America’s relationship expert advises: how to recognize a manipulator and how to reject them

Friendship is like a social exchange. At least according to Suzanne Degges-White, professor at Northern Illinois University. According to her, common interests, values, beliefs and opinions can become indicators of the attractiveness of a relational investment. We slowly begin to relate to another person only when we share some form of belonging with them. The relationship deepens as we bring to the other an ever deeper knowledge that we have of ourselves.

Manipulators ask us for things that go far beyond the emotional and material help they give us.

There are also “friends” who can encourage us to do what we have never meant to tell anyone in our life. We talk to each other and suddenly discover in horror that we are pouring out our heart beyond the normal limits set by us and that it is already difficult to go back. Degges-White mentions other similar examples of such “friendship” on Psychologytoday.

Some friends ask about the spiciness of our lives, and for some mysterious reason we are unable to dismiss them. Others ask us for things that go far beyond the emotional and material help they give us. And again, we can’t say no. Why? Because we are dealing with a manipulator who uses us. How do you defend yourself against such behavior? And how do you recognize them?

Professional handling

The manipulators are true experts in their field. They persuade you to give them more than they give, so ingeniously that you think it’s so fair. “At first, they may seem like good friends who will encourage you to open up, share your concerns with them, and expose your weaknesses,” says Degges-White.

Because they know your weaknesses, which you told them at the start of the budding relationship, they can work with them and play on emotions.

Unfortunately, it’s not the friends who support you when you’re down, but those who only need you when you’re up. Otherwise, they are not interested in you. Only at first, when they need to evoke a semblance of trust and earn your devotion so they can tighten a manipulative loop around you.

Nature of readers

These “manipulative friends” know exactly what they need and how to please themselves. But at the expense of others. Like in business – they borrow money from someone, but they don’t have to give it back. They know many ways to coerce your help, which can upset, confuse, or upset you. They are able to immediately provide doomsday scenarios predicting what will happen if you refuse to take them to the airport, pay for dinner, lend them your favorite shirt, or complete a project instead that they couldn’t. continue because of other professional responsibilities.

Because they know your weaknesses, which you told them at the start of the budding relationship, they can work with them and play on emotions. “The manipulators are the masters of human nature and can create an appearance in which you think meeting their needs makes you feel good,” says Degges-White.

How to reject them?

For a problem to begin to be solved, it must first be recognized. But how do you know someone is manipulating you? Degges-White provides several guidelines. You must be careful when it seems to you that a friend does not confide in you as much as you do in him. When you can’t help but feel like you need to have time whenever a friend needs help, but when it’s the other way around, they have something else to do as a freak at work. When you realize that his needs take precedence over yours. When other friends start entering your relationship, you have to open your eyes and see the imbalance between you.

According to Degges-White, there is only one reliable way: learn to say “no”. And stand behind.

But when you realize it, what happens all of a sudden? Ending a manipulative relationship is much harder than slipping into it. Because it happened without knowing it, you didn’t even notice it. But now you want to do it and you have to stand up to someone your life has revolved around so far. So how do you do it? According to Degges-White, there is only one reliable way: learn to say “no”. And stand behind.

“No” gives freedom

“It’s okay to say ‘no’ and sometimes it’s important for your comfort,” says Degges-White. If you can’t get over your mouth, practice in front of the mirror. “No, I’m not here to help you forever.” This is often the phrase you need to free yourself from the binding influence of the manipulator. Whether he is a friend, a partner or a superior.

“Create boundaries that you can enforce yourself,” advises Degges-White. “Think if a real friend would ask you. Use your own answer as a guide to how far you should go.” First, according to the professor, it’s important to realize that a healthy friendship, and indeed everything type of relationship, involves both giving and receiving. And that even within that there are limits that must never be crossed. At some point, of course, every friendship is out of balance – when the one of the friends is really in a difficult life situation. But a healthy relationship is supportive for everyone involved. And true friends won’t let you do everything for you.

photo: Shutterstock, source: PsychologyToday

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