According to the dictionary, to manipulate means to control or influence (a person or situation) cleverly or unscrupulously. To be manipulative means influencing or attempting to influence the behavior or emotions of others for one’s own purposes.
Manipulative people are those who disguise their interests as your interests. They will do their best to manipulate you into believing that their opinions are objective facts and then act concerned by offering to help you improve your performance, improve your attitude, and improve your life in general. But in the real sense of things, they are not interested in helping you or making you a better person.
They are only interested in controlling you and ensuring that you don’t become a better person than they are. Manipulative people will do anything to keep you from outgrowing them.
So why do we let people manipulate us in the first place?
You see, one of the strongest driving forces of human behavior is our need to always feel loved. We seek attention. We want to be admired and praised by others.
And because we are interdependent people, we need others to survive. Hence, manipulative people capitalize on these needs. We, on the other hand, want to please other people, ignoring the fact that it is also one of our weakest points that allows us to be easily manipulated.
In this blog post, we’ll be sharing with you some tips to help you know how to never allow anyone to manipulate you.
Learn to recognize manipulative people
One way you can recognize manipulative people is in the way they flatter people. Manipulative people enjoy flattering people too much and too soon. They do this to try to make you feel important so that they can get you to do what they want.
So, be observant enough to know when a person is flattering you too much and too soon. When you notice this, be quick enough to address it. You can say, “That’s very nice of you to say, but I don’t feel I’ve done enough to deserve such wonderful comments. If there is something you want from me, you’ll have to give me a moment after you ask so I can think of something of equal importance to me that I can ask from you.”
Another trait of manipulative people is their ability to make other people feel guilty, a negative feeling that you are expected to experience when you have violated a commonly agreed rule. Usually, the supposed common rule is often one-sided.
So, before you allow yourself to drown in the guilt, make sure you examine the agreed rule in question.
Use their own strategies against them
Manipulative people constantly hold past actions against others. They’ll put small rewards on your face and have you chase after them continuously. They will become friends with your friends and turn them against you.
What you need to do to deal with them is to identify their prized resource, identify the people they love and respect, and form allies with them to replace them.
This will throw them off balance and force them to focus on and control their lives and careers rather than focusing on controlling them.
You can also redirect their focus to themselves by asking a few probing questions to see if she or he has enough self-awareness to recognize their selfish request.
You can try questions like “Do I have a say in this?” “Are you asking me or telling me?” “So, what do I get out of this?” “Are you really expecting me to really do this?” These questions force them to reflect on the true nature of their scheme.
Love yourself and stop looking for other people’s validation
Yes, it is necessary to have some source (s) of unconditional love. It could be from your parents, your kids, or your spouse, but the most important source of unconditional love is yourself. Love and accept yourself as you are and do not try to fit in by changing anything about yourself.
When you love yourself unconditionally, you develop healthy self-respect, which is the basis of any form of personal power.
When you have personal power, you can control what you think about yourself and not look for validation in what people have to say about you. You believe in yourself and your self-worth. Your beliefs are your boundaries.
What separates a winner from a loser is not the ability to listen to other people’s beliefs, it’s the ability to listen to one’s own beliefs. When you see your beliefs and hold on to them, you prevent manipulative people from affecting you.
Create a sense of purpose for yourself
One reason manipulative people still exist and continually get what they want is that so many people do not know what they are working for. They do not know the purpose of their lives nor the reason for working where they are working.
When people lack purpose, they do not know what they are doing, where they are going, or why they are here.
So, they believe anything because nothing really matters after all. And because they do not know what they are doing, they simply try to kill time by attending the same pointless meetings now and then or by doing other pointless activities.
Because they do not have a purpose for their lives or their time, manipulative people take advantage of them by constantly providing them with useless information and content. However, when you know where you are going and what you are doing, manipulators can’t hurt you or distract you because you are focused.
Take responsibility for yourself
It is impossible for anyone to manipulate you without your permission. If others outsmart you, it is your fault, not theirs. So, you have to learn from your mistakes and be accountable for yourself.
Stop letting manipulative people walk all over you. Commit to surrounding yourself with positive and like-minded people who aren’t just going to use you.
Be bold and courageous enough to say No to these people who constantly hurt and use you.
In summary, being smarter than manipulative people requires that you open your mind and pay attention to signals that show an individual is trying to manipulate you, then stay cool and play your game against their wishes.