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How to Handle Emotional Manipulation?

Hey Everyone,

So I have a person in my life that is very emotionally manipulative and I am getting to my breaking point. I wanted to post on here to see if I am being over sensitive to what this person is doing, or if I am completely right as to what is going on.

A perfect example: This person invites me to a luncheon, I politely decline because I am going Christmas tree shopping with H and SIL/BIL that day and we hadn't set up a specific time to go yet. I am super excited because this is H and I's first Christmas. Person responds with something to the extent of, "but it's only from 12-2".  I again politely decline, to only receive a response of "It's okay that you can't go, I can find someone else to sit with". 

Am I overreacting here? This isn't the first time that something like this happened and it happens at a minimum of 1-2 times a week. 

If I am not overreacting, how do I handle it? Do I just let it go and ignore it, or do I say something to them?

Thanks everyone

Re: How to Handle Emotional Manipulation?

  • Well I suppose if that is the best example you have then I think you are being a tad sensitive.  They are allowed to be upset and disappointed that you can't make lunch.  It's not like they said their whole day was ruined or anything. 

    I don't know.   If someone said that to me I would probably let it roll of my back and not think twice about it. 

    Now if there is more  to the story than I would like to hear it but based on that one example, yes I think you are being too sensitive in my opinion.  WIth out more info it is hard to know if they are being manipulative or if you are simply throwing the term "emotional manipulation" around everytime you think someones is disappointed with you.

  • You let it go/ignore it.

    I have one group of friends how love guilt tripping me into going to their events that I just cannot, or some which I frankly do not want to go to. They'll pull the "our event is later though" Or "you can just stop by" or "I never see you so you should come".

    I say no if I can't and leave it at that. Let them say whatever they want, it really doesn't change anything.

     

    EDIT: My answer is assuming that this person always gives you a hard time (more than just the example you gave which really isn't that bad at all)/

     

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  • Based on this example alone ... yes, I think you are really overreacting to call this "emotional manipulation."

    I get that you already made plans, but you really can't block out two hours to accompany a loved one (I assume this is someone close to you?) to a social event if they really need someone to sit with? I personally hate going to social events alone and I'm always appreciative if a friend or family member can go with me. It's not like your Christmas tree shopping trip is scheduled specifically from 12-2, right?

    And honestly, if I really would appreciate a friend's help, I'd be a bit annoyed if her only excuse was that she was planning to buy a tree that day and didn't even have a specific time set up. You can buy a tree anytime, especially if I'm only asking for a couple hours of help.

    That being said, if you've already made plans or if you just plain don't feel like helping out, then you're entitled to say, "Sorry but I can't make it this time." If you need to turn down a request for help, I would not give any excuse beyond, "Sorry but I can't make it" because specific excuses (like Christmas tree shopping) leaves room for arguments and hurt feelings.

    Are there any more appropriate examples you can give? Is this person constantly bugging you for things and then getting pissy when you can't help them out? How often do you help this person vs. turning them down ... and when you turn them down, why is that? (You have something better to do, you don't feel like helping, you just don't want to be around them, etc.?) 

    Anyway, to answer your question about what to do, I would not confront them because that will probably not do anything except start a fight. "Sorry but I can't make it this time" and no further discussion - lather, rinse, repeat, until they get the hint. 

    image
  • I agree with PPs that we need some more examples. That one incident isn't bad at all and just let it go.
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  • This chick needs to step up her manipulation game- if it was like 'Oh, you can't find a few minutes for me?  Hmmm, I guess I'll just get a good friend who has time for her loved ones to sit with me.  Don't bother yourself' that would be emotional manipulation.  From what you said, she just responded to you turning her down- she could have spun it way more b!tchy than that if she really wanted to emotionally manipulate you.
  • image jmaiuri:
    A perfect example: This person invites me to a luncheon, I politely decline because I am going Christmas tree shopping with H and SIL/BIL that day and we hadn't set up a specific time to go yet. I am super excited because this is H and I's first Christmas. Person responds with something to the extent of, "but it's only from 12-2".  I again politely decline, to only receive a response of "It's okay that you can't go, I can find someone else to sit with".

    Did you receive this response in person/over the phone, or via text/e-mail/Facebook?

    If you heard it straight from the person's mouth, I would not assume they were trying to lay a guilt trip on you unless the statement  was accompanied by a giant sigh or a really obvious attitude. In which case, you just shrug and say, "Sorry but I can't make it" and then ignore.

    If you got it over text/computer, or through their actual voice but without an attitude, I would just assume that they said, "I can find someone else" to make it clear that they were just hoping you'd say yes so that they could have company. 

    Again, though, if this is your best example then I think you're really stretching. 

    image
  • I do agree that I don' tknow that I see emotional manipulation from this one example.

    However, I also agree w/ a PP that you just need to say "sorry, I can't go".  Why did she need to know that you have plans, but a specific time hadn't been established?   Don't give her so much information then she can't argue back as much.

    I will say, though, that if she's coming back with "but this/ but that" - I have to wonder if you had just said "I have plans" if you wouldn't have then been peppered with "What plans?  When?" etc. 

    ETA: If, IF, this is what happens with her, maybe it's time to cut her off at the pass and say 'Friend, I appreciate that you want me to go, but I have plans and I can't go. I need to ask that you respect that and stop trying to disect my day."

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  • that's not emotional manipulation, it MAY be down right snotty or saying that to try to make you jealous but not manipulation.

    i agree if that's the worst example you're blowing it out of porportion.

    if not give us other examples.

    or you can choose to just not deal with it anymore and stop being her friend. or say something to her.

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  • Hello Everyone,

    There are SEVERAL other examples that I could give you, but I think you all are right. 

    I should just let it go. I think you just can't "sweat the small stuff" and I love this person enough to just not sweat it!

    Thanks ladies for all the excellent advice.

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