Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dealing With Manipulators

A manipulator is a person who gets other people to do what they want by using guilt and sneaky, underhanded tactics. All the while they somehow manage to come away looking completely innocent. Life can be very stressful if you have to interact with people like this, especially if they are family members. Hopefully this information will bring light to your situation and help you better deal with the manipulator in your life.

Try not to be around a manipulator in the first place. Manipulators rarely change, so the best thing you can do is get away and stay as far away from them as possible. If you cannot all together avoid the manipulator then protect yourself by limiting your exposure to her. Manipulators are masters at knowing what pushes your buttons, so to keep yourself from reaching the boiling point, excuse yourself from the conversation and her presence when possible. Don't invite a manipulator into your home unless you are willing to ask her to leave if she crosses the line.

Don't allow a manipulator to make requests by using underhanded tactics. Manipulators have a way of making requests that don't really seem like requests. You will find yourself in the middle of a task that you didn't want to do in the first place. You will even give her money you don't have to give. Many times manipulators will drop hints, use bribery, guilt, or flattery to get you to fulfill their requests. Flattery especially works on innocent men who have low self esteem. She may say, "You are exactly what I've been looking for all my life," and he will fall for it. Manipulators are really good at turning on the tears to make you feel sorry for them. You will give and give not knowing they are laughing all the way to the bank. Manipulators have a way of getting what they want and they never look back at the people they have viciously taken from.

Learn to identify passive-aggressive behavior. Manipulators are masters at making their efforts seem innocent when they have ulterior motives. Their behavior usually ends up making you angry. When you get angry at them they will turn it around, placing blame on you for their own retaliation. Manipulators loudly proclaim their innocence and the insignificance of their actions while you come off looking unreasonable. Hard as it may be, ignoring these tactics will lesson the manipulators power over you. She may say she is sorry, but you have a suspicion that her words mean nothing. Here's a clue - they don't! Always trust your gut feeling. If you think you are being played, you most likely are!

Learn to identify the bluff. Manipulators are excellent at bluffing and they are good at knowing when you are bluffing. They will go as far as to threaten their own life (or yours) to get you to bend. The best thing you can do is hold fast to your beliefs and carry through with what you say. Avoid being vague. Be very clear with what you will and will not allow in your life and in your home. Giving in to threats will only strengthen the manipulator's control in your life. She is like a snake who will tighten the hold every time you give in. Eventually she will squeeze the very life out of you. Manipulators are dangerous and their constant control can be a detriment to your health.

Don't be the manipulator's victim. Manipulators are good at making their victim look bad to others. They will stop at nothing to look like the innocent one. They will lie, even under oath, to get their way. They will use subtle digs that seem innocent to others, but their victims always know it is directed at the them. The victim can speak the truth, but bystanders will actually believe the manipulator because she is so good at what she does. Understand that others don't know the whole story and it can be quite frustrating when the manipulator has everyone around them believing their lies. The manipulator only tells one side of the story and it is completely fabricated. If the people around you don't eventually see her for who she is, then they were probably not worth your time anyway. It's a never-ending cycle to be involved in a relationship with a person like this. It truly is a game to the manipulator. You will constantly feel that you cannot win, but the way you win is to get out!

If you lend something to a manipulator, be prepared to let go of it. Manipulators only care about themselves. They don't care about you or anything that belongs to you. If they know something is special to you, they will use it against you. They will take what you have loaned them and further use it to control you. If you must lend something to a manipulator, get a detailed agreement in writing. Even at that, don't expect to get your items back in the shape they left your hands. The manipulator will tell you the story she knows you want to hear, but there is always a hole in every story she tells. Don't believe anything she tells you!

Don't let manipulators do you any favors. Manipulators will use kindness to further their agenda. They may buy you gifts or write you letters in an attempt to get you to lower your guard. Don't be fooled by these attempts. They are only mechanisms to control you in the future. Never let your guard down no matter how sweet she acts, it's only venom disguised as honey.

Anything you say will be used against you. The less information they have about you and your plans, the less control they can exert and the less chance they can use what you say against you. I had to learn this one the hard way. The manipulator who married into my family would come and want to have 'heart to heart' talks. Before I realized who and what she was, I would pour my heart out, only to realize later I had cast my pearls before swine. Everything I said was used against me in conversations with other family members. Manipulators can never be trusted and they will never keep your secret.

