A: Something that is very important to you! Either some unfulfilled need for which you are willing to do anything to acquire – it can be love, appreciation, acceptance, belonging, safety, security… anything. Or some very painful feeling: guilt, shame or anxiety which you really want to avoid.
Q: What are the manipulator’s tricks?
Q; How can I disarm manipulators?
A: It might be tricky if your manipulator is your boss and your career depends on him/her. It’s not strategic simply to resist his/her requests. Your action also depends on what tactics they use.
First and foremost, you need to understand what’s going on.
Do you get constant critique just to motivate you to put more effort, work longer hours without overtime? – Then you don’t need worry about that: it’s not about your quality but it’s a tool in his/her hands to motivate you. You do what you think is right to the extent what you think is right. For example: if your work day lasts till 4 then you leave at 4 no matter how much assignment remained unfinished. You better not adjust your work hours to unrealistic expectations. Do your best; fulfill the requirements of your job description and that’s it! No more undertaking!
Do you have people who triangulate and make alliances against others? Be aware of this tactic and don’t bite onto it when you hear new gossip about your adjacent colleague. S/he is no better or worse than anyone else, only the manipulator wants to turn you against him/her. Don’t do that favor for the manipulator! You and the others all will have your turns. Look for symmetrical, cooperative connection with the ones who don’t use manipulative tactics.
Does one of your colleagues use his/her attractiveness to get what they want? – Don’t get involved.
Generally, not getting involved emotionally helps a lot. If you realize that they use those tools to make you feel a certain way, you can easier detach from the feeling. It’s not about your qualities, it’s about their wants.
Q: Does assertiveness helps against manipulators?
Here comes the assertiveness.
Be aware of your rights!
Be aware that you are the only judge of your behavior.
Be clear about your wants and needs!
Represent your wants and needs in a calm assertive way.
Then you can answer for the manipulation in a calm assertive way: (No matter what a good wife, friend or citizen would do). “I don’t go to the movie tonight.” “I stay until 4 in the office today.” “I don’t contribute to this charity right now.”
Q: What is manipulative criticism?
A: It proceeds gradually and gets better and better with practice, but at first it is really a difficult task. First of all: the rightful indignation stays forever, and it is completely normal as someone violates your rights. This feeling is even necessary because from there you know that your rights are violated.
But probably you ask how you can not react with intense emotions to the guilt-shame-anxiety producing process. Be aware of what’s going on. They induce that painful feeling not because you are truly that bad, dumb, guilty, thankless, and immoral or you truly lack something, but they are using this emotion to motivate you. One of the most important steps is to realize that it has nothing to do with your true nature. It is a tool in their hand; therefore you must not take it seriously or personally.
Learn to withstand the remaining inconvenient feelings. Yes, sometimes we have doubts that we could do more, or even less. Sometimes we are not sure who is wrong or who is right. Until you sort it out, learn to live with a little bit of guilt, shame or anxiety. Feeling is feeling. Not more and not less.