6 Ways to Deal With People Who Manipulate You

Manipulative people erode your self-esteem and harm your well-being.

Victims of manipulation may suffer from numerous short-term and long-term effects. Very often, victims may feel in denial as they do not want to believe that somebody they love and trust can intentionally manipulate them. Some of the short-term effects include feeling fear, confusion and shame; what is more, the effects of manipulation can be physical too as some victims may experience difficulty concentrating, rapid heartbeat, muscle tension and nightmares among others.

The long-term effects of manipulation can even lead to depression.

Healthline explains that being a victim of manipulation can erode your self-esteem and make you more susceptible to developing anxiety, chronic pain and insomnia. What is more, manipulation often results in victims feeling guilty and becoming socially withdrawn.

By learning how to deal with manipulation, you learn how to preserve your emotional and mental well-being. 

These are the six things you need to know:

1. Know your basic human rights

There are several basic human rights which nobody must ever have to apologize for wanting to exercise. Some of these rights include:

  • The right to be treated respectfully
  • The right to say “no” without having to feel guilty
  • The right to express your feelings, desires and opinions – even if they are not in line with the beliefs of others
  • The right to set your own priorities

Manipulators may try to undermine these rights in order to get their way; if this happens, you must know and recognize that your human rights are being infringed so that you may set healthy boundaries.

2. Know you are being manipulated

This is an extremely important point as in order to deal with manipulators, you must first of all be aware that you are being manipulated. There are multiple ways in which manipulative people may use and control you to get what they want. They may bully you, guilt-trip you, and butter up to you; in other words, they may use emotional appeals in order to persuade you to do what they want. In addition, they may have intentionally selective memory; this means that they may claim to forget or only remember things which suit their end goal.

3. Promote empathy

Once you understand that you are being manipulated or that your basic human rights are being disregarded, try to encourage your manipulator to see things from your perspective. Put differently, try to calmly explain how their actions and words have been making you feel – at the end of the day, manipulators are still people prone to empathy.

4. Distance yourself

Unfortunately, there may come a point in time where you may be left with no choice but to distance yourself from the person who is tormenting you. This step is often taken when words and communication fails; admittedly, it is difficult and can even be heartbreaking if the person is a loved one.

5. Listen to your gut

Manipulation is something you feel rather than see. This means that when you try to explain how you feel, manipulators can easily convince you that you have misunderstood their intentions or that they would never do anything to hurt you. Initially, victims will believe this and subsequently, they may feel humiliated and guilty. Nevertheless, more often than not, your feelings are not actually misleading you – this will become apparent when you find yourself having the same conversation over and over again.

6. You are not the problem 

It is normal to make mistakes. When this happens, it is your responsibility to own up to them and apologize; however, a manipulative person will make you feel like you are in the wrong even when you know that you are not. If this occurs frequently, you need to take a step back and consider the possibility that you are being manipulated.

Manipulation can leave you feeling worthless and hopeless; for this reason, it is important to recognize that you are not at fault and that it is in your power to stand up for your rights, set boundaries and distance yourself.

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