Diversion Tactics of Manipulative People (2)
Following from the previous article on different diversion tactics, here are a few more employed by toxic, manipulative people.
This tactic is a way of making your thoughts, feelings or opinions seem irrational or absurd. It is a way of drawing attention to your flaws or lack of experience. For example, if you were to say you thought what someone was doing wouldn’t be the best course of action they reply, “Oh so you’re an expert on this?”
A malignant person will invalidate your right to have a thought, opinion or feelings around something they’re doing by reframing what you’re actually saying. They will even put words in your mouth by telling you what you meant. It is an attempt to prevent you from establishing or maintaining your boundaries by making you feel guilty. If you were to communicate how their behaviour hurts you they may reply, “So that makes me a bad person then?”, or, “Of course you’re just perfect aren’t you?”
People who misrepresent what you say often jump to conclusions, as if they can mind read. What they don’t do is actually listen to what has just been said and give a considered response. Narcissists will often react based on their own delusions of themselves. When they put words in your mouth it is a form of defending themselves pre-emptively. They will tell you your motives and accuse you of having intentions to hurt and offend them. They don’t however apologise any harm they cause.
So long as the toxic person can divert attention away from themselves by blaming and shaming you for your opinion they believe they have succeeded. Ways to help manage your boundaries are to ask questions like, “What is you think I’ve just said?”, or “How did you arrive at that conclusion?” Even just stating, “I never said that” can help you keep a sense of your reality and their delusion. If the person continues to create their own narrative and refuse to listen just leave the conversation. People like this only win if they think you believe them.
This often occurs when a toxic person feels envious and fears losing influence and control over you. They believe any kind of self will, efficacy, happiness or fulfilment on your part might lead you to leave them. This tactic is all about destroying anything you have or do that doesn’t involve them. They will try to isolate you from your friends and others who validate you, so they can be the centre of your life by making you dependant on them. They will sabotage your goals. Special events will be ruined by them pretending to ill or creating an argument.
You could be abusively manipulated either overtly through aggressive rage and displeasure, or covertly through a ‘poor me’ attitude. The goal is to have you conditioned to believe your strengths, memories and qualities are wrong or bad. They do this through criticizing, being disrespectful and showing frustration at you. This is a way of conditioning their victim to believe any sense of self will is selfish. Statements like, “I’m doing all this for you and all you ever think about is yourself.” Are common.
Alternatively, they may act like a victim living in a state of unfulfillment. Statements like, “I wish I had friends…”, “I’d love to be able to do that, but I can’t afford it,” or, “Huh, lucky you.” Are ways of playing on your sense of guilt.
Over time to become afraid of the very things that you enjoyed or felt pride in. You may feel like you’re walking on eggshells around them and abandoning your own needs for fear of being accused of being selfish. Remember when it comes to narcissism, your healthy sense of self and ambition for the future is something they don’t have.
Jokes with a jab (passive aggression)
This form of abuse involves making insulting remarks at your expense. If you call someone out on this, they will claim it was only a joke and accuse you of not having a sense of humour. It is a form of verbal abuse while maintaining an air of innocence. It’s a way of making you feel there’s something wrong with you for not ‘getting it’. You may even find yourself accused of being too sensitive.
We all tease each other playfully from time to time but when it’s consistent, and you can see a gleam in their eyes it’s fair to say they are getting pleasure from hurting you and getting away with it. A toxic person will express displeasure if you make a similar remark to them.
If you experience this kind of behaviour it’s okay to stand up for yourself by making it clear the remarks are hurtful and you won’t tolerate them. If someone wasn’t aware of the harm they were causing they will apologise and stop. When you’re dealing with an abuser be aware they may engage in further gas lighting behaviours but try to maintain your stance. End the interaction if you have to. It is a way of showing them there are consequences to their behaviour. Toxic people don’t always respond to reasoning but they often respond to consequences.
More diversion tactics from abusive and toxic people to follow next time.
This article was written by sentientcounselling