Resistance Tactics for Manipulation

The following information is from the book “Who’s Pulling Your Strings?: How to Break the Cycle of Manipulation and Regain Control of Your Life” by Harriet B. Braiker

The tactics are designed to stop anyone who is using anger, guilt, shame and emotional coercion to manipulate you.

It should be noted that these techniques will NOT change the manipulator but they WILL change the relationship so that manipulation using negative emotions do not happen or at least happen less frequently.

Tactic #1 Delay For Time.

The purpose of the Delay for Time is to give you a moment to calm yourself in the face of the manipulation and focus on gaining control over the manipulation dynamic.

Things to say when first put under pressure are:

If On The Phone:

DO NOT ask for permission to put them on hold. Just tell them and then hold.
When face-t0-face here are some example that will stall the manipulators request”
  • “This needs some time to think about. I’ll let you know when I decide.”
  • “I’m not going to answer you right now. I’ll give it some thought.”
  • “This deserves some thought. I’m not going to jump on this right now but I’ll get back with you when I’ve decided.”
In all these cases you are telling the manipulator that you are ONLY going to work on YOUR time

Tactic #2 The Broken Record

The manipulator will usually apply more pressure by increasing the guilt, anger or passive aggression. The response is to
Step 1. Aknowledge the manipulators emotions
Step 2. Restate position
This response should be done without explanation and in a calm and assertive voice.
Manipulator: You’re so good at this projects I’d like you to head up the committee.
Response: I understand your need and this is a decision I’ll have to give a lot of time to consider. I’ll get back with you on that.
Manipulator: (flabbergasted) Well, you’ve done this before. This isn’t something you should turn down.
Response: I understand your need and this is a decision I’ll have to give a lot of time to consider. I’ll get back with you on that.
Manipulator: (angry) Get back to me? Why? This will fall flat on it’s face without you.
Response: I understand your angry and this is a decision I’ll have to give a lot of time to consider. I’ll get back with you on that.
Manipulator: (Very angry) Fine! You get back to me when you know you’re going to do this. Good bye! Response: Good bye.
Remember you may never be able to change a manipulator or out-manipulate them. You can, however, demonstrate that you won’t be influenced by their coercion.

Tactic #3 Desensitizing Anxiety, Fear and Guilt

Coercive manipulation works by using negative feelings of fear, guilt and anxiety to gain compliance. While fear, guilt and anxiety are uncomfortable they are seldom fatal.

Desensitizing is done by imagining situations where a manipulator will ply fear, guilt and anxiety to gain your compliance and practice calming yourself. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is useful too because it allows the patient to realize that fear, guilt and anxiety are only feelings and not harbingers of death.

Tactic #4 Labeling the Manipulation

This tactic openly points out the manipulation that is taking place and let’s the victim calmly announce that it will not work.

Here is the pattern:

“When you [describe what the manipulator does that you find unpleasant or hurtful]
I feel [state the emotion you feel]. If you would stop doing [name behavior] and if you would instead do [describe alternate non-manipulative behavior] I would feel [state desired emotion].”
Closing statement: “I understand it’s your choice to [name manipulative behavior]. Now you know how I feel when you [name manipulative behavior].”
EXAMPLE:
“When you belittle my observations like that I feel hurt and degraded. If you would stop those belittling comments and acknowledge what I say without sarcasm I would feel respected and valued. I understand it’s your choice to speak condescendingly to me. Now you know how I feel when you’re do that. “
NOTE: this is to be said in a calm unemotional tone.

Tactic #5 Disable the Manipulation

Here you state the end result desired by the manipulator and the tactic they are using (guilt, yelling, pouting, anger, etc.) then conclude by stating that tactic will no longer work on you.
Example:
” I understand you want me to do this work for you but your anger and posturing aren’t going to be effective on me.”
“I understand you want me to stay home all the time with you but your sulking and pouting don’t work.”
“I get it that you want me head this committee but your criticizing and yelling at me has no real influence over me.”
It’ best to practice this along with Tactic #4.

Tactic #6 Setting Your Terms

This tactic involves

  1. Announcing your intention to make your own decisions about what you will or will not do in the relationship based on your own needs and values.
  2. Teach the manipulator how you want to be treated. (With respect, like an adult, spoken in a calm voice, etc.)
  3. Establish clear boundaries and limits. Give notice that manipulation tactics are no longer acceptable.
  4. Ask the manipulator to acknowledge that you have your own needs, values and opinions and while they may be different from theirs they are not wrong.
  5. Tell the manipulator that you hope that by setting limits it will improve the overall quality of the relationship.

Tactic #7 Compromising and Negotiation

If the manipulator is ready to accommodate you then you can begin compromise and negotiations as to how the relationship will continue.

Final Tactic: Extraction

If all else fails and the manipulation continues or even escalates the best response is sometimes ending the relationship completely. If a relationship contains physical abuse this should be your FIRST tactical option.

The previous information is available in much greater detail in the book “Who’s Pulling Your Strings?: How to Break the Cycle of Manipulation and Regain Control of Your Life” by Harriet B. Braiker

Click the Image to see it on amazon.com

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Author: dantalion on March 16, 2012
Category: Uncategorized

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