You know they’re trying to manipulate you. They know you know. But that doesn’t stop them. They’d love for you to buy their version of reality; from their perspective, they’re owed one more chance. So they pluck at your heartstrings, ask you for what they shouldn’t and demand what they have no right to. Because you’ve always considered her a friend, you’d like to help her out. But what she wants you to do might put you at odds with your supervisor – a heavy price to pay.
After you turn her down, she says that you’ll need her help to complete your monthly report on time. “What’s that supposed to mean?” you ask, but you know. If you don’t do what she wants, she’ll make you pay. You grit your teeth and do what she’s asked.
Would you like to take the upper hand the next time a manipulator tries to force you into acting against your own best interests? You can. Here’s what works:
If they knock, don’t let them in.
If serial manipulators target you, learn to slam the door before they walk through.
When the guy who cheated on you says, “You need to give me a second chance,” consider responding, “No, and please cancel my subscription to your future issues.”
If one of your friends or coworkers relentlessly asks you for favors and makes one more demand, stop her by saying, “Givers like me have to set limits because those who want favor after favor keep asking.”
If a coworker insists you forgive her the many times she insults you because ‘she didn’t mean it,’ and tells you that you hurt her feelings when you say, “Stop it,” point out the truth by asking, “Exactly what was wrong with my standing up for myself?”
If you’ve asked someone to stop manipulating you, and he’s claimed that you’ve hurt his feelings, don’t fall for it. End the discussion with, “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings by calling you a manipulator. I thought you knew.”
If a friend or relative coaxes you with a statement such as, “If you cared about me, you’d do what I ask,” turn the tables on her by responding, “You don’t appear to appreciate the many ways in which I demonstrate caring.”
Or, if someone tries to talk you into a different political belief, end the discussion with, “You have a right to your opinion, and I have the right to mine.”
Turn the tables
Learn to return manipulative comments to their sender.
For example, if a needy co-worker regularly asks you to help complete her work when you’ve got piles of your own, respond by saying, “Thanks for understanding how I busy I am this afternoon.”
Manipulation works because we let our emotions cloud our judgement. If you feel pressured, listen to your gut. Ultimately, it’s up to you to take back control.