We worry about being used and manipulated by others. Manipulation, we all come to learn, occurs everywhere, including within our family and at work.
Why is manipulation so ubiquitous, you may wonder. Why do we remain unaware of it? Why do we not know how to deal with manipulators?
There are different reasons why you may be unable to defend yourself from manipulators, including:
- You struggle to set clear boundaries.
- You are incapable of asserting yourself.
- You are conflict-avoidant.
- You underestimate yourself and denigrate your self-worth.
- You remain susceptible to guilt-tripping.
Weirdly enough, the roots of manipulation lie within us. We can only avoid being manipulated by others once we have changed ourselves first!
To avoid trusting manipulators, including those loved bad boys, we should get to know ourselves and determine our worth realistically and objectively. Once we have done that, we will be no longer so easily manipulated by narcissists within and without the family.
Here are four techniques that you can employ to neutralize manipulation:
- Manipulators often use you for personal gain. They ask you to do or buy things that will help them get ahead. They often make utterly unreasonable demands. Therefore, when you face an unreasonable request from someone, you can respond with: “Do you think this is reasonable?” and “Are you asking me to do this, or are you telling me to do this?” You can also say something like, “Do you really require me to…”
- Manipulators love to exaggerate. To figure out what is really going on, you should always rely on facts. Ask manipulators to break things down to you, stripping all statement’s words to bare truths. The truth is on your side.
- Manipulators usually demand your help and services immediately – just because they realize you may catch onto the manipulation if they allow you extra time. Use the time to your advantage. When you sense that you are being manipulated, just say “I will think about it.”
- Manipulators also try to gain control over different situations by aggrandizing themselves and asserting their power and status. This helps them look greater and more dominant than they are, putting everyone else in a bad position. In cases like this one, it is crucial for you to defend your own views and stand your ground.
How can you know manipulation when you see it? How should you react to others’ attempts to manipulate you? How can you protect yourself from vicious manipulators?
Psychologist, family therapist, author
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