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.
Here are a few things I’ve learned and my advice on what to do when you encounter someone with a manipulative personality.
Things a manipulative person does:
- Knowingly does something hurtful towards you, but when in your presence acts as a confidante.
- 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 hurt you and control you.
- They may even say things to you that leads you to think the way they want you to. They might say things directly to you that will make them always 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…
- 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.
- They may think what they are doing is a little questionable, but not enough to get them to care or stop their behavior. They may pretend to care or feel remorse – but they probably just 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’re 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. Do not convince yourself that it’s just anxiety or blame it on your lack of trust in people.
- Do not give them the reaction they are looking for. Stay calm, and let it go. Don’t forget that they have a manipulative personality. If you have already given an emotional response, move on. You’re human, 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.
- If you simply do not care, I think it’s still best to not give a response or reaction because that’s what they’re looking for.
* 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 also important to remember you’re human and not a robot.
In closing… it’s a shame people are like this. It’s sad and hurtful – but you will probably run into people like this, and you have to remember that you are not one of them. There needs to be someone like you – who can be honest and trustworthy. Well, there’s my perspective on manipulative people and my advice when you run into them.
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