Thursday, February 12, 2009

emotional manipulation disguised as.....

"One of the easiest ways to spot an emotional manipulator is that they often attempt to establish intimacy through the early sharing of deeply personal information that is generally of the "hook-you-in-and-make-you-sorry-for-me" variety. Initially you may perceive this type of person as very sensitive, emotionally open and maybe a little vulnerable. But, an emotional manipulator is about as vulnerable as a rabid pit bull, and there will always be a problem or a crisis to overcome." (pulled off a cyber-conversation thread on emotional abuse happening on the net tonight)

We are more apt to be clear about our physical boundaries, but for some reason we are tentative to put forth the emotional ones. Why is that? By the time we figure out we're dealing with someone who initially makes you feel needed, wanted, loved but really has ulterior reasons in developing a relationship with you, you've lost the chance to set the boundaries. The process seems so straightforward, but it is far from that.

Dealing with someone who uses the vulnerability card confuses and smears the lines. Interacting with a human being who plays with your feelings is like taking part in a mind blowing game of russian roulette. You try to get out of it, and the finger pointing anger reveals itself....anger which simmers with revenge as well as a complete refusal to take any ownership in the breakdown of the relationship. Sometimes the act is disguised as the silent treatment.

When things begin to unravel in one of these unhealthy soul destroying relationships, the emotional manipulator with bend and twist and try to pull others into the foray. They will avoid taking any ownership by denying, lying and turning the tables onto the other person....they will try to lay the blame anywhere but on their own laps by playing the guilt and shame cards. WHY? What are the unmet needs of a person who acts this way?


Survival?

Love and Belonging?

Empowerment and control of life?

Displaced revenge?

Unhealthy coping mechanisms?

Poor self esteem...?

Doesn't know any better because they grew up in a co-dependent emotionally abusive environment?

It really depends on the individual's personal unresolved conflicts, past relationships, and heavy baggage that is brought into new relationships. The goal to fulfill unmet needs always depend on the crap from the past. And you know what, these people are vulnerable and its the last feeling they want to feel....they seem to do everything in their power not to feel vulnerable, not to be ignored, forgotten, offended, or manipulated themselves. Like a bully, the manipulator hates to have it applied to them. Manipulators are bullies. They just look and feel differently than the traditionally accepted view of a bully.

When I was in high school, I dated an emotional manipulator. After a year of dating, he fell ill with anxiety and depression. It wasn't the first time, though it was the first time since I had been around. His mental health decline was so debilitating he couldn't attend school. He could hardly get out of bed. Medication and counselling intervention kicked in again and this reality sent him reeling into a deep sense of failure. His parents, especially his mother was desperate to pull him out of the spiralling and turned to me to help him. I was 16 years old.




Everyday after school, I walked to his house to spend time with him, and to complete both my homework and his. And everyday, I was met at the door by his mother who shook with fear and anxiety....who would share her relief with me......and say things like...."thank God, you're here. Maybe you can pull him out of this." For two hours every day for months, I sat by his bed and listened to him describe to me how suicidal he felt....how he thinks of killing himself....how he had dreamt about shooting himself in the head. Then, the emotional swing of the axe would fall.

"I don't know what I'd do if you broke up with me." He said this over and over....sometimes packaged in different wording, but always the same message.

I felt like I was responsible for making sure he survived. I was trapped...pulled in....a mess. Thank God at the time I was able to get away for the summers to work at a children's summer camp. It saved my sanity.

It continued for a whole year until one day when my father saw me crying on the phone trying to break it off, he took the phone from me and hung it up. Then he asked me what i wanted to do. I told him I wanted to break up with him, to get away from him. And in three magic words, my burden of keeping this person alive was taken away from me...."Then do it." This of course came after my family and my friends supporting me, listening and worrying about how it was impacting me. I was blind to most of it, though I ended up with gastritis and other ailments.

He's still alive. He never married, never had children. He works and runs marathons. I think he has a motorcycle. Every once in a while I hear about him through my high school friends and it always makes me feel kind of sick. I had an update just last week. Even though its been years and years and I live far away from where I grew up, I was still completely creeped out.

