May 8th, 2022 Sunday Sermon: 11 Red Flags: Common Manipulation Tactics And How To Handle Manipulators
Are you being emotionally blackmailed, squeezed, or extorted? Today’s Sunday Sermon is for you.
Manipulation is an attempt to sway | shake| swivel, influence, or bend a person’s emotions to get them to act in a specific way or feel a certain thing. Emotional blackmail is the one that I want to talk about briefly today.
When you operate in manipulation, you are operating under a witchcraft spirit. When your goal is to control someone or manipulate them into your will, that is a witchcraft spirit.
Emotional manipulation can undermine close relationships and leave the manipulation victim feeling powerless, confused, pained, hurt, lost, frustrated, demoralized, baffled, amazed, broke, disturbed, mystified, perplexed, bewildered, dazed, intimidated, crushed, disheartened, depressed, discouraged, and useless.
Favorite weapons of manipulators are guilt, they’re always complaining, comparing, lying, denying (including excuses and rationalizations), feigning, ignorance, or innocence (the “Who me!?” defense), blame, bribery, undermining, mind games, assumptions, “foot-in-the-door,” reversals, emotional blackmail, evasiveness, forgetting, fake concern, sympathy, apologies, flattery, and gifts and favors. Manipulators often use guilt by saying directly or through implication, “After all I’ve done for you,”? Some go as far as saying I did my best! Or chronically behaving needy and or helpless. They may compare you negatively to someone else or rally imaginary allies to their cause, saying that, “Everyone” or “Even so and so thinks Mr. A, Ms. B ” or “says Mr. A or B about you.” Some go as far as bringing religion into their manipulative gimmicks and say what God said or their pastor, Imam, or religious leader said.
Now you want to know why these people are manipulative or do what they do? Here’re a few of the reasons:
Poor communication skills: Some people may be very uncomfortable with direct communication. Others may have grown up in houses or homes where manipulative communication was the norm. So they see nothing wrong in being manipulative.
A desire to avoid connection: Some people treat others as means to an end and use manipulation to control them. This is sometimes a symptom of a personality disorder such as a narcissistic personality. They want to keep a job or remain in a relationship they are not in any way valuable or contributing anything positive but enjoying the hard work of others. These types of people are ‘parasitic’ in nature.
Fear: People may engage in manipulation out of fear, especially fear of abandonment. This often happens during breakups, relationship fights, or job disengagement.
Defensiveness: Manipulation can be a way of avoiding blame. While some people avoid blame as a way to control or abuse another person and continue to take undue advantage of the person’s kindness, and simplicity. Others do so because they fear judgment, have low self-esteem or struggle to face their shortcomings.
At this point you want to know how you can identify the RED FLAGS, right? Here are the eleven flags I have discovered based on my experiences:
11 flags you are being emotionally manipulative:
Using the intense emotional connection to control another person’s behavior: For instance, an abusive or toxic person may try to manipulate a person by moving very quickly in a romantic or business relationship. They may overpower their victim with loving gestures and fake promises to lower their guard or make them feel indebted.
Playing on a person’s insecurities: For instance, someone may make their romantic partner think no one else could ever possibly love them. While some employees and employers will want to make their victims feel that no other employer or employee can tolerate them or want to hire them or work with them. They make their victims feel like they are the problems whereas they are the main problem.
Lying and denial: Manipulators may inundate their victims with lies. When they’re caught, they may deny the lies or cover it up with another falsehood. This set of people are storytellers and incredibly mischievous, insensitive, selfish, lazy, careless, and ungrateful. They are very slippery and destructive.
Exaggeration and generalization: It’s difficult to respond to an allegation of “never” being loving or “never” working hard. Distinct details can be debated, while vague, ambiguous, uncertain, and controversial accusations are often harder to dispute. These types of people are time wasters and not good for your mental health.
Changing the subject: In an argument about one person’s behavior being inappropriate, disturbing, complicated, problematic, or unacceptable in a relationship, the individual may deflect attention from themselves by attacking and blaming their critic or making unreasonable excuses to justify their bad behavior. The deflection often takes the form of, “Well what about “this” and “that”?” For example, when one spouse expresses concern about their partner’s drug use, the partner may attack the spouse’s parenting skills. When an employer tries to get the employee to be more dedicated to their jobs and follow laid down procedures and regulations, they become very antagonistic, opposed, aggressive, and start making senseless demands. These types of folks are smooth operators and toxic.
Moving the goalposts: This happens when a manipulative person often shifts the criteria one must meet to satisfy them. For example, a bully may use their coworker’s clothes as an excuse to harass them. If the individual changes outfits, the bully may claim the person won’t “deserve” professional appreciation until they change their hairstyle, their accent, or another thing they have used against them. This happens in relationships too.
Using fear to control another person: For example, a person may use threats of violence or physically intimidating body language or hold on to what is valuable to someone to make them do what they want them to do just to be in control and continue to use their victims to their advantage.
Passive-aggression | Guilt-Tripping: This is a broad type of behavior that includes several strategies such as guilt-tripping, giving fake appreciation, giving backhanded compliments, and more. It is a way of voicing displeasure or anger without directly expressing the emotion. This puts the victim in a very confused state of mind.
Giving a person the silent treatment: It’s fine to ask for time to reflect on an argument or to tell someone who deeply hurt you that you no longer wish to speak to them or have any form of relationship with them rather than keeping mute and acting up. Ignoring a person to punish them or make them fearful is a manipulative tactic. It’s very unhealthy.
Gaslighting: Gaslighting involves causing the manipulation victim to doubt their understanding of reality. The victim feels useless and robbed of their self-esteem, self-confidence, and dignity.
Recruiting others to help with manipulation. For instance, an abusive parent or guardian might ask family members or close friends to remind a child how much the parent has sacrificed for the child. Some married people do that with their partners who are fed up with emotional abuse in their marriage. The social pressure may convince the child or the other spouse to stop complaining about abusive behavior. And this is dangerous and could lead to depression, mental illness, and even death.
Do you want to know how to handle manipulation and manipulators? Here are my unique ways of dealing with them and it may help you too:
The first step is to know whom you’re dealing with. Manipulators know your triggers! Study their tactics and learn their favorite weapons. Build your self-esteem and self-respect. This is your best defense! Also, learn to be assertive and set boundaries. Let them know that you have given them enough time to change their behavior and that you CAN NOT TOLERATE their excesses anymore. When you say it, make sure that you mean your words and actions follow.
Setting clear boundaries around manipulation. When a person attempts to manipulate you, tell them how you want them to treat you and then follow your guideline. For instance, if it’s your mother, tell her this: “Mom, I understand that you sacrificed a lot for me, but that doesn’t mean you get to belittle me. I can’t talk to you about this until you’re willing to stop changing the subject.” If it’s your employee, let him or her know that the services rendered are below your standards and there is no sentiment in business, and you need to replace them with a more competent person to get your business moving and get the progress level up. It’s business and not a playground.
Communicating in direct, thorough, clear, careful, detailed, specific, and distinct ways will put the manipulator in his or her place immediately. And again, direct communication models the behavior you hope for in your relationships and can make it easier to identify manipulation.
Be kind but not at the detriment of your peace of mind, mental health, progress, happiness, and safety.
By: Dr. Sandra C. Duru