly, for instance, “ I had to tell her that because …..” “I really needed to say that to get him …” “ I had to get the support so I made that story up”. The only difference between you and a master manipulator is that your manipulation is usually without a clear plan and malice while that of the manipulator is well laid out and conscious.
To outsmart the manipulator, you need to know the common signs
1. They make you talk a lot about yourself and avoid sharing about themselves.
Most people who use manipulation skills, either for your benefit (such as therapists and counselors) or to their advantage (for their own gain), will first identify your strength and weaknesses. The quickest way to know a person is by making him/herself talk about self. What do you abhor? What is your dream? What are your fears and your desires, what do you think about the boss? Sometimes, manipulators will not ask you direct questions. However, they will make you swallow the bait, hook line and sinker.
2. Manipulators will try to get you indebted to them.
When someone does you a favor, you feel the need to pay it back. Kindness will normally attract a return. In the case of manipulation, a person will not do favors for you free of charge. He/she will not show you that the favor has strings attached but in due time, he/she will expect something in return. You might believe in the good of others but to avoid manipulation, you need to learn more about how to reduce the leverage that other people hold with you. One way to ensure that you do not get manipulated due to leverage is by being suspicions. You have to question the motives of the people and test them out. Not everyone offering you favors wants to help. They just want to create a situation where you owe them. Detect manipulators early. Baiting people can also help you identify manipulators in time. For instance, offer a small amount of money for the favor they offer. If they accept, then you are no longer indebted. However, a master manipulator might know how to reject your bait and wait for a bigger jackpot. Questioning the motives of people and baiting them will help you avoid a lot of traps.
3. Manipulators will use small threats to get their demands.
This is the technique used by almost every drug dealer in the world. They give the addicts the substances they need and threaten to take it back if they do not meet certain demands. After the manipulators study your needs, cravings, and desires he/she will use this knowledge to blackmail you.
4. Manipulators will also change the facts to fit their best interests.
Most master manipulators are very good at making others see things from their perspective. The manipulator alters a situation to make you see things to their advantage
5. Another technique mostly used by manipulators involves making themselves victims.
The manipulator might act as if no one understands him/her apart from you. This way, you will be in the trap of helping them and singing their tune. Whenever they are suffering, you are a knight in shining armor or the dame (feminine equivalent for knight) on a white horse coming to the timely rescue.
6. Manipulators also tend to use guilt to make one bend to their wishes. Majority of manipulators will put words in your mouth and make you take responsibility. They will alter the facts and act like victims so that you feel guilty of their situation and do as they wish. You need to understand that whatever people do to themselves is not your responsibility. You cannot always take responsibility for the actions of other people.
7. The manipulators will always look for ways to criticize, judge and belittle you.
It is easier to manipulate someone who has self-doubt more than one with high self-esteem. As such, the manipulator will look for ways to make you feel invaluable, and then he/she will validate you in a way best suited for his/her situation. The “I’m not good enough” statement is used by most people in manipulative relationships. I have met people who stay in unhealthy relationships because they feel that no one will want them. Most of them have manipulative partners who invalidate everything they do.
DO NOT let anyone lower your self-esteem especially family, friends, spouses and significant others. It can be very hard to let go of negative beliefs once a person has constantly criticized you. Have unshakable self-esteem.
8. Manipulators also give people false hope.
Once a manipulator knows your goals, he/she can look for ways to make you feel like he/she will help you reach them if you do certain favors. The manipulators are so good at giving false hope that you will not notice their deceit. In fact, you will do their bidding without a second thought.
9. Manipulators are professional liars.
You will find that manipulators hardly ever keep their end of the bargain. In fact, their words do not match their actions. Most of the times, they lie, and when caught, they try to act as victims or make a joke out of the situation. If you believe in the good of people, you will be caught in their trap more often than not.
10. The manipulator will overwhelm you with statistics and facts
In simpler terms, this form of manipulation can be called intellectual bullying. There are some people who enjoy making others feel inadequate by proving how much they know in certain areas. The manipulators will take advantage of the victim by posing alleged statistics, facts and other unknown or uncommon data. This form of manipulation is rampant in sales departments and financial institutions because a good number of people are not well informed on matters finance. It is also evident in [professional discussions, negotiations, social and relational arguments. The manipulator seeks to push you to his/her agenda by presuming power over you. Some people use intellectual bullying just to feel superior to others.
11. Manipulators can overwhelm the victim with red tapes and procedures.
Most manipulators will use what they have as an advantage to manipulate the victim. Some manipulators use bureaucracy – paperwork, laws, procedures, committees, by-laws and other legal material to maintain their power and position while making the life of the victim more difficult. Other manipulators will use procedures and red tape to delay truth-seeking and fact-finding, hide weaknesses and flaws and also evade scrutiny.
12. Negative surprises.
Some manipulators will use negative surprises to gain control over you. Usually, the manipulator will look for a situation where a negative response will throw you off balance. A good example is when a supplier says he/she will not be able to deliver at the last minute. He/she may ask for more favors in order to deliver and at that moment, the victim will not have a way to counter the move. Basically, this manipulator will ensure that the victim has no other way out.
Emotional manipulators and emotional intelligence
According to google trends, searches on emotional intelligence such as “how emotionally intelligent am I and can emotional intelligence be learned?” have increased by a minimum of 400 percent. This indicates the increased interest in the topic of emotional intelligence. More people are looking for ways to interact efficiently and effectively
By definition, emotional intelligence is the ability of an individual to recognize his/her own emotions and those of others. It is the ability to discern the different feelings we experience and to label them appropriately. Emotional intelligence also involves the use of emotional information to guide behaviors and thoughts and also to adjust/manage emotions to adapt in different environments and achieve goals. In simpler terms, the first step of emotional intelligence is recognizing your feelings, and emotions when you talk to a person, using this awareness to guide your actions, and protecting yourself from the manipulators by taking charge of your tone of voice, body language, et cetera.
