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8 Signs That You’ve Left A Manipulator

8 Signs That You’ve Left A Manipulator

Manipulators are skilled at what they do. Whether they’re being overly flattering or downright liars for the purpose of controlling others they do it well. Furthermore, they are often hard to spot, at least initially. By the time you realize you’re being manipulated your self esteem has dropped and perhaps you’re starting to think something is wrong with you. Sometimes you don’t realize you were involved with a manipulator until after you’ve parted ways. Once you’ve had a decent amount of space between you and your manipulator you’ll start to notice that your life is changing for the better. Here are 8 signs that you’ve left a manipulator and are living a better life.

1. You have a better sense of self

Manipulators thrive on control. They mistakenly believe that power exist outside themselves. In order to increase their so called external power they prowl on others. They want you to feel powerless so that you will willingly give them control over your very being. If you feel as though a veil has been lifted off of your life and you finally know who you are you’ve probably left a manipulator.

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2. You are less emotional

With a manipulator, everything you do is wrong. Every fight you’ve had is your fault. Being manipulated will wreak havoc on your emotions. You go from crying to being angry to feeling guilty and unworthy in short order. Then you’re regretful you didn’t stick up for yourself. You’re embarrassed that you let them get over on you yet again. When you’ve left a manipulator you’re emotions are more stable.

3. Your relationships with others are improving

Manipulators often pit people against each other. By creating this division they can continue their manipulations with little interference. There’s no one there to compare notes with. There’s no one to tell you you’re being bullied and you deserve better. If you’re noticing your once strained relationships are starting to improve now that a certain someone has left your life there’s a good chance you left a manipulator.

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4. You doubt yourself less

Manipulators will make you doubt everything you do. Whether it’s your choice of dinner or how much time you spend at the gym they can make you feel as if every decision you make is wrong. You now feel more confident in your decisions and are excited about your future.

5. You do more things you enjoy

Now that you’ve cut ties with your manipulator you actually do things you enjoy. You’re not constantly being coerced into doing things they want to do while neglecting your own desires. Some manipulators will actually say to you, “You don’t really like that” or “You don’t want to do this.” Now that they’re gone, you’re not pretending you like something you don’t just to keep the peace. You’re finally free to live the life you want and it feels great.

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6. You feel more peaceful

Being manipulated is stressful! You never know what to do, believe, or say. You’re always conflicted, on edge, and anxious. Once you’ve removed yourself from a controlling relationship you are more at ease, drama free and peaceful.

7. You are starting to trust again

You’re no longer questioning everything anyone says to you. You’re not wondering what agenda lies behind that story. You’re starting to trust people again. Most importantly, you’re starting to trust yourself again.

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8. You body feels healthier

Manipulation can be a form of mental abuse. You’re constantly being lied to, told half truths, and insulted. That’s why you’re emotions are unstable, you’ve lost your sense of self and your self confidence drops. Science suggests that there’s a relationship between your mental health and your physical health. When you’re constantly plagued with worry, anxiety and insecurity it can manifest itself in the body. You have more headaches than you’ve ever had before. You have aches and pains in places you never knew existed. Your energy is at an all time low. When you’ve removed yourself from that situation the pain suddenly disappears and your energy level increases.

Leaving a manipulative relationship whether it’s an intimate, platonic or professional relationship is one of the best decisions you can make for yourself. Life gets better when you’re in control of your own destiny. You can now live life on your own terms and return to you happy, confident, secure self.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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