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How to Understand and Deal With Manipulative People

How to Understand and Deal With Manipulative People
This world is filled with people who try to manipulate others for their own motives. Your daily sitcoms portray them well through negative characters. But, how should you deal with such manipulative people in real life? Here are some tips and suggestions.
Urvashi Pokharna
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Lies... deception... playing games... all of these come naturally to people with manipulative behavior. If you have such people around you, rest assured that it will be a road to hell. They can be manipulative colleagues at work who steal your promotion right under your nose, a manipulative friend who back-stabs you, a manipulative parent who toys with your life for emotional and financial support or even a manipulative partner who crushes your soul every minute you will live with them. Tell me if you cannot name at least one manipulative person around you. Sometimes, their motives are concealed and it becomes hard to tell their manipulative tactics. But, it is never long before someone figures out their true intentions.
"Everybody has the ability to be manipulative, to be hateful and deceitful." ~ Neil LaBute
Signs of a Manipulative Person
Pretending to Be the Victim ALWAYS
I have noticed this shared trait in people with manipulative behavior. They always pretend to be the one who has been wronged by everyone including you even when they were only trying to help everyone. They know it in their hearts it is not true. There is always a long story and an overwhelmingly detailed account of the pain caused to them. Now, you would wonder why does anyone need to pretend to be the victim when there is nothing wrong. Simple explanation. It helps them gain their prey's sympathy and makes it even easier to manipulate him/her the way they want to and how they want to.
Guilt Trips
Upset woman in bus
Have you ever noticed that in your relationships with some people, it seems that you are the only one to be blamed? They are never wrong and there is always an explanation to their actions even if it may have hurt you. They pretty much convince you into believing that you were wrong and make you feel guilty about it. Out of guilt, you give in to their demands more and more. It becomes extremely easy for them to get what they want, while you willingly do it for them.
Extra Care
Girl Worried
Manipulative individuals are generally very weak inside and so they look for situations where they can be in power and control. They show extra care and affection towards you, more than anyone else. This helps them easily gain your trust and make you comfortable with them. Also, this helps such people to ensure that you become dependent on them, sooner or later, and have no choice but to give in to their demands.
Bouts of Insecurity
Girl separated from friends
Persons with manipulative intentions always have an inferiority complex hidden deep under the layers of manipulation and deception. They try to use it to their advantage by pretending to be the victim, as said before, often exhibiting signs of jealousy and insecurity. Also, they try to get closer to you and keep others away from you. They want you all to themselves so there is nobody to assert that right on you. These people are very selfish and constantly try to project a completely opposite image around others.
No Fights
Couple handshaking
Manipulators are almost never aggressive. They don't fight, shout at you or call you names. But they still manage to guilt trip you with calm words that point out your flaws slyly suggesting your inability to deserve being with them. They always plan their next step well ahead and would not risk it by having a fight with you and creating bitter feelings of resentment in your heart towards them. They stay calm in most situations and try to reverse everything to their advantage, even if you did have a fight with the manipulator.
Make you Feel Inadequate
Girl showing broken phone to mom
They will always make you feel like you are imperfect and have severe flaws for which they blame you constantly and you end up feeling like it was all your fault for not being able to live up to their expectations and hence you deserve to be treated the way you are being treated now. These flaws may or may not exist but in their eyes they do and convince you into believing the same.
Always Willing to Listen
Two friends having chat
You may think that your friend who is always ready to lend an ear to you when you are feeling low or in an emotional mess, is your true friend. But, if after following up on their advice, things don't go well and if they go worse especially after talking to them, there may be something at work... your friend's manipulation. Manipulative people are always eager to know what is going on in your life. This probably stems from years of emotional insecurity and jealously they have constantly been subjected too. Knowing what's going on in your life helps them manipulate events around you to their benefit.
Left Absolutely Helpless
Woman ignored by friends
A manipulative person will do everything they can to make sure you are left feeling completely helpless. They will keep you away from your closed ones by creating a negative mindset in your head and heart towards them. When they find you all to themselves to exploit, that is when the games begin. Once you have nobody to turn to, you are not left with many options but to turn to your manipulator for affection and support. You are stuck in a rut, until you break away from it.
Invisible Control
You shall soon find yourself being told what to do until you reach a point wherein you willingly ask for instructions to be followed by you. You will absolutely become unsure about your own decision-making skills. You will start to believe that the decisions being made by the other person are all for your welfare and you are incapable of making the same.
Manager flirting with subordinate
This last one is often used by female manipulators when they are manipulating a man. If you are not blood, you are going to be the victim of her seduction. Such seductresses are fierce and have a clear agenda in their mind that need you to help them achieve. It is very easy to be lured by the promise of love and lust and give in to her demands. I am sure men do it too, but that is when the women fall in love with them.
"A complete woman is probably not a very admirable creature. She is manipulative, uses other people to get her own way, and works within whatever system she is in." ~ Anita Brookner
Dealing with Manipulative People
Coping with Brainwashing
Two woman talking
Manipulative individuals are excellent at brainwashing. However, once you have identified who this person is in your life with the help of the above signs, it's time to deal with it. You must practice a lot of self-control as it is easy to be delusional even though you may know who is manipulating you. You have to be strong enough so you are no more affected by their manipulating tactics. Do not doubt their intentions later as they have already become clear to you now.
Listen to your Gut Feeling
Happy woman
You know how so many people tell you to trust your gut, well, they are absolutely right about it. Always trust the faint inner voice in your head every time you have to make a decision. There will be times when you have a doubt whether you misjudged someone. In such a situation, nobody can help you except your heart. Never do what your heart does not agree to.
Act Dumb
Man acting dumb
You will meet so many people in your journey of life who try to manipulate other people. These manipulators may be the ones that stay in your life for a couple of hours or for years to come. How do you deal with all of them? I feel that the more you try to pull away from the manipulation by outwitting a manipulative person, the more he/she will draw you deeper into it by playing genius mind games. The best thing to do is to act dumb like you are not aware of what's going on. It works every single time and your actions will be perceived to be an act of ignorance or idiocy on your part.
Detach Yourself Completely
Man Ignoring Phone
All manipulators harbor an obsession for their victims. When you want to detach, they never make it so easy for you. But, you have to do it to break free from the constant manipulation. Start with avoiding the person's calls and text messages and then feign being too busy. Make it seem as unintentional as possible. The person trying to manipulate you will be left helpless as they spend lesser time with you to interact.
Don't React
Mother shouting on daughter
What can be more frustrating than not receiving any reaction to your maneuvers? Well, play that game on the person trying to manipulating you. By not reacting to their antics, you will leave a huge room of doubt whether you have been affected by it or not. It gives you an upper hand over the whole situation. No matter how upset you may be, act like you did not know it was meant to affect you. Adopt a policy of keeping your lips sealed with a neutral face.
Don't Blame Yourself
Girl with depression
Whatever happens, never try to blame yourself if the person trying to manipulate you starts acting like a victim herself. Don't be fooled if you are being emotionally blackmailed. Have no mercy else you will never be able to get out of the clutches of someone who has been trying to manipulate you all along.
Recognize the wolf in the sheep's clothing before it becomes too late, that there has been too much damage already done in your life. If the manipulator in your life is your partner/spouse, you must know how to end a manipulative relationship. When a manipulative person sees that they have extracted all that they needed out of you, they will leave you and move on. While they win, you will be left feeling broken and used. It is absolutely pointless to play tit for tat. To avoid this emotional damage, get away from them as much as you can and as soon as possible.