This week in my A-Z of alcohol misuse is the letter “M” for Manipulation. It’s horrible to think but do you relate to Feeling manipulated by a drinker? Somehow they get what they want and you’re left wondering how that happened?
Sometimes it’s not something you’re even aware of, it just seems to happen. The longer it goes on, you can get wise to it and realise that maybe they are “working” you to get their needs met.
I don’t feel bad about that anymore, because I know it’s me who is allowing them to get away an manipulate me if I don’t put boundaries in place. That’s easier now I have some space from the issues and I can spot it a mile away, but when you’re in the midst of it, it’s not so easy.
What is manipulation?
the action of manipulating someone in a clever or unscrupulous way
What’s behind the manipulation?
There is nothing nice about being manipulated, often you can feel like a fool or stupid for letting it happen. It’s not a reflection of you’re inability to see it happening, but on the person manipulating you.
Let’s get one thing straight, most people don’t manipulate others for no reason. For drinkers and addicts as a whole, they are simply trying to get their needs met. I’m not saying their actions at the right ones, but it’s understandable why they do it. They’re just trying to survive.
They have to accept the consequences of their actions, that they’ll upset and cause distance between them and others. But most of the time they won’t care about that in the moment.
However hard it is to digest, we all do what we do to survive and cope in life. Some people’s coping mechanisms don’t hurt others or in the same way. Who are we to decide which coping strategies someone else uses. You can only decide whether you allow this into your life, you can certainly control that.
How do you know if you’re being manipulated?
Obviously you need to recognise you’re being manipulated first off. If you relate to this, it’s likely someone is manipulating you:
- You compromise what you want, often because of so called “valid justifications” someone gave you
- Feelings of obligation, guilt for not doing something or choosing yourself over them, fear
- Experience feelings of fear about doing/not doing something they want
- They make you feel like something is your fault when it isn’t, make it all about you when it isn’t
- Someone is adding “conditions” to something e.g. “If you don’t do this then this will happen”
How can you deal with someone’s manipulating behaviour?
Feeling manipulated by a drinker, or anyone isn’t nice. Once you know you’re being manipulated, you can start to look at your boundaries. I did another post about personal boundaries you can read here.
- Spend time becoming aware, maybe it’s only happening with one person i your life, start to notice your feelings and their actions
- Delay your response to them
- Look at your feelings, whether that’s fear, guilt orsomething else – the more awareness you have the better – you can then choose to do something about it
- Avoidance is an option – however short term, because if it isn’t them it’s likely you’ll attract it with someone else
- Join my Change Your Mind Facebook group (link below) to chat it through
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Remember you aren’t alone and you can always join my Change Your Mind Facebook group, where other families of alcoholics support each other with challenges they experience from the past or present. You may have lived with an alcoholic in your past, but it’s still impacting you in the present.
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