Honestly, the steps of emotional intelligence are easier said than done. Understanding emotional intelligence and applying it to guard yourself against manipulators involves a bit of a learning curve. However, being aware of emotions and how they influence your actions and help a manipulator use you is a good first step.
If you have strong beliefs, ensure that you guard them closely. Have you noticed that missionaries, visionary leaders and motivational speakers are usually very outspoken about their beliefs? Yet it can be hard to manipulate them. With tremendous practice, these people have very strong self-protection system, such that, even after sharing so much about themselves, no one is able to shake thee beliefs. As mentioned earlier, the quickest way to learn a person’s likes and dislikes is through listening to them. That is the basic way through which manipulators reach their victims.
However, words are not the only communication way giving a person away. there are other ways that people use to express themselves either consciously or unconsciously, for instance, body language, tone of voice, the eyes, the facial expressions, and being present at a particular place at a particular time. Maybe you have heard of phrases such as “he had a surprised look on his face, her eyes gave her away, her presence was such an encouragement, he stood tall, -she sounded scared”. Basically, one might be very good at lying with words but the body language cannot be manipulated forever. The emotions determine our body language, forcing it to tell the truth such that, you can say “I am not scared” and yet your voice shakes in fear. If you do not know how to guard such telltale signs, a manipulator will know how to push you around if a very short time without your realization.
At this juncture, you need to learn how to use emotional intelligence to outsmart your manipulator. He/she should not be able to tell what is happening to you. One way to guard your body language is through setting some well-defined goals that help you take charge of your reactions and help you achieve what you want.
So, how exactly do I outsmart a manipulator? First, we need to understand that a master manipulator is not like a puppet master because he/she is very sure of the goals and is very good at getting them. A manipulator will have two goals 1) to achieve his/her goal, 2) to not be caught manipulating others because this kind of information would ruin them. To achieve the two goals, manipulators will use their observation skills to study their victim and plan every step of their ploys very carefully. You will be surprised to learn that more people seek to become a master manipulator and a good number of them manage to become such. As such, we need to learn how to outsmart these people.
1. Avoid contact with master manipulators.
I know you might be wondering “how can I avoid manipulators? What if I have to work with them in the same office?” Basically, avoid a manipulator when you can. Even in an office setting, avoid getting too close to the people you know can manipulate.
2. Stand firm and say no to manipulation
In most cases, we get manipulated because we are not firm in our decisions. We become victims of manipulation because we constantly let our guards down and feel sorry for the manipulator without realizing it. Gradually, we become the knight in shining armor without realizing that we do not have to help them. Realize that it is okay to have a stand and say no to manipulators. If you feel that whatever you are about to do goes against your better judgment, just say no and walk away. Having a stand does not make you a bad person.
3. Ignore the manipulator.
There are some manipulators you can hardly avoid for instance if you have to work with them in the same office. In such a case ignore the person. You see, entertaining the manipulator will only give him/her a chance to study you. The quickest and safest way to deal with them is by ignoring. Do not engage in their conversations. Listen to their words and nod your head when necessary. Do not start an argument when the manipulator strikes one unless it is absolutely necessary and work-related. Make it short and walk away.
4. Set boundaries
this is very important in any relationship, setting boundaries. To be precise, setting boundaries is very important when the relationship begins because no one knows what to expect from you. When the relationship has advanced, it can be hard to set limits. Do not wait until you are mistaken. Find a way to fight for what you want. Make it clear that you will not entertain certain behaviors. “No, I am sorry but my notebooks and office desk are personal. You cannot just peruse through them without asking me first.” This is a way to say no but with a purpose. “No, you cannot call me every night” “No you cannot monitor my every move, I have a private life” “No, you cannot involve me in your skims” “ You are a good person but there are some things that are not syncing between us”
5. Have clear goals
Set your goals so that, when a person tries to manipulate you away from them, you will notice. If you have clearly defined goals such as professional goals, career, personal improvement, relationship and financial goals, it will become very hard for someone to walk into your life and start steering you in another direction. When you know your targets, it is easier to pick a path in the right direction and follow. The manipulator will not manage to swing you to his/her will. Destructions and detours are easily visible when you have a clear path to follow.
6. Take responsibility for what you do
Be willing to take responsibility for your work whether good or bad. Manipulators usually look for ways to take credit for the work of other people and claim it as their own. They are also very good at scapegoating and blaming other people for their mistakes. If you did not make the mistake, do not accept responsibility. If you did some good work, do not let a manipulator take the credit.
7. Keep track of what you get involved in
Supposing you are working on a project with a manipulator and he/she is likely to take credit for all the work, ensure that you keep track of the role you play. Record the phone conversations you have over the project, keep paper trails, note your part and the other person’s part, monitor your position, et cetera.
8. Avoid emotional involvement
As seen in the emotional intelligence section, emotions can be a sellout and you need to learn how to control your body language. A master manipulator will twist your emotions and blow them out of proportion. Read about emotional intelligence and body language to understand how to avoid manipulation in this line.
9. Be someone they would rather avoid messing up
Sometimes, it is necessary to be the person that people avoiding crossing. Though it sounds like a boring person to be, it will save you a lot of trouble. Let the manipulator know that you are out of bound and if they try anything with you, they are at risk. This technique goes hand in hand with setting boundaries.
10. Hit the manipulator where it hurts
This does not involve getting physical rather, it might involve turning allies into enemies. Once you identify a manipulator, destroy his/her power base. For instance, if you realize that a person is lying to get what he/she wants in an office, inform some other work colleagues and make sure that the word spreads. However, you have to ensure that your actions do not get you into more trouble.
