Have you ever been in a relationship, be it friendship, romantic connection, parent-child, work, etc., and felt that you’re the one who is doing all giving and heavy lifting? Have you ever found yourself doing something that you really didn’t want to do but, did it anyway because you felt obligated or guilty? Have you ever felt that no matter what you do or say that it isn’t enough or just plain wrong?
Of course you have. We all have. And the point is that when you feel like that, you can be pretty sure that you have been masterfully and purposely manipulated by the other person(s). And if we’re really honest, we have all done the same thing to other people from time to time.
However, there are many people out there who make it their life’s work to get others to do the work in their lives. These people refuse to do their own dirty work, refuse to take any kind of stand, or to take responsibility for their own lives or actions.
These people are practicing a form of emotional and mental abuse and you’re the victim! These people are energy vampires and will suck you dry and happily walk away from your withered husk when they’ve gotten all they can from you; then go on down the street in search for another willing victim.
Recently the webpage “Go We Love It” posted an article entitled 8 Ways to Protect Yourself from Emotional Manipulation that teaches you how to recognize when you’re being manipulated and how to defend yourself from this insidious type of abuse:
- There is no use in trying to be honest with an emotional manipulator. You make a statement and it will be turned around. Under all circumstances if you feel this angle is being played – don’t capitulate! Do not care take – do not accept an apology that feels like bullshit. If it feels like bullshit – it probably is. Rule number one – if dealing with an emotional blackmailer TRUST your gut. TRUST your senses. Once an emotional manipulator finds a successful maneuver – it’s added to their hit list and you’ll be fed a steady diet of this shit.
- An emotional manipulator is the picture of a willing helper. If you ask them to do something they will almost always agree – that is IF they didn’t volunteer to do it first. Then when you say, “ok thanks” – they make a bunch of heavy sighs, or other nonverbal signs that let you know they don’t really want to do whatever said thing happens to be. Rule number two – If an emotional manipulator said YES – make them accountable for it. Do NOT buy into the sighs and subtleties – if they don’t want to do it – make them tell you it up front – or just put on headphones and run a bath and leave them to their theater.
- Crazy making – saying one thing and later assuring you they did not say it. If you find yourself in a relationship where you figure you should start keeping a log of what’s been said because you are beginning to question your own sanity –You are experiencing emotional manipulation. An emotional manipulator is an expert in turning things around, rationalizing, justifying and explaining things away. They can lie so smoothly that you can sit looking at black and they’ll call it white – and argue so persuasively that you begin to doubt your very senses. Over a period of time this is so insidious and eroding it can literally alter your sense of reality.
- Guilt. Emotional manipulators are excellent guilt mongers. They can make you feel guilty for speaking up or not speaking up, for being emotional or not being emotional enough, for giving and caring, or for not giving and caring enough. Anything is fair game and open to guilt with an emotional manipulator. Emotional manipulators seldom express their needs or desires openly – they get what they want through emotional manipulation. Guilt is not the only form of this but it is a potent one. Most of us are pretty conditioned to do whatever is necessary to reduce our feelings of guilt. Another powerful emotion that is used is sympathy. An emotional manipulator is a great victim. They inspire a profound sense of needing to support, care for and nurture.
- Emotional manipulators fight dirty. They don’t deal with things directly. They will talk around behind your back and eventually put others in the position of telling you what they would not say themselves. They are passive aggressive, meaning they find subtle ways of letting you know they are not happy little campers. They’ll tell you what they think you want to hear and then do a bunch of jerk off shit to undermine it.
- If you have a headache an emotional manipulator will have a brain tumor! No matter what your situation is the emotional manipulator has probably been there or is there now – but only ten times worse. It’s hard after a period of time to feel emotionally connected to an emotional manipulator because they have a way of de-railing conversations and putting the spotlight back on themselves. If you call them on this behavior they will likely become deeply wounded or very petulant and call you selfish – or claim that it is you who are always in the spotlight. The thing is that even though you know this is not the case you are left with the impossible task of proving it. Don’t bother – TRUST your gut and walk away!
- Emotional manipulators somehow have the ability to impact the emotional climate of those around them. When an emotional manipulator is sad or angry the very room thrums with it – it brings a deep instinctual response to find some way to equalize the emotional climate and the quickest route is by making the emotional manipulator feel better – fixing whatever is broken for them. Stick with this type of loser for too long and you will be so enmeshed and co-dependent you will forget you even have needs – let alone that you have just as much right to have your needs met.
- Emotional manipulators have no sense of accountability. They take no responsibility for themselves or their behavior – it is always about what everyone else has “done to them”. One of the easiest ways to spot an emotional manipulator is that they often attempt to establish intimacy through the early sharing of deeply personal information that is generally of the “hook-you-in-and-make-you-sorry-for-me” variety. Initially you may perceive this type of person as very sensitive, emotionally open and maybe a little vulnerable. Believe me when I say that an emotional manipulator is about as vulnerable as a rabid pit bull, and there will always be a problem or a crisis to overcome.
The thing you also need to remember is that no one can take advantage of you without your permission. So, please, please, please; if you find yourself in this type of abusive relationship, run away as fast as you little legs can carry you. It may be hard, and it may be painful but, staying in that situation will only guarantee that you continue to be a victim and allow someone else to use up your energy and suck the joy from your life.
Here’s hoping you have and intentionally great day full of supporting and nurturing relationships.