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Replacing Confusion with Confidence
YOUR ASSERTIVE RIGHTS
1: You have the right to judge your own behavior,
thoughts and emotions, and to take the
responsibility for their initiation and consequences
2: You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses
to justify your behavior.
3: You have the right to judge if you are responsible
for finding solutions to other people's problem.
4: You have the right to change your mind.
5: You have the right to make mistakes - and be
responsible for them.
6: You have the right to say, "I don't know."
7: You have the right to be independent of the
goodwill of others before coping with them.
8: You have the right to be illogical in making
9: You have the right to say, "I don't understand."
10: You have the right to say, "I don't care."
THE FEELING: confusion,
frustration, anger, unfairness
helplessness, hopelessness, self-doubt
MANIPULATION: making you doing
something what you don't want to by
inducing guilt, shame, anxiety
UFAIR, DOUBLE BASE
COMMUNICATION: on the surface
seemingly loving and caring, covertly
controls your behavior by destructive
feelings (guilt, shame, anxiety)
GOAL: gaining control
GOAL OF CONTROL: taking
CHARACTERISTIC: power and control
imbalance in the relationship
SELF REINFORCING PROCESS:
The manipulator applies pressure; you
comply to get relief. Compliance
reinforces the manipulative tactics.
BRAKING THE CYCLE: don't reward
manipulative tactics by compliance.
Resist at the core: don't do what
you are manipulated to do.
SILENT CONTRACT: you are silently
prohibited to talk about your feeling
that you are not treated rightfully
Question and Answer
Q: How manipulation works?
A: The manipulator induces guilt, shame or anxiety and illustrates the behavior you should use
in order to avoid it.
a.) A representative tells a story and he indicates that if you don't give money for the poor
then you are greedy. He states that your donation will transfer immediately to XY charity. He
continues by emphasizing that the best way not to feel greedy is to give him your money.
b.) If you don't spend the whole Thanksgiving at your parent's house, you're a thankless
child. To avoid this guilt, you spend the holidays there although all of your friends are at the
mountain enjoying a day of skiing.
c.) Your loved one tells a story about your third neighbor who behaves so kindly and
tolerantly with her abusive, alcoholic husband. The whole scene has some phony tone in it. The
arbitrary rules: "A good wife/girlfriend doesn't complain or bitch around her abusive
partner." If you want to be assessed as a "good wife/girlfriend", you should not stand against
your abusive partner. (So he can torture you without consequences.)
Q: What are the manipulative hooks?
A: Something that is very important to you! Either some unfulfilled need for which you are
willing to do anything to acquire - it can be love, appreciation, acceptance, belonging, safety,
security...anything. In the minute, you fulfill your manipulator's expectation to avoid the
imposed guilt shame or anxiety. In the long run, you stay in the relationship because the
manipulator promises to fulfill your most starved needs. Sorry to tell you: most of the time,
they don't care about fulfilling them, only to keep you in alignment with their agenda.
Q: What are the manipulator's tricks?
A: Tricks can be anything that makes you feel guilty, ashamed or anxious.
Some of them:
guilt trip - "If you loved me you would..." "If you knew what I have been though..."
silent treatment - withdrawing communication or emotion
reasoning - you have to do this because...
threatening - physically or mentally
covert badgering - constant criticism
pretending to be ill
authority - using orders, directives, commands
charm - gift, favor, service - doesn't evoke negative feelings, but can be given for certain
Q: Do manipulators need to win?
A: Actually we all want to win when we compete, but we can "choose to play cooperative
games" and living our lives as such as opposed to living competitively. Manipulators often are
very competitive people and winning is more important for them than for their less competitive
Q: Do manipulators violate you?
A: Absolutely! They physically abuse with their Iron Fist - "Do what I said or I will beat you
up!" Even the smoothest manipulation process' aim is to control your behavior in a way that is
beneficial for the manipulator. They can use your emotional, physical, or financial resources
and get what they want without any consideration of what you want. On the other hand:
imposing guilt, shame and anxiety - the basic elements of manipulation - is not only painful but
basically destructive for the personality. Living among these feelings undermines Self-Esteem,
Confidence and creates enormous stress.
Shortly: Manipulators do violate your rights and interest.
Q: Are manipulators telling you what you want to hear?
A: Yes, they do. They figure out your vulnerable spots early on, and capitalize on it according
to their wants and needs. They have no problem with lies or conscience. One time you might be
the prettiest woman on Earth - if they want sex, another time you might be a plump - so you
better do what he says if you want to avoid feeling ashamed.
