How to recognize a manipulator and fight back
Today we will talk about who is a man-manipulator, what are his characteristics. We will learn how to recognize a manipulator. We will find out how to communicate with such a person and how to fight back. Ready? Here we go.
Who is a manipulator
Manipulator – a person who has the ability to covertly influence the minds and opinions of others, able to impose their own point of view and to induce them to make certain decisions. As a rule, a manipulator does not enter into an open conflict and does not declare his intentions directly. But each person subjected to his influence, he in every way pushes to favorable for himself actions. At the same time, his methods of influence range from unobtrusive manipulation to powerful psychological violence.
It is important to consider that the most defenseless before manipulators are their loved ones, because it is difficult to influence a stranger. The loved one, on the other hand, trusts and continues to trust, even when he or she reveals attempts at manipulation. These are usually loved ones and relatives to whom it is difficult to show displeasure to the eye. Parents can manipulate children and spoiled children can manipulate parents. Husbands and wives often ruthlessly suppress the will of their “soulmates” without realizing the destructive impact of their own actions.
Manipulators do not always pursue practical goals. Sometimes they simply want to assert themselves at the expense of their loved ones – those who trust them immensely and allow themselves to be manipulated to the end. Their behavior resembles parasitism – they deplete the person morally and feel a surge of energy when they see that they manage to dominate and dominate the person. The only salvation for the victim is to recognize “toxic” behavior in time and learn to resist it.
How do people become manipulators?
Usually a person who is prone to manipulating loved ones thinks of himself as a victim. He may blame his difficult childhood, circumstances, or loved ones who “drove” him. In reality, the manipulator is almost always driven by selfishness and a repressed sense of superiority. As a rule, he is weak physically, could not realize himself in his profession or get the desired social status, so he uses guile and cunning for self-assertion.
It should be understood that such a person does not always realize how badly he acts. He treats people close to him extremely selfish, but he himself is sure that he loves and appreciates them. It is not typical for him to think about other people’s feelings, so each dear person he treats as an inanimate object that exists only for him. He does not value the people closest to him, but in dire need of them. And the longer those around him allow themselves to do so, the stronger the desire to manipulate.
How to recognize a manipulator?
There are quite a few signs to identify intentional or involuntary manipulation by a loved one. Take into account that certain features of manipulative behavior are peculiar to almost all people. Therefore, you should draw conclusions only after identifying at least a few characteristic features of behavior from this list.
The main signs of manipulative behavior:
- A tendency to shift responsibility to others;
- sharp reactions to criticism of oneself;
- denial of one’s own mistakes, even when they are obvious;
- Criticism of others, doubts about their competence and abilities;
- disposition to discuss and criticize people;
- Forcing relations (the person quickly rubs himself/herself in, shows friendship and tries to fill his/her space)
- A desire to use acquaintances, getting the maximum benefit from them;
- Pathological self-confidence;
- Demonstration of his superiority in communication;
- Showy flattery, treats and gifts to show good intentions and friendliness
- Pressure through guilt to depress the victim;
- maintaining tension in communication (any little thing can provoke a conflict in which the manipulator will present himself as a victim).
A characteristic feature of people prone to manipulation is that they try to make the most of all social connections. As soon as they meet a new person, they try to find out what they can help with. If you confess what your job is, you’ll immediately hear “I just need to…” in response.
Another interesting feature of manipulators is that they like to pass on requests through acquaintances. This trick constrains people’s will, makes them feel uncomfortable, and makes them make unwanted commitments.
The signs listed above can only be considered with prolonged acquaintance. But there are also a number of characteristic features of behavior, noticeable already at the first meeting with the manipulator:
- he makes a good impression, seems almost perfect;
- Good-looking, well-groomed and neat;
- friendly, smiling and affable; , compliments, not shy of flattery;
- looks confidentially in the eyes;
- dresses in a classic style, does not stand out in the crowd;
- quickly violates personal space: comes close to him, takes his hand, touches his shoulder, can come closer and whisper something in his ear.
This last point gives away the manipulator most clearly. He never considers how comfortable the people around him are, so he unceremoniously “bursts” into the personal zone of people he barely knows. If the person was silent and did not demonstrate rejection of such behavior – he will be easy to manipulate.
How to fight back a manipulator: 7 ways
The easiest and most effective way to avoid pernicious influence – a complete refusal to communicate with the manipulator. Unfortunately, in life it usually turns out to be a loved one, so this approach is not applicable. The only viable option – to build the right relationship, making him respect your feelings and abandon the “toxic” habits of communication. In this will help the 7 ways listed below.
- Direct rejection . This method is most effective, especially if the manipulator is not a dear person to you. Firmly and confidently answer “No!” to any requests and entreaties. Don’t make excuses, don’t explain, just politely and unequivocally refuse. If you do this at least three times, the manipulator loosens his grip. Later your communication may cool down considerably or remain friendly, but he will leave attempts to manipulate you.
