How to Put a Manipulator in Their Place [5 Simple Ways]

How to Put a Manipulator in Their Place?

How to Put a Manipulator in Their Place

Anyone in your life can turn out to be a master manipulator – a parent, sibling, partner, friend, or colleague.

Living with an emotional manipulator can be harmful to your mental health. Before you consider strategies to put a manipulator in their place, you should first understand what makes a person a master manipulator and how to spot them. 

This article offers a detailed analysis of the mind of a master manipulator and comes up with suggestions on how to put a manipulator in their place. Let’s start with an overview of what constitutes manipulative behavior and signs of manipulation.

Manipulative personality disorder: An overview

The dictionary defines an emotional manipulator as one with a manipulative personality disorder. This is “a person who influences and controls people in a clever or unscrupulous way to their own advantage, often unfairly or dishonestly”. 

Manipulative people usually have charming personalities. They get close to you as your friend or confidant. They are the ones that always “understand” you and do exactly what you expect from a friend.

Manipulative people put you at ease with their friendly and easy-going manners. They welcome you with open arms when you are trying unsuccessfully to find a friend. They are kind and compassionate and everything you want a friend to be.

Unfortunately, for manipulative people, all their good traits are means to an end that you’re never expecting from them. They begin their relationship with you with love bombing. During this phase, they will shower you with so much love and attention that you never expect what is coming.

Once the love bombing stage is over, you will see the real personality of the manipulative person. After they have earned your trust with their overly friendly behavior, they will move on to manipulating you to do their bidding. 

5 ways to turn the tables on a manipulator

How to put a manipulator in their place? That is the million-dollar question.

Not only can the manipulators drain you emotionally, but they can also make life difficult for you. It’s not proper to continue to suffer at the hands of a master manipulator. You should either walk away from them or learn how to deal with them.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the choice to cut ties with them permanently. If you are forced to live with an emotional manipulator, you should learn self-preservation and self-protection strategies to neutralize the devious tactics of the manipulator. Learning how to beat a manipulator in a relationship is vital for your physical and mental health. 

But you should be careful about your moves. When a master manipulator gets to know that you’re aware of their manipulation, they may lose control. When a manipulator loses control, things can get uglier.

1. Stop saying “sorry” as an automatic response

You need to realize that apology is required only when you have done or said something wrong. If you’re in the habit of saying “sorry” too often and for occasions that don’t warrant it, stop the habit. It’s not just about apologizing alone. Stop feeling guilty when you haven’t done anything wrong.

A master manipulator is good at deflecting their blame and making you take the fall for them. You need to take a firm stand that you will not be taken for a ride. You need to decide that you’re no longer going to take responsibility for another person’s bad behavior. 

Manipulators find such people easy prey. They think of them as puppets and themselves as puppeteers. Stop their manipulative ways by saying “Enough! No more!”.

2. Learn to say “No”

If you have a hard time saying “No” to others, manipulators will take maximum advantage of your weakness. On the other hand, if you learn to say “no”, they will consider you an unviable target and move on to someone more subservient. From their perspective, it is a waste of time dealing with you when there is better prey available easily.

You may think that saying “No” to a person is rude and bad behavior. You just need to understand that you can say “No” in a civilized manner without being disrespectful. This is important to preserve your self-respect.

3. Restrict your contact with the manipulator

Nowhere it says that you need to interact constantly with people who are toxic to you. If it is a family member or a colleague, you may not be able to walk out on them and remove them entirely from your life. However, you can always minimize contact with them. Interact with them only if it is absolutely necessary.

When the master manipulator detects your strategy, they may get wise to your resistance, lose interest in you, and search for the next prey.

4. Avoid drama

A manipulative person thrives on drama. So to put a manipulator in their place, you should aim for cutting off this emotional supply. Manipulators are very good at fishing in troubled waters. If there are no issues or chaos, there are experts at creating them so that they can take advantage of the situation and the people involved.

Manipulators give you the impression that they are the most chilled-out people on the face of the planet but they get agitated at the slightest trouble. They don’t want others to be calm and settled down and want to keep them disturbed. It is when others are unsettled that they can work their schemes the best.

If you resist their tactics, they may leave you alone and find easier victims.

5. Don’t bother correcting their mistakes

This is a big “no-no”. Never should you attempt to point out their mistakes or try to tell them the right way to do things. This is something a master manipulator will never forgive. They hate to be proved wrong or corrected. In their eyes, they are the best and always right. They like to manipulate and control others and tell them what to do. Not the other way around.

If you try to point out their mistakes, they will consider you as a threat and adversary that needs to be kept down. They will raise the bar of their manipulative ways to suppress you further. In effect, this will aggravate the situation.

If you get into an argument with a manipulator, try to cut it short without making it worse for you. You may come back to the topic after things have calmed down.

Signs of an emotional manipulator

You need to develop the skill to differentiate between a genuinely nice and helpful person and a person with a manipulative personality disorder. Recognizing a master manipulator isn’t as easy as it may seem because they are good at hoodwinking you. You may find these signs helpful.

  1. They drain you emotionally.
  2. They ignore and transgress your boundaries.
  3. They use gaslighting techniques to sow seeds of doubt in your mind.
  4. They never own up to their mistakes and deflect blame.
  5. They are passive-aggressive in their approach.
  6. They play the victim whenever it suits them or if they can’t control the situation.
  7. They never stick to an opinion or a decision; they constantly change their minds.
  8. They use guilt as a weapon to get their way.
  9. They are dishonest and distort reality to suit their purpose.
  10. They give you the silent treatment when you don’t agree with them.

If you notice any of these signs or suspect being manipulated, the best choice for you is to keep your distance or else your mental health is bound to get affected. If you are in a relationship with a manipulative person, you better move out. But if your relationship doesn’t allow you this option, you should learn tactics on how to handle manipulative people so that you will stay unaffected by their manipulative ways.

Before going into the counter-tactics to put a manipulator in their place, you should have a better idea of what manipulators are scared of.

How can you scare a manipulator?

In many respects, manipulative people are similar to narcissists. Beneath the veneer of self-confidence and bravado, there lie oceans of fear and insecurity. You may wonder why they behave this way. The answer lies in the events of their childhood. 

They may have had traumatic experiences in the early days that made them insecure and vulnerable. If nothing was done to stem the rot, these negative traits will continue into their adulthood, sometimes turning them into master manipulators.

The things they are most afraid of are:

  • Failure
  • Look foolish
  • Feel vulnerable
  • Unable to get what they want
  • Exposure of their true self

Typically, an emotional manipulator will wear a mask to hide their true self. If you want to put a manipulator in their place, you should aim to remove this mask.

Final thoughts on putting a manipulator in their place

Besides taking care of your interaction with the manipulator, you can also work on yourself to boost your confidence and become more self-reliant. If you are confident enough to carry it through, pay them back in the same coin. 

Ignoring them, using their name, and maintaining eye contact are some more tactics for you to check out. If nothing else works, repeat why you can’t accept their request in the most monotonous voice like a broken record. Call them out when they generalize. 

Just remind yourself that protecting your interests is not being rude or insensitive. You have every right to self-preservation.


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