Manipulators are sly foxes. They know when and how to use someone for their own good, but this doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to handle them. Here a few ways to be smart and take control when dealing with a manipulator.
Be wary of them
Observe their actions, as well as how you feel around them. Though subtle, you might feel that there is pressure around you. Perhaps this person is saying things behind your back, or you feel the impact of their deceit when you’re around them. Whatever it is, they make you feel uncomfortable.
Make a plan
What’s your strategy? Whether you’re just trying to say no or you’re ready to voice what you’ve been holding back, think of how you’re going to confront them. There’s a chance they might feel attacked when you approach them and you wouldn’t want the situation to blow up in your face, so weigh your options: Do I do this behind closed doors? Or, do I do this around others?
Acknowledge your strength
You may feel targeted— why are they doing this to me? It’s important to acknowledge that you are taking a stand. Don’t feel bad for pulling away or that you’re making a decision that you feel will hurt them. This is the type of hold that they want to have on you; they want you to feel guilty for not melting like butter at their requests. Have confidence that what you’re doing is for your own peace.
If it’s a personal relationship and you’ve called them out on their behavior, yet they haven’t changed, then it may be time to leave and move on. If it’s a relationship where you can’t necessarily leave the person, perhaps a co-worker or a boss, let them know you see what they’re doing, and you’re not going to stand for it. If they continue, it’s best to go to your supervisor or HR.
Ponder the situation
When they ask something of you, they’ll usually expect an answer on the spot. Take time out to evaluate how you feel about what they’re asking of you and if it’s really something you want to commit to.
Don’t blame yourself
When you fall prey to someone’s mind games, it’s easy to slip into negative thinking about yourself. Don’t. Remember that you are not the only person they have tried to manipulate, and the problem is with them not you.