Aggressors can easily have you emotionally on the run. But you gain power when you hold ground. The best way to do that is to keep emotion out of things and judge and deal with behavior only.
Manipulators come in two main varieties. Most are covert-aggressors who carefully cloak their true intentions. But some others are more overt in their ways. They rely on a different strategy. But both types count on one thing to get their way: the characteristics of their targets.
Sometimes it’s the most decent things about us – things that it would behoove us never to change – that make us vulnerable to the most character-impaired.
Neurotics want to do the right thing and for things to go well as a result. They take it hard and are perhaps too quick to engage in self-reproach when things go wrong. Disordered characters, on the other hand, tend to take adversity in stride and blame everyone and everything else when bad things happen, even when those things really stem from their own actions.
Covert-aggression is at the heart of most interpersonal manipulation. What the artful, subtle fighter knows is that if they can get you to doubt yourself, explain yourself, and question your judgment, there’s a good chance they can get you to back down, back-off, or better still, cave-in.