As seen in part one of the book, there are different types of manipulators and they can be defined differently according to each situation. Regardless of the type, manipulators have one intention; to have their way. They all make you feel seriously uncomfortable if you fail to perform according to the expectations. Their main ingredients include shame, guilt, and anxiety.
Manipulation usually has a hidden agenda thus it avoids straight forward communication. It has to be furtive because the manipulator’s interest is met at the expense of the target’s desire. Making you feel ashamed, worried and guilty will occur through questions, statements, in the form of hints, comparisons, or stories. The manipulator will also use facial expressions, gestures and voice tones to reach your emotions. Below are ways of mitigating some types of manipulation.
1. Guilt trips
Regardless of the type, the majority of manipulators will look for ways to make you feel guilty. In fact, most manipulators will make you see the ways you are letting them down. Maybe you have heard the following statements from people;
“If you knew what I have been through…, you would not do that to me. ”
“If you cared about me…. You would…”
“If you were good… you would….”
All these statements reach out to your emotions. Naturally, the manipulator is telling you that if you fail to comply with their needs, you are not good enough. Hence, you better meet their demands.
Guilt-tripping Is very common because most of us learn how to use it from an early age. For instance, If two parents separate, the children tend to learn how to manipulate them, more so the custodian. To illustrate this situation; If a mother disciplines her daughter after a separation, the child may start crying that she is missing the father. Chances are, the mother will stop disciplining the child and start comforting her. The child might really miss her father and is looking for ways to act out but that should not be used to provoke guilt in the mother.
The best way to fight guilt trip manipulation is to not cave in even when the guilt is overwhelming. It is important to be firm about your intentions and intended accomplishments. If you have to discipline a child, do it regardless of their manipulation tactics. You can crown your accomplishment with statements such as “I’m sorry you feel that way, but discipline is necessary.” You may feel guilty but do not take responsibility for the whole situation by yourself. Be rational and identify what the other person might have done to get you to the situation. MANIPULATORs WILL NOT NECESSARILY MAKE YOU feel guilty for a valid reason, rather, it is for their own hidden agenda.
The self-esteem and identity hacker
This technique involves making the other person feel inferior through labeling, contempt, put-downs, and judgments. Even a simple gesture such as rolling of the eyes can make you feel intimidated. The manipulators using this form of communication will harshly criticize your character. Manipulators avoid direct conversations, therefore, will conceal their real message.
The feeling of shame and belittlement will make you so what the manipulator expects so as to avoid further disrespectful treatment. In the end, the self-esteem of the victim is undermined.
To fight the manipulative hacker, there are several steps you need to take. First of all, do not take their statements and criticism seriously. That is just a tool to intimidate and persuade you. Even the manipulator does not believe what he/she is saying about you. Secondly, set boundaries for yourself and do not let people talk disrespectfully to you. When you receive a negative comment from someone, respond calmly but clearly “This is not acceptable”. Finally, do what you think is right regardless of what the hacker says. You are independent of the opinions of others.
This form of manipulation is mostly found in domestic violence cases. It can also be found in some of the famous crimes. Basically, threats operate with a deep fear of staying safe. The manipulator makes statements such as “I will harm you if fail to do what I tell you to do.” Threats can involve blackmail to destroy your important things. This includes your relationships, careers, and reputation.
If you are in physical danger, the first step is to escape and find help from outside. If the problem is more verbal, such as yelling and shouting, be firm as you let the person know that you are not intimidated. Be warned, however, the more you give in to threats, the less likely it will stop.
The silent treatment giver
This technique is used very frequently in relationships. It works by withdrawing emotions, communication, and even sex in some relationships until the target gives in to the manipulator and meets his/her demands. Essentially, the manipulator controls the target by fear; that is, fear of rejection, abandonment, and disconnection. This manipulation technique mostly affects people with self-esteem and confidence issues.
The way to avoid this is to not show your fear. Do not nag a person for communication. You do not have to be the only one begging for attention in a relationship. Put limits and ensure that you are capable of walking away if things keep turning out wrong. You can respond to the manipulator in an easy-going and neutral way. For instance “I can see that you are not willing to communicate right now. I am going to (work, sleep, visit a place or any other thing). Please let me know when you are ready to talk with me again”.
One tool used by manipulators to make you doubt your abilities is criticism. More often than not, this tool is used as a means of controlling others by weakening their confidence, self-reliance, and self-esteem It can be very useful when one wants to put you down to get to your emotions. Most people who are under constant criticism tend to feel inferior and will do anything to avoid being in the belittlement spotlight. However, most master manipulators avoid it because reinforced behavior is more fruitful than intimidation.
To fight this form of manipulation, a person may set clear standards on the kind of messages that he/she can take from the other. You may also ask the person to keep criticizing you. Paradoxically, a manipulator will run out of ways to criticize you if you act as if their words do not bother you. If you keep arguing with the person, he/she will feel the need to prove you wrong and keep criticizing. Being defensive will add oil to the fire.
Is revenging a good thing?
Marcus Aurelius, a Roman emperor said that the best way to revenge is to be unlike him who hurts you. However, we have to agree that it is very hard to suffer without wanting to pay the offender back with evil. More often than not, you will have to stick up for what you believe in and tell the manipulative people off. In today’s world, you will meet very many manipulators and allowing them to take advantage of you will leave you drained. When the manipulators go too far you will have to push back and reset the boundaries. That is entirely up to you to pay them back in a productive way. Avoid the eye for an eye payback because, as mentioned earlier, the best way to revenge is by doing the opposite of what the offender did.
The worst thing you can do is to become like the person you are paying back. Do not stoop to the level of a manipulator. In fact, the manipulator can be very happy to see the kind of pain he/she caused you. A worse option for you is letting the matter go and assuming it will never happen again. The avoid conflict,- suck it up – and hope it does not work again technique does not work and I hate to tell you- The manipulator will come again. A person who has learnt to live by twisting others around for their owns gain, without guilt over the resulting damages, will keep repeating the pattern. And because most of the victims do not fight back, the manipulators get more courage to keep doing what they do.
