Evasion – Manipulation Tactic 8

When you confront a manipulator or any disturbed character about their behavior, they will often attempt to sidestep the issue or to avoid the subject altogether.  They want to keep the spotlight off their problematic behaviors.  They also don’t want their true character to be exposed or to be put on the spot (i.e. caught momentarily without a good offensive strategy for taking advantage of another).  So, they are quick to dodge the important issues brought to their attention.  When you ask them a direct question, they will not give a straight answer.  Instead, they try to evade or sidestep the question and often also try to re-direct your focus (this is another tactic called diversion, which will be the subject of another post).  

Evasion is a one of the main tactics manipulators and other disordered characters use to maintain control in situations.  A common misconception, based largely on outdated principles of classical psychology, is that they engage in such behaviors because they perceive themselves to be under attack and are trying to defend themselves and protect their egos.  But the real reason they use such tactics is to keep others in the dark and in one-down positions.  The disordered character never wants the playing field to be level.  He or she always want to have the advantage over you.  They also don’t want to play by the same rules by which we’d like them to play.  So they use tactics like evasion to avoid responsibility as well as to manipulate and control others.    


12 thoughts on “Evasion – Manipulation Tactic 8

  1. Indeed, some evasion tactics I’ve encountered are changing the subject(especially to a fault of my own), quickly enough so that I cannot keep up logically. Playing dumb(feigning innocence) of course, calling me paranoid. Some more interesting and complex ones:

    “I do manipulate, but I don’t do it intentionally”

    “Yes! OK! I’m a bad person! Do you have to rub it in my face!”

    “I think you’re right, I probably have manipulated you, but I’ve blocked it out because I feel so terrible about it. Thank you for pointing this out”

    I agree Dr. Simon, that the classical model is not only inaccurate, but manipulators are quick to exploit these archaic, pity inspiring explanations. The manipulator may simply state that they are “in denial” or they do it “as a defense”, or a more cunning one will act accordingly with such a belief, and let their target make these conclusions on there own. I proved my girlfriends guilt, in cheating, one time. There was nothing she could say in her defense, so she ran up into the attic, put her head in her hands, and starting making these whaling/screaming sounds of hysteria. I thought: “Wow! I’ve made her face the truth. I should leave her alone this must be overwhelming right now.
    Looking back, the next day, it hit me that this was a performance. Later, of course, she completely denied any memory of this event(as though she had ‘blocked it out’)

  2. No thank YOU. Your articles and your first book helped me save my sanity. To be fair, I should elaborate on one of my examples:

    “I think you’re right, I probably have manipulated you, but I’ve blocked it out because I feel so terrible about it. Thank you for pointing this out”

    -Technically, such a statement isn’t necessarily a lie. A manipulator often times will have a very clouded sense of awareness. Some tactics may develop early in life via respondent conditioning(trial & error). I swear my dog manipulated me very effectively many times.

    But, such a manipulator may also easily recognize what an easy excuse this is, and SOME of the time be completely lying about their lack of awareness.


    you shouldn’t be digging this deep into a manipulators mind. They do not deserve this much close interest and attention.
    Being demonstratively paranoid is a good catch-all defense against such people. Even if it is a bit manipulative in itself.

  3. I hope I’m putting this in the right site so here goes;

    Every five weeks my husband, myself, my brother and his wife have lunch or dinner together. We keep our conversation fairly light.
    A topic came up with regards to my sister-in-law putting on a birthday celebration for her mother this summer, my SIL is having problems getting commitments from her five brothers. The celebration is thousands of miles away and really all her mother wants is to have the “boys” and her daughter attend quietly, my SIL is having problems with her brothers spouses as they are wanting to change things, add more people and so forth.

    As she is relating this I’m looking at her dumbfounded, mouth wide open as she said her mother is at an age where she can’t cope with having so many people “at home” at the same time now.

    I managed to reply ” I remember years ago the exact situation happening with my parents and their three daughter-in-laws nixing the entire thing because they refused to allow their husbands to go without them”. In response my SIL said in a la,la, smiley voice “oh yeah I remember something like that” knowing full well she was one third wholeheartedly responsible for that special request never happening, ever.

    I have managed over the years to bury resentment I’ve had for this woman because of a series of incidents to do with manipulation and evasion, I’ve held resentment for my brother as well because he has no balls and seems stunned. Stunned even when I pointed out very calmly that their predicament is almost the exact same scenario to when I tried to put something together for our parents. This is a woman who blew me off when I explained to her that my aging parents found it very difficult to have everyone home at the same time. Her words at the time were “that’s ridiculous”.

    I have a younger CD brother who I have gone no contact for almost 2 years and it will go on forever (best decision I ever made) and I have a CD sister-in-law wed to my eldest brother whom I’ve gone no contact with as well but I’ve lost the brother too. So this stunned one I have is it, I can’t just let him go as well because it’s not so so bad with his wife that I can’t deal with it but my question is this;

    Can someone become this detached to their involvement in the shitty things they’ve done to other people. I see her controlling ways with her husband (my brother) I see her do it in so many ways and It’s almost like she’s mentally challenged to tell this story of woe when she did the same thing to me and my parents.

    1. Sidney,

      Yes, they can be that detached and have character and control issues. I think you are handling it the best you can. It seems she puts on whatever hat suits her, thereby, justifying what she feels is right, regardless, of how others will be affected. She sounds rather selfishly immature and bossy.

      1. BOTV,
        I loved what you said and it describes my SIL very well. She DOES wear whatever hat suits her to justify what she feels is right and she IS very bossy. I forgot about the word bossy.

