Stop Emotional Manipulation from Controlling You

Posted on Jan 2, 2014 by 2 Comments
emotional manipulation

Emotional manipulation — everyone has experienced it, and probably used it, at one time or another but when it is totally controlling you, the decisions you make, and the actions you take then it is time to take a look at why you are so accepting of being, as my children call it, “guilted” into being another person’s puppet.

It can begin with a parents using phrases like:

  • If you loved me you would act better.
  • I would be so proud of you if…
  • People will think I’m a bad mom…

Using those kinds of phrases can certainly coerce your kids into doing things your way, but it also sets them up to be manipulated in their adult relationships. How many women have stayed with abusive men because they threatened to commit suicide if she left?

Parents can be manipulated in this way by their kids. Bosses, co-workers, and friends all are capable of emotional manipulation. In fact, I have really been trying to pay attention to see just how prevalent it is.

It’s pretty prevalent.

How to Stop Being the Victim

The first thing you have to do is to admit that you are being taken for an emotional roller coaster ride. The other person doesn’t need you, doesn’t care too much about you other than what your provide for them, and really is primarily concerned with himself. He just is really good at creating drama and making other people feel sorry for him.

If you can see it for what it is, you can step away from the whole thing. It’s hard but you can do it.

Stop Making Excuses

He does it because he can. He does it because it benefits him. Stop making excuses for the behavior, lifestyle, stupid choices, and drama of the manipulator. There are no valid excuses. Once we are adults, we are all responsible for our own behaviors.

Evaluate the Relationship

This is a hard one. If you decide that you are unwilling to be manipulated anymore then there will almost certainly be repercussions to deal with. Manipulators don’t like to have to break in new victims! Is it a relationship that you are willing to lose for your own emotional health?

Know what you are willing to do. I experienced this with my mother who went through a phase where she tried to commit suicide several times. After the fourth time of holding her hand while her stomach was pumped (I was 16 at the time) I was through.

The next time she said she was committing suicide I got her the pill bottle, vodka, and a razor for good measure. I laid them down on the table next to her and said, “I love you, I will miss you, I can’t stop you.” After that I kissed her on the cheek are walked out of the house. I went to the park, cried, and worried about what I would find when I got home.

I was in my 40s when my mom passed away and she never tried to commit suicide again, nor did she even threaten it. I don’t recommend this action, by the way.

Release Responsibility

You are not responsible. Take a deep breath and repeat that aloud – I am not responsible for____. It doesn’t matter who you are or what has happened. What a manipulator does is on them, not you. You do not have to fix their every problem, bail them out of every difficulty, or martyr yourself to their demands ever again. You choose to do it, you don’t have to.

One more time — they don’t need you. They only want you to think they do.

Confront and Communicate

Eventually you are going to have to confront them, tell them exactly what they are doing, and tell them in detail how they must change the behavior. Be strong, be firm, and be specific.

You don’t have to live with feeling guilty and being manipulated into doing things if you don’t want to.

Leave a comment and let us know how you deal with manipulative relationships.

photo credit: Cuito Cuanavale via photopin cc

Posted in: Love & Relationships
Marye Audet

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    This is the kind of thing that once I see in a friend or partner I have a hard time not really resenting. It never helps to be angry about this kind of behavior in another person, but I can’t help it.

  • Mom Meets Blog

    As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize guilt is a useless emotion – it does nothing but make us miserable and keeps us trapped in situations that make us unhappy. I’ve become really selective in my relationships now, and as selfish as it sounds, if it doesn’t serve me then I think twice about it!