Revealing Emotional Manipulation

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Replacing Confusion with Confidence

1: You have the right to judge your own behavior, thoughts and emotions, and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon yourself.
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 decisions.
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 advantage of

CHARACTERISTIC: power and control imbalance in the relationship

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?
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?
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?
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 effect

Q: Do manipulators need to win?
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 peers.

Q: Do manipulators violate you?
: 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?
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 wants.

Q: I feel resentment for manipulation.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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 composure.
- 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 empathy
- make him/her aware of your feelings
- 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 manipulative tactics! (Within safety limits of course!)

More Q&A about manipulation:
You can write your own question; I answer within a couple of days - depending my other duties!

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Aren't you sure if you are struggling with manipulation or not? - Find out with the help of this Free List of Signs!
More Information about Emotional Manipulation:
Six Signs of an Abusive Relationship
Manipulation Games 1: The "One Upmanship Expert"
Manipulation Games 2: The Dependent in Charge
Manipulation Games 3: The Constant Victim
Manipulation Games 4: Iron Fist
Manipulation Games 5: Triangulator
Manipulation Games 6: Flirt
Manipulation Games 7: Projection
Manipulation Games 8: Best Defense is Offense
Manipulation Games 9: Intentional Misinterpretation
I should have said "NO" but I couldn't.
Three Essentials to Back Off Manipulators
How Do You Know if Someone Is Manipulating You?
Who Is Yelling Is Losing
When To Express When To Hide Our Feelings?
Children As Selling Point: Worst Of The Worst Of Manipulation
How To Protect Our Children From Manipulation?
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