        When my SIL was telling the story about her troubles with her brothers it made me relive the situation I had with her and two other SILs years ago and of course it brought up old feelings. Both her parents are alive whereas both of mine are gone, it was always the importance of her family over her husband’s and when it came to my parents it often went as far as disregarding them. Yet, she will get teary eyed if they are brought up!!
        My parents were incredibly generous over the years and added to that generosity through their will. My SILS will benefit from their legacy and it galls me.

        My SIL is Born Again Christian and I am non religious. I have to wonder what she is like with her “church friends”. I wonder about the dynamics of their relationship. She is not a very charitable person and she is surprised to hear that we are when she asks us what we’ve been up to. I scratch my head when it comes to people like her. One thing for certain I’m not in her sights, I have nothing she wants so she doesn’t manipulate me, she saves it all for the family and friends who are close to her.

    2. SYdNeY,

      You have a large family. And, good thing seems to be that only some are problem character that too of a milder category. Lucky you! 😉

      Yes. Entitled and selfish people are like that. A higher ranked character disturbed person would not partly admitted “oh yeah I remember something like that”, but would have lied right away: “No! I was in full support of short gathering, but…”
      … you did not confirm (blaming)
      … then I fell sick” (playing victim)
      … we had too many troubles that time (playing victim)
      … your brother refused (blaming)
      … your mother could have infected others (callous)
      Blaming others, playing victim, and sometime both in same sentence, comes naturally to such characters. They spend a life practicing such skills.

      I think you did well showing the mirror politely.

      That’s life. Spend energy such that one enjoy good time with good people, keep bats outside house, and run far away from vampires.

      1. Andy D your comments are dead on and yes she is in the milder category. I simply find her frustrating. As I said to BOTV she is “Born Again Christian” and told me that she can never lie.

        Boy was that a whopper.

  4. Sidney,

    AndyD sure nailed it and so methodically too. I think you handled things nicely, your brother doesn’t know how lucky he is to have you. Your probably the most logical of the whole bunch.

    As far as your SIL hiding behind Christianity, many of the worst CD hide behind the cloth. The Bible says you will know them by their fruit. In Christianity, it is a known fact we sin daily in thoughts, words and deeds and need continual forgiveness. It is also a known fact in society, everyone lies everyday in some way or another.

    Your SIL is deluding herself, in fact when she says she doesn’t lie she is lying. How blatant can you get, anyone with an iota of common sense will know she is a liar when she professes she never lies.

    DC seem to be oblivious to how ridiculous they sound telling others they don’t lie. DC lie to themselves, deep down inside the CD do know they are liars, they just hope you may be gullible enough to believe them.

  5. I have another dilemma that I’d like some direction on. I have a friend who I’ve known for 45 years. For the past 20 years it’s been mainly long distance but she comes to the city I live in to visit friends and family and I’ve gone to her home too.

    When we lived in the same city she and her husband were our “rich” friends and I enjoyed watching how they lived. It wasn’t over the top but my husband and I lived well within our means and we didn’t have a lot of disposable income. One year we went to their beautiful home and almost froze to death because they wouldn’t turn the heat up. The next time I went to visit alone and again the same thing happened even though I had asked before making flight arrangements if heat was going to be an issue. I was assured it wasn’t but it sure as hell was.

    Over the course of the past few years my friend has said while in discussions about house projects or craft activities or travelling “we’re so broke”, or “we can’t afford to do that” and so forth. The last time I visited I was not only frozen out but she hinted heavily about needing gas money for the excursions we had gone on! I had taken her out for lunch twice, brought a hostess gift and purchased my own beverages. I was there for 3 days! I was red-faced for her when I handed over gas money.

    Fast forward to this past February when we were invited to a home they had recently moved into. Each move has been a substantial upgrade and so we made flight arrangements, rental car arrangements and had the ferry times figured out. I once again asked about the heat and she assured me it was not going to be a problem. Three weeks before we left she was telling me about a conversation she had had with her eldest son and his girlfriend about the importance of planning for retirement. My friend said “I told them we have hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings and another retirement fund of $250,000 we haven’t tapped into yet”, I immediately asked “then why do you always say you’re broke”? this is not the first time I’ve asked this and it’s always met with a diversion. Now I have verbal proof they are not broke but I had given her the benefit of the doubt until now and I can’t seem to move past it.

    We didn’t go to visit them after all, we went to the same city but made an excuse. I have been distant and they are coming into my city in a couple of weeks but I’m not feeling it for our friendship anymore. This is a 45 year relationship and she knows the issues I’ve had with CDs in my life especially with covert manipulation. Any advice would be appreciated.

    1. SYdNeY,

      I think you have enough proofs to assume their statements to be lies unless proven otherwise.

      So, assume following:
      – Heat is going to be a problem, unless you go there and come back not feeling cold.
      – She tried to extract some money from someone (possibly her eldest son and/or his girlfriend), but were quickly shown the door with a comment that she spent all her earning and inheritance without any regard to the future. Believe above unless her eldest son and his girlfriend come praising her for her wisdom and farsightedness with regard to retirement.
      – She has negligible, if at all any, money in savings and retirement funds, unless you see glittering gold. Note: all that glitters is not gold.

      If your relationship with her had always been give-give-and-give-some-more, then it will remain so.

      I also strongly feel that you are not the only one long-time friend. She probably has few more. She probably treats them same way. And the kicker is that she won’t ever let you know about other friends.

      Let her go. You will be surprised how fast you will get dumped.

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