Never justify yourself to a manipulator. Don't waste your time! They don't care about you or your time. Don't explain yourself because they will only use those words against you later. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Learn how to be assertive and stick up for yourself. Manipulators will try to come across in a humble way, but their plan is to roll right over you. These people are sneaky and they will stop at nothing to get what they want. It appears in many cases the manipulators don't seem to have a conscious.

Stay in control of your life. Manipulators thrive on making others their doormats. You can't control what other people do, but you can control how you react to their behavior. I should have stood up many times and told the manipulator to leave my home when she overstepped her bounds. Never again will I allow a manipulator to control any situation in my life that I have the power to stop. If you cannot completely remove this person from your life, do your best to keep your time with her to a bare minimum. You have to resolve within yourself that you do not care what other people think about you because the manipulator will make you out to be "mean." Just remember that if you allow a manipulator to continue controlling your life, you will end up with a lot more pain when the dust settles.

(Some of this info was found on Knot-Heads.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Identifying a Manipulator

Many times people find themselves in a relationship with a manipulative person and don't even realize it until after the damage has been done. At some point I think most people innocently use a form of manipulation to get what they want, but there are those who make it their way of life. These are the dangerous ones, who will wreck havoc in your life and not think twice about it.

I write from personal experience. I have had a couple of manipulators in my life, but none like the one who invaded my life several years ago, and tried to destroy my family. I feel strongly about sharing how manipulators operate in hopes that it will save others from going down a hard, painful road.

To begin with I want to list some common traits that will help you identify a manipulator:

The victim. Manipulators always play the role of a victim. They won't take responsibility for any problem and they always place the blame on someone else. It's never "their fault." They have subtle ways of making you believe that you are responsible for whatever problem they are facing. They will do anything in their power to get everyone to believe they were wronged and they are pros at turning others against you. They have no respect for anyone, but demand respect for themselves. If you point out their wrongs, they will accuse you of trying to ruin their life.

The Phony. Nothing about manipulators is true in nature. They are like chameleons. They will change in a moment depending on who they are around. They smile to your face, agree with your ideas, and appear to care about you. Meanwhile they are talking about you behind your back, and betraying you at every turn so they can get attention from someone else. They talk of their high morals, principles, and religion, but they are not what they say. One minute they will tell you they hate you and five minutes later they will tell you they love you. They will say whatever they feel they need to say in the moment to get what they want.

The Sweet Talker. Manipulators know how to talk their way into anything. They seem to be sweet and innocent in nature, but behind the facade they are wicked. Most people see who they are fairly quick, but it may take others years to figure them out. Manipulators are very good at what they do and they know the importance of giving a positive impression initially. These sweet talkers will influence everyone into making a choice that is favorable to them. Be careful not to fall for the endless complements they pour on. It's a ploy to get what they want.

The Deceiver. Manipulators use deception to gain control over their victims. They never tell the whole truth about anything, even when it would be easy to do. They are good at covering their tracks. At first it is hard to catch them in their web of lies, but you begin to notice things don't stack up. They are pros at covering up any suspicion by casting doubt on you. They will deny things and try to confuse you. You may begin to question yourself and even feel bad for questioning them, but don't fall for that. Trust your gut and see them for the deceiver they really are.

The Distorter. These people live in their own fantasy world. They make up things to prove their point. They believe their own lies and it is impossible to reason with them. They make up wild stories to give the impression that they know everything about everything. They may even try to model themselves after the characters the read about or see in movies. The reason the distorter can be dangerous is that if the person they are talking to does not realize they are speaking from a twisted sort of reality, then every word they say can be held as truth. Take everything these people say with a grain of salt and know that they cannot be trusted.

A manipulator can be a combination of any of these above. A really good manipulator has all of these traits rolled into one. Pay close attention to the people you suspect are manipulating you. If you see patterns forming like the ones mentioned above, you need to formulate a plan on how you will deal with this behavior. My upcoming posts will show you how to deal with manipulators.

(Some of this info was found on Fit Fare.)