Many people are being psychologically manipulated by their boss, partner, friend, or even parent into acting a certain way that’ll highly benefit the manipulator.
When you’re being manipulated, you become an interesting, yet disposable tool in the beneficiary’s hands to reach whatever goals they have in mind. This may sound bitter but who said that truth is sweet!
The first step into beating the manipulators in their own game is to understand them; manipulators simply establish an imbalance of power, exploiting their victims to serve their own agenda, regardless of the kind of relationship that may be connecting the two sides.
Fortunately, an expert in communication called Preston Ni found these 8 simple ways anyone can avoid being manipulated.
1. Know your fundamental human rights
When dealing with a psychologically manipulative person, the very first thing you need to keep in mind is your rights! So you’ll instantly be warned as soon as someone tries to violate them. Then, you should stand up for yourself, as long as you don’t cause any harm to other people, of course.
So here are some of your most important human rights you should always consider:
You have the right to:
- Be treated with respect
- Express your opinions, feelings, and the things you want or need
- Set your own priorities
- Say NO without feeling guilty about it
- Get what you pay for
- Have different opinions than people around you
- Protect yourself from being threatened, be it on an emotional, mental, or physical level
- Create a healthy and happy life, according to your own terms.
You should consider these rights as your boundaries against manipulators, who mainly try to reach their own selfish goals at the expense of depriving you of your rights.
Remember, you’re always the one who has the power and authority over yourself and life.
2. Maintain a safe distance
The best way to detect manipulators is to always keep the appropriate distance, which will help you see clearly when a person acts with multiple faces depending on the situation they’re in and people they’re talking to.
Although we all use this kind of social differentiation to a certain, healthy degree, a manipulator would rather use it in extreme ways, like being perfectly polite/helpless to certain people and terribly rude/aggressive to others.
When you notice this kind of behavior from someone close to you, you should definitely avoid engaging with them unless it’s really inevitable while making sure to keep a safe distance.
3. Don’t blame yourself and avoid personalization
While being manipulated, you might feel inadequate or blame yourself for not gaining your manipulator’s satisfaction, and this is very understandable because the manipulator heavily relies on finding and using your weaknesses against you.
In this case, you need to keep in mind that there’s nothing wrong with you or your personality because you’re basically being manipulated to feel terrible about who you are, which will lead you to give up your rights and strengths.
So what you should do is ask some important questions, while considering the relationship you have with the manipulator, like if you are treated respectfully, whether the manipulator’s requests and expectations of you are reasonable, and if you truly feel good about yourself and safe in this relationship.
The answers to these questions should point you toward the right conclusions about the kind of relationship you have with the person in front of you.
4. Redirect the focus on the manipulator during conversations
Sooner or later, a manipulator will inevitably ask you to do something for them, be it in the form of a request, demand, or even offer, making you meet their needs by any means possible.
But when you hear something that defies reason, it can be very useful to put them in the spotlight surprisingly by asking them certain questions to test their decency and self-awareness. You can use the following:
- Do you really find this reasonable?
- Does your request sound fair to you?
- Do I have a say in what you’re demanding of me?
- Are you just telling me or are you actually asking me?
- And what’s in it for me?
Such questions are supposed to act as a mirror for the manipulator to see the real nature of their words and actions.
If the manipulator has enough decency, they may back down. But in other cases where the manipulator is a true narcissist, they’ll just keep insisting shamelessly. Keep reading to learn how to handle this latter type.
5. Use time to your own advantage
Generally, a manipulator would expect an immediate answer to their unreasonable request. This pressure is another technique of theirs to control you and ensure you’ll execute their “orders”. To dodge their influence, you should use the time to your advantage and distance yourself from them rather than giving them the answer they’re looking for.
A very simple way to do that is by telling them this one sentence: I promise, I will think about it. Then, get away from them and take your time to evaluate the situation and make a decision that works for you, even if it’s just a No.
6. Learn to say No
Many people find it really hard to say no, and that’s because it isn’t as easy as it seems. Being comfortable saying no firmly means mastering the art of communication.
So to beat manipulators, you should learn how to say no firmly yet, diplomatically. If done right, you’ll be able to maintain your power and preserve the relationship.
You should also keep in mind that saying no without feeling guilty about it and choosing your own happiness and comfort are among your fundamental rights, and no one is allowed to take these away from you.
7. Set consequences
In case your manipulator refuses to take no for an answer and keeps insisting on taking down all your boundaries, then it’s time to use consequences.
A very important skill you can use to win over a persistent manipulator is being able to identify and assert consequences. If brought up properly, consequence(s) can make the manipulator switch from aggressiveness to respect.
8. Confront your bullies safely
When a manipulator intimidates or harms another individual, they instantly become a bully.
Remember the fact that bullies pick on people they think are weaker than them, otherwise, they won’t feel powerful and daring. This means you can easily make a target out of yourself by being compliant and passive.
Another fact is that many bullies are pitiful cowards deep down themselves so when their victims start acting tough and standing up for their rights, the bullies take a few steps back. This can apply to school, office, and home environments.