Dealing with Manipulative People

There are many of us who asked to be loved by a parent who either refused to love us, or was incapable of loving us. This can carry over into adulthood as a disorder called codependence. People who have codependent tendencies also have People Pleaser Syndrome.

The traits of People Pleaser Syndrome include:  difficulty saying no, a phobia of upsetting people and being around negative emotions, and a tendency to do what others want even if it causes you discomfort or even harm.

This need for approval and love was not gratified as a child, and there is still a longing for approval from others. There can be a confusion between people loving you and people approving of you.

People can approve of your actions because your actions meet their own agenda. This does not necessarily mean that they love you, or even like you.

There can be a tendency to waste energy attempting to attain approval from the wrong people.

There are people who will take advantage of people pleasers because they notice that you need approval. They will manipulate you be using your emotional needs against you.

They also realize that you are kind and want to make people happy.

This good nature is also something that manipulative people will notice and take advantage of.

So, what can be done for people who still want to fill their love tank from childhood? Are there any safe places for the unloved children when they become adults. ( note I got the term Love Tank from the book called the Five Love Languages which I recommend)

There are safe people and safe situations, but people pleasers often have trouble identifying who is taking advantage of them and who is not.

One of the main things that was broken or not fully formed during childhood is the ability to create personal boundaries.

You must have reasonable boundaries for yourself, and be unwilling to violate those boundaries just to attain approval or affection. People that truly care about you will not constantly cross your boundaries.

When another adult is constantly taking too much and asking unreasonable things from you, then you need to take a look at the overall relationship.

When people insist on crossing your reasonable boundaries, then it is time to tell them “No” …even if they act upset or disappointed with you. Sometimes people will be upset with when you tell them “No”. This is okay. 

People will be upset with you when you refuse to allow them to have their way. If they are used to being able to manipulate you by provoking an emotional response, then they will try to resist your new stand about your boundaries. That is okay.

It is okay for other people to feel upset when you refuse to allow them to take advantage of you.

Everyone does not need to have their way all the time. No one needs to have their way all the time. They are just used to   ignoring your feelings.

If someone is always demanding their way, in spite of you telling them how you feel , then experiment with holding your ground with them.

You do not have to give them reasons that they will just reject and minimize. You can give them a simple form of No, such as “No I am not able to help you with that this time,” 

If there are no reasons for them to counter and guilt you about then they have no material to work with. You want to stay away from a debate with them because they are used to finding your buttons and knowing how to guilt an shame you. Just do not allow it.

You will never get your love and approval needs met from people that only care about their own agenda.

Not only that, the people that would be caring to you may be getting ignored by you because your energy is being taken up by manipulative people.

The squeaky wheels tend to get the oil. They drain all of your time and energy, just because they are demanding.

In the mean time, there may be other people in your life that are feeling starved of your love and attention. You may not mean to do this, but it happens to people pleasers sometimes.

Pay attention to the ones that respect your boundaries and the people who are loving towards you. Do not confuse someone telling you that they care about you, with people that actually care about you. Love is not in the words.

There are manipulative people that will enter into relationships with codependent people. When this happens the narcissistic person might tell you that they are looking out for your own good. Just because someone says that they are controlling you for your own good does not make this true.

People that respect you and your boundaries will allow you to make your own choices. They may guide you to be able to think about what you want, but they will not try to force their agenda onto you. They will not project their beliefs and force them onto you.

If someone has to announce to you or to others that they are good to you, then that should make you wonder.

Some abusers use this tactic to confuse their victim. They will tell you that they are good to you and even tell others how good they are to you.

Look at how people treat you, not how they say they treat you.

See if the relationship is really balanced. If you are always doing things for them and they complain about having to do one thing for you, then you may want to evaluate how fair the relationship is to you.

The need to be approved of and loved is strong with adult children of alcoholics and other abusive parents. But that need cannot be met by abusive people.

Once you practice drawing simple basic boundaries, then you will be able to attract people that respect those boundaries. Notice what boundaries other people have. They should respect the same boundaries with you that they expect you to respect for them.

Here are a few examples of ways a manipulative person crosses boundaries while holding their own boundaries

1. They do not allow you to call them at work. But they call and interrupt you at work all the time.

2. They do not do favors for you that will interfere with things they need to get done. But they insist on you doing favors for them, even when you tell them that you have other things that you need to do.

3. They are clear with you about not interfering with their sleep schedule, work schedule and other time frames. But they keep you up late when you have to work the next day and make you run late for work by keeping you on the phone.

