Manipulation in a relationship: 20 ways
Narcissists, emotional abusers and sociopaths are unable to build healthy relationships. They, trying to cover their flaw, use various methods to make their victim dependent, helpless and insecure. Here are the strategies manipulators use to achieve their goals.
Toxic people are dangerous because they tend to enter into relationships in which there is emotional violence, exploitation, humiliation. They possess the psychological tools to help suppress the will of the “victim”-the other participant in the relationship. Such strategies are characteristic of narcissists and those who wish to avoid responsibility for their deeds in various ways.
20 variants of manipulation in a relationship
The gazlighter loves to say “it didn’t happen,” “you imagined it,” and “are you crazy/were you crazy?” This insidious manipulative tactic is designed to distort the boundaries of your reality. Over time, the victim loses confidence in himself or herself and has no way to legitimately accuse the abuser of being abusive. The manipulator convinces you of his absolute rightness and makes you doubt your own “normality.” You can counteract gaslighting: write down what is happening, retell it to a loved one.
“The abuser” is a priori incapable of noticing his mistakes and tries to avoid responsibility for them. And projection is a defensive method, the essence of which is to transfer the responsibility for one’s own actions onto others. This trait is characteristic of many people, but if the person is a narcissist, it acquires the features of aggression. For example, an inveterate liar accuses the victim of making things up; a rude subordinate accuses a superior of inefficiency in an effort to avoid responsibility for shoddy work. The right thing to do is to decide not to project empathy onto the negative person and not to allow those around you to project their own emotions onto themselves.
3. exhausting meaningless conversation
Narcissists and sociopaths use “verbal nonsense,” fixated themes, and irrational arguments in conversations to confuse their interlocutor. They love to accuse a person of their feelings. After ten minutes of arguing with such a subject, you can forget what the argument is all about. All you have to do is disagree with a rambling summary like “the sky is green,” and already all of your values and interests have been criticized. The point is that you have touched on the narcissist’s belief in his own infallibility. Don’t feed the narcissist, avoid debilitating arguments.
4. Unsubstantiated Statements.
Narcissists are intellectually lazy. They will not analyze a position that is not similar to their own, but will generalize and simplify everything they hear without bothering to understand. They tend to stigmatize what does not coincide with their views. Such “simplifications” devalue anything that doesn’t fit their value system. If you charge the abuser with unacceptable behavior, they will respond with claims of over-sensitivity and say, “You’re always unsatisfied/satisfied!”, “You react painfully to every little thing.”
5. Purposeful distortion of your thoughts and feelings
The narcissist twists your words, reducing them to absurdity . Here is a sample dialogue:
– Why are you snapping at me?
– Why, are you a role model? / What do you think I am, scum?
This kind of reaction makes it impossible to express thoughts without feeling fear and guilt.
6. Nagging and devaluing results
What is the difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism? The presence of personality evaluation and the creation of impossible norms. The “critic” is not interested in your growth – he wants to humiliate you. Is your career on the upswing? The abuser will ask why you are still not a millionaire. By pointing out a small mistake and focusing on it, such a subject deprives you of strength and forces you to worry in vain over a minor transgression. Remember, there is nothing wrong with you, and no one has the right to humiliate you.
7. Change the subject to avoid responsibility
“What about me?” The point of this behavior is to avoid the topic in order to shift attention to something else. The abuser does not want the dialogue to be about things for which he can be held responsible. Claims about parental neglect? You will be pointed to a mistake you made a long time ago. Accuracy and certainty are important here. Don’t let someone try to walk away from the conversation, you can resort to the “broken record” method of stubbornly repeating what you want to say.
Toxic personalities are bad if their exorbitant sense of superiority is threatened. They make exorbitant demands and end up punishing you for failing to meet their unrealistic expectations. Every disagreement and every attempt to “handle” conflict intelligently causes them to fear the likely consequences.
Insults are the most primitive way to manipulate the opinions and emotions of others. It is a quick way to humiliate a person, to devalue their intellectual abilities, appearance, and manners. Argumentative criticism is not for the narcissist or sociopath. Without focusing on arguments, they target the personality of the person they are talking to.
10. Destructive Association.
Toxic personas form in their minds a faulty association between your strong traits/achievements/good memories and emotional abuse. This is realized through belittling those traits of yours that the abuser once admired. Psychopaths and narcissists wish to habituate you to fear the things that have made you happy in the past. This allows them to turn the focus of attention to their own person. Plus narcissists are jealous and do not tolerate anything standing in the way of their influence.
