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.

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