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Jun 3, 2019

In episode ERP 171, I read a listener’s question and I shared some examples of different types of manipulative behavior. I also offered the first 2 tips on how to deal with manipulative behavior in relationship. If you missed it, I encourage you to check it out.

To recap, the first two tips of How To Deal With Manipulative Behavior:

1. Identify The Manipulative Behavior

2. Focus On Your Power, Strength, And Goodness

(Please listen to the podcast episode or read the transcript to hear explanations, stories and examples.)


3. Work on Differentiating:

“The ability to balance our needs for autonomy and attachment is called differentiation. Differentiation is a scientific process that occurs in all species. For humans, it is about becoming more of a unique individual and a solid person through relationships with others.” by Dr. David Schnarch

  • Dr. David Schnarch’s 4 Points of Balance:
    1. Solid flexible self
    2. Quiet mind and calm heart
    3. Grounded responding
    4. Meaningful Endurance
  • Use visualization techniques to help yourself.

“I can’t tell you how many clients have said, when they’re in their 20s or 30s: ‘You know, when I looked at my dad, I realized I’m a foot taller than him.’ And it was a revelation because they still felt so much littler. So being able to reverse that and recognize, ‘Oh, I’m starting to feel small now, but wait a minute — I’m not,’ can be helpful.” Because, he says, “that’s the point of it. That’s how people manipulate. They make you feel small because that gives them more power.” by Dr. Dan Neuharth

4. Set Limits and Boundaries:

  • Know your options. For example, “If this happens, then I will do xyz.”
  • Use time as a resource. Don’t feel pressured to respond to any on-the-spot request.
  • Learn to say “no” diplomatically but firmly. Speaking the truth with tact.
  • Have an honest and open conversation, with support if needed.
  • Create some distance, if the person is unwilling to work with you.

5. Deal with Grief and Loss:

  • Accepting that the person may not change.
  • Deal with the limitations of the relationship.
  • Grieve not having the relationship you hoped for, imagined, or longed for.

6. Hold a Mirror:

  • In the article, “How to Recognize and Handle Manipulative Relationship,” by Preston Ni, he described this concept of “holding a mirror” up to someone who may be making an unreasonable request.
  • Put the focus back on them using probing questions.
  • Reflect back the request and look at it together. Hopefully, the person will see the inequity of their request and reconsider.






Click on this link to access the transcript for this episode:

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If you are interested in developing new skills to overcome relationship challenges, please consider taking the Connected Couple Program or engaging in relationship coaching work with me.