The person being manipulated will often feel off balance, powerless, confused or out of control. If the manipulator’s tactics work, then this behavior is reinforced. It is only by not complying when someone uses controlling or manipulative tactics that you stop engaging in reinforcing this destructive dynamic. At first the controlling person is likely to up the ante and exert more control, eventually, they will have to change their controlling ways or find another target, because it’s not working anymore. Knowledge is power. Keep the following tactics in mind in order to spot coercive behavior and take back control.
Lying: Deception and rationalization. They minimize, exaggerate, or deny to make themselves look good, make you look bad, or avoid consequences.
Intimidation: They criticize and dismiss your feelings. Use threats, anger, and withdrawal to gain your compliance.
Evasion: They create word salads with circular arguments and monologues in order to avoid responsibility, confuse and silence you.
Guilt: They will use your vulnerabilities against you to make you doubt yourself and defer to their perception in order to control all communication, finances, and work or home life. They try to make you comply with their demands by making you feel you are being mean or somehow hurting them if you don’t go along.
Blame: When they behave badly they project their faults onto you. They never take responsibility and don’t apologize. They often make themselves out to be the victim while they are controlling or coercing you.
Idealize and devalue: In the beginning, they often idealize and “love bomb” you. Once they have you, they begin to devalue you in order to make you feel inferior and gain control.
Triangulation: They enlist third parties to create a case against you or start a larger smear campaign against you.
Gas Light: They alter facts and deny reality in an effort to make you doubt your sanity and keep you off balance.
Isolation: They criticize family, friends, and supporters. They may ruin holidays and social gatherings. Your isolation increases their control.
Silence and Shame: If they are able to coerce you into doing something you did not want to do, they can ensure your silence as their shameful behavior becomes your shame.