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.
Once you’re intimately familiar with all the tactics they habitually employ to: 1) get the better of you; and 2) look good while doing it, you can be more sure of your judgments about your manipulator’s character.
Recognizing manipulation tactics and knowing how to respond to them is the key to personal empowerment.
Rather than openly assert power over you, covert-aggressors use subtle tactics that not only blind you to their real nature and self-serving agendas but also have the power to bring you to submission and control you.
2012 was a banner year for consultations. And I owe a big “thank you” to everyone who contacted me. I can truly say that I got as much if not more out of the experience than I trust those with whom I visited did.
When it comes to understanding and dealing effectively with disturbed characters, it’s hard for helping professionals who still embrace traditional models of viewing human behavior to get things right. And those who’ve been in relationships with disturbed characters and sought help through counseling often ended up feeling frustrated, misunderstood, and not validated. Even worse, sometimes, the “monster” they dragged into therapy is so good at impression-management that the therapist appeared swayed. Seeing the disturbed character’s behaviors and tactics for what they really are is a prerequisite for facilitating real change.
After years of being manipulated, abused, and controlled, survivors of dysfunctional relationships can experience a variety of emotions that make it difficult to move on, even after mustering the courage to leave. Self-questioning, doubt and blame can pose real obstacles on the road to recovery. Life after a manipulator can be a welcome joy indeed, but it’s not always so easy to get there.
Many of the things we were taught to view as defensive behaviors are more rightfully viewed as habitual responsibility-avoidance behaviors and tactics of impression management, manipulation, and control.
If you’re dealing with someone in your life who fits the description I offer of the disturbed character, despite the fact that you might feel tempted to believe otherwise, they’re probably quite aware of the behavior that’s driving you nuts.
A new article will feature an expanded discussion of the important issues and will include even more examples that illustrate how you can know for sure that most manipulators know exactly what they’re doing when they engage in their tactics. Look for it in the next couple of days!