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How to Deal With Emotional Manipulation in The Workplace

Emotional manipulation is rampant in many workplaces. The main aim of a manipulator is to influence and control the action and behavior of others. They use tactics such as distortion of facts, lying, concealed threats and discrediting others. Manipulative people will detect your weaknesses and use them against you. To avoid being taken advantage of, you need to take proactive steps to deal with the situation.

Here are some tips for handling emotional manipulation at work:


1. Stay away

The behavior of a manipulator usually varies depending on the situation they are in. For instance, a manipulator could speak rudely to one person, and act politely towards another the next moment. When you notice such extremes frequently in an individual, it would be advisable to stay away from them. Don’t interact with this individual unless you really have to. This will protect you from being a victim of manipulation.

2. Know your rights

Knowing your rights is very important when handling a manipulative individual. In addition, you should be ready to defend yourself when you feel that your rights are being violated. Here are some of your basic rights in the workplace:

  • The right to express your opinions, feelings and wants
  • The right to be respected
  • The right to say ‘no’
  • The right to have your own priorities
  • The right to protect yourself from emotional, mental and physical harm

Emotional manipulators will try to violate your rights so as to take advantage of you. Take charge and don’t allow anyone to cross your boundaries.

3. Ask questions

One major tactic of manipulators is making unreasonable demands from you. They will then expect you to do whatever it takes to meet your needs. When you hear such demands, you need to counter them with probing questions which the manipulator has to answer. For instance, you can ask:

  • Is what you are demanding fair?
  • Is that a request or an order?
  • Does my opinion in this matter?
  • How do I stand to benefit from this?
  • Do you seriously expect me to (repeat the request)?

Asking such questions will cause the manipulator to question their own motives. As a result, some are likely to back off. However, others will simply ignore your questions and continue making demands. In this case, you can apply any of the other tactics.

4. Buy time

Most manipulators will want you to respond right away to their demands. This is a tactic normally used by salesmen when trying to close a sale. However, don’t succumb to the pressure of responding immediately. Instead, find a way of buying time and withdrawing from the person. You can simply say ‘I’ll think about it’. These are powerful words which will allow you to get away and weigh the situation.

5. Learn to say ‘no’

When it comes to communication, knowing when and how to say ‘no’ is very important. When said diplomatically, it allows you to defend your rights while maintaining good working relations with your co-workers. If someone is not willing to take ‘no’ for an answer, you need to mention the consequences for violating your rights. For instance, you could threaten to report the matter to your supervisor.

Applying the tips above will help you earn the respect of your colleagues and make your at work more bearable. Share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comments section below.