This new article will show you everything you need to know about how to stop being manipulative.
Receiving feedback that you’re manipulative can be emotionally distressing, but it’s a behavior that can be changed. If you were exposed to manipulation during your childhood, you may have learned this behavior as a way to fulfill your needs.
However, using manipulation can ultimately damage your relationships, therefore it’s crucial to acknowledge manipulative tendencies and work towards replacing them with healthier communication techniques to cultivate positive relationships.
How To Stop Being Manipulative:
1. Pay attention to whether you use guilt or shame as a tactic to get what you want from someone else.
This may involve behaviors such as crying, whining, or sulking. While these tactics may be effective in the short term, they are not healthy ways to interact with others.
Continued use of these manipulative behaviors can lead to the breakdown of relationships over time. It’s important to recognize that any attempt to control another person’s emotions is a form of manipulation.
This can manifest in statements like “If you truly cared about me, you would stay home with me tonight,” “My friends think you treat me poorly,” or “I resent working with you because I always end up doing more than my share.” These statements are aimed at pressuring the other person to do what you want.
2. Be aware of dishonesty and distorting the truth as a manipulative tactic.
This can involve changing the meaning of something you said or deliberately misinterpreting what someone else said. You might also withhold information in an effort to gain an advantage. For instance, you might have told someone, “I’m staying in tonight,” but later claim that you wanted to hang out at home together.
Another example could be when your coworker tells you that their part of a shared project will be delayed because of a client’s rescheduled meeting, and you manipulate your boss by saying, “I finished my part three days ago, but I’m constantly chasing after my coworker to get the report done. I might have to complete it myself.” This behavior is a form of manipulation that can damage relationships and create mistrust.
3. Pay attention to whether you are withholding something to manipulate someone into giving you what you want.
This could be something they desire, like sex, money, help, or affection, or it could involve withdrawing from them or refusing to communicate with them. While this may give you temporary control over the situation, it will ultimately drive people away from you.
For instance, you may say, “I won’t talk to you until you apologize,” or “I won’t help with the household chores until you admit your mistake.” These statements are aimed at pressuring the other person to meet your demands. However, this form of manipulation can be damaging to relationships and lead to a lack of trust.
4. Reflect on whether you tend to blame others for things you have done.
Accepting responsibility for your actions and emotions can be challenging, and as a result, you may reinterpret situations to shift the blame onto others. This can also involve spreading rumors or gossip to gain support for your perspective.
For example, if you missed a doctor’s appointment because you overslept, rather than taking responsibility for your mistake, you might blame your partner for staying up too late or not waking you up. If they accept the blame, you can avoid feeling guilty for your actions.
However, this behavior can harm relationships and prevent personal growth. It’s important to acknowledge and take accountability for your own actions and feelings.
5. Be aware if you tend to be vague about your desires and needs.
This involves dropping hints or making suggestions rather than directly communicating what you want. This approach to getting what you want can be unhealthy and may lead to conflicts.
For example, instead of telling your friend directly that you want to go see a movie with them, you might say something like, “I don’t think I have any plans on Saturday night.” In another scenario, if you’re upset that your coworkers went out to lunch without you, a constructive way to address it would be to talk to them directly and express your interest in joining them next time.
However, you might choose to manipulate the situation by gossiping about the person who organized the lunch or attempting to get them into trouble for something unrelated. This behavior can damage relationships and create a lack of trust.
6. Be aware of whether you tend to create conflict between people for your own benefit.
This manipulative behavior involves spreading gossip (1) and causing a rift between others so that they each turn to you for support and friendship. However, this is an unhealthy way to gain attention and can cause harm to those around you.
While this approach may work in the short term, people will eventually catch on, and you may lose your friends. It’s better to be truthful and honest with people about your intentions.
For instance, you might try to become the favorite child by pretending to be perfect while telling your parents negative things about your siblings. Similarly, you might manipulate your coworkers into excluding a colleague you don’t like by spreading rumors about them, even though you’re the one who is actually gossiping.
7. When you catch yourself using manipulative tactics, it’s important to stop yourself immediately.
Take a moment to step back and reflect on your behavior. Then, have an honest conversation with the other person about the situation and how you’re feeling. It’s okay to take some time to process your emotions before doing so. Changing your behavior can be difficult, so it’s best to take things one step at a time.
It’s worth noting that people often engage in manipulative behavior without realizing it. These behaviors may stem from learned patterns from past relationships or family dynamics.
If you’re in the middle of a conversation when you realize you’re being manipulative, you can simply excuse yourself and take some time to think things through. You don’t necessarily need to explain yourself in the moment.
8. Take the time to understand the other person’s point of view in a situation.
Your tendency to manipulate others may be due to your narrow perspective. By empathizing with others’ feelings, you can start to change these behaviors.
Allow the other person to express their thoughts and feelings without interruption. Then, look for a solution that benefits both of you. For example, let’s say you want to watch a movie with your friend, but they prefer going for a walk.
