Monday, July 15, 2013

Managing the Manipulator

For the five Mondays in July, we'll deal with dealing with one type of difficult person.

If you look at your relationship with someone and find that you are always the giver and they are always the taker, you’re probably dealing with a manipulator. When they are willing to take beyond what is comfortable for you to give, you’re definitely dealing with a user.

A user plays on your emotions and your good nature to get what they want. Yet, when you need something they are absent or come with a good excuse. They expect you to take no for an answer but when you try it, you better have your bags packed because you are in for quite a guilt trip!

They will take money, time, clothing or anything you have got. Some people are just manipulative. Others have learned to manipulate because it has gotten good results for them in the past. The spoiled child grows up to be an adult who uses tantrums, guilt and everything else to get the results they have always gotten.

They aren’t always easy to spot. Some will look like that pouty, bratty child. Others will be demanding and argumentative. However, a lot of them will be sweet and nice. The way to tell a manipulator is through their actions not through their attitude. They want something from you and they want it now. If you feel that sense of dread coming when they begin their latest tale of hard luck or woe, you are probably dealing with a manipulator.

So, how do you handle them?
  1. Set boundaries. Let them know what you can and can’t do. They need to see that there are limits. They need someone to babysit every evening this week. Let them know you can do two days and what two days they are. Stick to your guns when it comes to the boundaries you set.
  2. Say No and mean it. There are times when the answer is no, so say it. Often they will come up with a variety of ways to ask for the same thing. You have one thing to say and that is no. You can change it up too but at the end of the day, the translation should be the same – “No.” If you need to soften it a bit, throw in a “I’m so sorry but I can’t help you.”
  3. Don’t give them a time frame. If you say, “I don’t have $200 now but see me on Friday when I get paid,” guess who you’ll be seeing on Friday? This is not a good technique to use because you are just delaying the inevitable and making a touchy situation even more sensitive.
  4. Attach some strings. Give them a contract to sign, a date to pay you back, or something to do in exchange for the money. Hold them accountable and mean. 

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