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:
- “I have something right now that needs my attention. Please hold. Thank you.”
- “I have another call. I’m going to put you on hold. Thanks.”
- “Oooops! Just a second. Hang on.”
- “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.”
Tactic #2 The Broken Record
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:
Tactic #5 Disable the Manipulation
Tactic #6 Setting Your Terms
This tactic involves
- 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.
- Teach the manipulator how you want to be treated. (With respect, like an adult, spoken in a calm voice, etc.)
- Establish clear boundaries and limits. Give notice that manipulation tactics are no longer acceptable.
- 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.
- 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