The holiday season is rapidly approaching, and it should be a joyous time for most of us. However, for many of us, it is not. Much of the best and some of the worst seem to come out of people during this time of year. We often find that we are “guilted” into doing things we do not wish. Or, we are pushed along a journey we do not want to take. Today’s “sage” advice- Guard your heart.
What is emotional manipulation? Emotional manipulation is how other try to change our behavior, thoughts, and feelings through misleading practices. These practices can be harmful to everyone involved.
Family members may try to use emotional manipulation to control us.
And, no one likes to be controlled! For your own benefit, holiday season, or not, it is best to learn the signs that a other people, including a few family members, may be trying to manipulate you:
1. Denial of the truth.
- One of the most common ways people can use emotional manipulation is to deny the truth. This is a key sign.
- The person who is manipulating you will often make a promise or a statement but deny it later. They will pretend that the truth does not exist, and conveniently blame our bad memory for it.
- It can be difficult to prove the truth without a recording, an email, or other physical evidence. In some cases, the manipulator will try to fight the evidence by saying that it is a fabrication.
- An emotional manipulator is able to make us feel that it is our fault that we are not remembering the previous conversation the same way.
- They can make us feel guilty and ashamed, so that we will drop the subject.
- Emotional manipulators frequently use guilt to control their family members.
- Family member and close friends can use passive-aggressive tactics to manipulate us.
- They can also find our weak spots, so it is simple to make us feel guilty.
- Manipulators will often pretend to be victims, so that you will feel sorry for them.
- If you refuse to go along with the charade, do not be surprised to find yourself accused you of being insensitive and mean.
- Sometimes they can make you feel guilty in order to gain sympathy. This is another important sign to recognize.
3. Using people.
- Emotional manipulators will use friends and other family members to hurt us.
- They can use others as messengers or mediators to control us.
- Emotional manipulators may use these people to send hurtful messages or to pass on blame for their issues.
- By involving another person, they are able to shift the blame to someone else for the message being misinterpreted or misrepresented.
4. Anger and threats.
- People can use their anger and threats to manipulate you. I see it every day at work.
- An emotional manipulator uses anger to frighten and coerce people.
- Threats and angry outbursts are used to make the other person feel uncomfortable and upset.
- Emotional manipulators often use anger to interrupt or to stop a conversation they do not like. For example, a family member who refuses to discuss his affairs may use an angry outburst and threats to end the conversation or storm out of the room.
- The anger can escalate to physical violence, so it is very important to pay close attention to the situation and seek help as soon as you feel it may be necessary.
5. Belittling tactics.
- People may try to belittle us, so they can manipulate us more easily.
- Emotional manipulators will criticize you and point out your flaws.
- The main goal of this tactic is to make you feel inferior, so that we are easier to control.
6. Focusing on vulnerable targets.
- Manipulators seek out sensitive people because it is easier to influence and hurt them.
- They deliberately look for people who are vulnerable and insecure. They can spot these insecurities and use them.
- In the beginning, emotional manipulators often seem kind and concerned as they gather information about you. However, this quickly changes to control.
- Sensitive people are more likely to become victims of family members who want to control them.
- We are less likely to stand up for ourselves or to speak out against the manipulators.
- It is important to spot these signs in any relationship.
You can recognize emotional manipulation and refuse to let family members, friend, colleagues, or acquaintances take control of you or your actions. These relationships are unhealthy and toxic. Seek professional help if you need to. It is important to make positive changes to your relationships or let those relationship go.
Always easier said than done. But, life is made on one single day at a time…
Today’s “sage” advice:
Guard your heart.
For more information, see MartinaMcGowan.com