Hey Optimist Minds!
Have you ever been manipulated into doing something you normally wouldn’t have done? Do you know someone who makes it very hard for you to say no? People who disrespect our boundaries can be toxic to us. Interactions with them can lower our self-esteem, put us in unpleasant situations, and even harm our mental health.
Manipulation is a commonly used tactic by narcissists and psychopaths. It’s an effective tool that allows such individuals to control other people and their reactions. Generally, narcissistic and psychopathic manipulation occurs insidiously. Unfortunately, we don’t realise how or when we fall into their traps.
One way to guard ourselves against it is to establish healthy boundaries. When you assert your limits in a relationship, you give the other person clear instructions on what behaviour is unacceptable. Though it can be hard to implement boundaries with narcissists and psychopaths, it is the best strategy if you can’t cut them out of your life.
This video will talk about five ways to use boundaries to prevent manipulation. These techniques can protect you, but they’re not adequate for the restoration of mental health. If you’ve been subject to abusive manipulation for some time now, we recommend that you consult a mental health professional as well.
Now, let’s begin.
You do you.
Before you can start setting your boundaries, you need to know what they are. To be able to do that, you need to know who you are. It’s important to understand that human beings are supposed to be unique. Each person has their own identity and you have the right to declare yours.
Narcissists and psychopaths will try to change you to fit their idea of who you should be. They’ll first gain your trust and slyly attack your confidence. Then, they’ll drop ideas into conversations about what you must do to have more worth. On top of that, they’ll make you feel guilty if you disagree.
Many people fall for this and conform in order to maintain peace. You don’t need to do that. You’re allowed to choose who you are and reject their suggestions. Odds are that they won’t take it that well, but you can still choose to stand your ground.
You are responsible for you and they are responsible for them.
In close relationships, the manipulator will try to hold you accountable for their moods and behaviours. For example, they might do some kind of self harm and then tell you that it’s your fault because they were upset with you. Or, if they’re ignoring you or giving you silent treatment, you might be feeling guilty for making them angry.
But, in reality, even if you love them, it’s not your job to cheer them up or to keep them safe. You can help them out since you care about them but it shouldn’t be at the cost of your own mental health.
Each person is responsible for the choices they make. When you internalise this fact, boundaries become a lot easier to voice.
Change your boundaries at a measured pace.
When you’re getting to know someone for the first time, it’s natural to not reveal everything about yourself at once. You probably have your guards up since your boundaries are different for partners, friends, acquaintainces, and strangers.
As you meet the person on more occasions, your boundaries gradually change. The narcissist and psychopath will push you to make these changes faster. It’s typical for abusers to appeal to your emotions to make this happen.
They might spy on you or look you up on the internet to find information they can use to draw you closer. Alternatively, they could suddenly ask you for a favour that seems unusual for the level of familiarity you share.
To avoid this kind of manipulation, always trust your gut. You should feel comfortable with the change in boundaries and it should be based on facts rather than feelings.
You don’t have to justify your boundaries.
One of the signs of narcissistic and psycopathic manipulation is that you find yourself justifying all the time. Whether it’s something you said or did or simply thought about, the abuser makes you doubt yourself for doing it.
You may spend hours trying to get them to understand your point of view but in vain. The long emails, texts, or arguments aren’t really conversations. They’re bait. The manipulator enters the debate with a closed mind and is not receptive to anything that they disagree with.
They’re only questioning you to confuse you and get you all worked up. By choosing not to explain your boundaries repeatedly, you discourage the pointless exchange and repel the narcissist or psychopath.
Train yourself to emotionally detach.
Usually, manipulators are resistant to any attempts at drawing boundaries. It’s likey that they won’t back off even though you’re being firm. In fact, your assertiveness might instigate them to be more aggressive.
They’ll mock, insult, yell, and demean you in ugly ways. Don’t let that make you secede. Instead, it’s ideal to detach yourself from the situation. You can try to change the topic, deflect their false accusations, or just inform them that you’ll be leaving the conversation.
Whatever you do, the manipulator will keep trying to provoke you to get a reaction. Resist their attacks and distract yourself with something more constructive. With practice, you’ll learn how to ignore them and disengage.
Do you think that someone has been disregarding your personal boundaries? Would you like to try out these techniques? Let us know in the comments if you agree or disagree with our guidelines.
A link for further reading and the studies & references used in the making of this video are mentioned in the description below.
Thanks for visiting optimist minds, take care. Until next time.