The damage affecting your self-worth if you choose to walk away without confrontation is piercing. Do not let a manipulator keep doing what he/she does. When you forgive and let a manipulator go without calling them out, you give the person another chance to manipulate, either you or someone else. Some of these manipulators have the nerve to circle back to see if they have another chance with you. Watch out.
It is very hurtful and infuriating to think that such a[person can walk around scot-free, thus the option of revenge seems really viable. If you have ever been a victim of a manipulator, then you understand how the thoughts of revenge can make you want to run the person down. This negative loop can have you losing your mind. You should not feel bad because of Having thoughts of revenge, it is normal. In fact, these thoughts are healthy. At least your mind is looking for a way to heal – an exit strategy, any form of justice. According to researches, thoughts of revenge can make us feel good. That is why getting news about bad guys being punished can bring positive emotions to us.
However, revenge is bittersweet – it brings negative feelings following the memory of the initial offense or experience. The thoughts of making the person who has hurt you suffer can bring a temporary sense of justice. There is evidence that revenge motivated aggression serves as a mood booster. As fun and helpful as it sounds, imagining revenge can be a very satisfying and effective way of coping but real revenge can be very harmful. In fact, revenge in relationships has been associated with decreased life satisfaction, ruminating over the offense neuroticism and negativity. Having put these factors into consideration, we can say that renege is not worth it. The idea of revenge might seem appealing but it will only result in wastage of time and resources.
since it can be hard to let a manipulator walk away without some form of punishment, how can a person get revenge on him/her?
The truth is, enacting a revenge plan is not worth your time. In fact, it deflects from your personal productivity and responsibility. Adding insult to injury, revenge will give the victory to the manipulator because you have turned your time and attention to him/her. The more you think about the situation, the more you focus on spending your time on revenge. You will be feeding the wrong beast.
The only real revenge to apply to a manipulator is gaining control of your life and cutting out the toxic people without wasting more time. The three best way of getting on the nerves of the manipulator are
1. Shut it down.
When you meet the manipulator face to face, the first thing you need to do is stop gossiping, stop talking and stop running the mouth, regardless of the topic. Remember that manipulators will want you to keep talking so that they can spot your weakness. When a person hurts you, the first reaction involves bad-mouthing them and complaining. That is a very senseless way for revenging.
When you become a gossiper, you are only hurting yourself. When you complain too much, you give the manipulator a chance to know you more and to gather thins to use against you. Stop reacting openly. The manipulator feeds on gossip and he/she will turn your words against you consistently. The intention of the manipulator is to use you quickly, annoy you, and then ruin your reputation. They destroy you to feel [powerful and will hold leverage control over you.
Instead of talking about and with the manipulators, get your revenge by shutting them off and cutting out all communication. You do not have to explain our self to them. Do not be tempted to rationalize their behavior and do not back down. Do not get sucked into the little manipulative mind games again.
Remove yourself from the situation completely and stop giving the enemy power. Take a seat and watch the manipulators fight themselves until they fizzle out
2. Become stoic
The second thing that you need to do to pay back the manipulator is to become emotionless. The manipulator wants to mess with your emotions at every turn. And, even if you feel angry, hurt, upset, happy or rejuvenated, letting your emotions govern your character will only make you vulnerable. The manipulator will get more power from this. Getting your revenge on a manipulative person should not be guided by feelings. Instead, your thoughts and actions of revenge should rely on rationality.
Supposing someone has manipulated you, now you feel the need to revenge because the person proved to be untrustworthy. The best way to go involves improving your life strategically to avoid such a situation repeating itself. Channel the negative manipulative actions into something better and productive that benefits you. Do not spend time whining and crying about how life is unfair and at this juncture, self-pity is not allowed. Use the pain to improve your life. Make it your advantage and make something good happen to you.
Growth is among the best revenge in life. When someone hurts you, ensure that you become better, not bitter. Meet new people, Start new projects, move on, and leave the entire negativity behind, seek out success, it is the best payback. GETTING rid of negativity will help you to become free and have room for better people who will not suck your life dry with manipulation.
3. Own your part
In most cases, we will not admit that we contributed to our problems, one way or another. To get revenge, you will need to accept your responsibility in the situation. When a manipulator gets a chance to use you, it is as much your fault as it is theirs. One way or another, you put yourself in the compromising situation. You handed power to the manipulators, knowingly or unknowingly. Somehow, you allowed the manipulator to push you around and have his/her way. Probably, you did not set clear boundaries.
Now, as part of revenge, accept your mistakes. Take responsibility for the role you played. Use the facts in this situation to prepare for the future and avoid further manipulation. Ask yourself questions such as what knowledge did you lack? Why were you vulnerable and which areas of your life are weak? Which skills do you need to learn? Lashing out at other people will not improve the situation, Rather, it will waste your time. Pay attention to yourself. After all, who was manipulated? You. Who is trying to get help? You. Then why bother showing other people where they are wrong? Stop wasting time, let the others be wrong. Let them keep living the manipulative life. You are better and have bigger things to pursue.
Real justice with the manipulators is not making them realize their faults. You do not have to make them confess that they wronged you. The real victory is rising so high above the manipulator that he/she never reaches you again. Be sure that the manipulator cannot affect your life negatively again. Manipulators win by your actions and behaviors. The more you talk to them, try to enlighten them, engage them or defend yourself the more they see you as a fool. Our victory will only come if you stop engaging, set new boundaries and take responsibility. This way, you will have more time to focus on protecting your energies, time and life. Aim at being successful.
How to stop being the victim of a manipulative relationship
Many partners experience manipulation in relationships. It is easy to identify how you can stop being manipulated by a partner/lover but it is extremely hard to make changes in the relationship.