4. They insist that you answer the phone when they call, even if you are busy. But they ignore your calls and call you back hours later if at all, even when you leave a message that it is important.

5. They are clear that they have other relationships that need their time and attention. But they get upset or angry when you spend time with other people or do things to maintain other relationships, rather than giving them all of your time and attention.

People Pleasers, Codependent People and Self Care

Many people that some from abusive backgrounds have forgotten or never learned how to love and care for themselves. What comes naturally to most people does not come naturally to everyone.

If you have a codependent personality, suffer from People Pleaser Syndrome, or just seem to keep ending up putting the needs of others over yours, even to the point of it causing you harm, then you probably never learned how to care for yourself well.

It probably puzzles you how other people seem to have it all together and you always feel behind. You feel like you are always the one who cannot do what other people can do.

One of the reasons for this could be that other people are spending a reasonable amount of time taking care of the things they need to take care of in order to be okay. They make sure that other people do not guilt them into doing things for them, when there are important things they need to do for themselves.

It is not a matter of not helping other people. It is a matter of not putting yourself and your needs last. You have bills to pay just like everyone else. You have a right to eat well, rest and exercise just like everyone else.

When people try to cut into your time that you need to take care of yourself, then you have to practice telling them no. People may be shocked at first, because they are not used to you setting normal boundaries. But think about what they would do of you demanded that they neglect something that they really need to do, in order to take care of something for you that you could take care of yourself.

Many times we agree to do favors for people who could take care of it themselves but they are just making time for themselves to do something extra. In the mean time, you are neglecting something that is much more important that if it were them, they would never even consider allowing you to interfere with by asking for a favor.

Other times they could easily get someone else, who has more time and more ability to do it, but that other person is also busy taking of themselves and they are keeping the free time to do something they want to do.

There should be a fair balance between people. You should not be guilt tripped into doing something that someone else could find another way to get done, at the cost of your basic needs being neglected.

You have to prioritize

1. Sleep

2. Work

3. Exercise and health

4. Nutrition

5. Your money situation

6. Your personal space and time

7. Personal hygiene

8. dr appts

9. Your comfort about situations

10. Your plans

11. Your schedule

12. Your mental health

13. Your physical health

14. the relationships you value

15. the time you need to clean the house or any other chores

16. time to get your errands done

17. your family situation and responsibilities

18. your personal emergencies or urgent situations

19. taking care of your car repairs and maintenance

20. Relax time for you

21. Anything that you feel frustrated about if it does not get done

22. Anything that you feel frustrated about if you do not have enough time to do it properly

People who have People Pleaser Syndrome are easily manipulated into neglecting these very basic needs because they do not really know if it is okay to prioritize themselves. In the mean time everyone else makes sure that they take care of these basics and then they use the extra time to do some extra things  which puts them ahead of you at something.

You are the one who does not get the promotion at work even though you worked harder than everyone else. That is because while you were helping other people with their job, they were using the time to get ahead of you. People will take what they can get a lot of the time.

Everyone is not like you. They will not try to balance out the favor . They will not all cover for you just because you covered for them.

Learn who is taking advantage of you on a regular basis and cut them off. Tell them that you has a certain amount of favors allotted for each person in your life and that they have already used up their lifetime of favors.

Take care of the people who care about you. Look at the actions of people and not just their words. Notice when people are only nice to you when they want something. Notice when people expect you to do something rather than asking you with no expectation.

See what different people do when you say no. The ones who try to guilt trip or shame you are manipulative people. Anyone else would accept and respect your no.

Don’t Get Manipulated Again – Know Your Boundaries

boundaries

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Privacy and Boundaries in My Life

When I was 17, I had to move in with my father and step mother suddenly, because my mother had a mental breakdown.

Because of the sudden factor of them having to take me in, they were not prepared for 2 more people in the small apartment (my Sister 4 Years younger than me and myself )

They had other children and all of the bedrooms were already doubled up. There really was no place to put us, but clearly we could not go back to my mother’s house.

She was not even allowing me to enter the house in order to get a change of clothes. All I had to wear is what was on my back.

Luckily I had my favorite stuffed animal with me and my much needed favorite comfort blanket. When my mother had thrown me out, in a crazy rage, the night before, I had taken those things with me, as I headed out the door into the dark streets.

So, my father rigged up bunk beds in the living room. For a small attempt at privacy, he took a large cabinet or bookshelf (I don’t remember ) and turned it so that it divided the living room in half.

My sister and I slept in the bunk beds on the far side of the dresser. My Dad and step mother watched the tv, which was sitting on the dresser, on their side of the makeshift wall.

