Manipulative people are everywhere these days, from social media to the workplace. They want you to give up something, whether that is time, money or influence, in order to benefit them. Manipulative people will play on your emotions or play the martyr in order to try to make you feel sorry for them.
Children will cry and give you the “sad face,” while adults will tell you some sob story in order to manipulate you into getting what they want.
Manipulative people will manufacture drama or emotionally charged situations in order to elicit strong emotions from you and inhibit your ability to think clearly. Once you are in a vulnerable state, you are easier to manipulate.
The best thing you can do to deal with manipulative people is to ignore them or cut them out of your life. But if you must deal with them because of work or they are a family member, then here are 9 comebacks that will put them in their place.
Here are 9 Comebacks for Dealing with a Manipulator:
You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. A manipulative person will try to use guilt or your sympathy to pressure you into doing what they want. Just say no. You are in control of your own time and resources, so don’t let others guilt you into changing your plans to suit them or giving them something when you don’t really have it to give.
2. “I’m very busy; maybe we can talk some other time.”
Manipulators need to be able to speak with you in order for them to work their tricks. If you deny them the opportunity to talk with you, then they cannot affect you. If you blow them off enough, they will search for easier prey.
3. “I need you to take a step back.”
Manipulators will sometimes try to use intimidation in order to get what they want. Establish boundaries with them and show that you will no be intimidated by standing up to them. Also, be aware of your surroundings and avoid places where a manipulator can corner you alone.
4. “My heart bleeds for you.”
Manipulative people will give you a sob story in order to elicit a sympathetic response that they can abuse in order to get whatever it is that they want. Feeling sorry for them lowers your guard and makes it easier for them to manipulate your emotional state. Don’t let them.
5. “I will talk to you when you calm down.”
Manipulators will use high emotional states in order to distract or confuse you by getting you to react emotionally instead of rationally. When you are highly emotional, you are vulnerable to manipulation, and they know it.
6. “My feelings are just as valid as yours.”
Manipulators will try to invalidate your feelings or treat them as inconsequential. You have just as much right to your feelings as they have to theirs. Don’t let them dictate how or what you should feel about a situation.
7. “That is not acceptable.”
If a manipulator violates your boundaries with their words or actions, then you should let them know that you will not be bullied or pressured into giving them what they want. Set firm boundaries and stick to them. Manipulators want easy prey – if you set and enforce boundaries, they will go looking somewhere else for a victim.
8. “I have value and worth as a person.”
Manipulators will try to make you feel worthless or stupid. They feed on people who have low self esteem. If they can make you feel that you are useless or worthless without them, then they make you dependent on them and easier to manipulate. If you value yourself, then no one can tell you that you are worthless because you know better.
9. “Don’t talk to me.”
The best way to deal with a manipulator is to not engage them in conversation. If they can’t talk to you, then they can’t manipulate you. By shutting them down, you let them know that you are not going to play their games. It sets a boundary and discourages them before they get started.
Remain firm when dealing with a manipulator. Once you stop the behavior with positive reinforcement, they recognize that they have lost their power over you. Setting boundaries is important. These are people who need recognition and will use negativity to get what they want.