11. Stalking spreads bad rumors
When an abuser loses control over how you see yourself, they want to control how those around them see you. The discrediting campaign is aimed at destroying your reputation. Toxic people talk about you behind your back and spread false rumors about you. The best strategy for dealing with this is to remain calm. An example would be the moment of a divorce, when a proactive reaction may prove to be useful to the abuser.
12. Stages of idealization and devaluation
The moment of idealization will last until you become sufficiently dependent. Then the toxic person begins to devalue what he or she admired a short time ago. The emotional abuser devalues the former partner in the eyes of the current partner, and imperceptibly the new partner falls under the same treatment as the previous partner. Therefore, it is helpful to be sensible about the barrage of compliments and caring if one does not behave the same way with those around him or her.
13. Advance Protection
Is someone emphasizing that he is a good person and you should trust him? Be wary. Toxic personalities inflate their gift of empathy. They show their empathy at the beginning of a relationship to trap you. The idealization phase ends and their real selves turn out to be cold and calculating. And good people don’t often show their traits right off the bat-they show warmth, not trumpet it.
This is the systematic bringing of another’s opinion into the development of a personal relationship or threatening to leave for another. Which creates tension in a partner’s thoughts and behavior.
15. Provocation and false innocence
The abuser lures into the relationship to perfect his cruelty. Minor arguments escalate into scandals. The manipulator knows how to play with your emotions . And when you snapped, followed by the phrase “Why are you shouting? What made you so angry?” Such false innocence makes you think that it is really a figment of your imagination. Trust yourself more.
16. Breaking personal boundaries.
Manipulators just dream of breaking your personal boundaries. And once they do, they will expand their “sphere of influence” . The harder it is to free yourself from such a relationship.
17. Aggressive pranks under the guise of jokes.
The abuser likes to present painful, unpleasant things in the guise of jokes, which allows the victim to be accused of having no sense of humor. It is a common form of emotional abuse.
18. Condescending tone and sarcasm
Sarcasm is good when both parties are involved in the parrying. But sarcasm can be one-sided and so caustic that it just “smears you.” Be confident about what you’re thinking and feeling.
Manipulators often use the phrase “you should be ashamed.” It ruins the victim’s self-esteem. The abuser will tell you that everything that has happened to you is your fault. Take care of yourself and don’t open up to someone who provokes you to be frank.
The abuser isolates the victim – financially, socially, emotionally. He plays with your emotions. You become addicted to praise.published by econet.ru
P.S. And remember, just by changing your mind – together we change the world! © econet
Manipulation in love relationships – theory and practice
The usual way of organizing a relationship between a man and a woman is manipulation. Is it possible to have a relationship free of manipulation? Is it possible to build a relationship without manipulation?
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Why is relationship manipulation possible?
Humans are social creatures. Throughout history, society has been the key to the survival of the individual. In order for a society to exist as a holistic formation, there had to appear mechanisms of influence on its individual members.
Therefore, every (normal!) person is equipped with such a mechanism, making him receptive to another person’s condition and social messages. This in itself is neither good nor bad – it is what makes other people take into account, and generally allows humanity to be whole.
Emotions are one of the tools people have to influence each other.
How to cope with your emotions learn at the webinar ” Human Emotions: how to manage your emotions and live a happy life “
The expression of feelings is, among other things, a message to others about their condition. For example, expressing anger tells you that it is better not to touch the person who is angry – they are ready to defend themselves and fight.
In addition, the expression of feelings in others evokes our own emotions, prompting us to take certain actions. To comfort a child who has cried. Or to run away from danger in the face of general fear. If we learn to discern in ourselves the response that we find to the feelings of others, it can be the basis for developing empathy, the ability to empathize, a better understanding of people.
But if an emotion is unpleasant, a person often does not want to stay in that state, and acts immediately, without having time to realize either himself or the situation. If he or she finds an action that relieves him or her of the experience, when similar feelings arise again, he or she simply repeats it.
In an effort to get rid of negative experiences, some people get used to acting reactively, and this becomes similar to a reflex. A stereotype is formed: situation – emotion – reaction. And this is bad in that the person deprives himself of the opportunity to rethink the situation and act differently. People around such a person also get used to the fact that he or she can be made to act through a certain feeling.
For example, a mother who cannot stand her child’s tears prefers to placate him or her (with gifts, quick fulfillment of his or her desires) just to make him or her calm down. At first, the child cries not in order to get something, but because he or she is sad, afraid or hurt, but then he or she gets used to the fact that there is a certain reaction of the parent in response to his or her tears, and then he or she starts to cry for a specific purpose.
But the mother doesn’t try to figure out what is going on with her child, she can’t just be there for him, to comfort him. The child, on the other hand, may get some benefit from his tears, but at the same time he feels lonely and misunderstood. He gets used to the fact that his tears can be a tool to achieve a goal, but he cannot understand his worries and learn to cope with them, because his mother does everything to make them stop as soon as possible.
