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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."