Family Manipulation Tactics and How to Deal with Them
Self Help

Family Manipulation Tactics and How to Deal with Them


Every day, we see many attempts to manipulate those around us. But not everyone uses the same strategies when doing so; some will cry or beg, some will threaten, and some will provide praise. Furthermore, the nature and quality of our relationships with different people will likely influence the strategies we choose. It could entail utilizing conditional love as a form of control, isolating family members, guilt-tripping, or gaslighting.

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Manipulative family members also frequently employ financial manipulation, psychological blackmail, and triangulation as strategies to further their goals. The deep-rooted emotions, attachments, and dependencies that are a part of family ties are frequently the cause of the complexity of familial manipulation. These weaknesses can be used by manipulators to further their agendas, uphold their authority, or satisfy unfulfilled needs—sometimes at the price of the welfare of other family members.

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Common Tactics Involved in Family Manipulation

  • Trivializing the Emotions: To trivialize someone else’s emotions is to diminish their significance. Sayings like “You’re being too sensitive” or “There’s no need to get angry over such a small thing” are examples of what someone might say. A person who is trivialized feels as though their wants and feelings are unimportant.
  • Using emotional blackmail: Emotional blackmail is a tactic used by people to threaten harm to the other person if they do not cooperate. To persuade someone to act in a certain way, someone may employ fear, humiliation, or guilt. Emotional blackmail has the potential to damage someone else’s conscience and make them feel unworthy or low on self-worth.

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  • Gaslighting technique: Gaslighting is a tactic used by someone to manipulate and dominate another person. One may behave as though a genuine incident or circumstance is only in their thoughts, or they may deny that anything has happened. A victim of gaslighting may begin to doubt their emotions and mental health as well as feel lost and powerless.
  • Taking on a victim role: Someone may pretend to be a victim to control other people. A person who engages in abusive behaviour may try to hide it by assigning blame and accountability to others. By playing the victim, someone can manipulate people into feeling sorry for them, which makes them take the blame for their actions.
  • Being Aggressive: Threats, violent words, or actions can be used to exert control over another individual.Employing insults and putdowns to degrade someone in front of others, making someone feel foolish or acting as though they don’t understand them, becoming enraged in a way that scares the other person, threatening to harm themselves, the other person, people they care about, or a pet, or persistently changing the topic.

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  • Isolation Techniques: Isolation can be a tool used by someone to control others. A person who wants more control and power over others may keep them away from others who could provide them with emotional support. Indications that a family member is manipulating you by isolating themselves can include:
    • Restricting a person’s ability to leave the house, such as by blocking access to transportation, making people feel guilty for seeing other people
    • Discouraging or prohibiting them from seeing their friends or other family members, and wanting to know what other people are doing and to be in constant contact.
Dealing with Family Manipulation Tricks

Fortunately, there are many strategies you can employ to shield yourself during the holidays from the impact of manipulative parents, siblings, or other relatives. Establishing boundaries regarding what you will and won’t accept is the first step. Should your manipulative family member decide to go too far, be ready to deal with the fallout.

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Refrain from giving the other person the advantage. It’s unhealthy, for instance, if your mother maintains a list of the favours you “owe” her for
everything she has done for you. Never accept a favour that has conditions attached to it. Being mindful is a beneficial diversion from negative influences at home. Instead of taking the other person’s behaviour personally, keep in mind that you are not accountable for it. Practice holding off on responding. It’s not necessary to give in to pressure, start a quarrel, or accept a trip when the other person asks. Tell your loved one you need to give it some thought before deciding if you’re concerned they’re trying to control you.

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Asking for help from others can be beneficial. You can first discuss the situation with your partner, closest friend, or other family members. This can provide you with the comfort you need. Therapy from a professional aids in the processing of years of manipulation and stress over the holidays. Managing manipulation in your family can be a difficult and intimidating experience. Nonetheless, you may protect your welfare by using the methods this article outlines and becoming aware of the warning signs of manipulation.

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Always prioritize your own mental and emotional health, and don’t be afraid to seek outside help when you need it. It’s important to remember that you are capable of setting limits and asserting yourself in relationships. Speaking up for yourself and taking ownership of your decisions can help you develop closer, more open, and sincere relationships with the people you care about. Take action and deal with deception in your family without hesitation by utilizing these unusual but effective strategies.

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