How to deal with a Manipulator ;strategies
The best way to deal with a manipulator is to avoid him
The only truly effective method for dealing with a skilled manipulator is to disallow him from your life. If he is your husband, seek a divorce, if he’s a romantic partner ,dump them, if it’s a friend cut them off and, if it’s a coworker keep your distance and avoid doing their work for them.
Don’t worry you won’t be hurting anyone’s feelings. Though it may seem otherwise but master manipulators don’t have any feelings to hurt.
Always stay calm and in control of your emotions
When dealing with a master manipulator, it’s very important that you don’t lose control over yourself. Manipulators attack you secretly in an underhanded way--this is very irritating and likely to provoke you to anger. Don’t let this happen, because if you lose control over yourself, you will make yourself look bad and the manipulator good—making it easier for the manipulator to further his plans. Psychologists Robert D. Hare and Paul Babaik caution that ‘’ Do not take the bait. As hard as it may be, you should always remain cool and calm when being attacked, however unfairly.’’
Don’t react to their sick games. If a manipulator starts giving you silent treatments don’t seek their attention. They will likely contact you themselves .Simply start to give very less attention or just leave with "Let me know when you feel like talking" and nothing else. Act like it is no big deal. Get busy with something else. If you let it affect you now, master manipulators will use this tactic again and again.
How to handle a Master Manipulator ; strategies
Do not try to change or improve the behavior of a master manipulator
Skilled manipulators are carved in stone. You cannot change them. You can only change your response, so don’t waste your energies in trying to correct what’s beyond the level of correction. Fighting, losing battles will cause you depression and frustration.
‘’At some point, most of us need to learn the important, if disappointing, life lesson that, no matter how good our intentions, we cannot control the behavior –let alone the character structures-- of other people. Learn this fact of human life, and avoid the irony of being caught up in the same ambition that he has—to control. If you do not desire control but instead want to help people, then help only those who truly want to be helped’’ advises Psychologist and author Martha Stout.
Never argue or confront the Master manipulator
Master manipulators are very cunning and deceptive people ,you can’t be honest with them. Honesty and open communication, they simply don’t understand. So don’t waste your breath pointing out their bad behavior. They don’t care about your words anyway, they pay attention to your actions.When you dump them it shocks them and hurts their confidence,when you increase your distance they realize that you are not the right victim.
Manipulators are experts at covering their tracks,so if you complain about their bad behavior it will be very easy for them,to deny it or minimize their bad act.They might say that ‘’ohh you are so sensitive, you are seeing things in a wrong way’’ or ‘’it was just a joke’’.
They will deny it, gaslight you and try to put the blame on you-- causing more confusion. So, if you feel that a person has been treating you badly just silently increase your distance. The distance that you put between you and a manipulator should be in direct relation to how much hurt they have caused.
Never tell them that you know their real nature or how they make you feel. Any knowledge that you give about yourself will be used against you. Conceal your feelings of hurt, pain and anger. Show them that you are unaffected by their games and they are not so important as to cause in you an emotional response.
Never threaten a manipulator.
Do not believe in the excuses of a manipulator
Master Manipulators use words to either conceal themselves or gain information , but never to express themselves. So, any explanation that they give you for their bad behavior is unlikely to be true.Don’t so naïve as to believe in the words of a person that you suspect as a manipulator.
How to handle a Manipulator ; strategies
Don’t join the game
If a person manipulates you--don’t start manipulating them. They will surely win because they have more experience than you.
During my research for a master degree I was working with a senior student. He was very manipulative and mean. He’d make me do his share of work also, besides making me feel guilty and inefficient. Sickened and annoyed I too played some mind games. I thought the situation would improve because I had now joined the game. But it turned from bad to worse. He became very suspicious of me. After all, none is more adept at detecting deception than a con man. Soon I needed his help to write an article related to my research work. He wouldn’t help me at all. I had to put in a lot of effort to get a little of his help. That article has still not published.
The wise course for me would have been to tolerate his bad behavior(while taking some protective measures like, not ,showing emotions,complaining,apologizing) as long as I needed him and then increased the distance or completely have no contact.
So,resist the temptation to compete with an astute manipulator or outsmart him. Not only you will be lowering yourself to his level but also wasting your energies that should be spent on protecting yourself.
Do not fight, outsmart or manipulate a master manipulator, just defend yourself.
Let doubt be your friend
Often people when dealing with a manipulator experience hurt and harm but are unable to identify the manipulator as problem and thus remain in doubt and confusion.manipulators attack covertly so it’s not easy to spot them.Master manipulators are good at faking love ,concern and sympathy so when in doubt that someone’s the problem--Let doubt be your friend.
How to handle a Manipulator ; Preventive measures
Despise favors, and free lunches.
Manipulators use favors, gifts and free lunches as form of bribery--to make you more inclined towards giving them what they want. Avoid free lunches or generous favors so that you don’t have to repay them later on.
Know your insecurities and weak spots
It’s bad enough that you can never be sure of what a manipulator is up to. But, being ignorant of your own wants, insecurities and weak spots can put you in double jeopardy. You must be sure of what you crave in life, what you don’t have and, what you want to change. Being knowledgeable of your own weak spots can protect you from a manipulator. For example, if you suffer from acne and feel bad about your skin, you must never tell it to any person except to the one who can provide a solution—that person could be a family member or a doctor. Don’t announce in public that you wish your skin was clear etc. Manipulative people are eager to collect information about things that cause pain and then use this knowledge to put you down.
You are in love with a person, hide this secret from friends,acquaintances or newly met people etc.You don’t need to tell other people that you love a certain person. Love can be a weakness; any person can use this knowledge against you.
