This excerpt came from a book I am reading now, Toxic People Survival Guide: How to Deal with Difficult, Negative, or Manipulative People, Handle Narcissists and Disarm Sociopaths Hardcover – October 4, 2021 by Chase Hill (Author)
I find this book very helpful in overcoming manipulation by toxic people in my life, not just the toxic tenants, and I am sure you or someone else might find it helpful as well… I found it on Amazon, linked above.
The questions below are what I have been asking everyone since this mess started in 2016 in the rental property I worked in, as in all honesty my personal rights were totally ignored by everyone else. I came to see I was being ignored for their own personal benefits, they didn’t want their names to be dragged in the mud with my own more than what it was already.
If you ask yourself these questions below for the situation you are in, your answers will show you are being manipulated.
Right from the beginning, it wasn’t fair for these tenants to demand I take their cash rental payment, just because it was what they had done since they moved into the property. I was not responsible for actions done by someone else! I am a different person, with different needs and I had a strong boundary of not accepting cash for rental payments due to my own safety, for very specific reasons.
Sending a letter, filled with vague allegations and no evidence, 2 1/2 months later, claiming a prior meeting before I even moved into work in the property, claiming I said racist comments to them at some restaurant I was never in, just because I was doing my job and holding them accountable for breaking the rules of apartment living, was totally not fair. And, my employers allowed it! They never even proved they were in this restaurant on any day in June 2016, let alone prove I was there!
They had no evidence that I acted in any discriminatory manner towards them, yet acted as if it was a foregone conclusion, just because they said I did.
Their expectations were totally unreasonable and I was given no say in any of it. I couldn’t even count on the company Lawyer to help me during any of the legal processes they started, I was on my own, representing myself in all of it.
Once I asked myself these questions, I knew I was being manipulated by people around me for their own interests and I had to learn how to get past it and move on before it damaged my psyche beyond repair.
- Does this seem fair to you?
- Is what you are asking of me reasonable?
- Do I have a say in the matter?
- Are you asking me or telling me?
- What am I going to get out of this?
- Are you honestly expecting me to (restate their request)?
- Have you taken my time into consideration?
- Have you taken my opinion into consideration?
7 Powerful Tactics to Overcome Manipulation
#1. Know and stand up for your fundamental human rights.
There are 30 basic human rights according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations, 1948). Some that are subject to manipulation are the right to equality in marriage, the right to own things, the freedom of thought and religion, and the freedom of opinion and expression. You also have the right to privacy (www.opseu.org).
The very first human right is that all human beings are free and equal. Nobody deserves more or less than the next person. Nobody is superior, despite how they feel or how society paints them. That being said, as we are all free to have our own opinions, the manipulator has the right to feel superior, however, not the right to make others feel this is true. Article 30 states that human rights can’t be taken away, and this is the key to our understanding. No matter what others try to do, you have rights.
#2. Keep your distance as best you can.
Just because you spend eight hours a day with someone, you live with them, or they are your close family, it doesn’t mean you have to constantly remain by their side. Put some distance between you and the person and only spend the required amount of time with them. What will happen when you do this is that you will gain confidence, strength, and control during the time that you are away and this will help you to handle them in those moments you can’t avoid.
#3. Stop blaming yourself.
There are two main categories of things that we blame ourselves for: things that we shouldn’t feel guilty about and things that should be left in the past. You shouldn’t blame yourself for your emotions or your needs. They are what they are. If you feel tired, happy, sad, or fed up, just own it and remember that people don’t have the right to judge you. They also don’t have the right to make you feel bad because you need a night in to recuperate, or you want a night out to have fun. It is all too common for us to blame ourselves when we can’t do something right or if we aren’t good at something. Humans aren’t supposed to be perfect. Instead of blaming yourself for the things you can’t do, pay attention to the things you do well, and don’t feel guilty if you are proud of this.
If you have been hurt by someone you trusted, or there has been an end to a relationship, these things aren’t going to change. It is crucial that we learn from our past but don’t allow ourselves to keep reliving it. (www. huffpost.com) I know all of this is easier said than done, particularly if there is someone in your life who is constantly reminding you of what they consider to be failings. Following steps 1 and 2 will help you to stop manipulators from seeing this self-blame as a weakness they can use.
#4. Turn the focus back on the manipulator.
Whether the manipulator is aware of their behavior or not, turning the focus back on them will either allow them to see their wrongdoings or shock them into realizing you are onto their behavior. To do this, you need to ask probing questions:
● Does this seem fair to you?
● Is what you are asking of me reasonable?
● Do I have a say in the matter?
● Are you asking me or telling me?
● What am I going to get out of this?
● Are you honestly expecting me to (restate their request)?
● Have you taken my time into consideration?
● Have you taken my opinion into consideration?
The sad fact is that a manipulator won’t care about the responses to these questions because their only concern is achieving their goals. Fairness, your opinion and time, or what you are going to get out of it wouldn’t cross their mind. On the other hand, if someone is genuinely interested in your well-being, they will take a moment to answer the questions honestly.
#5. Set and establish firm consequences.
