Some relationships in life just feel hard. Conversations feel hard, being in the same space feels hard and just overall interaction feels hard. Manipulative people tend to sway personal opinions, always see their side of the situation, and may never let you have your own opinion because they are always pushing theirs. These toxic individuals tend to play the victim, never taking responsibility for their actions or any actions for that matter. Feeling like a puppet on a string? Here is how to identify manipulative people, ways to cope with and handle these types of people.
What Is Manipulation?
Manipulation can come in many forms. It is an unhealthy emotional strategy that individuals use to control a person or situation when they cannot express or ask for things they want or need in a direct manner. Manipulative people can be extremely nice, pushy, or even emotionally abusive. These individuals really have no interest in your life, however, they may pretend to care to get what they want. The truth may often feel distorted, and stories will change in an attempt to cause confusion. Regardless of the type of manipulator, there are traits and tendencies to spot and look for when examining personal relationships.
Traits Of Manipulative People
It is important to examine healthy relationships and understand what makes them healthy. Healthy relationships are ones with two-way communication, support, and boundaries. If there is something that doesn’t feel right, each person can express any concerns in a way that is honest and constructive. When dealing with manipulative people, there may be instances of a positive relationship, but a majority of interactions just feel one-sided. Here are five traits to look for in manipulative people:
1) Avoids Responsibilities. There will hardly be instances where manipulative people take ownership of their actions. It will always be someone else’s fault and seldom will you hear this individual apologize for their actions. It is not that manipulative people don’t know how to take responsibility, it is that they choose not to in order to pass the blame and play the victim card. This can be extremely frustrating especially if they are always the damsel in distress. Watch out for accepting their blame as yours.
2) Detects Weaknesses. We all have personality opportunities and ways we can improve those. Manipulative people often find those opportunities and use them to their advantage. For example, there are people in life who are just nice people. These individuals would do anything for anyone and always sees the good in everybody and everything. You might say they often get taken advantage of because they just see great in everything. A manipulative person would eat that up knowing that they could use this person for favors and if for some a reason a “favor” can’t get done guilt-tripping would set in and the manipulator now has control.
3) No Boundaries. There are no limits to manipulative people. They will get what they want no matter what it takes to get there or who it hurts along the way. Having any sort of physical, psychological, or emotional boundaries does not exist on their radar and they just lack the overall understanding of space.
4) Rationalize Behavior. These individuals are constantly rationalizing their behavior and never stop to realize how their actions could be affecting others. In any discussion, their side will always be right, and no matter what is said their actions will have a justification. This can be tricky when trying to have serious or important conversations with them. You may think they are listening but truthfully you will never be heard because they are sending in the defense team as soon as the last word comes out of your mouth.
5) Bad Talking. Listen to how these individuals talk about people to you. If they are constantly putting others down and trying to create rivalry and disharmony, most likely they will be doing the same thing to you when you’re absent from a discussion or situation. Try to avoid engaging in these conversations because the goal is to hurt others and also try to cause unnecessary arguments or disagreements where they are not needed or warranted.
Don’t be fooled, manipulation can also be found in co-dependent parent-child relationships where parents manipulate and psychologically abuse their kids. According to Find Your Mom Tribe, it can be toxic and shouldn’t be ignored or believed that it doesn’t exist.
Ways To Cope With Manipulation
- Ignore Them. The last thing you want to do is argue with manipulative people because that is them winning. Trying to ignore them might be hard to do if the manipulative person is family, a boss, or coworker. In this case, work on subtly agreeing and then go and do what you should be doing. But if they are not one of those people you’ll need to think about whether or not you want this type of person in your life. If it’s easy enough, hit the delete button!
- Have Clear Boundaries. In life, we all need healthy boundaries for ourselves, families, friends, and employers. With manipulative people, you especially need to have clear boundaries and stick to those boundaries. Manipulators tend to prey on “people pleasers” because they know they can get their way. Set up your boundaries and try not to sway from your perspective. By establishing these boundaries you can also set yourself up for success for disengagement if needed.
- Get Comfortable With Saying “NO”. This word can be hard for lots of people whether talking to a manipulative person or not. By calmly saying “No” and providing no justification, you are setting your ground with that individual not giving them the power to control the situation. Now they will test you and try to convince you otherwise, but do not give in.
- Don’t React. An emotional reaction is a manipulator’s fire starter. Manipulators tend to use those reactions to confuse you in situations so eventually, you feel you are the one to blame for the situation. Dealing with manipulative people can be taxing. Take a deep breath, try and remain calm and not let that manipulative person in your life create chaos and confusion where it is not needed.
- Take A Time Out. More times than not, manipulative people will try and push you into a corner with making decisions that you’re not ready to make. Do not feel pressured to respond or even provide any justification for not responding. By taking a time out, you are giving yourself a little space to think about things without the demands of another person waiting for a response. It also gives you the time you might need to process the conversation and to think about an agreement that works for you too.
Having toxic relationships in your life is a sure way to cause undue stress. However, sometimes these relationships are ones that can’t necessarily be deleted from your life. Having the knowledge to identify manipulative people and the tools to handle them can help to ease some of the tension when they are around. Try some of these tips next time and just see how the tides may turn. Good luck!
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on The Power Of Forgiveness.
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