He was the first of several people I've encountered since whom I seem to gravitate towards. By no means are they all male. In fact, some of the "best" emotional manipulators are female. It doesn't happen as intense as the very first time.

I learned a lot from it and I think some of the reasons why I went into the field of counselling can be linked to this intense experience. However, every once in a while, I get caught in a web. The boundaries aren't in place, and all of a sudden the vulnerable "whoa is me" messages begin to be layered with manipulative messages. It always hurts when I recognize that it has happened again, but by then I'm in the web and it's a messy pull out.



There's not much I can do about the other person. I can't change them. Like anyone in this situation, I can only change how I respond, on how I handle myself by reflecting on what it is in ME which leads me to fall into these type of relationships. Unfortunately there is always a lot of messy fallout where guilt and shame based stuff gets tossed about.

I've got a lot to learn because obviously i'm getting some of my own twisted needs met as I actively play a role in these unhealthy friendships.




35 comments:

Gilly said...

Emotional manipulation? Tell me about it! Still get drawn in unless I'm on my guard. Makes life stressful, even at this late age!

paulwchambers said...

nail on the head sister!!!! right on the MF'ing head!!!

kenju said...

It's funny how I can see (after reading this) how I have been manipulated in the past by such people - when I couldn't see it before(until it was too late). Maybe now I can be on the look-out for such behavior and stop my involvement before it becomes too intense. Thanks.

Awareness said...

Gilly...It's too bad we have to be on guard eh? I guess the silver lining is that many many have experienced it. It is one of the most common issues discussed in counselling sessions. I hear many stories. Emotional abuse is a tough one to get a handle on because of the guilt and shame thrown at you....

Paul...bada bing!!! it appears you have experienced this as well? I wonder if it's an epidemic or something?

Judy...Intense is the word!! When I started reading last night after what seems like a couple of weeks of experiencing this personally but also counselling a few people who are trying to get themselves out of relationships which are unhealthy, I too started thinking about past relationships and could see them so much clearer.

A'Jay said...

Mmm, I wouldnt be hard on yourself for your earlier experience. Whether the manipulator or the manipulated, it can be a co-dependent relationship and it takes strength, growth and the willingness for change to get out...

From experience (either personal or work related) it can be heady, to be soooo needed, to hold someones life (theoretically) in ones hand. I guess thats why so many of us get into the welfare industry. Tis only with experience that one learns the strength is in letting someone stand alone, independently...

Its often harder to see in personal relationships, as you are emotionally involved. Having been in both a manipulative and in a 'normal' relationship, the former pales. Its needy and clinging. I like that I am in constant change and respect he Im with is growing as well and both processes give the relationship strength, it doesnt take from that.

Manipulation is learned fear based behaviour and I am old enough and confident enough in myself to know I wont tolerate it... that so hasnt been an easy lesson for me at all, and for anyone in that situation I would say, you owe it to yourself to have a solid, loving, giving relationship... and you can get out of a toxic relationship if you chose to.

Awareness said...

A'jay...in the long run, I'm glad to have experienced it when I was young because it never happened again in any other male relationships...I too wouldn't put up with it. On the other hand, a few so called friends have snuck into this manipulation that is fear based behaviour.

Interestingly, I HAD to attend a manditory workshop on "respectful workplaces" today (yes, manditory!!) which covered harrassment and policies, respectful commuication and conflict resolution...topics I have taught myself in the past. It was interesting to be on the other side of the desk. Also interesting of the timing of this because the most serious emotional manipulation situation I have had to deal with in the past couple of years was with a supervisor. Fortunately, she signed up for another day to take the workshop because I was triggered enough covering the section on harrasment and toxic work spaces. Luckily I'm not working for her now and I managed to resolve a lot of the angst before I was moved onto another team to cover off a colleague for a year. So, I have calmed down from it. However it did put me out on stress leave for a summer a couple of years ago.....