The child learns that people can be tools in achieving a goal, but not that they can just be there for him and support him. And besides, he or she does not get the experience of living with feelings, of finding independent actions that could help him or her.
Natalia Artsybasheva, Gestalt therapist
Women accurately describe how to behave deceiving them man, and we see a portrait of a skilful manipulator. But do not demonize this type of person, attributing him a special power over people. This man himself can easily be a victim of manipulation. After all, the main thing about him is a tendency to co-dependent, unconstructive relationships.
In psychology, one of the models describing such relationships is called “Karpman’s triangle,” where there is always an aggressor, a victim and a rescuer. The participants go around in a circle, switching roles, but it is always a game and a manipulation that both parties support.
How does a woman fall into the trap of addiction? One common cause lies in the children’s stories, seemingly different. However, the meaning is the same – a lack of love, reliability and security. An alcoholic dad could be very good sober, but at times turn into a monster. A loving and selfless mother on the verge of a nervous breakdown could scream and spank. Parents loved as much as they could, but they weren’t perfect.
You need to re-learn how to love and respect yourself and others, because when you are honest with yourself, manipulators have nothing to do around
And we had to go through difficult feelings, experience terror and helplessness. But we really needed parental love and could not fight back. This is subconsciously imprinted in ideas about the world and about relationships.
One unwittingly assumes that a rude invasion of one’s personal boundaries is a variant of the norm, or that one should tolerate a partner’s unreliability for fear of being abandoned. Or that one shouldn’t trust one’s feelings if one doesn’t like something. After all, that’s what parental love looked like, and we took it without criticism. This can be changed, but it will take some serious work on yourself. You will have to lift the archives of childhood experiences, highlight the useful and the harmful, become a very conscious and attentive observer and transformer of your life.
You have to re-learn how to love and respect yourself and others, because when you are honest with yourself, manipulators have nothing to do around you.
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What to do if you recognize relationship manipulation
In fact, relationship manipulation is quite common. Moreover, any relationship is inherently manipulative. After all, this is what a relationship is. Everyone has a goal, and everyone wants to achieve it. But, as the saying goes, everything is good in moderation. And when the entire relationship is completely built on all kinds of manipulation, when there is no place for a simple easy communication and the joy of being together, then it’s time to think about it.
It should be understood that manipulative struggles only increase anxiety, make us tense, and most importantly, destroy the deep foundation of the relationship: the free decision to be there, the opportunity to be open, to be yourself.
And of course it is much harder for us to find ourselves engaged in the manipulative game. It’s just as difficult for our partner, who finds himself involved in it.
So there’s no need to poke your partner in the nose and make him feel shame and guilt. If you have such an intention, think about it, perhaps you yourself sometimes resort to this instrument of influence? After all, our partners are our beautiful mirrors.
And for those who have decided to stop manipulation in a relationship – our master class “How to get rid of emotional dependence in a relationship” will be very useful.
Good afternoon, dear ladies! Recently one of my clients asked a question – my beloved man is a manipulator in the relationship, what should I do? I realized that this problem is quite common and I decided today to describe a real manipulator for you, describe the methods of influence and offer you ways to combat it.
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Manipulation or just an expression of feelings:
What is the difference between manipulation in a relationship and an emotional message?
Manipulation is most often defined as a type of psychological or social influence on a person or group of people in order to achieve a certain reaction from the one to whom the influence is directed.
It is usually stated that manipulation is a hidden influence, and the goal of the manipulator is to gain some benefit for himself or herself. That is, it is assumed that the manipulator is well aware of the purpose for which he is manipulating, while the manipulated person does not understand what motivates him to act in this or that way.
Such manipulations in relationships do occur, for example, in politics and . In close relationships, however, manipulative actions as well as reactions to them are often not fully understood by both the manipulator and the manipulated. And the roles (who manipulates whom) are constantly shifting.
As mentioned above, people voluntarily or involuntarily affect each other with their behavior, words, and expressions of feelings all the time. In addition, people often want something from each other (and this is normal) and try to achieve their goals.
But it is possible to distinguish those properties that distinguish manipulative, “malignant” relationships from fairly “healthy” ones.
Perhaps the main property of manipulation in a relationship is that the person to whom it is directed is no longer perceived as a free person with his own feelings and will. He is only a tool in achieving the goal. The goal becomes more important than the person through whom it is achieved.
It is possible to want attention from a loved one and to pursue it. But for the manipulator, it is the attention itself that becomes important, not the one who shows it.
- What mood is the person from whom I want love?
- Does he have the strength and ability to do something for me right now?
