Getting rid of a manipulative relationship can be even more difficult than living with them. Even if it seems to you that you do not have the courage to put an end to this, or that your partner cannot do without you (and even if he constantly offends and hurts you), you will not start living on your own until you put an end to such an unequal relationship. And if you really want to do this, you need to prepare in advance, think about the plan and act consistently.
Your main weapon against manipulators is self-confidence. If you have low self-esteem, you can easily become a driven person. Understand yourself. Learn to value, respect and love yourself. Accept your personality and do not look back at others. Be a whole person. Make your own set of life rules and principles and do not deviate from it. Do not go against your own beliefs.
When you believe in yourself and trust yourself, it’s difficult to confuse you. Do not blindly trust someone else's opinion. Focus more on your own feelings, on your intuition. Then no one will force you to do what you do not want, and will not be able to influence your decisions. If you need to make a difficult choice, do not consult with friends or colleagues. Do as you see fit.
Do not depend on the assessment of others. Some people are so in need of someone's approval that they become easy prey for manipulators. Your desire to like is understandable. But understand that it is impossible to cause sympathy for absolutely everyone. Accept that someone may not like your lifestyle, appearance, words, actions or beliefs.
The first and main way to protect yourself from manipulation is to understand in time that the other person is going to use you for his own purposes. Once you realize this, you can destroy the intruder’s plans. After all, if you are aware of the threat, it is obvious that you will be fully equipped and do not succumb to any tricks.
To recognize the manipulation, you need to observe the non-verbal signals that the person gives you. Determine how the voice timbre, facial expression, posture and gestures of your interlocutor correspond to the meaning of the words that he speaks to you. If there is any discrepancy in the behavior of the person, you have reason to suspect her of insincerity.
Consider whether a person may have a reason to use you. Identify the true motives of the person courting you. To do this, you need the ability to collect and analyze information. Then you can draw the right conclusions about the current situation and predict in which scenario it will develop.
Checking if you were mistaken in your suspicions is pretty easy. Just do not give the person what he requires of you. Do not behave as he asks. Act against the will of the potential manipulator and look at his reaction. Disappointment and anger will betray a person who hoped that you would be a pawn in his hands. If the person was upset that her request was not fulfilled, but continues to communicate with you in the previous mode, perhaps your suspicions turned out to be false.
1. Recognize that you are being manipulated
For a long time acting according to the expectations of the manipulator, sooner or later we can feel an unpleasant aftertaste. We finally understand that we are being used. We are angry, trying to get out of the vicious circle, but at the climax we bend again.
Awareness of manipulation is the first step on the way out of a manipulative scenario. If you succeed, praise yourself and give yourself a small gift.
2. Determine what the manipulation consists of.
We figured out that all this time we were led by the nose, forced to do what we ourselves are not profitable. It's time to figure out why we are so easily led to the intrigues of the manipulator. The answer is usually specific and related to our situation.
For example, we fear that the boss will fire us. Or we are afraid that a loved one will fall out of love with us if we “show character” and defend our point of view. Or we are afraid to be left without money if, for example, an ex-husband begins to give less to raise a child. The manipulator instilled fear in us, inspired us to disappear without his care and patronage. You can be afraid of yourself, if the manipulator wants to impute a sense of guilt for our refusal of help.
3. Come up with plan B and find a support group
Time to think: what will happen if we do not do what the manipulator expects from us? Will we really lose money, work, a loved one, or lose something else? In many situations, we will not lose anything. The manipulator imposed these fears on us.
But what if the boss is really ready to fire us, and the loved one rejects us? This is an occasion to think about whether the work of humiliation is worth it and whether relationships that are dependent on one are needed.
Having come up with a retreat plan, remember those friends and relatives whose support you can count on
Turn on the imagination. Imagine that you have found a new job or severed the connection that hurts you, in as much detail as possible: what you will do, how to look for a job or a new rented apartment so that you no longer live with the manipulator under one roof. Imagine that you no longer experience feelings of fear and guilt. Inspires, isn't it?
Having come up with a retreat plan, remember those friends and relatives whose support you can count on. Someone will be able to shelter you for a while, someone will support you with a kind word. The size of the contribution of each is not so important - it is important that there are people to whom you are not indifferent.
4. Say it as it is
This step is not easy: you will again have to make contact with the manipulator. But the only way to stop the manipulation. Wait for the next situation when you are going to act according to someone else's scenario, and not of your own free will. Step back and look at what is happening from the side, as if you are telling someone about what is happening. Sometimes it helps to take a step back.
Take a deep breath, feel the air entering and leaving the lungs. You have another 15 seconds. Remember everything that you fixed for yourself at the previous stage: all plans, dreams, people who are on your side. You can imagine them all behind you.
Get together and calmly tell the manipulator that you understand what is the essence of his actions
Get together and calmly tell the manipulator that you understand what the essence of his actions is. For example: "You are saying this now because you are afraid that I will refuse to help you." "You just want to tie me to yourself." "You are threatening me with this because you hope that as a result I will not go anywhere."
Turn off emotions and pronounce the phrase as if explaining to a passerby how to get to the library. It is better to prepare and rehearse your speech in advance. If what we say catches ourselves for the living and fears and feelings begin to stir inside, then this is the whole point of manipulation.
5. Step back
Now try to move away: after you have announced to the manipulator the essence of his intrigues and intentions, he will certainly explode. You need to be prepared that "the dust will rise to heaven", and the higher the pillars of dust and the stronger the hurricane, the more accurately we hit the target.
The main thing is to understand that this flurry of emotions has nothing to do with us. The manipulator is indignant that he was discovered that the scheme he had invented no longer works. He urgently needs to come up with something new in order to intimidate the victim, to return everything to its place. His anger is not directed at us, he scolds himself.
The manipulator may try to impose its scheme on you again, come up with a new hook to hook
If possible, it is better to leave immediately: it’s not the time to sort out who is right and who is to blame. It is better to leave the manipulator alone with experiences. He needs to digest the situation, and you need to tune in to a new life without the scenarios imposed by others.
It is important for you to relax, spend time with friends or family. You did a great job: the phrase you spoke was short, but you did not dare to pronounce it for so long. You deserve a pleasant stay: going to the cinema, gatherings with friends, a trip out of town.
The manipulator may try to impose his scheme on you again, come up with a new hook to hook. Your task is not to respond to his suggestions, even if they seem completely innocent. It is worth a little wait: both you and he must cool down and recover, and in addition, you need to learn new behavior and not dance anymore to the tune of someone else.
Ksenia Kukoleva - Psychologist, works as part of client-centered therapy. More details on her website.