I never pursued it through the HR channels because I lost complete trust in the system and felt that there was no one around who would go to bat for me. In hindsight, I should've but was concerned for my professional reputation which she was doing her darndest to ruin. I figured it I made waves it would only reflect back on me. I still kind of think that.

I question things here because I obviously do stuff which threatens people because it happens too often.

A'Jay said...

Oh girl don't start me on toxic workplaces... mine is uranium...the term 'caring industry' quite frankly makes me ill... and its not just my own organisation but others I know in welfare...

I rarely post on the subject of my work as management took to reading my blog, & I had myself nearly hung drawn and quartered, i even stopped working on another blog of mine which i miss (http://abbeyselfharm.blogspot.com/)
I relate to your loss of faith in the system, Im afraid I have little left.

& it seems to me that others have used and know the system inside out. At the moment Im just trying to protect myself emotionally and keep being paid....

Sorry to waffle, just related so and must of needed a vent...lol

Awareness said...

You're in the same kind of work? Wow! Interesting!....yeah, I try to stay under the radar but I don't seem to be able to. lol! Gov't is not a place for people who don't fit in the bureaucratic box....like swimming upstream with weights on your ankles most days.

Thank God for co-workers who are like family. I don't know what I'd do without them, and i know they feel the same way. there is a strong connection in the frontlines with the ones who are providing the hands on service. That and I love counselling and facilitating....so have put up with much in order to remain in the frontlines.

I don't write too much anymore about politics and management because this blog isn't as anon anymore....however, I AM waiting to hear about a job I interviewed for outside of this particular system and am hopeful I'll be able to feel safe enough to write editorially. I also have a script in mind on the welfare office...a dramedy.....just need some distance and time.... hhmmmmm....maybe it should be entitled "The Caring Industry." lol.

thanks for coming back and sharing this....love to find a new kindred. :)

much2ponder said...

Wow! Awareness, sorry I missed this one. I can relate in more ways than I care to count. I still fall into this trap at times and for me it seems the people often get mad at me for something I never did. I mean literally, one minute they love me and the next they are poking and biting with their words. Seems when I cannot be the person they need they get very angry and in an attempt to control me they often use words as forms of control. I had to talk to two different women just this week and I was brutally honest with both of them. One of them took it very well and admitted her mistreatment, thought she likely does not know why she was treating me, the person she referred to as her best soul friend, yada yada yada. The other woman refused to hear what I was saying and turned the whole thing around and made it about me. Or I should say her misconception of me. Some relationships are just too hard to continue.

Awareness said...

m2p...it is a mind bender that's for sure and very sneaky at the beginning which i think is why these folks can cast a wide net. for some reason they are threatened...name calling and behind you back trashing is common in an effort to swing empathy their way. Funny, most of the time, the accusations and name calling somehow manage to find their way back to the person being slogged.

True users. Emotionally wounded. Unable to trust or form healthy relationships. When it is a woman pulling this stuff, it reveals an inability to maintain friendships with other women. They go through them like water, often due to the need for male attention.

Yesterday, during the workshop I attended, the facilitator used the term "emotionally hi-jacked" which described it for me beautifully.

BreadBox said...

On your feelings when hearing about him every now and then in the present: and how it makes you sick to your stomach: this is bad --- remember, you have permission to let go of him and everything that makes you feel that way.
Regret as little as you can: what you have done is what has made you who you are: strive to be who you want to be, but don't regret who you were. Just change those things you wish to change.

N.

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Excellent post, Dana. Damn. Several old hurts resurfaced as I read this and sure enough the hurt turned to anger. Its not easy to turn away from a person in need, but when you can identify them as a manipulator its self preservation.

Pinky said...

Can I just tell you...this post spoke directly to my heart!
I came here via Carmi's blog, and I'm so glad I did!

I think I'm in one of these relationships as we speak, and what bothers me is that I find it hard to leave, because as you said...I am benefitting in some manner. I have to decide to stop abandoning myself at some point.