All what you need to know: it's not about you! It's about him/her and about his/her needs and
Q: I feel resentment for manipulation.
A: Completely understandable. If you were manipulated, your feelings, needs and wants were
not considered. In addition the whole process is pretentious, false. On the surface it's
seemingly loving and caring, but on the hidden unconscious level it is suppose to induce guilt,
shame and anxiety. The only reason to impose these feelings is to motivate you in doing
something what you otherwise would not do. It serves the manipulator's interest at your
expense. And your expense is huge: the manipulator controls your feelings and behavior, your
self-esteem is undermined and your overall confidence. Just to let you know: everybody else,
including myself, feels the rightful indignation when we are (or attempted to be) manipulated.
Q: Can a manipulator convince me that I am a manipulator?
A: Yes! - If you let yourself be convinced...- no blame, don't worry! They are very skillful
people. There is one particular type, who uses excessively the ego-defense mechanism that
psychologists call projection. They have some dysfunctional issue that they cannot face. They
project it to other people and see that trait as the others'. For example a selfish person sees
you selfish just because you hesitate to fulfill his/her needs. Or a controlling person sees you
controlling, because you had a wish to do something in your way (after you did it 100 times in
his/her way). Last but not least: a manipulative person can see you as manipulative because you
try to negotiate about your needs too.
Make a reality check on yourself too! You might use some of his/her tactics to get what you
want, s/he just revealed them.
Q: How can I out-manipulate the manipulator?
A:There is no way! Although there are some people who are the victim of manipulation in one
part and quite a talented manipulator themselves, usually their manipulator is even more
practiced. Then what would you do? If s/he uses the silent treatment, do you use it 1 hour - 2
hours longer? If s/he got ill to force your compliance, you will be even more ill? Or you make
each other feel as guilty as possible just to force the other to fulfill your will? Is this the
relationship what you hoped for? Don't even try! It doesn't work.
What really works against manipulation come in the next points.
Q: How can I deal with a manipulator?
A: 1 - Raise awareness; understand the process!
a/ Investigate what is the surface message
b/ Figure out what feeling it is suppose to evoke in you
c/ Figure out what s/he wants you to do to avoid that feeling
2 - Learn to withstand that painful feeling. Feeling is just a feeling. Feeling guilty or ashamed
or worried can be very inconvenient, but it is just a feeling, it will not kill you right away. You
can stand it for a little while, don't let yourself be moved around by them.
3 - Be aware of your rights: you're the only one who can decide what you do, and you're the
one who can judge your behavior right or wrong.
4 - Resist doing what the manipulator wants.
Q: Are manipulators assertive people? Are assertive people manipulators?
A: No. These concepts are opponents by definition:
Manipulation is when someone gets you doing something that you don't want to by inducing
guilt, shame or anxiety. The manipulator doesn't consider your right to decide about your
action, judge your own behavior or to say no.
Assertive communication is when someone stands up for his/her right without violating others
interest and rights.
Q: How to counterattack a manipulator?
A: You don't need to. The goal is not to fight, but rather to do what you want. No matter how
fiercely s/he fights, you just say NO - in a calm, assertive way. Or the opposite: if s/he fights
because s/he wants you not to mention something: you just maintain calmly but firmly: "Still I
want to talk about my... (need)."
Actually, you counterattack when you don't get involved in the fight. When you react with
anger and frustration to his/her call for action, s/he knows you already got the hook. You are
thinking about accomplishing what s/he wants from you against your will, this is why you are
frustrated. If you are sure about what you want and firm about that you will do what you
want, you show it by staying calm and grounded to this decision while maintaining your
BASIC "DO"-S AND "DON'T"-S
- try to out manipulate
- try to change him/her
- listen what s/he says
- ask why
- say s/he is unfair/unkind
- count with his/her
- make him/her aware of
- raise your own awareness
- change your own reaction
- listen what s/he does
- know your rights
- be assertive
- establish boundaries
- learn resistance tactics
- Resist! Don't comply with
(Within safety limits of
If you too: feel confused, frustrated
If you got to the end of your wit...
If you'd like to gain clarity what's
going on around you...
If you'd like to learn practical
behavioral tactics how to handle
This training was made for you!
Get empowered against manipulation!
Get back the controll into your hand!
Find you old, confident self!
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