- Maybe he wants something else right now?
For the manipulator, the desire of the other that contradicts his own is an obstacle to be overcome, not a reason to learn something about his loved one.
Another important characteristic of manipulation is that it is not just a hidden influence, but a double bottom. There is always a double message in manipulation, one on the surface as an official reason, the other hidden and indicating the manipulator’s real purpose.
If a girl smiles at a young man she likes, and she wants him to be interested in her too, that’s not manipulation, although her message is not direct (she’s not directly telling him “I like you”). She wants to be understood correctly.
But if the girl is showing the guy her sympathy so that he starts hoping for a relationship with her and would help her with some domestic problems, that’s manipulation. The facade message here is, “I like you and you have a chance.” And the second hidden one is, “I need you to do certain things for me.”
But why not pursue your goal directly, why go to such lengths? The fact is that the manipulator, deep down, is sure that no one cares about his problems. No one will willingly comply with his request. The world around him appears at best indifferent, at worst hostile.
In addition, manipulators usually have a great fear of uncertainty. Fear of rejection and fear of losing control are experiences that can be found in every manipulative person.
The goal itself does not necessarily look selfish. For example, the parents of a teenager who wants to choose an unpopular or creative major may intimidate him, convince him that he will not succeed, threaten to leave him without support if he makes the “wrong” choice.
At the same time, they are convinced that they are acting in his best interest, and the child simply does not know life. The goal of securing a good future for their son becomes more important than the son himself. Why do parents need this? Often to cope with their own fear for their child, to calm their anxiety. The son’s desires, the reasons why he wants exactly that, finally his right to dispose of his own life are beyond the parental interest.
Why people fail to resist manipulation in relationships with loved ones and how to resist manipulation will be discussed in Part 2 of “How to Resist Manipulation.
Breaking out of the cycle of manipulative relationships is not an easy task. If you want to solve it, but you are scared, difficult or do not understand where to start, you can contact me for professional help and support.
About the expert
Natalia Artsybasheva is a Gestalt therapist. More on her site.
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“Manipulation in Relationships and Emotions. Part 1: Manipulation and emotion – what’s the connection?”
A few tricks of the manipulator
Here are some manipulator tricks that you can learn to spot when they are trying to use you. Remember, their methods may differ in expression, in presentation, but the essence will always remain the same.
Between the lines. When a person wants to achieve a desired result, he or she appeals to our inner child. For example, a lover wants you to go to an event that doesn’t seem interesting to you.
He says: It’s a fancy party, but you will definitely be very bored there. Your inner child begins to protest: No, I won’t be bored; what does that even mean, I’m boring? And you agree to go, even though you really didn’t want to. Recognize such a trick you can, soberly assessing their desires.
A fait accompli. The person focuses your attention on what you will do before or after what he really wants happens. “Before we go to my mom’s, we’ll stop by the store,” “Before I go to the bar, I’d like to discuss the budget with you,” and so on.
You’re no longer discussing the trip to my mom’s or his trip to the bar, you’re figuring out what to buy at the store or where the last stash went.
Elevation. To subdue his victim, the manipulator tries to show the significance and importance of the person. “You’re so smart, you should make me breakfast in bed.” At this point, your guard falls asleep and you, feeling your superiority, carry out the plan.
Cute Manipulator. They are not stingy with approving gestures, praise, approving facial expressions, just to act on their plan. A pat on the shoulder, a pat, a smile.
Authority. Such people often use their authority, or the authority of respected people. Be vigilant and verify information. You may be told a lot of unnecessary and untrue information, covering it up with the authority of another person.
Guilt. Such people are very fond of putting the victim in an uncomfortable position and causing guilt. They play on your desire to be right and act on your conscience.
Phrases: if you loved me; a loving person would never do that; pay more attention to me, and then; and so on. The man himself turns out to be the victim. You blame yourself and act according to his plan.
Consistency. Another feeling that manipulators play on beautifully is the desire to be consistent. If you did one thing, it means another will follow. All he has to do is nudge you toward the first step.
The great secret. He will tell you a terrible secret that no one else knows. More often than not, he will use information that is pleasant to you. It is easier for people to believe a pleasant thing. It will interest you and get you to do what you need to do.
Lies. One of the main helpers of a manipulator. Lies can be major or very minor. Sometimes he purposely disappear from your sight, so that you ran after him, nervous and even more attracted to him.
If a man has stopped communicating with you, then one of the reasons may be just this kind of test, whether you will worry, worry.
You can find a lot of useful information about lying in the article “Why does a man lie to a woman”.
If you think that your beloved is too despotic and do not know what to do about it, be sure to read the article “How to behave with a tyrant husband”.
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