Are You Being Manipulated?

Do other people pull your strings? Do you end up doing things you didn’t really want to do? Once you learn the five most common manipulative moves, you won’t be such a pushover next time.

Manipulative Move #1 – The Abandonment Move

This is when someone emotionally, energetically or physically separates from you when you don’t do what she wants you to do. Sometimes she pulls away, sulking or pouting.  Sometimes she uses a dramatic flourish and stomps out of the room.  And other times it’s done with a nonchalant ” Well, I don’t really care anyway” attitude as she “casually ” and the conversation and leaves.  Aren’t these great?

The goal of this move is to make you feel anxious. It preys on your unconscious fears of being left and abandoned.  Mommy!

Manipulative Move #2 – The Alpha Move

With this move your friend is trying to be dominant and control the situation.  Just like the alpha dog, he gets more persistent, louder or more aggressive to set up a dominant/submissive dynamic.  And, you are supposed to give in.

The goal of this move is to make you feel afraid or overwhelmed.  It preys on your fear of conflict.  You begin to tell yourself that what you want is just not worth it. Arf!

Manipulative Move #3 – The Victim Move

With this move, your friend acts one down, hurt and wounded.  She implies you are harming her if you don’t do what she wants.  The message is, you are selfish or mean if you don’t give her what she wants. Poor thing!

The goal of this move is to make you feel anxious or guilty.  It preys on your unconscious fear that you are not good enough and your terror of being seen as selfish or uncaring.

Manipulative Move #4 – The Persecutor

This move is when someone attacks you when they don’t get their way. It might be verbal with putdowns , sarcasm, ridicule or threats of attack.  It might be physical with grabbing, shoving or hitting.  Or, the physical violence could be someone smashing a wall or throwing things. Either way, message gets across just the same.

The goal of this move is to scare and intimidate you so you will do what he wants.   It is very important to confront this move the very first time you see it happen, even if it is on a very small level. It is a damaging and potentially dangerous dynamic.

Manipulative Move #5 – The Martyr Move

This is when someone shares a laundry list of things she has done for you and ways . She has suffered for you or others.  It is an attempt to paint a picture of how unfairly she has been treated and to prove you owe her something.

The goal of this move is to make you feel anxious or guilty for not doing what she wants.  It preys on your fear of being seen as a bad person.   And, if you are afraid of someone thinking you are uncaring or mean, this is the perfect move to use on you. Ha, ha!

Look back at situations where you felt pressured or manipulated. Was someone using one of these moves? In the future, if you decide to compromise, I want it to be because you felt good and grounded and safe. And from that place of confidence and self-love you made your decision.

The Hyper-Receptive Boundary Problem Style

One of the six boundary problem styles is Hyper-Receptive. When you use Hyper-Receptive you are on overdrive trying to pick up on everyone else’s feelings and needs. Your driving force is to keep everyone happy. There is an anxious undertone to your actions as you hover about providing things for others before they even ask for it. Many people won’t notice of how over-aware you are of them. Others feel oddly uncomfortable you as you try to do things for them.

This is different than someone using The Invisible Boundary Problem Style. Someone using Invisible knows what she wants it ignores her own needs and builds resentment. With Hyper-Receptive, there is no room for you to even stop and think about your own needs. Every part of you is focused on other’s feelings and needs. You feel like there’s a bomb that could go off at any moment if you don’t constantly monitor the situation. Once you are finally alone, you might finally relax a bit but, by then, you are exhausted.

It will be good for you to read the book chapter “The Dance Of Drama” and read the rescuer description. Also, be sure to read the complete chapter on the six boundary problem styles. It is time to get very clear about what you have been doing.

The Intrusive Boundary Problem Style

One of the six boundary problem styles is Intrusive. Now, you and I both know that you are just a lively, assertive, forthright person. But, you’ve been stepping on other people’s feet and don’t even know it. If you don’t learn to see how you come across to others and how to identify other people’s boundary styles, you are going to keep alienating people and creating relationship problems.

Some people love your interactive style, so it can be confusing when you use the exact same style with another person or in a different situation and get negative reactions. When you’re using Intrusive, you are not picking up how your conversational style conflicts with others styles. Some people need a slower pace, longer pauses or quieter responses. You are not picking up on how your physical interactive style conflicts with others styles. Some people need more physical space, less touching or more time alone.

Once in a while, out of the blue, someone blows up at you. She says you have been bullying her, controlling her or overpowering her. You feel blindsided because you had no idea that, for her, there has been an ongoing problem. She never brought it up or at least not in a way that you would know it. She was using “The Invisible Boundary Problem Style”. Yikes! It is important that you learn all six boundary problem styles so you stop falling into these damaging patterns. Read about all six styles here. You might be surprised what you learn about yourself as well.

The Enmeshed Boundary Problem Style

One of the six boundary problem styles is called Enmeshed. When you use the Enmeshed boundary problem style, you are over involved with and over identified with others. Like a chameleon, your identity changes as you eagerly take on your significant other’s needs, dreams and desires. The Enmeshed mantra is “You and I are one – and who we are is YOU!”

Because it’s hard for you to tolerate feeling alone or separate, you feel anxious when there is disagreement. You are the ultimate “yes man”. While some people might find this appealing, others find it annoying.

Your need for constant connection becomes a driving force in your life. Because of this you don’t realize how quickly you change who you are. You feel the pain of others as if it was your own. You are susceptible to diving into The Rescuer Role – trying to fix and save others. Because of this, is very important that you read “The Dance Of Drama” a book chapter on this website. You must stop doing this dance if you want to have healthy long-term relationships.

What you get done reading that book chapter, be sure to read the very detailed chapter on all six of the boundary problem styles. It is important to see how your styles impact your relationships.