Some people exist and flourish in this world only because they constantly use others to their advantage to get ahead. Manipulators have the ability to make others feel as if something is owed to them, and often prey on hard-working, selfless individuals who are more susceptible to being exploited in their work. If you find yourself in a situation in which someone is trying to manipulate you, remember: You are your own person. Never ever let anyone make you feel otherwise.
1. Recognize the problem
The first step in dealing with a manipulative individual, whether at work or in your personal life, is to realize you’re being manipulated. These people will expect you to drop everything you’re doing when they’re in need of assistance, and are incredibly pervasive in their demands for help. They don’t consider your needs in the slightest when they need something to be done, and view their needs as top priority. If you notice colleagues or so-called friends putting their own needs ahead of yours, start taking steps to thwart their attempts immediately.
2. Ask questions
Manipulators will attempt to get you to do something for them with no questions asked. So when you ask questions of them, it shifts the balance of power ever so slightly to your side. Ask them why or how a task will benefit all parties involved, or if they really think what they’re asking is reasonable. If they’re being honest, they’ll have to admit that they’re being a bit unreasonable or illogical. If they choose not to be honest, you’ve shifted power even further to your side since you have no reason to do anything for someone who’s less than truthful with you.
3. Stand firm
Manipulators are just bullies in adult clothing. They prey on people who they know won’t stand up for themselves, as they know they’ll always get what they want from them. However, manipulators completely lose power when their victim stands their ground in front of them. They’re so used to having their bidding done for them that when someone defies their demands they have no idea what to do. When you stand firm against a manipulator, they’ll often try to sway your decision. Don’t let it happen. Only you can control you; compromising just once can lead to a slippery slope in which you’re constantly victimized by aggressors.
4. Use time to your advantage
Manipulators make demands and impose deadlines that cause their victims massive stress. But your time is yours. If someone who you know is trying to take advantage of you demands you complete a task within a certain period of time, tell them you’ll “think about it.” Doing so is just as effective as shutting them down completely. In fact, stringing them along completely turns the tables on the manipulator, as they’ll be the ones waiting to hear from you. Of course, you don’t want to become the manipulator yourself, but it can’t hurt your own cause to give your aggressor a taste of their own medicine.
5. Set consequences
The demands manipulators impose on others are, in their eyes, mandates that must be accomplished. They’ll do their best to make it seem as if you owe them, and must do what they say. In truth, if you do them this favor, it’s them who will owe you. Make that extremely clear to them. This works especially if you have other mandates that do require your immediate attention. If they discover that they’ll end up having to do something for you in return, they’ll more than likely rescind their demand. Although they’ll probably try to find another victim rather than simply completing the task on their own, at least you’ve succeeded in getting them off your back.
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