These people play on your feelings of low self-esteem and guilt. Sometimes they get you in their grip in an obvious way, but sometimes it is subtler. What are the words they use, and how can you respond?
1. It’s all your fault.
2. You never get it right.
3. If only you did it this way, it would work.
4. You’re “killing” me.
5. Shame on you.
6. You just don’t care about me, or anyone else.
7. It’s so frustrating dealing with you.
When you hear these phrases, be on alert that you are the target of someone who wants to hurt you and put you down. Try not to react and if you can detach yourself from the situation–walk away if that is possible. If not, realize they are feeling bad about themselves, and are projecting it onto you. Try this comeback if you can’t actually remove yourself from the situation.
“I am sorry you feel that way.” (Even if you don’t, your reaction is probably not what they expected you to say).
Whatever you do, don’t stoop to their level–that is what they want you to do, and it will get you no where–just feeling angry and miserable about yourself. You don’t want to give them the satisfaction of getting you upset.
To summarize, disarm manipulators by:
Keeping your cool.
Not reacting to what they say.
Knowing it’s about them, not you.