Most of us have come across manipulators at some point in our lives. It’s hard to escape them or their emotional abuse.
Often manipulation goes undetected because they are good at concealing their intentions. Manipulators will continue to exercise control over you without you even realizing it for a long time. This is not good for your mental health.
Instead of you pointing fingers at them, the manipulator will make you feel insecure or guilty with simple statements like “Why are you always angry and irritated?” or “You are so bad at doing things on your own”.
If you are the gullible kind, you will take these statements at face value and believe that you are at fault. In case you get wise to their manipulative ways and decide to fight back, what are your options?
Can you just ignore a manipulator? What happens when you ignore a manipulator?
This article helps you find answers to these questions.
Who is a manipulative person?
The word “manipulation” is used in many contexts but what makes someone a manipulative person? What is a manipulative personality disorder?
Manipulation is defined as using undue influence to control others for their own gains. The underlying reasons for manipulation are often the desire for power or insecurity. This may happen intentionally or otherwise.
A manipulative person will try to control your behavior and actions with emotional abuse, tampering with your thought process, and influencing your decisions. They will guide you in such a way that your efforts are beneficial to the manipulator. Your mental health will suffer as a consequence.
Manipulators use a variety of tools and techniques to make you do their bidding. Gaslighting, projecting, devaluation, generalizations, and smear campaigns are only some of them.
How to confirm someone is a manipulator?
As manipulative people are highly skilled at hiding their true colors and presenting a friendly persona, it is not easy to spot them. It’s best to rely on signs to detect someone with a manipulative personality disorder.
Manipulators are so convincing that you willingly believe that they are always right and can never go wrong. They are good at twisting facts to suit their narrative. However, to achieve this, they will resort to finding excuses and laying blame on others.
A manipulative person may seem confident and self-assured. They claim to know everything that needs to be known. If you dig deeper you will discover the truth about their ignorance or limited knowledge.
They want to control every person and situation they get involved with. However, when things don’t work out the way they expect them to, they will lose their temper and patience. They will demand to have their way even if it harms others.
Cooperation and compromise are alien concepts to someone with a manipulative personality disorder. They always decide what they want and manipulate others to toe their line, even if the manipulation tactics they employ are dishonest, unethical, or illegal.
You need to fight back against emotional abuse to safeguard your mental health.
What happens when you ignore a manipulator?
1. They get wise to your power
Ignoring a manipulator is a way of fighting back against their underhanded manipulation tactics. So, when you ignore a manipulator, they will take it as resistance on your part. You are refusing to stand by and allow them to walk all over you. Even if this method is non-confrontational, it will have an immense effect on the manipulator as you are hitting them where it hurts – their ego.
When you ignore the manipulator, they will feel their power over you eroding and you taking back control of your life. When a manipulator loses control over you, they are not going to like this even a bit.
They will try to draw you back into the game by making you feel guilty or convincing you of your wrong. They will try to drive a wedge between you and your support system. You can expect them to utilize every manipulative tool available at their disposal to keep you under their control. This can be devastating for your mental health.
2. They realize that they’re losing control over you
When you ignore a manipulator, they will come at you with all they have got to keep you under their control. They will try to convince you that they are powerful and others are accepting their superiority. They think that by maintaining the facade of control over others, you will be convinced to remain bound to them.
However, if you continue to resist them, they will have no choice but to accept the truth. They would consider this an insult, humiliation, and rejection of their power. But don’t expect them to give up so easily. Even after all this, they will try to retain their power over you.
3. They may try the conciliatory approach
When threats and similar manipulation tactics are not having their desired effect on you, they will try the softer approach. The manipulator will try to be friendly and take advantage of your kind-heartedness. They try to be your friend and use the relationship to get what they want. Making you feel guilty is a common tactic used by manipulators to draw you back into their fold.
They will try to convince you that you don’t need anyone else for help and support. They will try their best to separate you from your support system. If nothing else is working, they will try to get your sympathy by playing the victim. They will make you believe that you misunderstood the situation and made a mistake about the intentions of the manipulator.
4. They may lose interest in you
If you can put up sustained resistance to a manipulator, they will initially try to retain control over you but eventually feel bored of the constant struggle. Manipulators are interested only in easy targets. They aren’t interested in putting in too much effort. Then again, with so many gullible people in this world, a manipulative person doesn’t feel the need to put up with your continued resistance. They can always find other easier targets.
In reality, they are still interested in you but consider you as too much effort. In other words, your resistance is working and the manipulator is forced to rethink their strategy.
5. This will lead to a crisis
As soon as the manipulator realizes that you are aware of their evil schemes and manipulation tactics, they will get into damage control and try to retain and regain their power and control over you. They may start this slowly and more mildly, but when they see that you are not ready to relent, they will up their ante. Your continued resistance will anger them and may prompt them to go all out in their attempt to keep you in their folds.
All these efforts will create crises in your relationship with the manipulator. Some of the probable scenarios are:
- Refusal to interact with you or the silent treatment
- Cancel dates or fail to turn up as agreed
- Flirt, date or have sexual relationships with others openly
- Violate the informal rules of your relationship
Some more consequences of ignoring a manipulator
- They will find reasons to blame and guilt-trip you.
- They will find ways to make you feel ashamed and remorseful.
- They play the victim card and blame everything on you.
- They continue their portrayal as the victim in front of others and blame you for mistreating them.
- They use self-victimization to justify their actions and portray them as defensive measures.
- There is less likelihood of getting dragged into arguments with them.
- They will try to separate you from your support system.
- They are forced to confront the truth.
Can you bring down the manipulator by ignoring them?
The short answer is yes. By ignoring the manipulator, you are striking them where it hurts the most – their ego. Manipulators are bullies and like to push you around. So ignoring them is a powerful tool against them. They feel threatened and powerless by your silence and refusal to acknowledge their actions and words.
However, the hard part about this strategy is carrying it through. Things may get tricky and complicated when you ignore a manipulator. In fact, they won’t let you ignore them. Emotional manipulators have feelings for you. This complicates the issue.
When they notice that their actions and words do not have any traction with you, they may try harder to get a reaction from you. This can make matters worse for you. This is not good for your mental health.
As you know, arguing and confronting a manipulator doesn’t work for obvious reasons. They use manipulative strategies like gaslighting to convince you that you are wrong. On the other hand, ignoring a manipulator doesn’t involve active interaction with them. That makes it easier than any other tactic to deal with the manipulator.
This is the perfect plan for someone who wants to avoid conflict. You just need to be mentally tough to stand your ground and make it clear to the manipulator that their behavior is wrong and unacceptable.
However, ignoring them may not solve the problem permanently like walking away. If you are not in a position to walk away and your efforts at ignoring them are not producing the desired results, you have no option but to have an honest conversation with them.
Final thoughts on when you ignore a manipulator
Ignoring a manipulator is an excellent strategy to prevent emotional abuse and take back control of your life. To make this a success, you need to accept that the manipulator is not going to change their ways. It can be either they don’t want to change or can’t. Because if they change, they lose their identity; they can no longer manipulate others.
When you ignore a manipulator and refuse to interact with them, you’re sending them a message loud and clear that you are no longer willing to take things lying down. You find their actions unacceptable and you will not tolerate such behavior.
If you’re lucky, this will do the trick.