Method Two of Three:
Examining Your Communication
Notice if you are made to feel inadequate or judged. A common technique is to pick on you and ridicule you to make you feel inadequate. No matter what you do, this person can always find something wrong. Nothing you do will be good enough. Instead of offering any helpful suggestions or constructive criticism, the person only points out the negative things about you.
This can also be accomplished through sarcasm or jokes. A manipulator may make jokes about your clothing, the car you drive, where you work, your family, your appearance, or anything. Although the comments may be disguised as humour, the humour is used to take jabs at you. You are the butt of the jokes. And it is used to make you feel poorly about yourself.
Notice if you are getting the silent treatment. A manipulator uses silence to gain control. They may ignore phone calls, text messages, and emails for an unreasonable amount of time. This is done to make you feel uncertainty or to punish you because you have “done something wrong”. The “silent treatment” is different than just taking some time to cool off and then re-connect; it is used as a way to try to make the other person feel powerless.
The silent treatment may be provoked by your actions, but maybe unprovoked. If a manipulative person wants to make the other person feel insecure, randomly cutting all communication works well.
If you ask the person the reason for the silence, they may deny that anything is wrong or tell you that you are being paranoid or unreasonable.
Recognize a guilt trip. A guilt trip seeks to make you feel responsible for the manipulator’s behaviour. It also puts you in control of the other person’s emotions: happiness, failure, or success, anger, and the like. You will end up feeling obligated to carry out things for his sake even if it is unreasonable.
Guilt trips are usually prefaced with statements like, “If you were more understanding, you’d…” or “If you really love me you’d…” or, “I did this for you, why won’t you do this for me?” (For something you did not ask for).
If you find yourself agreeing to things that you normally would not or things that make you uncomfortable, you may be a victim of manipulation.
Notice if you are always apologizing. A manipulator can flip a situation to make it feel like you have done something wrong. This can be done by blaming you for something that you did not do or making you feel responsible for a situation. For example, if you said that you and the person were going to meet at 1:00 pm, but you show up two hours late. You confront the person, and they respond with “You’re right. I never do anything right. I don’t know why you still talk to me. I don’t deserve to have you in my life.” The person has now made you feel sympathy for them and changed the nature of the conversation.
A manipulator will also misinterpret anything you have said in the worst possible way which may make you apologize for what you have said.
Be aware of the person is always comparing you to other people. In an effort to get you to do something, a person may tell you that you do not measure up to other people. They may also tell you that you will look dumb if you do not do it. This is done to make you feel guilty and to pressure you into doing what they have asked you to do.
“Anyone else would __,” or, “If I asked Mary, she would do it,” or, “Everyone else thinks this is okay except you,” are all ways to get you to do something by comparison.