- Autoresponder . This is a rather harsh approach, often used by parents in relation to naughty children. You directly demonstrate that you have identified the manipulation and refuse to give in to it. No matter how the manipulator argues the request, you respond with one phrase each time. Your chosen response should be clear, concise, and calm.
- Acceptance . This approach can be applied to people who criticize your decisions. You simply agree with them, showing a bored look. At the same time you can continue to move in the chosen direction or abandon it, depending on the circumstances. For example, if a manipulative supervisor criticizes your initiative, you can refuse it in good conscience.
- Ignoring . If the manipulator is not important to you, you can behave unceremoniously – simply refuse to communicate. In the future, you can take steps to limit the interaction and less frequent crossing with the person.
- Misunderstanding . The goal of the manipulative person is to influence the victim with minimal effort. If his words and actions do not provoke a strong reaction, he begins to feel uncomfortable himself. By playing misunderstanding, you can literally switch places with him. Simply quietly ask the person to explain in more detail what he or she was thinking, and after the explanation, continue to feign incomprehension. Pretty soon he will realize that trying to manipulate is costing him dearly.
- Translation of the subject . Sensing an attempt to manipulate yourself, start a conversation on another topic. Respond to any retort from your interlocutor with your own questions or unhurried discourse on the topic of your choice.
- Disclosure . This is the toughest approach, which should be used only if the previous ones didn’t help. It is enough to simply tell the person that they are trying to manipulate you and you are not happy about it. You may need to argue the point. Take into account that it will be very frustrating for the loved one, because he may have resorted to manipulation unknowingly.
Many people are trying to manipulate others, and it is very important to be able to resist their influence. In this case, the tactics of confrontation should be chosen based on the relationship with the manipulator. Very often it is a loved one or family, so you should act as delicately as possible so as not to hurt him. It is important not to rush, and try to understand the nature of manipulation to gently wean the person from them, without hurting him and not spoiling the relationship.
10 phrases that will put the manipulator in his place
A manipulator is easy to spot just by listening to how you feel.
You have an unpleasant feeling that tells you to pay attention to the words and actions of the person trying to play on your feelings.
Psychological manipulation is the abuse of one’s influence through distortion and emotional exploitation with the intent to gain power, control, or gain benefits and privileges at the expense of the victim.
Signs of a manipulator
Unlike healthy interactions between people, where there is a mutual exchange, in manipulation, one person uses the other to his or her advantage.
Most manipulators are distinguished by certain characteristics:
- Putting their needs before yours.
Putting their feelings before yours.
Tell you what you need to do.
Feed on experiences and strong emotions.
Want to make you feel guilty.
Know how to bring out your weaknesses.
Once they know about them, they use your weaknesses against you.
Through cunning machinations, they convince you to give up something to satisfy their selfish interests.
At work, at home and in other situations, the manipulator uses you to his advantage, he will repeat his actions until you put an end to it.
The manipulator’s favorite weapons are complaints, comparisons, lies, denials, accusations, blackmail, devaluation, forgetting, flattery and gifts.
Manipulators make you feel guilty with phrases such as “And this after all I have done for you.
You may be compared to someone else: “Even this or that person does… “
Classic tricks can be threats or accusations like, “You only think of yourself,” “At your age you won’t meet anyone else if you leave me,” or playing the victim, “Without you I’ll die.”
Whatever the reasons for this behavior, it is not easy to be the victim of such hidden aggression. So how do you stand up to a manipulator and put an end to their influence?
How to stand up to a manipulator
Here are a few phrases that will help you put the manipulator in his place:
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“No” is a powerful word if you use it without continuing. The problem is that we often accompany rejection with a reason or an apology for why we act one way or another.
Some people often act as if they have some right to ask and demand something from others, especially if they are used to you agreeing all the time.
In fact, you don’t have to do everything that is asked of you, and you don’t have to make excuses for your refusal to the manipulator.
2. I need you to .
I need you to stop insulting me and talk to me respectfully/quietly.
I need you to take care of it yourself.
When you say “I need” to a manipulator, you firmly and confidently reject his tactics.
This response allows you to deny him his wants and replaces it with a phrase that tells him what your needs are.
3. It would be better for me if .
This is another way to state your needs and say no to the manipulator. When you are dealing with these kinds of people, it is best to try to focus on your own needs.
4. step back.
Manipulators often use emotional and physical intimidation to get what they need.
If they start resorting to this, they expect you to listen to their commands and demands. You can bring the person out into the open and confuse them with this phrase.
If the manipulator starts approaching you or asking too much, ask them to step back literally or figuratively to set boundaries.
5. We’ll talk when you calm down.
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This phrase works if the manipulator starts to create too much tension and emotional heat to prevent you from thinking rationally.
Try not to fall into this trap. Ask the person to take some time (a day or two) to calm down before asking you for something again.
If you are being manipulated by a child or teenager, it will even be good for them because it teaches them proper communication skills.
6. My feelings matter too.
Some manipulators extol their feelings. Their goal is to make you forget about your feelings while you put all your efforts into fulfilling their requests and desires.