Awareness said...

hey N...i have no regrets...what floors me is the intensity of my relief still! :) it was a major head trip, but a good one to have taken so early in life...this is the hindsight. professionally one of the key learning points is the importance of maintaining a relationship with someone in need like this which doesn't connect me too tightly. I've learned one can't stop someone from harming themselves by trying to do everything for them. My philosophy always has been to help someone "learn to fish" and not simply give them a halibut! My personal experience gave me insight I value.

Layla...funny that?! It was happening to me while I wrote the darn thing. I stopped at one point to figure out which incident I wanted to capture as an example and decided on the very first one. Amazing when we do stop and think about it, we realize how often it has happened. It's like we compartmentalize them and kept them singularly separate. I believe this happens in any abusive relationship, which is one of the reasons why its so difficult for someone to get out from under the thumb of someone else. Survival means getting through one day at a time and putting it into the past with complete amnesia!

Pinky...I wish you well and strength as you figure it out. Don't be too hard on yourself either because it is a damn quick slippery slope...we begin to believe the messages thrown at us and it impacts the choices we make. Fear twists our very best attempts.
Know you are in good company and are never alone.

Pinky said...

God is good. I've always managed to find women wiser and further along the journey than myself.

In other words...I'm gonna be reading you regularly.

:0)

Anonymous said...

I think you mean "woe is me"

Awareness said...

Anon... THANK you! That's hilarious. No one ever mentioned it to me, and I obviously never caught the mistake. It kind of takes on a different meaning the way I wrote it doesn't it? :)
Of all the pieces I've posted, this one is googled the most.... on a daily basis. I'm fascinated by that. I guess we all deal with such folks in our lives.

priyanka said...

I broke up with my boyfriend(whom I've loved a lot and left my family and career for him) 6 months back and was in a very bad mental state(especially having a feeling of failure and guilt).Then I read about emotional manipulators, and found each and every point to identify one, matches with my ex. I was very fair with him and he knows everything little detail about me. I just wanted to know are these people revengeful? Is he going to do something wrong with me?

awareness said...

priyanka....I'm sorry you experienced this as well, but given how many people find this particular post I wrote on emotional manipulation on a daily basis, its has become clear to me that it must be an epidemic!!
I wish I could give you a clear answer, but I can't I don't know the full situation, and I don't know the depth of your ex's issues. If you feel threatened or in potential harm's way, then stay aware, never be alone with them, and contact the authorities if any threats are forthcoming. Even if you contact your local transition house for direction/suggestions. They deal with women who are emotionally abused (emotional manipuation definately falls under that category).
If he hasn't done anything of the sort since you split with him 6 months ago, he may have moved on.

More importantly, now that you are aware of what was happening..... work on letting go of your own guilt for leaving and on your own healing so you can detach and unhook from him and his family and YOU can move on. It's a terrible experience, but one I've found to be VERY much a learning one. Because I've met many in both my personal and professional life, I can spot them faster than I used to!!

Good luck.

priyanka said...

Ya its indeed a very learning experience, but a very stressful one.I was in this relationship for 5 long years and my life was complete hell, but never recognized him and his intentions. He was such a gr8 planner. Then the day I felt suicidal, I left him.
I don't have any contacts who can tell me about him.So I'm very worried about what he is upto.Anyways but ur article was a real help....Thanx a ton and keep such good work going on buddy :) 3 cheers

Anonymous said...

I have been doing a lot or reading on emotional manipulation after realising I have been in my husbands web for 10 years.
On reflection, one thing I find with people who do this is they seem to think that everyone else does it too. They see every action or comment as having hidden meaning. For example, my husband comes home from work complaining of a sore back, concerned for his health I ask him if he has to work tomorrow hoping that he might have a day off to rest, in his mind I am asking because I am a money hungry bitch.
I have learned a lot in the last 24 hours and will not be a victim anymore.

Anonymous said...

