Knowing how to handle manipulative people is important in two separate situations. The first is being able to assess people when you first meet them in order not to get caught in an abusive relationship. The second is when you are already caught, you realize you are in a bad situation and you are trying to get out.
It's important in both of these situations to have information about manipulators, psychopaths and mind control. The major difference is that when somebody has been caught in an abusive relationship, their personality has been changed. They have what's known as a pseudo-personality.
They have been programmed to believe the manipulator, to look after the manipulator, and very importantly, to be dependent on the manipulator. The manipulator has made the victim organize their life around keeping the manipulator happy and avoiding confrontation. Therefore, going against the manipulator feels very bad to the victim, often to the point of feeling they are betraying the manipulator.
Knowing how to handle manipulative people while the pseudo-personality is in place means not only understanding the tactics but also dealing with this dependency, a very abnormal, emotional attachment to the abuser.
In order not to get caught in an abusive relationship in the first place, you need some kind of system to assess new people to recognize whether they are abusive or not. This system, obviously, needs to include a way of differentiating normal, psychological influence procedures from destructive, mind control processes. Ideally it includes an internal check, a gut feeling or an internal voice, for example, that lets you know, based on previous experience that you are in the presence of a manipulator. In this way, you quickly move away from the potential abuser without committing to anything at all.
In this article I will be talking about manipulative and abusive people, not those who are a bit strict or who have some mental health abnormality. Many of these abusive people are psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists. With this in mind, there are certain things we need to use as ground rules.
Whatever situation you are in, it's important that you keep these things at the forefront of your mind if you even think you're dealing with a manipulative, controlling person.
The first step in how to handle manipulative people when you meet them initially is to know that you are actually dealing with a manipulative person.
Here is a list of things, in no particular order, to watch out for if you believe, or even suspect, that this new person in your life may be manipulative.
They make you feel good, special, unique, extraordinary very quickly. There may be lots of compliments, even flattery, and many people later reported that they felt like they had met their soulmate, they had met somebody who actually understood them.
This all happens very fast. The rule is if it seems too good to be true, it usually is.
The person tells stories about how good they are, how successful they are, how many people they know, how connected they are. If you have a story about something, they go one better.
If your initial impression of the new person is a bad one, you feel something is off or you feel disgust or repulsion, do not override this under any circumstances! And I mean under any circumstances. This is a very common reaction when somebody first meets the manipulator in their life. There are often many reasons to ignore this bad impression, for example, it's a friend of a friend, or somebody you trusts introduces you, or he or she is offering exactly what you want, and so on. Once the manipulator starts talking, this initial impression changes dramatically, the victim becomes 'enamored' with the manipulator and the victim can end up in an abusive relationship for years.
The trick here is to trust your initial impression if it's a bad impression. Step back, find out more about this new person and only then do you decide if you want to get involved.
If other people tell you bad things about this new person, again pay attention. If family members are warning you about a new arrival into your life, trust your family members. Every time!! They have your best interests at heart. Unless, of course, your own family members are abusive, never, ever go against your family. Your family are more important than a recent arrival in your life, no matter how good the new person makes you feel.
I will say it again. Do not go against your family. If more people paid attention to this rule, then there would be much less heartache and suffering in relationships.
Don't let new people push you into making rushed decisions. Even if you miss an opportunity, it's better then making a rushed decision and finding yourself in an abusive situation. There will be more opportunities. You can't get the time back lost in an abusive relationship.
If somebody tells you that you can choose A or B and it's your choice, then consider that you are in a mind control situation until proven otherwise. Life is not black-and-white, there are lots of greys. Don't let other people decide what your options are, especially people you don't know very well.
If in doubt, don't. If you are not sure of some new person, for whatever reason, back away, do a little digging to find out more about them and take your time about deciding anything. It's better to have a false positive, to think that somebody is a manipulator when they are actually not, then to be caught in an abusive situation.
If you're in a bad situation and trying to figure out how to handle manipulative people, then you already know that being reasonable and rational does not help. Nor does talking things out. You know it's like banging your head against a brick wall trying to get these people to see your point of view or to agree with you.
In an abusive relationship, the only sensible thing to do is to leave. There are rarely any indications to stay with an abusive, manipulative person. The price you pay for staying is hardly worth the benefit you get.
Here again, information is important. Some people don't realize how bad their situation is and they need to learn about psychopaths and mind control in order to understand what is actually happening. Other people recognise that they need to leave but the dependency on the manipulator is so strong they are too afraid to. More knowledge about the subtleties of mind control will weaken that pseudo-personality and the dependency to the point where they are able to act on the decision to leave. And for completeness, a third group are those who are in physical danger and need to just run for safety and pick up the pieces later.