Put an end to these actions by being clear about your emotions and needs. Life doesn’t revolve around one person, just like friendships or relationships.
7 This is not acceptable.
A manipulator is looking for an easy target. They want someone with floating boundaries who won’t cause a scandal when they cross the line.
By telling your opponent that he is doing something unacceptable, you are letting him know that you are not so easily neglected.
Most likely, the manipulator will immediately switch to someone else.
8. Go away
Save this phrase for when nothing else works.
This applies to people who do all sorts of nasty things and then call you as if nothing had happened, asking for help. Or people you don’t see for years, but who show up out of the blue and ask you for money.
Some people simply have no place in your life. If the person has repeatedly cheated, let you down, and manipulated you, point them to the door and don’t look back.
9. You must feel really bad, since you’re attacking me. Do you want to talk about it?
This statement demonstrates that you acknowledge the manipulator’s anger, sadness, and fear, and your question indicates an openness to address it.
Low self-esteem is one of the reasons why the manipulator is trying to control your emotions.
By acknowledging his feelings, you can set the record straight and help the person gradually get rid of the destructive behavior.
10. Don’t say anything
Manipulators feed on strong emotions. If they can provoke you into anger, fear and anxiety, it makes them feel like they’ve taken over you.
Stay calm, adjust your breathing, and focus on your inner state. Feel the tension in your chest, shoulders, neck, or stomach. Mentally relax these muscles while looking into the eyes of your manipulator.
Of course, for some people this will be a difficult task. Responding calmly in response to an exasperated expression may further aggravate the manipulator.
Refrain from wanting to engage in controversy. Manipulator will quickly realize that he can’t change your emotions and switch to easier prey.
How to behave with a manipulator
Here, some more tips to help you deal with a manipulator.
1. Know your rights
When dealing with a manipulator, it’s important to know your rights and notice when they are being infringed upon. If you are not hurting anyone, you have every right to stand up for yourself and your rights.
You have the right to expect to be treated with respect.
You have the right to express your wishes, feelings and opinions.
You have the right to set your priorities.
You have the right to say “no” without feeling guilty.
You have the right to get what you paid for.
You have the right to have an opinion different from everyone else.
You have the right to take care of yourself and protect yourself from physical, mental and emotional threats.
You have the right to create your own happy and healthy life.
Unfortunately, there are many people in society who do not respect these rights.
The manipulator in particular benefits from depriving you of your rights in order to more easily control and take advantage of you. But you have the power and the moral right to be responsible for your life.
2. Keep your distance.
Want to identify a manipulator? Observe how a person behaves with different people in different situations in life. Although we all tend to distort our behavior to some degree, many manipulators tend to go to extremes by being very polite to some people and rude to others.
If you notice such behavior from a person on a regular basis, try to maintain a healthy distance and do not engage in unnecessary dialogue with them. The reasons for this behavior may be deep-seated, but that doesn’t mean you need to deal with it.
3. Refrain from beating yourself up and don’t take it personally
Because any manipulator tries to play on your weaknesses, you may have a false sense of your own inferiority, and you may even blame yourself for not being able to meet his demands.
Remind yourself that you are not the problem, but that you are being manipulated to devalue yourself and discreetly give him power over you.
Think about your relationship with your manipulator and ask yourself:
Do I feel that I am being treated with appropriate respect?
Are the person’s expectations and demands adequate?
Are you the only one making an effort in this relationship or both?
And most importantly, do I feel happy in this relationship?
The answers to these questions will help you understand if the problems d in the relationship are related to you or to the other person.
4. Shift your focus by asking questions
Any manipulator will sooner or later make a request or start making demands of you.
Such requests will make you try your best to accommodate their wishes.
When you hear unreasonable demands, it is sometimes helpful to shift your attention to the manipulator themselves by asking them certain questions. For example:
Do you think this is reasonable?
Do you think your demands are fair?
Are you asking me or commanding me?
What do I get for it?
Do you really expect me to (an unfair request)?
When you ask these questions, you become a mirror of your interlocutor, and the manipulator has the opportunity to realize the real nature of his requests.
If the person has any conscience, they are more likely to back down and give up their demands.
In contrast? Chronic manipulators will ignore your questions and be even more insistent. If this is your case, use the tips above to stop the manipulation.
5. Take a pause.
In addition to exorbitant demands, the manipulator most often expects you to respond immediately in order to increase pressure and manage the situation.
At such times, instead of immediately responding to the manipulator’s requests, take a pause and distance yourself from his or her influence. You can simply offer: “I need to think about this.”
Use this time to assess the pros and cons of the situation, and figure out whether you should negotiate more equal terms or just turn the person down.
6. Fight back the abuser
A pathological manipulator can become an abuser when they bully or hurt others.
The most important thing to remember about such people is that their choices fall most often on those they consider weaker. Being passive and compliant on your part makes you an easy target for the manipulator.
But many are also cowardly at heart, and if you stand up to them and defend your rights, they often back down.
If you confront your abuser, make sure you can defend yourself, or have support in the form of others who can validate the inappropriate behavior.