I so dont even know where to start. To say that my relationship is unhealthy is an understatement. It is not physically abusive but it is so mentally abusive I cant even begin to tell you. I have to say that the manipution an hurt comes from both sides. I have become someone I hate. I take so so much until I finally have my big blow up.... this is after trying to talk in a calm and grown up manner, I ask for what I need, ask him what he needs and the answer is always the same. He withholds intimacy from me as a way of punishing me and then says its all my fault. I have taken the blame, time and time again, to make this ok. I realize I am the sick one. The one that is brain washed in this realtionship. I have stood strong, many times against him, because normally I am a very strong person, but he can say the right thing and BAM, Im right back in there. I will say I have severe seperation anxiety (sp). I know the right thing is to STOP this madness, but then when he walks aways over and over, I freak out and think I need him. I feel so alone in this, because if i bring up one thing he did wrong, bam.... he is slamming me for any and every thing he can think of ...some which is true, so which he makes up.... There are so many details which I dont even have the time to go into to... there are always 2 people in a relationship... i take my fault, but really is anyone else having this same problem or is this my sickness.... my mom, family, friends and all say im brainwashed... AM I??? I keep thinking LOVE fixes all... love just seems to keep hurting me. PLEASE BE HONEST in your response.... nothing anyone says can be worse than the things he has blamed me for.... Im just going crazy.. which he has convinced me I am... sorry for the typo's and grammer mistakes.. I am sad, crying and so very frustrated as I type this.

awareness said...

Anon...you have a tremendous amount of awareness on what is happening in your relationship, as well as a good understanding of emotional abuse. It's healthy to be expressing your feelings like this and Thank GOD you are.
You know, I believe strong people tend to get into these mind game relationships often and I wonder why. Perhaps we think we can "handle" it or it won't happen to us?
But, it is your ability to analyze the situation, your ability to express your feelings combined with your inner strength that will help you disconnect from this unhealthy relationship. You see it for what it is........ YOU ARE NOT AT FAULT.

People who are emotional manipulators at this level are for the most part mentally ill. Sadly, they will be the LAST to admit it because they often fall under the category of Personality Disorder.

I don't know where you live or who you are........so I strongly, strongly recommend that you seek out a counsellor you feel safe and comfortable with and begin unravelling your story!!!

Feelings flood us. Feelings flood our thoughts..........Seek out professional help to express those feelings so that you can begin to plan your own life away from the abuse. Start by contacting the local services for domestic violence. Emotional manipulation in your case is Emotioinal abuse.

No one deserves that!!!!

Sending you love and hope.......

Anonymous said...

Manipulation is hard to beat. I've grown up with it from my sister, and am now in a subtly manipulative realtionship. I have been succeptible to it because I had been bullied in school at a very young age. That really affected my development- i've always been very sensitive and wanting to help others, and the bullying and my nature lead me to want to be accepted, which is the type of person manipulators look for. I'm currently battling my first long term, and subtly manipulative relationship. i'm finding more effective ways to help myself-as a young adult, i'm learning how to pick up the pieces and ways to be a stronger person. I've held a lot of resentment, which doesnt help anything; it actually just hurts more. I strongly encourage anyone in this type of situation to get into therapy immediately, and if you have children who are being bullied, get them into therapy/counsiling right away. It helped me a lot when i was younger. When the feelings recur, which they will, get back into therapy. Even when you get the correct tools once, like anything else you learn, they need to be refreshed and reinforced.

Jodie said...

Thank you for sharing your story. :)

Jodie

jean said...