If you find yourself in the fix of a manipulative relationship with a spouse, the forest step to stopping the manipulation is to accept gat you are a victim. This change will only happen after acceptance. When you realize that you are a victim, then you will see the real need for change. Know that you do not stand to gain anything by staying in a manipulative relationship and being used by a selfish person.
Every time you accept to do something while your mind is telling you no, you are allowing someone to rule your life and decisions. A manipulator will take your giving in as a sign of weakness and keep using you. Over the years, you will smaller, weaker and suffer from low self-esteem every time you get manipulated and used.
If you really want to end the manipulation in your relationship and the cycle of negative energy, you need to believe in yourself and learn how to take a stand. You need to believe that you are worthy of your partner. When you think that you are less worthy, chances are, you will keep doing favors for your partner regardless of your opinion. Below are some ways to stop being manipulated and change for the better.
1. You are the victim.
To change the manipulative relationship, you will need to realize that you are the victim. I many cases, the victim feel like he/she is the bad person in the case and the manipulator is very good at passing the blame. Once you accept that your partner is manipulating you, it is easier to look for change for the better. Use anger, frustrations, and resentment you feel every time you are manipulated to convince yourself that your partner is behaving in the wrong way. Then, you will see the need to act on the bad. Tell yourself that you deserve a fuller life that is lined with happiness and fulfillment rather than trickery and deceit. You will need to believe in your strength and realize that you can say no. when your partner blames you, remember You are the one being used.
One of the main ingredients of a good relationship is communication. You need to talk to your partner and explain your feelings. Mention that you feel manipulated in the relationship and that there are things you want to change. Remember that your partner might not even recognize that he/she has been manipulating you. Maybe he/she had no intentions of hurting you. Communicating your feelings and needs will give you the courage to say no whenever there is a request you do not agree to. Once you have explained to the manipulative partner that there are some requests you do not agree with, you will get the chance to turn him/her down next time.
3. Identify their blackmail techniques
Basically, every manipulator has a way of manipulating the victim depending on what they know about him/her. When you have a partner who knows you well, he/she will know the buttons to push. We tend to share a lot of information and secrets with lovers and spouses, therefore, giving them the power to manipulate us. A good partner will not manipulate a person just because they know how. On the other hand, a manipulative partner will take advantage of the information he/she has as a weapon. You need to look out for the ways through which your partner manipulates you; does he/she use the bullying technique, the intimidation way or the self-esteem killing technique? Do they use the negative energy ( Intimidation, or self-esteem killing) or positive energy(praising you and massaging your ego ) on you? Point out the signs and actions making you feel used and vulnerable in the relationship.
4. Take a stand.
Although you might lack the strength and courage to say no as at yet, you might want to at least take a stand. Identify the things you do not like doing. When something does not feel right, assess it and have a reason. Then explain to yourself why you feel that the matter at hand is not befitting. It will feel awkward at first but gradually, your confidence will grow.
5. Set some principles in life
Ask yourself what you would want from your partner. What are you willing to take from them? How much can you take and where do you draw the lines? When you have clear boundaries in your life, it will be easy to know when to stop. You will be in a better position to tell when your boundaries are being crossed. Again, you will have a limit to the favors you offer. Boundaries will help you define yourself thus recreate your confidence.
6. Learn to be assertive.
In most cases, we get manipulated because of lack of assertiveness. We give the manipulator a chance to set our boundaries and use us because we are not sure about what we want and how to report. Be assertive with your partner; If you are saying no, let it be a firm one. Make your stand known as soon as possible and do not be afraid of rejecting what you feel is not right. Remind yourself that no one has the right to manipulate you to do their bidding. No one should bully you into things you do not want.
7. Claim your independence
Most people who get bullied and manipulated in relationships believe that part of their life is dependent on the partner. In other words, the victim has to be good enough for the manipulator, therefore, will do anything to prove his/her worth. To counter this feeling, ensure that you are independent in all ways, emotionally, financially, and socially so that you can have the strength to say no, stay on your feet and stay in charge of your life.
8. Love and respect yourself
It can be very hard for you to stand for yourself if you do not believe in yourself. That is why manipulators look for ways to make you feel low. Believe that you are awesome and stop being the pushover. Do not allow people to use you. Be firm in your principles and stand for what you believe. Do not give your partner the opportunity to use your limitations for their advantage.
9. Don’t give up
Getting out of the grip of a manipulator is not easy especially if he/she is a lover/spouse or partner. It can be hard to make big changes in life when you are already used to a particular pattern. However, it is not entirely impossible. You are the only person with the power to control your life for the better. Therefore, even if finding your footing the first time becomes hard, do not give up. You might fall victim of manipulation every now and then but gradually, you will become stronger and be able to say no. If you fail this time, try harder next time.
10. Build a support system
A large number of manipulators will make sure that their victim is secluded such that he/she has no one to rely on. If you are being manipulated by a partner, lover or spouse, counter them by building a support system with friends and family. They will help you heal from the manipulation. When you have a hard time, talk to them for encouragement. Then, ensure that you are busy with your life and engage the support system many times.
11. Get stronger
Being able to stay in control of your life is not easy and there is no better feeling than that of resisting what you do not want. Every time you get the strength to say no to someone, be it a coworker, a salesperson, or y0ur spouse, you experience some power. Take a moment to enjoy the control you have at that moment you say no. Use the strength gotten from the moment to prepare for next time.
12. Do not let the negative things get to you
A manipulator will say negative things to you especially if you start refusing his/her advances. Their intention is to make you feel inadequate and do what they want. Do not let their bitter remarks get to you. That is their opinion of life, not yours. Their expectation and standards are not yours. You have your own life, and you are living it in the best way. Doubting yourself will surely make you lose control of your life. Make sure that you turn a deaf ear to the negative things and believe in yourself. It will not be easy, but it is doable.
