Conflict # 34 – Manipulation

In conflict scenarios manipulation is commonplace. Manipulators lie and deceive you. They threaten, trick or trap you. They try to convince you that you’re wrong, crazy or stupid. They push your buttons in order to make you react, and enjoy seeing you lose control.

When your kids do this, you give consequences and hope they learn their lesson. When adults do it, it’s not that simple. How frustrating!

Now, in casual relationships, you might be able to brush off an attempt to manipulate. But when the manipulator is a main character in the story of your life, coping effectively can be a challenge. Lacking the ability to control the manipulator’s behavior, how do you respond? Fearfully? Aggressively? Assertively? Inappropriately? Wisely?

If this speaks to you, check out a book on dealing with difficult people. I can recommend them, if you contact me. If reading isn’t your thing, just remember this: the manipulator can do nothing to you, unless you allow it.

Unless you allow it? Why would you allow yourself to be manipulated? Or does it just happen? The answer involves understanding subconscious processes, which is a bit too much for this article; so let’s focus on what we can do about it.

The tip for today is this: to avoid being manipulated, you must immediately recognize the manipulation. This only happens when you are thinking clearly. When you notice it happening, slow down your reaction time, take a breath and notice how you are feeling. Think about what’s happening and what the other person is doing. If you think about “why” they’re doing it, do not verbalize it. That usually backfires.

Once you can see what the manipulator is doing, you can decide whether to respond or not. And if you choose to respond, how to respond and for what purpose. I can help you with all of that.

Give me a call at 219-309-3928 for a free consultation, if you’re having trouble dealing with a difficult person. I’d be glad to talk with you.

Thanks for reading!