What to do in situations where you are being manipulated? For example, your boss complains about the difficult situation in the firm, so you have to perform some duties that are not spelled out in your employment contract or a distant relative sighs sadly and complains about high blood pressure, and then the topic of conversation moves to the land to be digged in the country house? If you’ve dealt with situations like this, this topic is definitely for you.
How to behave with manipulators?
This question has probably been asked by almost every person who has come across this type of person. Communicating with them is quite an interesting but complicated process. Many people fall under the influence of manipulators and cannot get off the “hook”.
Communicating with manipulators is a difficult situation, because such personalities actively use their tools to influence other people. Usually it is flattery, well-constructed blackmail, and playing on guilt. Often they also use energy vampirism. Therefore, it is typical for people in their environment to spend not only their money and time, but also their own vital resources.
Why deal with them at all? You can just say no, right?
Unfortunately, this is not always possible. It’s one thing if the manipulator is someone you barely know, but it’s another thing if it’s your boss or your mother.
And these are quite frequent situations, judging by the number of asks in search engines: “How to communicate with the mother-manipulator?”. If you are being manipulated by your mother, you can’t just ignore your beloved and dear person. In such a situation, people realize that a manipulator is in front of them, and they have to go along with it on their own.
Of course, we are all adults and are well aware that each of us plays a specific role. Manipulators are not born, they become. It is a conscious way for people to put their responsibilities and problems on the shoulders of others. Characteristically, they do not even always need money and power to manipulate: they often achieve their goals through simple dialogue. Most people understand what is going on, but are unable to say the important “No” to their boss or family member.
Why is this happening?
Most people are unable to answer the question of how to communicate with manipulative people. Some say they cannot isolate themselves from the society of such people. There are cases of two-way manipulation, when people tolerate each other for some benefit. But more often than not, it is one-sided manipulation that is the problem.
Some people tend to lead a life of “victimhood,” so they can’t say another “no” to a request they don’t want to fulfill. Maybe they don’t have the courage, or maybe they don’t want to offend the person. This is especially true of close people who have already so honed the skill of manipulation on relatives that it sometimes goes unnoticed.
Is it possible to protect yourself from manipulation?
Of course, it possible. But you will need to radically change your behavior and possibly your attitude toward people.
1. Start to say “No”
It is not always worth the sacrifice to maintain a warm (or any) relationship. Often, having said “yes” where you could have refused, a person feels regret and feels backed into a corner.
Sometimes we even know in advance that we will not get enough compensation for their efforts, but we still say yes, and then angry at ourselves and the one who exploits our lack of accuracy. In some situations, saying no is simply a necessary boundary drawing, a message to others about the limits of possible generosity.
Learning to say “no” to people means to designate one’s personal space and find an opportunity to allocate resources more adequately, to take care of one’s own comfort as well.
2. Start expressing your thoughts and opinions boldly and openly
As long as you are afraid to show your own self, you will not be able to understand how to communicate with a manipulator. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a man or a woman, your boss or anyone else.
Don’t try to remain silent in a situation where you absolutely must not. You must not be afraid to defend your point of view and opinions. If you do not understand this, then you will almost always have to live by fiat. Moreover, under the influence of manipulators, most people begin to think in terms of imposed opinions.
People who prefer to put control of their lives in the hands of another person and are willing to simply go with the flow are often the victims of manipulators. It is in your best interest and power to tell the person to their face what you really think about this or that situation. And while you do not learn to do this, you will always be used.
3. Appreciate yourself
A huge number of women are interested in the question of how to communicate with a manipulative husband. Such a question is so relevant that it does not go unnoticed among psychologists. It is very difficult to say “no” to your chosen one when you depend on him. But…
Even if you have lived together for more than 10 years and already agree with his behavior, that is no reason to continue living like this. It is important to understand that manipulation is a very insidious tool, not only for the person who uses it, but also for the person to whom it is directed. With experience, people who wish to subjugate those around them stop noticing that they are bringing pain to their loved ones. Why does this happen? Manipulation has become their habit.
You’ve probably noticed people in your community who do all the things their supervisors ask them to do that are not part of their job duties. What’s more, these selfless employees don’t demand extra pay or bonuses. The worst part is that they are sure that sooner or later their labors will be rewarded. But how wrong they are!
Remember: the task of the manipulator is precisely to “ride” on such people, “use” it and give them nothing in return. If you encounter such situations regularly, learn how to fight back, otherwise your “professional” responsibilities will grow and you will get nothing out of it.
4. Take full responsibility for your life
Adult children often ask psychologists questions about how to communicate with a manipulative mother. Some relatives tend to impose their “picture of the world” on their loved ones. In addition, they are trying to teach you to live right and act in accordance with their opinion. People tend to be afraid to say something against their loved ones. That’s why so often their point of view falls by the wayside.
In that case, you need to understand that your life means only your rules, only you have the right to dispose of it. Believe me, no one will be responsible for their words, if you decide to do as your relative told you, and this advice led to a deplorable result. Some people are able to understand this in theory, while others need to “step on the same rake” several times to understand it.
