Thursday, July 7, 2011

Emotional Manipulation

Emotional manipulation is a nasty game that certain people play to get their way. They seek control yet do it in a very subtle way. This kind of behavior messes with the victims minds and leaves them in an unseen trap that could be very dangerous to mental and emotional health. We have to be careful in our dealings and relationships to avoid being taken for a ride by such people who manipulate for their own selfish interests.

People who manipulate others have difficulty in maintaining good interpersonal relationships. It all boils down to insecurities of not wanting to lose the control and power. Emotional Manipulators are not mentally dysfunctional or disturbed to not know what they are doing. They know exactly what they are doing and also have complete control over their actions. 

Be careful of the ones who twist things around and the ones who make you feel sorry for them... or put you down so much to make you feel guilty for something you never did. They are masters of twisting words and situations around to point the blame at others.

They will use guilt, anger, deception, intimidation, control and power into their game at some point. They will be evasive, elusive and emotionally unavailable. There is no love, only Lust. Sadly many people mistake the lust for love and fall prey to this tactic.

Giving you the guilt trip or demeaning you - they will also keep you guessing by alternating between excesses of affection and charm and coldness or anger. If you tend to feel stressed, have to watch your every word and feel resentful when dealing with someone, then you are probably in a manipulative relationship.

An emotional manipulator portrays a willing helper. Turn down generous offers of help, money etc. from such a person. Almost always they do not make it a rule to ‘give’ unless it is something that is going to benefit them or to get you to do/behave the way they want you to, control you and keep you exactly where they want. They use these gifts they give to get something out of you. They feel you owe them. Say no to manipulative demands calmly and rationally. Learn to say NO.

Hold your ground and do not let the manipulator take advantage of you. If you start to resist manipulation or don’t fall for sob stories anymore the manipulator might press the right buttons to rock your boat, working on your weaknesses - do not give in to this no matter how hard he calm and do not give him the chance to thrive on your anger or emotional imbalance. 

If you ask a manipulator to do something they will almost always agree - that is IF they didn’t volunteer to do it first, and when the time comes, they will come up with some excuse or rather, and very smartly, they will weave themselves out of it and turn it around and try to make it seem like they really want to help you but make you feel guilty and unreasonable.

Manipulators tend to be friendly and at their best behavior with our family and friends...they can be quite charming even. This deception is how they manage to win out and make you look like the crazy and bad one when you start to fight back and resist their control.

Be weary of anyone who regularly plays the victim. Don't make excuses for the manipulator's insecurities - know that this is part of their manipulative strategy. If you are sick..they will put up an act that they are ill too…but only far more ill than yourself…'s all about getting the spotlight onto themselves to get sympathy and a way to control you. It's difficult to feel connected to a manipulator like this. If you call their bluff they turn the tables round and say that you are the selfish one and it's always about you - Do not bother to prove otherwise and just walk away.

Challenge their lies and half truths with logic instead of emotion. Maintain boundaries to distance yourself emotionally in order to deal with their 'game' - learn to detach your emotions for your sanity and survival.

Be prepared for a tough fight, they will never give up control without a fight. They will accuse you of being mean and uncaring - they may become worse or totally withdraw….either way, stand firm and don't get defensive or take the bait.

Emotional manipulators fight dirty and do not deal with things directly. They will talk around behind your back and eventually put others in the position of telling you what they would not say themselves. It's a subtle and passive aggressive way of letting you know that they are not happy about you or something you did.

They have no sense of accountability. They take no responsibility for themselves or their behavior - it is always about what everyone else has "done to them". If an emotional manipulator said YES or promises you something - make them accountable for it. Do NOT buy into the sighs and subtleties or sad hints - if they don’t want to do it, make them tell you up front - or just ignore their ploys and walk away.

Manipulators use words as their weapon. They know exactly what to say and how to say it to get what they want. They may act as though they care, but they are good at acting and display fits of anger but in actual fact they are not angry at all. It's just a ploy to control you.

