Isn’t it the worst when your own family members possess manipulative traits? It affects you in the most negative way possible. After all, they are the first people you approach to when facing any difficulties. The slightest of any problem related to your family affects every aspect of your life. It affects you mentally, and that is the worst that anyone can feel. It could be your husband, parents, children or even a mother-in-law.
The manipulative characteristic can result due to a vast number of reasons. The most common being anger, a strong feeling of resentment (for whatever reason) that forces them to not take a liking to you. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing something wrong; manipulative people do not seek any positive result from their behaviors. For them, they are always on the right side, and you on the other side.
Of all the people, dealing with a manipulative family member is always the worst and the hardest. It is too hard not to take all their criticism into your heart. It creates a sense of helplessness and emptiness when your own loved ones put you down and demean everything you do. The mental pressure that you go through is unlike anything.
It is, however, vital to know that there are effective ways in which you can deal with manipulative family members. If you just sit there and take everything they say about you, all your dreams and expectations will just crumble in front of your own eyes.
- Do not let their actions or criticisms define you –
If you keep listening to a manipulative family member and keep taking all that seriously, you are just putting yourself down for no reason. You must realize that manipulative people do not interest themselves with positive outcomes. For them, it’s all about speaking their mind out without having the slightest of concern for the other person. Would you go up to a small kid and start scolding him/her just because he/she missed to catch a ball? Obviously, anyone will have the decency to sit down with them and talk to them properly, maybe encourage them, even. If that kid takes that scolding seriously and shies away from ever playing with other people, they may never grow up to be sociable or even develop friends. That is the kind of negative effect that manipulative criticism can play in our life.
It is of no use taking everything that your manipulative family members say about you. Let them say what they want or think what they want; you must not let all that doubt yourself or your capabilities. If you do, there is no way you will ever be able to deal with them.
- Know when to respond
Keeping quiet and taking everything that they say only makes things worse. It gives them the power to think that you’re weak. If you somehow believe that your silence will change them someday and somehow they may understand how you feel, it’s not going to happen, EVER. That’s just not the way a manipulative person functions. For them, your silence is a weapon to inflict more pain. It becomes too hard not to take everything they say to your heart when all you do is listen to them. Our human nature works in such a way that if you keep letting someone to feed you with all the negative energy, it will eventually affect you in a bad way. It becomes too hard just to let go when people keep manipulating you, especially when it comes from your own family members. You need to let them know that it’s not okay to put you down all the time.
That doesn’t mean, you’ll argue back every single time. If you do that, it may result in further escalation of the situation. Most manipulative behaviors are a result of anger, so you don’t want to be fuelling that anger by talking back all the time. Pick a situation where you know that talking to them may produce a significant result. For example- when they are in a good mood or when you know that they need your support. You also need to keep in mind not to start talking in a combative fashion. Even if you are angry, try to compose yourself before striking up a conversation.
If you start a conversation in their manner (to start up a fight), you will never get any result. It will only worsen your situation. Remember to keep calm and composed while letting them know how you feel is most vital.
- Understand how they function
The easiest way to deal with a manipulative family member is to understand why or what makes them behave the way they do. Even manipulative people have some certain boundaries, it not like they come to your room and complain about your carpet as well. There are certain things that push their button and, hence, enable them to behave the way they do. Understanding what those things are and preventing it from the first place is the most logical solution.
You should have clear boundaries that decide if their manipulation affects you. For example – if your dad or mom starts yelling at you for being home late or using an excess smartphone, that can result in a productive result. You can easily solve that by limiting your night-outs with your friends, and hence avoid irrational rage from them when you get home.
It goes without saying that manipulative people aren’t really known for their rational reasoning. So you may have to compromise some amount of your behaviors to avoid all that tiring lectures. But set clear limitations, you cannot go on compromising every aspect of your life just to avoid unnecessary conversations. Once they cross that limit, let them know that it’s not Okay, but up to a certain point, you have to understand where all that manipulation is coming from. They may be coming due to their protective nature about you but just coming out in a wrong way. Respect their feelings, if their manipulation is a result of something that they intend to make things better. They may just be expressing it the wrong way without realizing it.