Communication manipulation is a delicate topicbecause we all use them at least occasionally. However, manipulation can seriously worsen your relationships with others. We will tell you how to understand that this is your case and cope with the situation.
You can't keep your distance
You change the rules for communicating with people with whom you have been communicating for a long time and are in a clearly defined role: colleagues, friends, close friends, partners. All of these patterns and relationships involve a certain distance, but you are not able to keep it level. It usually looks like this: you can suddenly tell a partner with whom you have been together for several years that you want to take a break from the relationship and live a little apart. After a week, you feel bored, and you come back to the discouraged person - who is probably glad you came back, but did not quite understand what happened at all, and is undoubtedly traumatized.
A softer option: you overwhelm your colleagues with a very frank conversation, which they did not expect from you, and in the team as a whole it is not customary to talk about personal things. Or, on the contrary, you communicate very coldly with a friend or girlfriend - you disappear for a month, because you decided that you do not have enough oxygen and this communication tired you. If such a sharp change in distance is, in principle, typical for you, it is worth considering.
Why is this manipulation? Because those with whom you communicate each time have to adjust to a new format of relations: today is closer, tomorrow is much further, and the day after tomorrow is again very, very close. And if for you this process has some kind of internal laws, then for them it is completely unexpected, and therefore painful. In fact, such impulses or a sharp desire to move away can happen to anyone. Moreover, they may have a good reason: the person has hurt you with something or, on the contrary, attracted you. Another thing is that in both cases it is better to speak out the situation, and not to confront the other person with the fact of sudden changes.
Distance issues in relationships are common in people who have a hard time building stable attachments. In their environment and the parental family, many did this, and in their picture of the world, such behavior is the norm. The problem is, it is very traumatic. More stable people, after several sessions of abrupt approaching and moving away, can not stand it and leave or move very far away, and a person with attachment trauma gets a new wound. It turns out retraumatization and a vicious circle.
The inability to build stable, warm and even relationships is a serious problem, and it is with this problem that many people come to a therapist. This issue cannot be resolved in a month or even a year, but its resolution significantly changes the quality of life for the better.
You are constantly making excuses for yourself
Of course, living people sometimes lose their temper and can raise their voices, be offended or behave abruptly. But when you hear more and more excuses like “I was tired, that's why I yelled,” “I lost my temper, that's why I said nasty things,” “I freaked out, that's why I threw your phone at the wall,” and the like, at some point to the interlocutor, alas, it doesn't matter what emotional state you were in. Even if he loves you and can make an allowance for your problems, then forgetting screams, hurtful words addressed to him or broken things with all the desire will not work.
What to do? Look for the reason for such violent emotions and breakdowns. It is possible that you really have a reason to be angry and worried. But the outburst of aggression in screaming, caustic remarks and throwing things does not help in any way, but, on the contrary, only exacerbates the situation. You need to look for the real cause of negative feelings and deal with it.
You move your own boundaries in hope
that they will love you for it
You agree to meet with your friend in an inconvenient place at a completely inconvenient time, because you love and appreciate her - but secretly hope that for this she will be very, just incredibly happy to see you. And the friend does not shine at all with happiness and spends the whole evening talking about problems in marriage - because, in general, for this she wanted to see each other. That you are uncomfortable and you want some kind of compensation, she did not know at all.
You do not talk about what worries you, because you think that the interlocutor will not be interested in it - and you are trying to win his sympathy. But then you begin to naturally get angry, withdrawn or respond harshly. Here is an egocentric, why he won't ask anything about you! All about myself and about myself. For the second person, the situation looks discouraging: just now, you were nice and interested in assent, and suddenly you begin to sarcastically or be silent, looking at the wall.