You will start to doubt yourself and even your sanity -- emotional manipulation is a form of mental abuse to make you doubt yourself. This way it is always them to be right and to get their way. They always need to be in control. When you break these chains and walk away, they will fight back hard and if you stand your ground, most tend to slowly but surely replace you for some poor soul who they CAN control. 

They weave a subtle web of lies. There is no use in trying to be honest with an emotional manipulator. You will only find yourself trapped and fall victim to their lies and manipulation. The only way of saving yourself is to check for inconsistencies and recognizing bluff. Be slow in trusting.

Do not let somebody else think for you but think yourself! Try not to let anger, lust, greed and lies cloud your logic. Discretion, patience and good judgment will help you to avoid manipulative traps.

If you are around such people long enough, you tend to lose your identity gradually and everything you do would be the way they want it and not because you want it. You would be nothing but a puppet. They don't play fair. If you are deep into a manipulative relationship and not brave enough to walk away, then you tend to fight back or survive by using the same manipulative tactics on them. Many times it ends in sadness or violence and even divorce if it is a spouse. The only way to fight back and win over this is to build your self esteem and confidence to break away from their chains of control. 

The manipulator may or may not realize  their error - if they are willing to change and come to appreciate you without control then that’s all well and good, and you are in control of yourself again....but if not, then it would be best that you get out of the relationship before great damage is done emotionally and mentally. Remember, You have a choice and you owe it to yourself to have a normal, sane and happy life without anyone controlling you.

Do not sacrifice your feelings even if you have not make the kids as an excuse to remain because you are doing them more harm by remaining. A relationship should NEVER be one sided. In time your kids will understand, come to terms with it and learn that you are human with feelings and need to be treated as such with love and RESPECT. In fact, you would be saving them from having long term damaging hangups and even protecting them from learning by example to become Manipulators themselves. 

Remember, when Emotional Manipulation reaches a certain point, it is a form of Mental Abuse. Mental Abuse is extremely painful for any person to endure. According to Wikepedia "Psychological abuse, also referred to as emotional abuse, is a form of abuse characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behavior that is psychologically harmful." The first step is to recognize that you are a victim of mental abuse and get out of this abusive relationship. The next step is to get counseling as soon as you can.

Footnotes :
Manipulation is not the same as influence. Influence recognizes the rights and boundaries of other people, and it is based on direct, honest communication. Influence recognizes the integrity of the other person, including the right not to go along with the attempted persuasion. Manipulation, on the other hand, depends on covert agendas and an attempt to control another person into giving in.

Learn to forgive because forgiveness heals. You are not doing it for the opressor, you are doing it for yourself. You are not responsible for the behavior of the manipulator; you are entitled to your own thoughts, feelings and opinions. No one has the right to abuse you for having a mind. Do not lose your identity...have faith in God and in yourself.

Are you being Manipulated? 

Manipulators work in hidden ways. It is sometimes difficult to know that you are being manipulated,but then your frustration with this person grows over time and you know that something must be wrong with relationship. You may feel pulled toward the manipulator, but then repulsed by this person at same time. These relationships are generally conflict ridden. You may find yourself in a double bind.

If you go along with the manipulation, you feel angry and if you drop the relationship, you feel guilty.It may seem that you cannot win.

When manipulators manipulate us, they deprive us of our own accurate reading of reality. When they tell a lie, they provide as alternate reality to us, and we make decisions that may be to their advantage, but it may not be a decision we would make if we knew all the facts.

Related Link : Apps by Awareness

Traits of those who are vulnerable in being manipulated

  1. You feel useful and loved only when you can take care of the needs of other people.  
  2. You need to have the approval and acceptance of other people.
  3. You fear expressing negative emotions.
  4. You are unable to say no.
  5. You lack a firm sense of your own self. 
How to Deal with Manipulation.
  1. Focus on changing yourself, not the manipulator.
  2. Assess the worth of this relationship to you. 
  3.  Use assertiveness techniques to change the nature of the relationship.
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