verb (used with object), ma·nip·u·lat·ed, ma·nip·u·lat·ing.
to manage or influence skillfully, especially in an unfair manner: to manipulate people’s feelings.
Do you think you’re being manipulated by someone? Here are a few things I’ve learned about manipulative people, and my advice on what to do when you encounter them. First, it’s essential to understand what a manipulative person does.
Things a manipulative person does:
- Knowingly hurts you, but when in your presence acts as a confidante, or acts as if they did nothing wrong.
- Manipulative people usually have an agenda. They might seek information that seems harmless from you to use it against you. For example, if they feel like they’re losing power over you, or another situation in their life, they will use something significant to you to cause you pain and or to gain control over you.
- They may even say things that lead you to think the way they want you to, or they might say things directly to you that will make them right and you at fault. Ex: If you really, really want to, I will… if you really, really need to, then I will… That’s up to you…
- If they do respond to your feelings being hurt, they will most likely say it wasn’t their fault, and was yours.
- They do not feel bad about what they’ve done as they already have their own agenda.
- In my experience, most people use manipulation as a way to have some sort of personal gain. It could be stroke their own ego, for fun, or to fill a void they have in life. Basically, in the end, it’s all about them.
- They may think what they are doing is a little questionable, but not enough to get them to care. They may pretend to care or feel remorse – but they probably don’t.
- Once you find out and confront them about their poor behavior, they will turn the tables on you.
- This is where your reaction to their behavior comes into play. Most likely, this person wants to get an emotional response out of you, so they can have their “AHA!” moment. This is when they can say, “Aha! I told you X would act like this! They’re crazy! Here’s what they said…”
- They will make it seem as if you are the one that is doing something wrong – when, in reality, it’s you reacting off of their behavior.
- If your gut is telling you that someone is not trustworthy – believe it! Do not persuade yourself that someone is a good person when your body is telling you not to trust them. In the beginning of your relationship, it probably seemed like they were perfect for you, but that was a lie. Most times, they give attention and then slowly take it away until over time until it’s barely anything – which leaves you confused. Do not convince yourself that it’s anxiety, or blame it on your lack of trust in people.
- Do not give them the reaction they are looking for. Do not call them out. Most likely, they will gaslight you. The only thing that will result in is another painful experience. Try to stay calm. Don’t forget that they have a manipulative personality. If you have already given an emotional response, it’s okay. There’s nothing you can do or say that will make the other person understand how they hurt you because this is something they meant to do. The hardest but most effective option is not to be in contact with them. There’s nothing for them to feed off of if they can’t contact you.
Now, of course, every situation is different, and you cannot just make a list of things to do and not do – but I think it’s valuable to understand their mindset and to react accordingly. It’s important to remember you’re human and not a robot – you can make mistakes.
In closing… God, these situations suck. It is hurtful. You could do everything for this person, but acting on their own behalf is their only goal. Try to see the light, which is that you are honest and trustworthy. Best of luck!
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