13. Do not fall prey
Manipulators will try to get you back to their trap once they realize that you are acquiring freedom. Do not fall back into manipulation because of the false excuses, pleas and lavish gifts given by the manipulator. Be sure that once the manipulative partner feels that you are slipping from his/her grip, He/she will do anything to get you back. For instance, if a spouse has been insulting and intimidating his/her partner, he/she will act sorry and even beg for forgiveness. In most cases, the manipulator will take your forgiveness as a sign of weakness and keep up with the bad manipulative pattern. As such, it is important for you to avoid falling back to their vicious cycle. As sorry and as strong as they are, do not give in. Be strong and analyze their demands carefully. Sometimes, you will feel obligated to do then manipulators bidding because he is being really nice. To counter this feeling, Avoid getting favors from the manipulator.
14. Do not let the manipulator beat around the bush
In most cases, the manipulator will avoid any straight talk. Remember that communication is one of the key weapons used by manipulators and they will avoid direct communication as much as they can. A manipulative partner might talk more about the things he/she has done for you, or about the special thing he/she promised you. At the moment you seem happy, the manipulator will ask for a favor. Keep in mind that a manipulator wants to put you in an awkward position so that he/she can trick you to do their bidding. Do not let that happen. If you sense that a person is coming up with all sorts of stories with the intention of manipulating, tell him/her to be direct and ask for what they want.
Finally, If the manipulation does not stop, you might have to walk away. Living with a partner who manipulates you is like walking on a minefield. It becomes hard to love this person fully because you never know what is up to their sleeve. In other words, you will focus on being on guard rather than building something nice. Does that sound like the recipe for a fulfilling relationship? No. If you cannot be free in the presence of your partner, a person who you intend to spend a lifetime with, is it a worthy relationship? Why be with someone you are wary of every day?
If your spouse/ partner does not change even after you raise your concerns, then you better walk away. You are human and deserve to be happy and free. Some of these manipulators are so used to the negative ways that they do not know how to change even after a confrontation. In such a case, it is better to leave than stay and have someone who claims to love you breaking your ego, morale, and spine. You see, allowing your partner to manipulate you will only make you accommodate other people who will manipulate you further. Build your esteem, love yourself and get away from such people.
Dealing with a manipulative friend
We all have encountered a manipulative friend at one point or the other in life. This friend seems to have your best interest at heart but when one looks closely, he/she can identify mind games and self-centered persuasion. Manipulative friends will use guilt and intimidation to meet their goals. If you are stuck with a friend who is always taking and never giving, it’s time to say enough. If you have a friend who keeps dismissing you whenever you are in need, it may be time to do some confrontation. Or better still, you may choose to walk away. How do you deal with a manipulative friend?
First, let us look at ways of identifying a manipulative friend
1. Pay attention to how the friend talks about other people.
Many manipulators will criticize others in order to look superior. Criticism indicates insecurity. If your friend is constantly criticizing the people around him/her and has almost nothing good to about others, you need to watch out. Such a friend will not hesitate to say negative things about you in your absence. In other cases, the friend will even try to put you down in your face.
– You will hardly hear that a person with manipulative traits has accepted his/her mistake. Manipulators avoid responsibility as much as they can. In their mind, the manipulators can do no wrong.
– Keeping a manipulative friend will surely make you the subject of rumors and gossip.
2. Learn to spot the guilt trips
There are people who always bring up past events such as loaning you money or supporting you in a crisis. They normally bring such matters up when in need of something from you and will hold the past event over your head until you give in. These guilt trips are a sure indicator of entitlement – the person who helped you feels that you owe them, regardless of the circumstances.
– Do not allow yourself to be manipulated to feeling guilty even when you should not. Do not take the things your manipulative friend is saying at face value otherwise you will be forced to pay back in order to get back into the good books.
– Be upfront when you suspect that a person is using guilt to make you do something especially if it is causing you discomfort. If your friend was manipulating you unconsciously, then he/she will be able to see his error. On the other hand, if he/she was conscious of the manipulation, then the manipulative friend will know that you are not a pushover.
– A manipulative friend might even blame you for things going wrong even if you are not the cause. In such a case, try not to take it personally. Instead, stay rational and avoid violent confrontations.
Take stock; how reliable has your friend been in the past?
Assess the time that your friend has been really, therefore, you in the past when you needed them. If you are having a challenge recalling the ways they assisted you, it might mean that you have nothing substantial from them. Your friend might be a user. The friendship might be one-sided.
– Try asking for some help from your friend and see how far they are willing to go. The far he/she goes will help you to know the value of the relationship.
Take your time to determine if your friend is being genuine or manipulative
There are times when a situation might look manipulative while it is not. Do not make the assumption that your friend is manipulating you if you do not have evidence. There is always the chance that whatever he/she is saying is genuine and you need to hear it. However, a manipulative friend will make him/herself the center of the story most of the time.
– For instance, If you are having a bad day at home or work, your genuine friend will check on you and even try to cheer you up. On the other hand, a manipulator will try to tell you how their day is worse just to make their life look sadder.
– Look out for signs of friends who take and never give. If these signs are present, you have yourself a manipulator in a relationship, whether he/she is doing it intentionally or not.
– Do not accuse your friend without evidence. It will only cause unnecessary tension.
Do not keep second-guessing yourself if you have evidence that your friend is a manipulator.
Basically, a manipulator will have you doubting yourself. He/she will make you feel sorry even when it is their fault. Reassure yourself that the manipulator is the problem, not you. It is up to you to make it stop.
– A manipulative friend will try to diminish your feelings or blame you for their mistakes. Some of the phrases you will hear include “why do you take everything seriously? It was just a joke” or you are imagining things. Do not let these tactics change your mind. Assess your goals and boundaries and only allow true friends in your circle. Having many fake friends will only stall your success and drain your energy.