I'm relieved to see I'm not the only one dealing with this! Also, I guess I too must be getting something out of it or else I wouldn't stay. I read that when it's a woman doing the manipulating it can be much worse, and I think that's very true. I am a woman, in a relationship with a woman who is not only emotionally manipulative, but codependent and is insecure. When something triggers her it seems to happen out of the blue. In the beginning I would be caught off guard. I can only describe this feeling as 'boggling' because I felt like my eyes were crossing and my mind was full of popcorn. I would try to keep up with her, everything I said would be turned back on me, and if there was ANY evidence from a mistake I might have made in the past she would bring it up, time and time again. I was being made out to be the monster, an uncaring, inconsiderate cheater who was using her. It takes the blow up, her screaming at me, calling me names, insults, swearing and then finally she calms down, before she says she's sorry. The thing I don't hear from others stories is the manipulator saying 'sorry'. She seems to mean it. She says she doesn't want to be this way. She talks about therapy, but in the back of my mind I have painful doubting voices saying eventually we'll be done, and it's going to really hurt. I once told her I would stick by her. When she was being insecure I would tell her I love her and I will always love her. It's true... but I feel like she uses that as an anchor when she attacks me. I keep taking her back afterwards and when I am wrong, I keep saying sorry.
But then I got smart. I started to study this, read about manipulators and how to deal with them. I started making statements back to her, repeating her accusations as questions, and just repeating back using ownership words, trying to let her hear herself. If that didn't work I would just sit quiet. She hated that. I would reply with "from your perspective" or "that's how you perceive me to be" and so on, and it made her nuts. When she asked if I had anything to say for myself I would tell her I am giving her a chance to have her say, and I refuse to engage with her when she's angry and talking 'at me' and when she calms down I'll share. It usually worked. I got really proud, really self assured with her, I could handle it when her insecurities rose and she started her attacks. But last night she caught me tired, and got me. I raised my voice. I engaged with her in her angry place and I felt sick about it afterwards and hooo boy, did she have a run with that!! She had all the ammo she needed to play victim, repeating things (verbatim, too!) in such an uncanny way I swear she's got the memory of an elephant. She remembers what I do wrong, and my memory is horrible when I'm confronted. I actually shake and I get the shivers, my teeth chatter. It's horrible. I told her today this is unacceptable. I asked her 'if the person you think I am, lets say I am this person, who cheats and thinks you're fat, and doesn't respect you and uses you... lets say I am this person. Then why are you with me???" she didn't answer. I asked "maybe I'm not this person, but as long as you keep looking for evidence that I am, you'll find it. Why do you do that?"
What I want to know is when is enough, enough? I don't want to keep doing this with her. She's codependent with her ex, they text and chat all the time, they call each other sweety, they say 'i love you' and 'i miss you', they buy each other presents, they drive to work together, she makes her ex lunches sometimes and I say nothing, even though it makes me feel insecure too. I want to be honest with her. If I tell her what her interactions with her ex are doing for me, she'll go nuts, or play victim reminding me they were together 20 years and her ex has nobody now... and so on. My brain is popcorn, seriously.

recoveringnow said...

Emotional manipulation. Oh my. I have a mother who is a master at it. I don't talk to her. Too confusing.

I found myself in another situation with a manipulator who is a female psychologist. I've been a master level therapist for many years in community mental health. I honestly thought I had a good handle on dysfunctional behaviors. Oh contrare! This gal "saved me" from community mental health by offering me a position in a private practice. I guess I was supposed to worship her for that. I sold my house and moved about four hours away to start this practice. Things were going well until we moved into a larger office. Then the drama began! She began by splitting between me and another worker, pushing the jealousy angle. Kept pushing until I had a full blown panic attack. Man, I went into my office and focused on work. Bad idea! I thought the crisis had passed after a while. Silly me! She was building her case, I guess. When she got a couple of PsyDs, she brought me into a PUBLIC meeting and ripped me a new one and threatened me with withholding referrals. I was practicing short term therapy and I guess she forgot that little piece of information even though I was getting patients who had ONLY 12 SESSIONS. This meeting literally broke my heart and two weeks later I had my first stroke. Fortunately, it was minor. The end of this little episode was she laid me off, but really she fired me. Good thing though, because I had written my resignation letter. Apparently, I didn't afford her near the attention she wanted. I don't know when I'll go back into a consulting room. I'm pretty shaken and it has been over three months now. WOW. Hard to believe I couldn't figure it out.

Anonymous said...