You and your husband go to a sports match, because he called you and it seems to you that it is inconvenient to refuse: for once he offered some kind of joint leisure! The problem is that you are completely uninterested in football, and freezing in the stadium with a plastic glass of beer in your hand is painful. On the way back, you suddenly break down: you sacrificed your time, spent three terribly boring hours … And nothing in return! No special gratitude, no love, and he only speaks about this match, not about you! You are offended, and the insult splashes out in tears and screams. But my husband was not aware that you made a sacrifice. Perhaps he would even agree to go to the match without you, and the next day buy two tickets to a warm and cozy cinema - if he knew that this option is preferable for you.
These "thought deals" and sacrifices can be very different. I sacrifice my need to be alone or alone, but for this the partner should be nice, amiable and give me continuous compliments, and not fiddle about his work. I will silently pretend that I am comfortable with his or her style of communication with other women or men, that I am not jealous, and let my partner feel guilty and very obliged to me.
The problem with manipulators is that, for some reason, they are afraid to voice their desires, demands and expectations directly. And they trade “in the open”. These deals exist only in their head: the second party is forced to either guess about their conditions by indirect indications, or be in happy ignorance until they receive a claim for not fulfilling their part.
You help by expecting a reciprocal favor - but don't talk about it
As with all manipulations, there are nuances here. If a husband tells his wife that he is not obliged to do anything and she should not expect him to receive reciprocal services - in this case, he is more likely a manipulator. In close relationships, it is normal to expect help, support and sharing of responsibilities from each other. And in general, waiting for something for your services and help is also normal.
It is bad when these expectations remain unvoiced, and a step forward is presented as disinterested, although in fact it is not. You give a friend advice on preparing a business seminar, hoping that he will give you a free invitation, and when you do not receive one, you get offended. A friend does not understand why you suddenly became so cold: he just sent you a few questions in the messenger and asked for advice. He did not know that you mentally assigned a fee for the service and now he owes you.
This point is similar to the previous one: you do something for a person as if for nothing, implying bargaining - but you do not name the price aloud. Such actions cease to be manipulation if we honestly and openly say, for example: “Okay, let me join your group on the social network, and then please advertise my event on your page”. Then the person may or may not agree, but you have voiced your expectations and the price of the transaction. It is dishonest to assume that others will intuitively guess what exactly you want for your help and kindness.
You are the exception to the rule
The general agreement does not apply to you. That is, of course, you understand that it would be good to observe them, but something exceptional happens, which, of course, justifies your action. You were the most loaded of the rest. Or there are terrible traffic jams because you are the one who lives on the busiest highway in this city. You found yourself terribly upset, not yourself, or did not sleep terribly and forgot. You advocate that everyone should come to the appointed alumni meeting on time ("We are busy people! Let's appreciate each other's time!"), But you yourself are late by an hour. But you are the organizer of the meeting! No one should be angry with you: they would know how difficult it was to get everyone together.
Perhaps all these excuses are sincere and even partly fair. The problem is different: if this is true, then the agreements reached and the rules created do not suit you. This means that they need to be reviewed, and it is better to do it openly. Stipulate that you want to have the right to be an hour late, that you may not complete your part of the deal because you are now overwhelmed with work, or want to sleep longer in the morning and the meeting needs to be rescheduled. But such a scenario, of course, carries an additional burden: other participants may also want to indulge themselves or refuse to accept yours - and this will have to be reckoned with.
How to stop manipulating?
All manipulations have one thing in common: it is an attempt to get what you want not directly, but, as it were, bypassing, through complex multi-moves. Contrary to popular myth, manipulators are not cunning and cynical schemers, but often insecure people who lack a sense of their own worth. It seems to them that no one will ever give them directly what they would like. They do not have the feeling that they can be loved just like that, that they can calmly defend their rights and boundaries and will not be left completely alone after that.
The way out of this situation is the same as the entrance. It is necessary to strengthen the sense of self-worth, the feeling that you, like any other person, deserve unconditional love and are able to receive it. That you have every right to ensure that those around you respect your boundaries, to have comfortable communication, fair remuneration for services - and you can safely claim these rights.