Most of us have boundaries, even if we aren’t fully aware that this is what they are. Our boundaries are our individual set of rules that we live by. This code of conduct comes from our values and beliefs as well as past experiences that we don’t want to happen again.
People’s boundaries are very personal but most of us would agree that committing a crime is a line we wouldn’t cross, along with discrimination, bullying, cheating, and invading personal space. If you aren’t 100% clear on what your boundaries are, you must define them now, before you try to set them.
Take a moment to think about past situations that have hurt you. At what point did it become too much? A peck on the cheek is one thing, but lingering there might have made you feel uncomfortable and so you are clear that this is a boundary for you.
Within most of our relationships, personal and professional, people will understand your boundaries and respect them. For a manipulator, there is no such thing as boundaries and they will happily violate them if it means that their needs are met.
When a person insists on crossing a line and making you feel uncomfortable, their behavior has become toxic. To show the seriousness of boundary violations, you have to have consequences ready. For example, if it’s a colleague who is overstepping the line with physical contact, you need to tell them that if it happens again that you will report them to HR. If a family member or partner gets angry, verbally or physically abusive, let them know that you will walk away from the situation and the relationship if necessary. When friends are constantly late or don’t show up, inform them that you won’t make plans with them in the future.
Consequences are incredibly valuable, but only if you enforce them. For example, if your partner is yelling at you and you don’t walk away, the manipulator will learn that they can continue with their negative behavior and that your boundaries don’t mean anything. Only set a consequence if you know you can follow through with it. To get better at setting boundaries and their consequences, be sure to practice what you want to say beforehand so that you are more confident and articulate.
#6. Learn to say NO — and practice it regularly.
Saying no is hard for many different reasons. The most common is that we don’t want to let people down or that we are afraid of the reaction from the other person. Another, less discussed reason, is that we don’t like the idea that we can’t do everything that is required of us. Not being able to juggle work, family life, and a social life can make us feel as if we are failing at something. Despite all of this, saying no is crucial for our mental and physical well-being as well as putting our needs first and reinforcing those boundaries. It’s important to remember that saying no isn’t a bad thing at all, but it does take practice and determination. There are a few handy tips to bear in mind when saying no:
● Decide whether you want to say yes or no — if you aren’t sure, ask for more time.
● Be kind in your no, not just with the words but also with your tone and body language.
● Thank the person for considering you.
● Offer an alternative that suits you both.
● Be prepared to have to say a firmer no.
Let’s expand on this with an example. Samantha’s family wants her to bring her children on holiday for two weeks during the summer. Her parents have applied a bit of a guilt trip saying that they never get to spend time with the grandkids and who knows how much longer they will be around! Here are two ways that Samantha could reply:
1. “Thanks for the offer. It would be a lovely trip but I can’t commit as we have plans already. We could do a week though.”
2. “No, I’m sorry. That’s not going to work for me.”
You can see that the first sentence is the softer way of saying no without actually having to use the word. The second sentence is firmer but still not rude or aggressive. Sometimes we need to start with the kinder words and use firmer words if the person pushes back.
These are great steps to say no to the average person but they might not be sufficient for the manipulators in our lives. It’s rarely a good idea to explain to a manipulator why you are saying no because they will use your words against you and try to change your schedule so that you have no excuse to say no. Here are some straight-to-the-point phrases you can use to say no to a manipulator.
-Thank you but no.
-My timetable won’t allow for that.
-It’s not going to work for me.
-No, I can’t.
-I’m too busy today, I am free tomorrow.
-I’m not comfortable with that.
-I have a rule not to…
-I have said no and I meant it.
There is a chance that the person you are saying no to will get angry or create a scene. This is on them and not you. You have said no in a firm but fair way and you don’t need to justify this answer, nor feel guilty about it. If the person’s reaction is too much for you to handle, let them know that you are leaving and will talk about it again once they have calmed down.
#7. Confront the bully for what they are — in the right way.
Nobody wants to feel like they are being pushed around or walked all over. Sometimes you can only take so much before a very unexpected and out-ofcharacter outburst occurs. While it might feel good to get it all off your chest, when dealing with a manipulator it is more likely that it will backfire, suggesting that you are out of control or even crazy.
This is why you have to make sure that you are confronting your bully in the right way: safely, calmly, and intelligently. For this to take place, there has to be enough time to have a conversation, both parties need to be in the right frame of mind, and most of all, it needs to be calm. If you don’t feel like can control your emotions at the time, it is better to wait. If you fear for your safety in any way, make sure that there are people around you in case things turn aggressive or violent. Your safety isn’t worth sacrificing just to confront a bully, so choose the time wisely.
Not everyone is out to manipulate you, but life will become more pleasant when you can identify the behavior and master how to handle it. Those who care about you will take on board what you are saying. The changes won’t occur overnight as you are changing habits that have been in place for a long time, but you will start to see the efforts bear fruit.
Don’t forget that a little bit of patience from your end will also go a long way. If you don’t see the results that you want, it’s time to break away from the manipulator so that you can begin new relationships that are balanced with mutual respect.