I came to this site because I believe I am being emotionally manipulated by an elderly parent and I am not sure what to do about it. Am trying to take a spiritual approach (?) pray for her, but at the same time it really wears a person out. I empathize with her predicament, elderly, failing health and uncertain conditions, and would gladly help but wouldn't it be better to ask for help than to take a pull at the heart strings angle, if that is what is happening. Is kind of exhausting and not sure what to do.

awareness said...

Im so sorry you're dealing with this. With emotional manipulation comes a feeling of guilt which often stops us from keeping our personal boundaries. Also, by the time we realize it, the "dance" we are involved in with the other person is difficult to change. However, it is a good thing you are aware of what is going on and how it is making you feel.
Feelings are signals. You're reading them. The only true thing you can do is to change the way you react/respond. This won't be received well because right now, your Mom's needs are being met even though it is in an unhealthy way. One of those needs may be fear of mortality and/or depression. A counsellor for her or a discussion about how she is truly feeling emotionally with her Doctor may help.
There are great books out there on Boundaries and on Enabling relationships that may be helpful to you. I would suggest you look into them. Keep in mind that you have to take care of yourself and thats not a selfish thing.
Keep your end of the conversations as direct as you can..... share how it impacts you. This probably won't be received well, but it may help you to get it out in the open.
If you want to discuss this more, email me at awareness dot ca at gmail dot com.

Katie said...

thank you so much. im sixteen and my boyfriend talks about wanting to kill himself. he's just like this, though not such a bad case. This will help me to cut ties for good.

Anonymous said...

Can an a victim of emotonal manipulation also BE guilty of being an emotional manipulator? Do they kind of go hand in hand?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story i just turned 18 and have recently realized ive been manipulated by an ex-friend of mine who was the first person i met at a new school. A lot of what you said compares to my experience in a lot of ways i now understand how it got so far without me realizing till it was to late. I now know the signs and will be more careful of who i choose to make friends with

Anonymous said...

I was in this type of relationship, but it was also physically abusive. Although it made me a stronger woman..sometimes I wonder. Anyhow, I used my experience to help a young girl get out of a really bad relationship with a guy who went as far as cutting himself in front of her.

I explained to her he will not kill himself, enough is enough-she needs to get out. With the help of her family, mall security, and a good ole restraining order-lifetime one, she got out. He, as predicted, did not kill himself.

Anonymous said...

Not everyone that demonstrates these "symptoms" are emotional manipulators! Some people have experienced VERY traumatizing and abusive childhoods. They do not know or even understand how to cope or deal with these issues. It takes years of counseling and a strong desire to change and to heal. You only know what you have been taught and if you were consistently emotionally, sexually,and physically abused as a child (for years)then that is all you know as to life until you become an adult and make the promise to yourself of renewal. Most people do not get that far. The damage is SO extensive that recovery from it is too painful and instead of facing it head on they continue to live a broken life as a broken person. If you have never experienced these things as a child then you would not understand and would not be able to know what it is that person is truly going through and experiencing on a daily basis. I will not say that emotional manipulaters do not exist, but to manipulate implies that what the person is doing is intentional meaning that they are aware of their wrong doing and chooses to do so anyway! If a person is emotionally scarred and has not actively sought out healing to restore their selves then honestly they should not engage into any type of intimate relationship with another person to begin with. Their are red flags that should go up early to indicate that someone needs help and not a significant other. I do not agree that a person outwardly divulging sensitive details about themselves merits such a red flag. That person could just possibly seeking another to confide in or just someone to finally listen to their out pour of emotional pain and strife. If you are someone who is not up for the job then at that very moment you should shy away or truthfully tell that person that you are not a good candidate for their proposed intentions. Furthermore it can be said that someone who despite their instincts chooses to engage with such a person intimately is codependent themselves in seeking out to "people please" and by not having the objective response is also seeking approval and validation through "sympathizing" which is a symptom of low self esteem.

Kelly said...

It is as if a light bulb has gone off. Liberating to be able to now understand the reasoning behind the abuse. Emotional Manipulators. And so common!
Jean, can you share details of any books or articles you've read to help with your understandings and knowledge?