Manipulation is part of that process we know as communication. People want things from other people. It’s always been like that. Someone wants to use you. Others are used by you. We learn that art of manipulation from the young age.
My parents were both very busy. And I seldom felt like doing my homework properly. That’s when my mum bribed me saying: “If you finish your homework earlier, I will get you something nice”. I get that my mum didn’t want to spend her time checking my homework after long hours at work. From that point on I’ve been happily doing all the tasks, she assigned me, even the most challenging ones expecting new nice things from my parents as an encouragement.
Manipulation varies. Some things are not that serious like the example above. Some things are really bad when we feel used. And I want us to be aware of that happening. We need to learn to spot and recognise manipulation in relationships.
4 Pointers of Manipulation
1. Emotional Discomfort & Tiny Resistance
It occurs when we do something for someone that we think we do out of our own will, but yet somehow that tiny resistance grows inside getting louder. We worry and we think that it’s nothing and has no ground at all. We hardly ever can explain ourselves why we feel this way.
2. Mixed Feelings
When we have mixed feelings they are usually accompanied by annoyance, anger, fear or even guilt. Those feelings are raging. You feel what you feel and there’s no way to change that. When people play with our emotions we feel awful and a hostage of a situation…
3. Red Flags
Have you ever had this weird feeling about someone you’ve met for the first time? As if something was off about that person and you couldn’t wrap your mind around it. But what if that feeling of worry continues to appear every time you see that person?
Red warning flags go off when you feel same emotions around a person like feeling unworthy, guilty and miserable. This shows that that person plays on your weaknesses and you go down as if you were standing on a quicksand.
4. Hit & Miss
When you find out that someone is manipulating you there is no way he/she will come clean about it. Better yet they would come up with a snowfall of all the things you did wrong just to switch off your attention from the subject.
We think we hit the target, but we miss the opportunity to actually get that confession from our manipulator that he/she is, in fact, the manipulator. Long story short, manipulators don’t really like that label. That’s all.
5 Most Common Manipulation Tricks
Oh, What a Pity!
People use it craftily. They plant that image in our mind of how weak and needy they are. We are tricked into thinking that without our constant help and support that person will never be able to solve his problems on his own. People like that always feel sorry for themselves and they would do anything to get your attention.
I remember when my friend spent almost 3 hours a day with her grandma listening to her sad stories. After dragging her from her grandma’s house, Anna was pale and down in her mood. “You don’t understand how lonely my grandma is. And she likes to talk… And she likes people to listen to her”. That is a good point. But when you constantly spend your time with people who bring your positive feeling of life down and you feel guilty for not wanting to spend time with them – stop and reflect.
Guilty! Guilty!! Guilty!!!
This one is the heaviest. No one likes to feel guilty when we promised to do something for someone and failed to do that. There comes the guilt firing up the stage of our mind.
We feel guilty since the young age. Our parents, teachers and partners turn to that tool very often. But who likes to feel like that going through life with shrugged shoulders?!
It seems hard to give up that guilty feeling, but when we do – a new sense of freedom comes in.
Not everybody is 100% sure and feel confident about themselves. That’s when people choose to try their luck and manipulate us playing on our insecurities. In every person, there is that tiny drop of self-doubt that just wouldn’t give us a break.
We are who we are. Everything that makes us ourselves serves us well. We grow, we learn, we evolve. Our self-confidence should derive from it. You are worthy of love and respect. But most importantly, you are worthy of self-love.
This trick is wildly used among the salespeople. Heck, it used everywhere! We want to feel great about ourselves. And we want people to recognise our good sides. We want them to celebrate us and our great qualities. That is why it is so hard to distinguish flattery from a good honest compliment.
Empty Hopes & Dreams
I’ve seen a lot of that. It happens all the time. Relationships. One person is very committed to another, but another is pretty much committed to the empty hopes and dreams promising EVERYTHING and giving nothing.
I’ve seen so many friends waiting for ages for their “halves” to get real, to get serious. They were sick and tired of empty promises. But the hope for the better desirable future flees the ship at the very last moment…
“It’s not you, it’s me… It’s just NOW is not a good time for us… maybe ONE DAY you will call me and then I will be ready”. Does this sound familiar to anybody? It sure does sound familiar to me. I know how hard it is to let go of that manipulative person you think you love and to commit to someone else who will actually treat you better with care and all the love possible.
We waste so many of our days waiting for the weekend to come. We spend so many nights wishing for the morning to arrive. And then we understand that this addictive lust for the future comfort is the biggest thief of our LIFE!
I don’t want any of you to waste your time on people who feed you with false promises and beliefs just because they feel comfortable with you. Whatever you decide to do next, just be aware that you have the right and the power to change your life for the better. Now.
3 Tips to Reduce Manipulation Effects
1. Spontaneous & Reserved
Be spontaneous and a little bit reserved. The harder it is to predict your actions, the harder it is to manipulate you. The less personal things you share with people, especially people you know very little about – the fewer grounds your potential manipulator has to build his strategy upon.
2. I said NO!
Learn to say NO without feeling guilty. It is easier than you think.
3. Brag less
Brag less especially when you are in the company of people you know little about. It is good to have this habit among other habits: the fewer things you say or do that can be easily turned against you, the better your life is overall.
We can hardly ever change EXACTLY what people think or feel about us and what their motives are… So why waste our time on that? What matters the most is WHAT YOU think about yourself. No matter what you did in the past, you don’t live there anymore. Just let yourself grow, learn and move forward regardless of what other people think or say.
No one will live your life for you. Forgive yourself that you didn’t know better in the past and move on. You will be just fine!