Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's So Hard to Love a Manipulative Person

Do you have a loved one who tries to manipulate you? Maybe you're not sure if her actions are legitimate or not. Maybe you feel like you're to blame for the lack of harmony between you. Or maybe you feel like you're going crazy almost every time you try to talk to this person.
Well, before you can learn to deal with a manipulative person, it can help if you're clear about what manipulation looks like. Here are five common tactics of this sort of crazy-maker:
  • seems to stubbornly refuse to understand you when you explain something
  • arranges situations to make you look foolish
  • says one thing but does another
  • tries to "make you" feel responsible, inadequate or guilty
  • brings up problems or requests in front of other people, making it hard for you to be honest or to refuse
If any of this sounds familiar, you may be dealing with a manipulative person. So what can you do? You can begin to take control of your part of this relationship without giving up, giving in, or belittling your loved one in return. By adjusting your thoughts and actions, you can improve how you feel about your crazy-making manipulator and deal more effectively with his behaviour.

You have many choices in how you think about and act toward this person. Consider the following responses to the five examples of manipulation listed above:
When she seems to stubbornly refuse to understand what you're saying:
  • Your thoughts --> Remember that though you've spoken as clearly as you can, you cannot force anyone else to understand you, whether they're genuinely trying to comprehend or not.
  • Your actions --> Say your piece only once. More than that might just be helping her frustrate and manipulate you.
When he arranges a situation to make you look foolish:
  • Your thoughts --> However embarrassing this is, know that his (or anyone's) opinion of you is far less important than your opinion of yourself.
  • Your actions --> You can remain silent or state calmly that his version is not the whole story. Then you can leave the situation or stay, depending on your preference.
When she says one thing but does something else:
  • Your thoughts --> You might need to learn not to count on what she says, even if she seems sincere. You don't have to let her sincerity or deceitfulness rule your choices.
  • Your actions --> Don't base your plans on her plans. Make your own plans, which can include your loved one if you choose.
When he tries to "make you" feel responsible, inadequate or guilty:
  • Your thoughts --> Remember that no matter how much you love this person, and no matter what he says, you are in charge of your own choices and feelings.
  • Your actions --> You can say something like, "That seems to be how you see it, but I see it differently." Then do or don't do whatever seems best to you in that situation.
When she makes requests or statements in front of other people that feel embarrassing or difficult to respond to:
  • Your thoughts --> Keep in mind that manipulative people want to feel superior and on top of things, but that you do not need to accept their actions or let them determine what you say or do.
  • Your actions --> You might stay silent, or you might calmly say something like, "This isn't a good time for us to talk about this, but I'm willing to talk about it later."
These few suggestions can give you some ideas for taking a new direction. You do not have to allow anyone else to manipulate your feelings, thoughts or actions. Why they do this is less important than how you respond, so put your valuable energy into creating new responses, and you'll find new energy to live your life -- no matter how your loved one chooses to live his or hers.

1 comment:

Patrick Kiley said...

Nice job Kate. It looks great!