Emotional manipulation occurs when someone uses fear, obligation, guilt, or threats to make you act or feel a certain way that is to his/her own benefit. When you recognize that someone is using emotional manipulation on you, you have to decide how to respond to it. Your goal is not to let the emotional manipulator manipulate you. In other words, you have to be strong enough not to give in to it.
Here are some things you can do that will help you resist the manipulation:
- Stop trying to change emotional manipulators. They are highly resistant to change.
- Know your weaknesses and how you are usually pressured to give in.
- Don’t use emotional arguments. Stick to the facts instead.
- Don’t expect to win arguments or convince the person you are right and he/she is wrong.
- Don’t try to defend yourself. It won’t work.
- Stop the manipulative interactions as quickly as you can, so you won’t get worn down and give in. Use short responses, end the conversation, or leave.
- Know your boundaries and stick to them.
- Limit the time you spend together, if you have that option.
- Don’t take the threats personally. Detach from them by recognizing that the emotional manipulator is using pressure tactics to get you to give in.
- Work on getting stronger by knowing what you believe and who you are.
- Share the interaction with someone else to get validation that the person is being emotionally manipulative.
- If it is possible without causing the situation to escalate, let the manipulator know that what was said was outrageous and unacceptable.
Relationship Devotional Prayer - God, help me recognize and respond to emotional manipulation in a way that enables me to resist the manipulation.
Relationship Devotional Challenge - Make a plan for how you will resist emotional manipulation when it happens.
Scripture Meditation - Matthew 10:16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (NIV).
1 Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith” (NIV).