Basic Principles

Mini Online Training Part 1

How does it apply to me?

1/ Who are the persons in my life who – at least occasionally – use manipulative communication with me?

2/ What feelings do I have when suspected manipulation happens?

3/ How have I reacted to this communication until now?

4/ What do I need to change based on “Basic Principles”?

5/ My takeaway form this chapter.


Welcome to: “From Strings To Wings” mini online training.  I’m happy to have you here! This is Zita Fekete’s training.

The goal of this training is to help you to reveal and override emotional manipulation. In order to handle manipulative situations, you need to understand what is happening on the surface and what is the hidden goal of the manipulation is.

Going through the chapters, you will have enough information to understand the process and enough practical advice in order to change your response to the manipulative attempts.

– You cannot change the manipulator. You need to change your response.

The first 4 chapters are about what you need to know about emotional manipulation

The last 6 chapters give you tools for what to do with it.

In this first chapter I’d like to talk about the basic principles.


Emotional Manipulation is when someone coerces you to do something you don’t want to by inducing guilt, shame, or anxiety.

This is a double base communication: on the surface it might seem to be loving and caring, but its main goal is to motivate you to do something…

…that is not in your best interest through damaging, hurtful feelings.

The Process

The manipulator induces guilt, shame, or anxiety

with labels, put downs, critique, judgment, threats, facial expression, body language or depicting a scenario, while referring to arbitrary rules to show you how you can avoid feeling that way. In other words, they coerce you to behave a certain way.

Be aware of “should”s! These are almost always about arbitrary rules.

For example:

“A good girl or boy keeps his or her room tidy.”

There is an implied shaming in it: You are not good girl or boy if your room is not tidy.

There is an implied pressuring in it: Clean your room if you want to be a “good girl” or “good boy”.

Note: there is no consensus about who is the “good girl or boy”, expectations are different from family to family.

Contrarily, what the manipulator assumes, it is negotiable.

However, It’s up to you to decide whether or not tidiness is a value for you.

Typically manipulative communication avoids responsibility.

Instead of asking straightforward: “I want you to” or “Please!”

They use arbitrary rules that deflect responsibility for the content of the request.

They use hints or examples which prevent taking responsibility for asking.

There are 2 false assumptions in this manipulative force:

1:   That there is only one way of doing things.

2:   That they can tell you what is right or wrong.

In Long Term Relationships

The beginning is thrilling, euphoric, you feel like all of your needs are fulfilled.

The “Promise of Gain” is in the air.

Then there is a transition period when you begin to feel judged, criticized, rejected.

The manipulator begins to tell you how to behave, what to wear, who to talk to, who to be friends with.

The manipulator makes you believe something is wrong with you. You have to be fixed.

 The “Promise of Gain turns to “Threat of Loss”.

In the long run you have to behave in a certain way to avoid that loss.

They maintain the “False Hope” that if you do what they want you to, the thrill of the beginning of the relationship would return.

– It will not.

This is a self-reinforcing process

Instinctively we all avoid painful and damaging feelings like guilt, shame, or anxiety.

Manipulators use this avoidance against us and tie it to their desired outcome:

“If you want to avoid feeling guilty ashamed or anxious, do this!”

When you do, – as we all do-  it reinforces the process; this is the way he or she can get what he or she wants.

Next time they need something, they do the same:

Induce guilt, shame, or  anxiety until you comply.

There is one way to stop manipulation:

Stop complying with it!

Because it is a double base communication, there is an

important distinction: dismiss the evoked feeling but

Resist at the core!

– Do what YOU want to do, regardless what your manipulator wants you to do.

Dismiss the invoked feelings of guilt,



The Silent Contract

If you want to discuss the feeling that you are being controlled or manipulated

You are threatened to stop,

you are ignored,

you are derailed.

They prohibit talking about the power and control imbalance in the relationship.

Manipulation takes its toll.

Because of its double base nature you might be confused.

Because it’s all about your manipulator’s needs and not yours, you might feel frustrated.

Because of imposed feelings and controlled behavior you might feel like you have lost control of your own feelings and behavior.

Manipulation induces a high stress level.

Because of the labels, critique, and put downs, your Self-Esteem might be low.

Because of the nature of the manipulation: the more you comply the more your manipulator applies this strategy: you might feel helpless.

Because you tried everything you could without success, you might feel hopeless.

You might feel entrapped because your best effort ends up in the worst outcome.

You might doubt yourself, because you suffer, you deserve better but you cannot get it. Moreover, your manipulator states that something is not OK with you.

You might see through the veil and doubt your manipulator’s motives.

You might feel indignation and you are right: your rights, interest and feelings are not considered.

The purpose of emotional manipulation is selfish

It is to self serve

and to ensure control.

It serves the manipulator: financially, emotionally, in work load sharing or in all of them.

It’s all about them.

Not about you!

Basic Principles

You cannot out-manipulate the master.

Listen to what they do, not what they say.

Don’t ask why.

They deny and lie

You cannot change manipulators by pointing out their shortcomings.

There is no need to tell them they’re not fair, kind or loving.

They don’t care.

They have a different value system than you.

Don’t count on their empathy.

They have no empathy, or do not care.

The only way to change is to change your reaction. That will change the dynamic of the relationship.

Stop rewarding manipulative tactics.

Put no more energy into making them aware of your feelings or their motives.

It empowers them.

Raise your own awareness.

All in All

Emotional Manipulation is a deceitful communication technique that takes unfair advantages.

You might have to use a different communication strategy than with cooperative people.

Coming next

The Manipulator’s Characteristics