Once you are sure what your insecurities and weak spots are, try to hide them as much as you can. Dr.Hare advises,
‘’Your best defense is to understand what your weak spots are and to be extremely wary of anyone who zeros in on them. Judge such people more critically than you do those who do not seem to be aware of, or catering to, your vulnerabilities. If you are a sucker for flattery it’s certain to be written all over you, an engraved invitation to every unscrupulous operator looking around for fresh victims.
Basking in flattery, like sitting too long in the sun, can be pleasant at first but painful in the end. If you have a bit of larceny in your soul you are particularly vulnerable to schemes that are a bit shady. Lonely people with money are extremely easy targets..’’.
It is not easy to know yourself well. Self-examination, frank discussions with family and trusted friends, and professional consultation may help you in this regard.
How to handle a Manipulator ; Preventive measures
Evaluate new social encounters
Every day we get to meet strangers, friends of friends and many other people that we haven’t met before. Master Manipulators are skilled at giving a good first impression. Unfortunately, we take them at face value. With manipulators what you see is not you get . If someone proves too good, try to prove yourself wrong.
you should take time to check out every new person that you get to meet, who may have financial ,romantic or any other interest in you.
Psychologist Robert D. Hare recommends ‘’Ask the individual about his or her friends, family relatives, employment, place of residence, plans and so forth’’.
A master manipulator will give you vague, evasive or inconsistent replies about their personal lives. Be suspicious of such replies and try to verify them.
Hare explains that it’s very easy to do
‘’For example, several years ago a woman I know became romantically involved with a man she’d met at her church. He appeared to be well connected and to have impeccable credentials, and he said he was a graduate in business administration from a well-known eastern university. She considered investing heavily in a business venture he was promoting. When I met him I told him that we were graduates of the same university, but he was evasive about his experiences there, always managing to change the subject. My suspicions aroused, I did some checking and learned that he had never been a student at my university. Further investigation revealed that he was a swindler, wanted in several countries. He skipped town, leaving my friend disillusioned by the experience and angry at me for destroying her fantasy world’’.
If you like a person, be even more rigorous in evaluation.
The more you like a person the greater is the risk of being manipulated by them.
It’s dangerous to blindly trust a person. A friend of mine was a dedicated fan of an actor. She held him in high regard and had a lot of respect for him. He started to shower attention on her after they met.she obviously was overjoyed .She never suspected that someday she will have to pay the price for this attention or favour.Just like any normal human being she got emotionally attached to him,because he would listen to her attentively,give her his time and sympathy. She already liked him very much ,so it took her just a few months to fall deeply in love. It’s when she was head over heels in love that he started to devalue her. She never expected manipulation from him because she thought he earned his status and fame because of his good character. He was above dirty games and trick ordinary men play. But painfully, she discovered that he was below the level of most men and one should not be swayed by the role or status of a person.
If she didn’t like him so much or felt so much respect for him,it wouldn’t have been so easy for him to fool her. So evaluate and be more cautious towards people you like.
There’s nothing wrong with liking someone very much but you should keep in mind that it opens you up to manipulation. If you like someone very much try to check out that they have good character and will not harm you.
Follow the Rule of threes.
If a person lies to you three times or breaks the promise or neglects a responsibility three times. Then you should end your relationship with that person. It’s easier to get out in the beginning of relationship than later when manipulator causes you a lot of harm.
Avoid discussing with others that someone is manipulating you.
Trust your gut response that a person is manipulationg you.don’t listen to friends or colleagues because
1.your friend may not be sincere to you and thus give you wrong advice
2.your friend is sincere but has less experience with the master manipulators
Listen to your heart and gut response. It’s more likely that your gut response is right than any advice given by any friend. Sharing with a family member that you are very close to and trust is better option than sharing with friend.seeking professional help is also good.
Daniel Myers on February 13, 2018:
You described my mother, but the “him” Leo’s throwing me off...
somegal on June 27, 2016:
and what to do if this is your boss?
passionatelearnr (author) on December 13, 2015:
Thank you Dora for taking time to read it.I believe if we increase our knowledge about manipulators as much as we can,then it will make life much safer emotionally.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 12, 2015:
Very good counsel and powerful quotes. So many disappointments could be avoided if we all had these facts. Thanks!
passionatelearnr (author) on December 11, 2015:
Thank you Deborah.I'm glad you find it interesting.;-)
passionatelearnr (author) on December 11, 2015:
you are right dashingscorpio,both men and women can be mean and cunning.it was not my intention to give the impression that only men are manipulators.;-) but somehow it looks like that in the article.;-)
Thanks for taking time to read and comment on it.your comments increase my knowledge.
dashingscorpio from Chicago on December 11, 2015:
"The best way to deal with a master manipulator is to avoid him."
However not all "master manipulators" are (men). :)
Every guy can tell you about times they were used or manipulated too.
"The more you like a person the greater is the risk of being manipulated by them." - This also true!
Nevertheless at some point everyone is going to like or love someone else even if it's members of their own family. You don't want to reach a point of complete paranoia every time someone smiles or is kind to you.
Ultimately it takes time to get to truly know people.
Allow them to (earn) your trust over time by demonstrating honesty and integrity. Be aware and use good commonsense in dealing with people.
If something doesn't feel right to you it's probably not right for you.
Know yourself, Love yourself, Trust yourself.
Never separate your mind from your heart when making relationship decisions. The purpose of the mind is to protect the heart.
Deborah Reno from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on December 11, 2015:
Interesting and insightful article. Thanks for sharing these tips.