Out-Manipulating the Manipulator


I have been trying to change my life. I thought I would pass along some of the things I mentally keep within me- my bag of tricks if you will- to lessen the impact of those who are less than kind in my life.

How To Out-Manipulate Manipulators

1. Ignore the Manipulator’s Feelings
This definitely goes against most of our natures. When we see someone upset (and God forbid if we feel we have a hand in upsetting someone), we immediately want to make things better. But with manipulators, you can NOT do this. Manipulators are used to everyone responding to their rage, tears, sense of injustice, and constant victimization.

Stop it. Stop worrying about how they feel. When you care about their feelings, you end up on their hook. If you need to interact with a manipulator, say your peace and then MOVE ON. You don’t need to fix anything for them and you don’t need to care about how they feel.

2. Decrease Your Time and Contact with the Manipulator
This seems ridiculously obvious, but it is even more important than you think. Manipulators are AWESOME at taking up one’s time. Manipulators can not do anything in a simple manner. A trip to the doctor for a minor sinus infection by these types can end up taking up hours of YOUR day.

So, you must limit your time with a manipulator, because they already take up such a disproportionate amount of your time and mental space. By limiting contact (substantially) you will most likely be simply allotting the manipulator a typical amount of space in your life, rather than the all-consuming position they are used to holding.

3. Surprise the Manipulator

Manipulators count on your predictability. They have finely honed instincts in regards to human responses and weaknesses. Thus, surprise your manipulator. If you normally confront, for a day, decide to ignore. If you normally ignore, get in his or her face for a change.

Manipulators are so used to getting their way, they are horrible at adaptation. Put the burden of responding on them and move on with your day.

4. “Participate” in the Lies
All manipulators lie. It’s what they do. And they expect you to believe their lies. So next time you are lied to, go ahead, play the game and “believe” the lie.

If your spouse comes home with lipstick on his shirt, and insists it got there because a new risk management strategy at work is to teach hand-to-hand combat to employees and he happened to be paired with a woman- go with it.

To point out how ridiculous their convoluted lies are is often a waste of time. So, instead, with all the sincerity you can muster, play along. Tell your spouse you can’t wait until the next time you see his work colleagues, because you would just love to learn more about this workplace hand-to-hand combat risk management technique. You can even suggest that you would like to have something similar instituted at your place of employment.

Will such a tactic anger the manipulator? Of course. But, it’s their problem, not yours. If they are going to treat you with such little respect as to lie to you, they deserve your contempt anyway. So do whatever keeps your sanity intact.

**I understand abuse and trauma by manipulators extends across a wide-range of behaviors and threats. I am not in a situation in which I feel physically threatened, thus, this bag of tricks work for me. I completely understand this is not everyone’s situation.


28 thoughts on “Out-Manipulating the Manipulator

    • Manipulation is bad enough. When it is your own mother, it is a hundred times worse. I don’t know about your experiences, but there are several great books about narcissistic mothers or mothers who are manipulators. I can suggest some if you like.

      • Thanks. I’ve been browsing different websites but book suggestions would be great! My mother is good…she’s very good and for the longest time I internalized everything when it came to her. I am slowly but surely working my way towards not doing that anymore but it is a daily struggle and especially due to the current living situation. I welcome any insight on books etc. you can provide.

      • I think we all internalize everything in regards to our mothers:) We keep a lot hidden. Books that I have found helpful have been Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman and Toxic Parents by Susan Forward. I hope these help.

  1. this is very wise. from my own experience I can confirm the attitude towards thier lies – if you have enough nerve, iut really is the best to go with it

  2. Its so good to look at this! Manipulation is often a survival skill learned in childhood by children who were not loved in a healthy way or never felt accepted and cherished. They are often the children of alcoholics or narcissists. Its easy to point a finger and say “bad” but sometimes we have to look deeper. That’s where we find the wounds and the need for healing. A real eye opener for me was reading The Survivor Personality by Al Seibert. It takes the blame right out of it. Namaste.

    • Thank you for this book recommendation.I am going to check it out today. And the reminder that our wounds appear in a variety of ways- compassion with ourselves and others is always the best course.

    • Be sure to read what Dr. George Simon has to say about manipulators and the danger of believing they are all wounded. This concept is a carry over from traditional psychology and an erroneous one which has been debunked. I mention it only because of the futile and counter productive results of this long held error that so easily enabled further suffering in my own and other’s lives. (Namaste! πŸ’›)

      • You are absolutely right. What might have caused their personality disorder is open to speculation, but bullies hurt other people here and now and they should be stopped. Anyways, we can’t β€˜fix’ them. Enough good people have devoted a lifetime to trying and failed.

        I also agree that Dr. Simon does a good job of addressing common misperceptions that enable abusers:

      • Please feel free to use any material you wish on my site! My wish, which I believe you share, is to spread knowledge and awareness of personality disorder issues, with the ultimate goal of less abuse, less suffering, and a better world for people to live in.

    • Dear Val, this is the propaganda narcissists try to brainwash us with. Theirs is a genetic abnormality of the mind, a defective gene arrests the development of their their limbic system, the ones dealing with empathy, hence they lack it. They were never normal, this is what they don’t want us to know. In’Without Conscience’ by Robert Hare it is revealed that once born a psychopath they stay psychopaths, the only difference nurture makes is what weapons they are going to choose to hurt people: overt violence, if they come from a broken family; narcissistic psychopaths if they come from an affluent family and they benefited from education. Careful everyone where you get your info from, some ‘experts’ in narcissism are diagnosed& undiagnosed psychopaths write books; oh and they have degrees in psychology, too, so you …can trust them NOT. On the genes as cause for NPD do read ‘In the blood…’ by scientist Steve Jones.

      • Thanks Laetitia for your insights. Regardless of the cause or reason for manifestation,narcicssism takes a tolls on all of us. And I would like to think that the awareness and insights so many of us are gaining in our confrontation of this energy is helping turn the tide against the behaviors.

  3. Everybody manipulates to a certain degree, but manipulators are responsible for their actions and irrespective of our childhood as adults each one of us is responsible for our actions and their consequences. Yes manipulators may have trauma we all have trauma each and every one of us. Hope you find some resolution. x

  4. One of the best lists of this sort of ever seen. Great job. I might add:

    Respond on your terms and time table

    Manipulators try to force you to respond emotionally, without thinking. They want you on their level so they can manipulate you. Resist the urge to respond. Walk away. Put yourself in an emotionally stable place. Give yourself time to think through your response. In fact, take all the time you need. Use email or other less personal ways to respond. Respond logically. Firmly. Be brief and direct.

    • HI, I really needed to read this today. Thank you!!! This is such an excellent point. Manipulators always expect you to respond on their schedule and time table. It seems silly to say- but this comment for you will be used to transform my interactions.

  5. Reblogged this on Marilyn Munrow and commented:
    I love this, obviously you have not met my stalker. hahahahaha She is pathetic and weird. Like she throws her toys out of her stroller sometimes. Very nasty evil person. SO I CHOOSE TO IGNORE HER.

  6. I agree that number ONE is huge! THAT was my problem with my abuser! So funny, because this really fits. My abuser re-connected with me via facebook a fewyears ago and he didn’t really change at all. THIS was VERY helpful! Thank you! You’d think I’d be the one writing HOW TOs now cuz I have a MASTERS in allowing manipulators to manipulate me! GREAT read!

      • Yeah… I read a quote that is so good…
        Don’t let an old flame burn you twice!
        Sorry I just saw this…. you are a loyal reader and I wandered back through your old posts and found this!
        Thank you for you post and for reading mine!

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