My sister was in the bunk bed right above me. I was in the lower one. The tv was right behind my head, and the sound pounded into my head.

No metter how much I begged my father, he would not turn it down to a level that I could tolerate to sleep. Hebdid not want to inconvenience my step mother, I guess, who had already had to deal with her household being disrupted.

They could have gone to watch tv in their room at 10 pm, so I could get enough sleep, but it just did not happen that way.

So, between the tv, my sister’s snoring, anxiety over sleeping in someone’s living room with no privacy and no door close, anxiety over being thrown out of my house with no belongings etc…I could not sleep.

I had to lay there for hours, listening to my brain go around and around, wishing for peace. I have always been very introverted. The lack of my own room with a door that closed, was a terrible trauma to me.

I could not cry, over the sadness about my mother disowning me and throwing me out into the street …because there was no space or privacy in which to cry.

I could not talk on the phone to my friends with any privacy. The only phone that I could use was in the kitchen. There was no way of grieving or attaining any comfort about the trauma of the situation.

I had no clothes, none of my guitars, no books, none of my personal belongings for 2 weeks, at which time my father managed to get into the house to fill up a few boxes with my things.

Of all the simultaneous trauma, the worst thing for me was the lack of privacy. I craved being able to sit alone, behind a locked door, to be allowed to feel what I felt, cry if I wanted to, write songs and poetry about my feelings and to show whatever emotions I wanted to on my face.

My father always forced me to be strong and not to show any strong sadness or anything. It was similar to how guys are taught not to show weakness and emotion or they are told to “suck it up”…”it isnt that bad, don’t be a big baby”

It did not take long before I realized that I could hide out in the bathroom and just come out if someone knocked. I took my guitar in there, sat on top of the closed toilet seat, placed my sheet of music on the edge of the tub, and practiced my guitar in there for hours.

I became very good at the guitar that year. It is probably the most I progressed from one level to another, in that short period of time, as I ever did since.

My high school guitar teacher would praise my progress and I sucked up the complements , encouragement and support like a sponge. It was my only source of anyone telling me I could do anything right.

The guitar room and the music area at the high school was my sanctuary. I went there before school, and during the study hall periods, in addition to guitar class, band ( I played the flute in marching band and the bass guitar in jazz band) and piano class.

I quickly advanced past the other students in piano class, so the teacher allowed me to use one of the practice rooms, to work on my own…all alone! I was in heaven.

I had an entire private room all to myself for 45 minutes 3 times per week.

So, I have always been sensitive about having time to myself and privacy. I am triggered by any living situations that make me flashback to that situation when I was 17 , which went on for many months until my father was finally able to rent us a bigger house.

Every single time I have had to live here with my ex husband’s parents, they have done nothing but cross my boundaries and invade my space. Nothing is sacred and everything and every space belongs to them, including bedroom drawers, medicine cabinets, my trash, and insistence in opening and going through all of my boxes, when I moved in. This was even after asking repeatedly to for ny ex mother in law to please leave the boxes alone, until I was ready to open them . And to let me open certain personal boxes myself and be able to deal with personal items myself.

I had just had to leave an abusive situation with an abusive partner and I was not ready to open certain boxes because there were too many traumatic memories and triggers, in the boxes.

But there she was, digging through the boxes, and putting stuff all over my apt, in prominent places where I did not want it to be. Putting everything in the wrong place, so that it was making more work for me.

I could not throw out items that were triggering to me, because she would scold and reprimand me for being wasteful and ungrateful to have things.

I had throw things out when she was not looking and bury them under other trash so that she would not take them back out and put them on my shelf.

Living with them, is like tormentb to a highly introverted person that likes to keep my personal belongings and business to myself.

On top of that, there are 13 people living in this house, soon to be 14 when the new baby comes.

I had a guessing game a while ago. I asked people to guess, in the comments section of one of my posts to see who could guess how many people lived in my house.

One insightful blogger guessed 14. If she is reading this now, I had a lot of fun with our messages that went back and forth that day…

Anyway, at first I thought this blogger had done really well to come within 1 number of properly guessing the number of people in the house.

Then I remembered that my ex sister in law is pregnant, so if you count the baby in her tummy as a person living in the house, then she had guessed dead on at 14! Very cool!

She and I had some fun messaging back and forth that day. It would not surprise me if she pops up to comment on this post:)

So, what is the moral to this story or the point to this post? …….Aaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!##!!!

TOO many people on top of me. I wish I had money to rent a room or a small apt that I could go to during the day to work out of.

Blessings,
Annie

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