Many times why I say or do something is more important than what I say or do. For example, if I choose to let someone know that their words bothered me, I need to think of the reason why I am going to communicate this need.
Communication works for those who work at it.John Powell
If, however, we are saying this to our friend to try and change or control him/her, then the focus is on them and we are occupied with their reaction. Expecting a particular result can become manipulative or controlling of our friend and should be avoided.
We need to remember the only person we can change is ourselves. By asking ourselves, “Why?” we can monitor our reasons and avoid trying to manipulate others.
It is one thing to be aware of our own actions, but what if we feel as if someone else is trying to manipulate us? It is important to recognize the signs of manipulation and know what we can do to control it in our relationships.
Communication – the human connection–is the key to personal and career success.Paul J. Meyer
A person may be trying to manipulate you if that person…
- Uses exaggeration
- Their actions don’t match their words
- Tries to make you feel guilty
- Acts like a martyr
- Gives the silent treatment
- Is critical and disapproving
- Uses threats or ultimatums
What can you do to prevent being manipulated (or manipulating others):
- Bring conversation back to the facts, or ask for more information
- State the feelings you have in clear/concise language.
- Stop yourself if you think your words were going to be manipulative. Use alternate words.
- Try and not overreact, breathe and speak softly and calmly
- Set boundaries that you are comfortable with
These feelings of manipulation by our loved ones can damage your self-esteem, affect your other relationships, and even affect how you parent your children. It is important to learn how to set healthy boundaries and learn how to communicate positively and effectively. It is also important to learn how to stand up for ourselves.
“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.”Henry Winkler
Avoiding certain people entirely can be difficult. Whether they are family, friends, or co-workers, many times avoidance is not an option. We need to learn to effectively communicate our needs in order to have healthy relationships with all types of people.