Instead of coercing them into your idea, try to understand their perspective. Then, come up with a solution that works for both of you, such as watching the movie later or choosing an activity that you both enjoy. If you cannot work it out together, it’s important to take responsibility for your manipulative behavior and work on it yourself.
9. Understand that it’s not always possible to have things go your way.
While it may feel good to get what you want, it’s not fair to always have your needs met at the expense of others. It’s important to be willing to compromise so that everyone can benefit.
Of course, if something is particularly important to you, it’s okay to express your desires. For instance, let’s say you really want a promotion that goes to a colleague, but it’s not healthy to spread rumors and discredit that person to get what you want.
It may seem like a shortcut to get ahead, but in the long run, it can harm both your reputation and career prospects. Furthermore, it can hurt the other person.
Similarly, suppose you have the night off on Wednesday and want to go out, but your partner prefers to stay in. Instead of making them feel guilty for not agreeing with you, you could compromise by ordering takeout and watching a movie together.
10. It’s important to acknowledge that your emotions and needs are your own responsibility.
Only you can control your actions and reactions. By reflecting on why you feel a certain way, you can figure out what you need to feel better.
While it may be difficult at first, taking responsibility for your own thoughts and actions can be empowering. For instance, if you’re feeling lonely and want your friend to come over, resist the urge to manipulate them with guilt by saying something like, “I guess you don’t care about me after all.” Instead, try doing something enjoyable on your own, such as watching your favorite movie or going shopping.
11. If you’re struggling to change your manipulative behavior, seeking help from a counselor or therapist is a good idea.
It can be challenging to change long-standing patterns, and a professional can guide you through the process. A therapist can assist you in identifying the specific behaviors that need to change, as well as the underlying thoughts and emotions that fuel them.
They can teach you new, healthier behaviors to adopt instead. There are many online options available for finding a therapist or counselor (2).
12. In order to stop manipulative behavior, it’s crucial to be straightforward about your desires rather than manipulating others.
Since nobody can read your mind, only you know what you want. Make it clear to your partner, family, friends, and colleagues exactly what you need from them.
Even if they refuse, you may discuss how you feel and work together to find a compromise. This is the most essential step in putting an end to manipulative behavior.
For instance, you could say something like, “I’d like it if you called me more frequently,” “I think we should reconsider how we split our workload,” or “It bothers me when I’m not invited to girls’ night.” This way, the person is aware of your desires. While they may not be able to give you exactly what you want, it’s a starting point for working together towards a healthier compromise.
13. When someone says “no” to something you want, respect their answer without making them feel guilty.
You might ask someone for a favor or to make plans, but they might not be able to say “yes.” Instead of trying to guilt or pressure them, accept their answer and move on.
For instance, let’s say you ask your friend to lend you money, but they decline. Instead of trying to make them feel guilty or blaming them, you can thank them for considering it and seek other solutions to your financial problems.
Similarly, if your partner says they can’t go to an event with you, don’t say something like, “Fine, I guess I’ll just go alone like always.” Respect their answer and find another way to enjoy your time.
14. Respect the boundaries of others and don’t try to change them.
Manipulative people often disregard the personal space and life decisions of others. Everyone has their own needs and preferences, so it’s important to accept them as they are. If someone needs a break, give them space and don’t keep calling them.
When it comes to relationships, it’s important to communicate openly and seek a compromise. Avoid trying to manipulate your partner into becoming the person you want them to be.
For example, if you don’t like the way your partner dresses, don’t make hurtful comments like “you look homeless”. Instead, talk to them respectfully and let them be who they want to be.
15. In order to avoid being manipulative, it is important to acknowledge and reciprocate the kindness shown by others.
Rather than taking advantage of people, show your appreciation and give back when appropriate. For instance, when someone gives you a gift, express your gratitude with a heartfelt “thank you” and consider returning the gesture at a later time. Similarly, if someone covers your shift at work, offer to cover for them when they need time off in the future.
16. Performing kind acts or giving gifts to others without any expectation of receiving anything in return is important to avoid being manipulative.
It’s natural to hope that others will reciprocate our kindness, but expecting them to do so can be manipulative. It’s essential to have a “no-strings-attached” policy when doing kind things for others.
For instance, if you buy coffee for a coworker, don’t expect them to buy you one in return. Similarly, if you offer to babysit someone’s children, don’t expect them to pay you or offer you a gift in return, unless it was discussed beforehand.
To stop being manipulative, you need to take responsibility for your own feelings and needs, be direct about what you want instead of manipulating others, accept “no” for an answer without guilting someone, respect the boundaries of others, reciprocate when someone does something nice for you, and do nice things without expecting anything in return.
Additionally, if you’re having trouble changing your manipulative behavior, working with a counselor or therapist can be helpful. By adopting these habits, you can break free from manipulative behaviors and establish healthier relationships with others.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to stop being. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.