How to Handle a Manipulative Person

coach mentalhealth narcissist relationships Feb 22, 2021

Manipulation is such an important topic because most people do not know when they are being manipulated. When you begin to love yourself, you will be able to spot a manipulative person a mile away. One thing to keep in mind with manipulative people is they are usually very child-like. These are the people growing up who never learned about boundaries or how to respect boundaries. They learned to be relentless and if they keep pushing, people will cave and they will give them what they want.

They probably saw dynamics with their parents that were not healthy. Perhaps mom was a narcissist and manipulative and dad was codependent and a people pleaser. Maybe what they witnessed was when mom was being manipulative and dad gave her what she wanted. They learned over time how to use these tactics to control others and get what they wanted.

Manipulative people are extremely insecure and have very fragile egos, so when you say no, you are bruising their ego. They are very child-like and very competitive in life. Life is a game to them. It’s a matter of who’s winning, who’s losing, who’s in control and who has the power. They never seem to self reflect to ask themselves if this is fair, should I compromise.

They want what they want, when they want it.

These are the people who when they are asking something of you, they want an immediate answer. They do not want to give you a second to think about what you actually want or feel because they want what they want right now.

A manipulative person does not like boundaries and standards. So when they ask something of you, they want an answer right away. They will continually push you until you give them an answer. This puts pressure on you to give in so he/she can get what they want. This is not about you thinking about what is best for you, it is about pushing so they can be happy first.

These are the people who know your strengths and weaknesses. They know where to hit to lay on the guilt or shame to control you. They will use whatever tactic they can to gain control over you. The goal for them again is to use your vulnerabilities against you so they can control the situation and the outcome; which is to get what they want.

When all else fails they will begin to really abuse you. They will bully you, threaten you, verbally abuse you, all to back you in a corner. Remember they think you should be giving them what they want because they deserve it so they will use anything that works to gain control. It’s that sense of entitlement that makes them go the extra mile to get what they want. They feel that it shouldn’t matter what you want or how you feel, and that this is what they want. If you won’t give it to them, you will get some backlash.

These are usually the people who attract people pleasers and codependent people because a people pleaser and someone who is codependent doesn’t have a solid sense of self or a solid foundation of self love in their life. They are very bendable and will give people whatever they want and not stop to think about what they want or feel. When you start to love yourself first, you are always connected to how you feel and what you want, even if you don’t know you would tell that person, “I’m not sure, let me get back to you.” How often have we had friends or loved ones in our lives ask something and without even thinking about it we just say yes?

I was guilty of that for years. I always just said yes to everyone who asked me anything. Inside, I had this guilt that I should say yes, or they would think I was a bad person if I said no. I never bothered to ask myself if I really wanted to do this for someone, and I became resentful toward that person for doing it. I couldn’t blame them, I could only blame myself because I wasn’t staying connected with what I wanted and how I felt.

So how do we handle this type of person in our life?

  1. Know what you want and how you feel.

When we are connected to yourself and are healthy on all levels you are not ok with any of their treatment.

You also know what you can give and what you can’t. If you are completely filled up and ready to give something to someone else, then it will come from a genuine, loving place and not from guilt or shame or any kind of manipulation.

We don’t have to do something because we feel guilty and later have resentment toward that person. We want to do something out of the kindness of our heart. If the answer is no, the answer is no, and we understand that we are putting ourselves first.

  1. Stand your ground.

This is probably the hardest thing to do because most people are not used to enforcing boundaries with people and standing up for themselves.

Once you know what you want and the answer is NO, having the courage to actually state the boundary might be difficult.

It is a weird place to be in because we’ve never done it before, but it is doing what is best for you and no one else.

It doesn’t make you a bad person or a selfish friend or anything like that. It means you are loving yourself and putting yourself first and that is a great thing. You don’t need to explain yourself in any detail to anyone as to why your answer is no. A simple “no, I cannot” or maybe a brief explanation and that’s it.

People that are healthy are going to respect your answer. Anyone unhealthy who has a fragile ego or really does not genuinely love you will give you backlash. Here’s when the manipulation starts. First there’s guilt and shame and when that doesn’t work, that’s when the abusive behavior starts to come into play.

  1. Be prepared for backlash.

Now is when they will lay it in thick. You will hear “You are selfish and you don’t do anything for me”, and maybe even the words, “How can I have someone like you in my life? All I’m asking for is a simple favor.” This is when bullying and threats may start to happen — “I’m never going to do anything for you again.”

All these different things are to throw you off and control you by hurting you. Just expect it to come your way so you will know how to handle it. Regardless, there’s no need to get angry and defensive with someone giving you backlash. You are actually seeing them for who they really are and their character. Sit back, stay in your truth and what you want and say to them, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” That’s one of the best things to say to anyone because after you say it, there’s really nothing left for that person to say. You acknowledged they feel a certain way and you are sorry they feel that way and that’s the end of it.

All of these things take time and practice on your part. The more you continue to love yourself and the more you practice putting yourself first, the easier it will get.