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How to Manipulate a Manipulator and Make Them Feel Weak & Powerless

Do you want to know how to manipulate a manipulator? You might not think so now, but you can do it and refuse to play their sneaky game. Here’s how to turn the tables and play the player.

How to Manipulate a Manipulator

You’re here to know how to manipulate a manipulator. But what is manipulation to you?

Is it obvious? Can you easily tell when it’s happening?

The truth is that real manipulation is often subtle, and you might not be aware of the fact you’re being manipulated until much later down the line!

For instance, a narcissist is a master in the art of manipulation. This is someone who can twist a person around their finger without even raising an eyebrow, and it’s likely that the other person will be so enamored by them that they’re not even aware of what’s going on.

[Read: How do narcissists control you so subtly? And why do you still allow them?]

The most common form of manipulation is gaslighting. Again, this is something that narcissists use a lot, and it’s a way of getting another person to do what you want them to do or think what you want them to think by twisting their thoughts and making them question their own sanity.

Harsh, right? The other worrying thing is that it’s surprisingly common.

The good news is that once you’ve opened your eyes and identified that you are indeed being manipulated, you can break away from the abuse. How? By learning how to manipulate a manipulator.

How to tell if someone is manipulating you

First, let’s start with talking about how to tell if someone is actually manipulating you on purpose. Here are some things you will feel or do if you are being manipulated. [Read: 27 signs of manipulation to know if you’re being used by someone]

1. Fear

If the manipulator is trying to make you fearful, whether of them or something else, then you are being manipulated. Fear is probably the most powerful way to persuade someone because it’s a human instinct to protect yourself from danger. So, keep checking in with yourself and assess your level of fear of this person.

2. Guilt

Guilt is another really easy way to manipulate someone into doing what you want them to do. Think about all those sad television commercials asking you to donate money to abused animals or starving children. Those adverts work because they guilt people into handing over their money to save those in need.

3. Obligation

If someone can make you feel like you are obligated to do something for them, then they are manipulating you. No one should make someone feel like you’re obligated to do anything, but a manipulator will do that because it is very effective for them. [Read: Psychological manipulation – 16 signs and tactics real manipulators use]

4. You question yourself

When you are being manipulated by someone, you start to question yourself. You might think, “Is this all in my imagination? Am I seeing this clearly or am I just making it up in my head?” If you are questioning yourself, then you probably have a very good reason to do so.

How to spot their common manipulation tactics quickly

Now that you know some of the ways that a manipulator can make you feel, you need to know how to spot their sneaky tactics early on. Once you know these, you can sidestep them and turn the tables on them.

1. Gaslighting

Gaslighting is what someone does when they try to make you question your sanity. To do this, they will deny, deny, deny. If they said something insulting, it’s your fault for getting offended. If their actions or words make you feel a certain way, you’re ‘losing your mind.’

They do this because, nine times out of ten, they are doing what you are suspicious of them doing. That’s why they turn it around on you. For example, if they do something abusive to you, then they will deny that it ever happened. [Read: Gaslighting – what it is, how it works, and 22 signs to spot it ASAP]

2. Lying

Manipulators have to lie because that’s the only way they can get you to do what they want you to do. These kinds of people make a living out of lying. In fact, they might lie so much that they start believing their lies. It’s just what they do on a regular basis.

3. Guilt-tripping

A guilt trip happens when they cause you to feel guilt or a sense of responsibility to change your behavior or take a specific action. Guilt is a powerful motivator for people.

They are using guilt as a tool to change how you think and feel. In order to do this, they will learn about something that you already feel guilty about to manipulate your emotions. They will also always portray themselves as the victim in order to manipulate your guilty conscious.

4. Flattery

Manipulative tactics, like the ones we already mentioned, don’t always have to look bad. Flattery, or telling people nice things about themselves, works really well as a form of manipulation too. The reason for this is that it softens you up to what the manipulator wants you to do. They are trying to appeal to your self-image and self-esteem. [Read: Why people fall for narcissists and 12 secrets that make them so addictive]

And at an unconscious level, it makes you want to do the “favor” for them so that you can feel like you are “equal” in your transactions. So, you do a “behavioral favor” for an “emotional favor” – the flattery.

5. Love bombing

Similar to flattery, love-bombing is also a powerful manipulation tool. Love-bombing refers to behavior patterns where one person showers you with over-the-top attention and affection. When we recognize it, it can help identify harmful patterns are work through them. [Read: Gaslighting and 16 signs to know if your lover is messing with your head]

How to manipulate a manipulator comes down to two steps

Basically, in order to break free from the grasp of a manipulator:

– you first need to identify and come to terms with the fact that they’re manipulating you

– and you then need to refuse to play their game.