Staying in the situation means that you will continue to be abused, taken advantage of and destroyed. There are books written about how to manage psychopaths and narcissists, how to build your self-esteem, how to put boundaries in place and so on. Any advice here will work temporarily. The manipulators are much better at destroying your boundaries then you are at keeping them in place. You will never be able to build your self-esteem at the rate at which they destroy it. This idea, for example, of telling them that something is upsetting you and that they should stop is a joke. They already know it upsets you. That's why they do it!
The best way to handle manipulative people is to not be present to them. Remember, you can't negotiate with them. They will promise you the sun, moon and stars. They will apologise. They will tell you they will change. It's all lies. These people don't change. Their relationships are based on exploitation and control. These are their motivations.
You can either tell them you are leaving or you can leave without telling. Getting out without telling them is often much easier. When they realize that they are losing control of you (this is what it means to them when you are leaving), they will try all sorts of things to get you to stay. In the same way for businesses it's easier to keep a client than get a new client, for the manipulators it's easier to keep a victim than to create a new one. They've already put all this time and effort into moulding you to be the way they want you to be and they won't give this up easily.
You can expect them to cycle through lots of tactics, promising you they will change, telling you you're making a mistake, telling you they made a mistake, telling you you will never find anybody like them, blaming you, and so on. Anything to get you to stay. This is why so many people often break up two, three or more times before they finally get away. They are lured back in by the manipulator only to suffer more abuse and then have to go through the separation all over again.
Remember, the manipulators can be very convincing because they are such good actors. The important word there is actors. It's an act. They don't mean a word of it. It's all lies. Even an apology is a lie because they are doing the same nasty behaviour five minutes later.
The trick here is to recognise all the lies. They have been lying to you from day one of the relationship. Once you make the decision to leave you follow through on this decision regardless of what they say or do.
It's very common to feel that you might be making a mistake, that you might be missing out on something fantastic. This is part of the dependency of the pseudo-personality. You have been led to believe that you won't be able to survive without the manipulator. It's part of the mind control.
First off, the relationship has been bad up to now, it's not going to suddenly change and become something amazing.
Secondly, having some time away will give you time to think and reflect on whether you actually want this kind of relationship.
And thirdly, if you both actually do madly and passionately love each other, as the manipulator is wont to claim, then you can simply pick up the relationship again in three months or six months time when things have settled down.
This is always very difficult. As I said the manipulator is not going to let you go easily. He or she will use any trick they can to get you to continue the conversation. Add in the dependency on the manipulator that you experience and it's very difficult to not have contact with your abuser.
At the same time as it being the hardest thing to do, having no contact will make your life easier more quickly. Having no contact means you quickly break the dependency on the abuser. Learning about mind control and coercion is also fundamental in terms of getting rid of that dependency.
Talking to a professional in this area will save you a lot of time, money and heartache.
The manipulator will use your past, children, shared interests, shared business, shared home and anything else to keep you engaged.
A classic is to tell you that he or she doesn't understand what went wrong. There will be a huge temptation to try and explain it just once more. Think about it for a second. Your ex is not completely stupid. Your ex has been doing these things deliberately for months or years. They know exactly what's going on. Don't be fooled into trying to explain to them. They fully understand already. It's a trick to get you to continue talking to them.
It's very common that once you have left the relationship that your friends and family begin to tell you what they really think. Listen carefully. Give importance to what they say. This will help with the doubts, uncertainties and conflict you have in your head. Trust your family to do what's best for you and let them make some decisions for you. They have your best interests at heart.
You can expect to have many internal conflicts at this stage. Your head thinks one thing and your body feels the opposite. You know he was abusive but you feel you want to look after him. You know in your head you need to stay away but you feel so bad because you can't be close to him. You may also have contradictory emotions simultaneously. You are angry at him and missing at the same time. You hate him and you feel you can't be happy without him. You are afraid of upsetting him but you want to take revenge on him.
These conflicts are very disconcerting. You may feel like you are going mad. You may often think that it was actually your fault. You may even think that you are controlling him. Learning about the subtleties of mind control get rid of these conflicts. This is best done under the guidance of a professional.
Manipulative people change you. They basically turn you into a slave that is unable to think for itself. They put you on an emotional rollercoaster. They make you doubt yourself. This happens in abusive situations in families, intimate relationships, friendships, social situations and in the workplace.
There is an inherent power imbalance in the relationship. This is deliberately set up from the start by the manipulator.
Unless you understand the fine details of these things trying to figure out how to handle manipulative people is a waste of time. They are far more devious, sinister and insidious than you can ever be. If you are going to take on the office bully or divorce a psychopath you really need to know what you are dealing with. The rules you have to play by are different because the rules the sociopath and narcissists play by are very different.
You're putting yourself in a power struggle with somebody who lives to wield power over others. In this case, knowledge definitely is power.
You can read more here about how to spot a sociopath, abusive relationship signs, the characteristics of a controlling person, dealing with a sociopathic friend and more about how to leave an abusive relationship.
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