Characteristics of emotional manipulators:
They Leave You with Mixed Emotions
After a conversation, this person leaves you feeling crazy, mixed up, and confused. They will begin to make you question your own sanity. They are an expert in turning things around, justifying and redirecting the conversation back to you. They have the ability to lie so smoothly and twist your words that they rationalize their actions so you seem unreasonable.
They're Great at Making you Feel Guilty
Nothing you can say or do is ever right to them; you will always be wrong. They can make you feel guilty for speaking up or not speaking up or for being emotional or not emotional enough. No matter what you say, they will turn the situation around and make it seem as if you're the victim.
They'll smile to your face, but really don't have your best interest in mind. They will gladly talk about you behind your back and pass along mean gossip.
They Can Manipulate the Whole Group
If they are feeling happy, life is going great for them, they are the life of the party and everyone must smile and play along. They will not deal with any whiners. But when their life is a little tough, then they will moan and complain and will make sure that everyone feels just as miserable. You won't be allowed to share your happiness because that would just be uncalled for.
They are Self-Absorbed
Life plays by their rules and everything revolves around them. They are not accountable for their own actions and they will always set out for ways to please themselves.
They Aren't Always Negative
Emotional manipulators have many different sides to them. Like said above, they are self absorbed. They either might make you feel bad and guilty or they can use their manipulation abilities to a more 'positive advantage' and make you feel good (or make you think they are on your side.) Be cautious that you are not in this situation either. This person will say and do anything to make you believe they like you. However, if you mess up, or better yet, when they have what they want from you, they will throw you out like a used tissue. These kinds of relationships will always be unstable.
Now that you know what to look out for, here's how to respond graciously:
Trust Your Instincts
If you know you are right in any situation and you know you are being played by an emotional manipulator, do not give into their words or let them make you feel guilty. How you respond to them will depend on the type of person you are; you can either respond and call them out (graciously of course) or you can simply smile, nod your head and let them believe they got to you...but they have no effect on your life. How do you call them out graciously? Simply say, 'You don't have to lie, it would be nicer if you told me the truth, but I understand. Thank you for the input.'
Don't Worry About What They Say
When they talk about you behind your back, it only means that they respect your presence enough to know better than to treat you poorly to your face.
Don't Play the Game
Most of the time, emotional manipulators are playing this game between themselves. It can be quite entertaining watching them spend so much time and energy on you. People will always talk about you, especially when they envy you and the life you live. Let them. You affected their lives, they didn't affect yours. Emotional manipulators normally have a deeper motive and this is probably the reason why. The result they are expecting from you is to get irritated and fight back. Why give them that satisfaction? When you brush it all off and act like their words have absolute no effect on you (because they shouldn't) you have piece of mind. They will end up feeling silly for challenging someone who simply had no interest in being challenged at something that didn't benefit or help them evolve as an individual. Strong minds don't have time for petty games, or toxic individuals who have nothing better to do but hurt them, there is no room in our powerful, positive minds for that, only room for surrounding ourselves with strong and like-minded individuals. No emotional manipulators.
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