Trust us; it will drive them crazy! You’re basically cutting off their manipulation supply, and they have no idea what to do. They thrive on the ability to twist someone else to their own will. So when you open your eyes to what is going on and then actively refuse to be a part of it, you’ve won the battle. [Read: Narcissistic supply – How to stop giving a manipulator the attention they crave]

Once you’ve realized what’s going on, depending on how close you are to that person, give yourself a minute to understand it and come to terms with it. If this is a partner whom you love and trust, it’s going to be hard to accept. However, accept it you must.

Then, it’s about learning how to manipulate a manipulator, by cutting off their manipulation supply.

1. Stay out of their way

It might not be possible to do this completely. But as much as you possibly can, you need to avoid contact with the person who has been manipulating you. This will give you time to build up your strength and understand what is happening to you. By doing that, you become more confident, and that helps you to deal with the situation from that point onwards. [Read: How to ignore someone without creating more stressful drama]

2. Learn the magic word – no

This is where it gets hard. If you’re someone who has a deeply-rooted need to please, learning to say ‘no’ is going to be difficult. However, it’s necessary. Practice until it rolls off the tongue, but refuse to play their game by simply saying ‘no’ in the firmest voice you can muster.

3. Ignore their constant pleas

Once you say ‘no’ to a manipulator, they’re probably going to turn on the charm to try and lure you back. This is because they’ve figured out that you’re onto them. They know you’re trying to figure out how to play their game, and they don’t want you to win.

The best way to deal with this is to try and avoid and ignore. Visualize a brick wall between the two of you, an insurmountable wall that they cannot get through or over. [Read: 15 signs of manipulation in a relationship you should never ignore]

4. Create your own boundaries

Know what you will accept and what you won’t. Then, set boundaries and make sure that you don’t deviate from them. Even if you deviate slightly, they’re going to sniff vulnerability, and it’s going to cause them to step up their efforts.

Write them down if you have to, but make sure that you know what your boundaries are and that they’re firm in intention. [Read: 15 boundaries you need to set with everyone in your life]

5. Never be afraid to call them out

Learning how to manipulate a manipulator might also come down to you basically saying, “Hey pal, I know what you’re up to!” They’re not going to admit it, that’s for sure, but your calling them out on it might be enough to shake them a little.

6. Separate your emotions

If the manipulative person in question is your romantic partner, this is going to be enough. It’s vital that you try and keep your emotions separate from this point onward.

You cannot have a healthy relationship with someone who is trying to manipulate you, and that means you need to draw a line under the situation and understand that you deserve better. Hard? Very, but again, very necessary. [Read: The narcissistic relationship pattern – The 7 stages you have to face]

7. Focus on your own life

The healthiest and strongest thing you can do at this point is to turn your attention to yourself. Seek out help from your support network of family and friends, try and find a new hobby, immerse yourself in hobbies that you might have forgotten about, and maybe focus on your work for a while.

By doing this, you’ll build up your confidence, distract your mind, and learn to overcome the manipulation you’ve been subjected to.

What does the future hold?

If you want to be happy and comfortable in your relationship, then, unfortunately, it is just not possible to stay with a manipulator. You cannot change someone who finds it easy to manipulate another person this way, and if they’re a narcissist, you might as well wave goodbye now. [Read: Emotional manipulation and ways people mess with your mind]

However, it might not be your partner we’re talking about. You can be manipulated by absolutely anyone. It could be a family member, a friend, a colleague, or even a manager.

If we’re talking about manipulation in a work setting, it’s vitally important that you keep records of whatever you encounter and ensure that you have proof of accountability if you’re involved in something, and they attempt to steal your credit. Having a backup will help you deal with the problem and overcome it in a professional setting such as this.

The issue with learning how to manipulate a manipulator is to keep in mind that you’re not attempting to manipulate them per se. It’s a false copy in many ways; you’re manipulating the situation for sure, but you’re not bowing down to their level.

Your main motivation is to break free and get away from the situation. You’re doing that by taking your focus away from the person, however hard that may be for you emotionally, and you’re focusing on yourself. 

It’s going to drive them crazy, most definitely, and they might even turn up the heat on their manipulation tactics a little. Be prepared but don’t be alarmed – you can overcome this by focusing on yourself. [Read: How to spot manipulative people instantly and stop playing the victim card]

Not every person who attempts to manipulate another is a narcissist. But if you do encounter someone like this, you need to be aware of how difficult it could become. Depending upon how narcissistic they are, this is someone who doesn’t like to let go and doesn’t like to give in.

If you refuse to bow down to their manipulative ways, they will see it as a personal slight. The answer? Strengthen your resolve even more.

[Read: Selfish people – 15 ways to spot them and stop them from hurting you]

Learning how to manipulate a manipulator really comes down to identifying what is going on and then doing your best to refuse to be a part of it for a second longer. Learning what is going on can be hard, and it’s important to give yourself time to come to terms with it. After that, untangle yourself and move on to something far more positive.

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...
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