5. Keep the distance from selfish and narcissistic people
Both egoists and narcissists are masters of their craft. They have already honed their skills on dozens of people. So if you do not want to fall under their “charms”, before you get acquainted with them, it is better to study them in advance.
Before you choose a tactic to communicate with a manipulator, you should understand that such people know how to cleverly change masks. With some people they can be polite and prudent, with others they can be rude and agitated, and with others they can be completely helpless. And sometimes a manipulator can change masks with the same person, depending on their needs and interests.
If you notice such a person in your surroundings, you better avoid communicating with them until you get to know them. You should learn to keep a safe distance from manipulators. Don’t let him violate your personal boundaries.
And one more piece of advice: don’t have love affairs with such people. Remember that most often manipulators practice their talent from childhood. Therefore, it is pointless to try to reform such a person. By making any attempts, you risk losing a lot of strength, time and energy.
6. Appreciate your time
This advice will be especially relevant to those people who encounter manipulators at work.
Remember: time is your individual resource. And by taking over someone else’s work and tasks, you’re infringing on your own work and time. As a result, you earn less and overwork more.
What to do in such a situation? That’s right: say “No”. Do not be afraid to say no to a colleague at work who is clearly trying to take advantage of you. Remember that only you have the right to plan your time.
Once you get over it, you may have feelings of guilt. It also needs to be dealt with. It’s not your fault that you don’t want to do something, it’s entirely your choice and your decision.
You shouldn’t feel ashamed of it. Try to remember that! Once again, say a clear “no” without excitement or fear of offending anyone.
Some people are afraid to say no because they risk losing a good attitude from the person. Others find it impolite and rude. Do not worry, because in relation to the manipulator such fears are meaningless, because he has a single goal – “to use someone”.
How to politely say no to a manipulator?
Let’s take as an example tips that work great when you need to fight back against a manipulative coworker:
- Do not hide your dissatisfaction or irritation with a request or demand. Don’t be afraid to appear outraged or extremely unhappy with the situation. By showing your true feelings, you are letting the other person know that you do not like their intrusion into your territory. You can openly express your emotions with phrases like “it makes me angry,” “I shouldn’t do this,” and so on;
- Clearly say “no” and give a brief explanation for your response;
- Offer the manipulator your own solution to his problem. And preferably without his help;
- Listen to your opponent’s demands calmly, and then pause for a long moment. Let him/her express himself/herself in full;
- Repeat your refusal again. And then say the action that you are not going to perform. In this case, there is a good chance that the interlocutor will get the information.
Take your time
One of my favorite methods is to catch my victim off guard. The fact is that when a person is unexpectedly approached with a request, it is much harder to refuse.
That’s why you should use the time factor. You don’t have to agree right away, always answer that you will think about it and then be able to answer exactly. Such a pause will allow you to assess the real situation and weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. In addition, this technique is great for people who find rejection very difficult.
Use your intuition
As mentioned above, it is sometimes difficult to resist manipulators, but it is possible. To do this, you will have to work a lot on yourself, learn to distinguish different forms and manifestations of manipulation, as well as assess the behavior of your partner in different situations.
Some people rely on their intuition. And it works! Unfortunately, we rarely listen to it, but we should. The fact is that people tend to justify the actions and deeds of others, even in the most unacceptable situations, and manipulators actively use it.
Listen to your inner voice. If you feel uncomfortable or tense when communicating with someone, there may be something wrong with your communication. Try to figure out if the person is using you for self-serving purposes.
Become an introvert with these people
It is believed that extroverts are mostly guilty of manipulation. And the hardest thing for them to do is dialogue with introverts. It is difficult for them to be in the same room with them, and communication sometimes becomes unbearable.
This is your weapon! You may be silent for a long time before you answer the manipulator. Make a cryptic look and smile slightly, then pause for a longer time. Be silent on the next phrase, too. Manipulator must see that you listen to him, do not look around during the conversation with him. Concentrate on the conversation, but draw your own conclusions. Let the manipulator think he has won.
After he finishes talking, state that you completely agree with his opinion, but that such a difficult topic requires time to think about. Sooner or later the manipulator will lose patience with the introvert and find a victim with whom it will be easier to agree.
Start manipulating him back
It is very difficult when you are surrounded by manipulative people. How do you communicate in the family with relatives who prefer to “ride” you? Often experienced manipulators act as a savior or a victim. This is the best way to get a person to like you.
The highest skill in dealing with such people is to break the whole course and rules of their game. If the manipulator wants to get any help or benefit from you, then switch to victim mode.
Complain about anything. This can be: an angry dog at the entrance, debts to the bank or friends, bad weather. Humans tend to sympathize, and the manipulator is not an insensitive person. When he begins to offer to help you save him, turn him into a victim. Point out his age, high blood pressure, tired look, and then say a few comforting words about his resentment of your statements.
The manipulator who finds himself in this situation will not want to continue his game with you, and soon he will stop trying to use you for his own purposes. And why waste your time on people like you, if there are many “victims” with whom it is much easier to agree. And remember that only you decide whether to fall for the tricks of manipulators or not.