– Do not make excuses for self-centered friends. You will only give them a chance to use you more. And beware; manipulative friends will keep using you as long as you let them.
Deal with the manipulative friend
First, you need to be direct. If you suspect that your friend is manipulating you, do not get dragged into a pointless charade. Give the other person a chance to explain him/her mission by asking about it without mincing words. A true friend who has your best interests at heart will be honest. On the other hand, a manipulative friend will try to rationalize his/her words in an attempt to stay In control.
– Avoid playing mind games because they are just a waste of time. Again, spending too much time with a master manipulator gives him/her the chance to study you and identify ways to apply their skills.
– Be wary of someone who is not willing to share his/her true feelings, thoughts and intentions. Something is definitely brewing.
Secondly, keep a level head. When you realize that your trusted friend has been manipulating you, there are high chances of taking things personally. It is advisable for the victim to stay calm and not take the manipulative tactics personally. It is natural to feel upset when you realize that someone has broken the trust had but blowing up only heightens issues. You will handle the situation more effectively with a maintained poise.
– A Manipulator may even be looking for a way to make you angry in order to affect your reasoning ability. Do not fall for the emotional games.
– Always delay a confrontation until you have the chance to cool off.
Thirdly, learn how to say no. One of the things preventing us from saying no is the feeling of guilt. Sometimes we do not want to look bad in front of our friends, therefore, we agree with all they ask. On the other hand, a manipulator takes advantage of these feelings. Do not give in to the demands of a self-centered friend. Regardless of the level of friendship between you and your friends, there is no rule saying you have to do everything they ask. If something does not add up for you, simply and firmly say no. You may give the friend your reasons for saying no but know that do not owe anyone an explanation. Once you learn to say no and have used it in enough times, you will shift the power balance towards the center.
– You are not obliged to say yes to anyone. .You also do not have to offer excuses or justify your No. Simply say no and be firm in your stand. The manipulator might try to sway you and he/she succeeds, you will remain in the manipulation cycle.
– There are times when everyone needs genuine help, whether they are manipulators or not. When asked for help, take time to analyze the situation. Are you being played or is the person in question in real need?
Stick up for yourself. As noted earlier, manipulators prey on people with self-esteem issues. IT is very hard to manipulate a person with high self-esteem and confidence. Speaking up for yourself sends the message that you are not a pushover and manipulators will keep off. So long as you feel and appear confident, the manipulator will not be able to pressure you
– If you go out of your way to accommodate the opinions of a critic companion, you show the manipulator that you are not sure of your stand, therefore, he/she can impose him/herself.
– If for instance, you have a friend who keeps ridiculing your dressing code because they look or feel better than you, respond by simply saying “ I like my sense of style. It is just different from yours but still good”.
Do whatever suits you best. Note that, there is a great difference between taking orders and taking advice. Some of your mates will develop the habit of meddling with your business and giving your opinions even when they are not asked. Do not feel afraid to tell them off, after all, it is your life. Some of the opinions may be put to practice and be beneficial, but ensure that no one is ordering you around. At the end of the day, you have the final say in your life.
– A true friend will give you genuine advice. In fact, he/she might not like the man or woman you are dating, but will never tell you to stop seeing them. Instead, your friend will point out the things he/she feel are wrong then leave you to decide.
– Spend some time identifying what is best for you. When you have clear goals, t is hard for a person to just sway you. List down your limits and goals. What are your limits? How far can you go for a friend? These questions can help you set limits in your relationships.
Tell your friend. As mentioned earlier, some manipulators are not applying their tactics consciously. Some of these manipulators think their behavior is normal. Your manipulative friend might not be aware of the consequences of his/her actions. Talking to them about their practices might help them the mistake in their ways. When a genuine friend sees the results of his/her actions, he/she will be willing to change. However, a fake friend will try to justify their behavior and keep doing the same manipulative things in future.
– When telling your friend about their behavior, make sure you do not sound like you are questioning their character.
– Remember that everyone can manipulate others from time to time, intentionally or unintentionally. Getting the issue at hand out in the open is the first step to finding a solution.
– Also, keep in mind, a friend might get defensive at first when you raise the issue. Stay calm and friendly as you talk.
You may also help your friend by telling them about their ongoing patters. You need t work up the confidence to face the friend and tell him/her that certain behaviors are not okay. Prepare to give real examples and explain the consequences. Whichever the case, you do not have to participate in a hostile confrontation to pas your message. However, state clearly that you are not willing to be the fool in the story again.
– Instead of making potentially offensive comments such as “ you are a liar” use some more tactful statements – “ I think you it is not fair for you to twist my words whenever it suits you” Offensive statements will only make the friend shut down and not understand your argument.
– Remember that the manipulation cycle will continue unless you stand your ground and put a foot down.
Ignore the attempts of manipulative friends. Can you remember your grade school telling you that the best way to deal with someone who wronged you is to ignore them? Well, this principle also applies to manipulative people. Since a manipulative person will do the things/ he/she does to fee important, tuning him/her out is a sure way of disempowerment.
– This technique is best suited for those friends whose manipulative character shows occasionally. It is a civil way of ignoring what is not important and at the same time, retaining the friendship.
– Remember, a person can only control you as far as you allow him/her.
Stand your ground. When confronting a manipulative friend, it is important to stand your ground. A skilled manipulator will attempt to make you feel guilty and embarrassed; like you are at fault. He/she might accuse you of being insecure or jealous. Do not listen to the undeserved acts, rather, speak up when you are treated unfairly. You have a right to ask questions when someone is treating you unfairly.
– A manipulative friend will try to avoid this conversation. Look out for loopholes that the friend might use to change the topic such as acting as if the whole thing is a joke or undermining your feelings.
