ERP 171: How To Deal With Manipulation In Relationship

By Posted in - Podcast May 23rd, 2019 0 Comments


“First of all, thank you so much for doing the podcast. I have been learning so much about relationships and how to better improve my own. My question is about family and parents.

Some background on my situation. I have told my very religious parents that I am moving out of the house. My boyfriend and I have found a place together and decided that our next step in our very committed relationship is to live together. I am 30 years old.

My parents (mostly my mother) had a fit. She went on and on about how I am not “doing things the right way” and that she and everyone in her family disapproves. I told her that I was confident in my decision and I understand that she will not approve, but it is my decision. I also told her I never meant to hurt her. She has been crying and posting a lot of religious content on her social media. She’s also been posting sad photos of her looking upset.

I see that this is emotional manipulation and this is something I have had to deal with my whole life, hence the final push to move and get some space from my family.

So my question is, what is the best way to deal with emotional manipulative parents? “

(Please listen to the podcast episode or read the transcript to hear explanations, stories and examples.)

Manipulation: What are we talking about?

Manipulation is the act of trying to get someone to do something consciously or subconsciously.

At what point do we call behavior persuasive/influential or manipulative?

There is a range from having healthy influence to toxic manipulation, and it is a matter of degrees. For example:

  • Someone arguing their perspective and trying to get their partner to see their side.
  • Or a teenager who wants to go out on a school night and is trying to convince his parents into letting him go out.
  • Or an attorney who is attempting to persuade the jury in a particular direction.

The line is usually crossed when a person is using guilt, force, or power to control someone else.

Unfortunately, people often resort to control tactics when they are scared and afraid. They don’t trust that someone will engage with them in a safe way, so they get aggressive, pushy, and critical. Or even worse, they use mental distortion and emotional exploitation to gain power and control.

When people grow up in particularly unhealthy and painful environments, they often learn to cope in dysfunctional ways. When these patterns take hold in more extreme cases, people can develop personality disorders and mental health issues.

Types of Manipulation:

In the article, 12 Failures of Highly Manipulative People, by Preston Ni, he offers several types of manipulation. Here are a few (please read the article for more information):

  • “Negative Manipulation. Designed to gain superiority by causing the victim to feel inferior, inadequate, insecure, and/or self-doubting.
  • Positive Manipulation. Designed to bribe the victim emotionally to win favors, concessions, sacrifices, and/or commitments.
  • Deception and Intrigue. Designed to distort the perception of the victim for easier control.
  • Strategic Helplessness. Designed to exploit the victim’s good will, guilty conscience, sense of duty and obligation, or protective and nurturing instinct.
  • Hostility and Abuse. Designed to dominate and control the victim through overt aggression.” by Preston Ni

How To Deal With Manipulative Behavior (2 of 6):

1. Identify The Manipulative Behavior:

  • If something feels annoying, icky, or uncomfortable during an interaction, there is probably a good reason. If you reacting, feeling guilty, defensive, etc. you are caught in the manipulation.
  • Write out the interaction. This will help you identify the manipulation. Then, you can get more perspective and look at the dynamic more objectively.
  • Naming it to tame it.
  • With more clarity, you will be better able to deal with the manipulative behavior differently in the future.

2. Focus On Your Power, Strength, And Goodness

  • Identify your intention.
  • Recognize your rights, (to be treated with respect, to have your own thoughts, feelings, and preference, a right to make choices, a right to say ‘no” without feeling guilt).
  • Know your needs.
  • Work on your self-esteem. Improve your self-image. Recognize your worth, goodness, and strengths.

Stay tuned for the next episode for the next four tips.



Click on this link to access the transcript for this episode: ERP 171: How to Deal With Manipulation In Relationship

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Shifting Criticism For Connected Communication

Shifting Criticism For Connected Communication.

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Dr. Jessica Higgins ~ Relationship and Transformational Coaching