– If you are having a conversation about the behavior of your friend and he/she says “ you are too sensitive” or “that’s an overreaction” watch out. It might be another manipulation tactic. Keep in mind, you have every right to tell your friend when you are upset.
If you decide to end the friendship, check the advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes, the only option left to deal with manipulative friends is to end the relationship. For instance, if you have already explained to your friend that his/her behavior is not favorable and he/she fails to rectify, you will have to move on without them. Breaking off the friendship will not be an easy task especially if it has been there for years. However, you will be better off and happier in the long run. But before you pull the friendship plug; be sure of what you really want.
– When you have called the friendship off, your manipulative friend might use hurtful or childish tactics. For instance, he/she may spread rumors about you to your friends and acquaintances. Have the courage to ignore them. Picking a fight will only empower the slanderer. Again, such behaviors will only prove to you that the friend was not worth keeping.
– Finally, resist the temptation to spread rumors, slander or even fight with the former friend be the better person and walk away.
Neurolinguistics programming and manipulation
Neuro-Linguistic Programming is defined as a set of skills that reveal the kind of communication that matters most – on the inside and out. Basically, neuro refers to the brain/mind and more so how it affects behaviors and communication. Linguistic refers to the ways we reveal the state of our mind and body through verbal and nonverbal communication. Programming refers to the potential of changing the state of our body and mind.
A person who has knowledge in NLP is able to understand his or her mind and the minds of other people and the conversations going on within. Such a person will understand how the mind of a person works under certain circumstances. Consequently, he/she can change the way the person thinks gradually. Does that mean that a manipulator can change use NLP to control his/her victims?
Manipulation is defined as attempting to influence or influencing the behaviors or emotions of others for one’s own purpose. However, manipulation does not have to have a negative outcome for the victim. Neuro-linguistic programming can be manipulative in this way too. Simply put, the outcome of NLP will depend on the practitioner using it and his/her intentions. A marketer or salesperson may use these techniques to persuade a customer to purchase products. Another person may use the skills to extort money from the other. It can be used to get you to agree with things you would ordinarily disagree with.
Most people using NLP want to manipulate a person into feeling better and being more resourceful. They help a person to set goals, solve problems, identify exactly what is going on in their lives, Fix a mental condition such as phobia, or inspire them to be great. However, there are those people who will use NPL for selfish purposes. It is okay to deal with NLP practitioners who have good intentions such as therapists, motivational speakers, among others. But, you need to be wary of the people trying to manipulate you negatively using the Neuro-linguistic programming techniques. What should you look out for?
First, watch out for people copying your body language. If you notice that a person talking to you is copying the way you sit or fold your hands, do a test by changing your style or making new movements. If the other person does the same, you have a manipulator at hand. A manipulator who is skilled at using NLP will not have a hard time masking these change but a new one will immediately follow you. It is a good time to question the person.
Secondly, move your eyes randomly. A person seeking to manipulate you will closely listen to your words and eye movement. When a person is watching your eyes and face closely while having a conversation, you might think that he/she is really interested in your story. That is hardly the case. A manipulator will be observing the way you store and access information. The movements of your eyes can give you away. In fact, a good manipulator using NLP will be able to tell what you are thinking in a few hours. He/she will be able to tell when you are lying or telling the truth. Consequently, they will be able to predict your next move and use it to their advantage. A safer way of avoiding this kind of manipulation is to move your eyes randomly. Look around, right-left up down in predictable patterns. Ensure that the movements seem natural. This will drive the manipulator crazy as he/she is unable to read you.
Thirdly do not allow a person to touch you. As crazy as it sounds, something as simple as a tap on your shoulder can alter your emotions. A manipulator who is knowledgeable in NLP will Know when you pat your back or tap your shoulder to anchor you. In simpler terms, you might be having a conversation with a person and you are laughing, then the person taps your shoulder. This is called anchoring and it gives the person the power to put you back in that state later by touching you in the same place. Do not allow a potential manipulator to touch you.
Fourthly, look out for vague language. One of the NLP techniques recommended by Milton Erickson involves the use of vague language. It has been found that vague language can be used to lead people into a trance. On the other hand, specific languages keep people alert, thus hard to manipulate. If a person is using a language so simple that you do not need to think hard, look closer. You might be manipulated.
Fifthly, look out for permissive language. If a person makes a statement like “Feel free to relax”, be very wary. Such permissive language takes a person into a trance. A manipulator will make you feel comfortable before striking. According to NLP, the easiest way of allowing someone to make you do something is by letting them give you permission.
Again, look out for gibberish. If a person says something like “ As we move towards the center of the mater, you will find yourself in line with the look of success than in the previous times” that sentence is so complicated yet the message can be passed in a simpler way. In such a case, tell the person to be more specific. “Can you please elaborate?” “Please tell exactly what that means”. Manipulators are very good at using words to confuse you. They are never direct with their intention. If you feel that something is not clear, ask for an explanation.
It is also important to Read between the lines. Many people are not direct with their intentions especially when they want to manipulate others. Be on the lookout for hidden messages. A master manipulator will hide their intentions in statements. They will also avoid giving you time to think. You will find that your time for replying is very limited. Also, their questions predetermine your answer. For instance, “That place is very beautiful; don’t you agree we should visit it?” Do not subconsciously agree with what others say. Take your time to understand the question.
Do not agree with a manipulator. If a person is making you agree with them quickly, it is better to say no. Do not rush into decisions influenced by emotions. TAKE your time and let the person know hat you need to consider a few things before giving an answer. Use a rational mind to analyze the statements.
Finally, trust your instincts. If your intuition shows you that a person is playing with you, it is probably right. This is one of the main rules you should apply in life. It is important to walk away from such a situation or engage in a defensive way. However, it is advisable to avoid engaging manipulators; they might find a way to convince you.
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