Monday, March 9, 2009


From Harriet Braiker's

Seven Keys to
Resist Manipulation

(Pgs 176 - 204)

Step 1: Playing for Time
Once you learn to build in time to think about your options, your sense of control will increase immediately… Notice that you are not asking permission… Take comfort in the fact that your feelings will change as your behavior changes. But you must do the behavior first, and your mind will follow.

Step 2: The Broken Record
It is critical that you do not become engaged in a conversation with the manipulator about why you need time, what you are going to think over, or when exactly you will be ready to respond and do what the manipulator wants. If you get pulled into this morass, you will lose control.
Acknowledge that you hear and understand the manipulator by accurately labeling the emotion or feeling that is being expressed. Repeat your play-for-time phrase just like a broken record.

You will not – and should not! – enter into an explanation, question-and-answer session, or discussion of any content of what the manipulator is saying.

Step 3: Desensitizing Anxiety, Fear and Guilt
To resist manipulation effectively, you must learn to tolerate some pretty uncomfortable feelings.

[You’ve got to buy the book for this extensive summary!]

Step 4: Labeling the Manipulation
As long as the silent contact between you and the manipulator remains in tact, the power of the manipulation will as well. However, when you disrupt the collusion and reveal the hidden agenda by clearly and directly labeling the interactions as manipulation, the power balance will realign in your direction.

Step 5: Disabling the Manipulation
To disable the manipulation, you need to state that you understand the manipulator’s goal, but that the manipulative tactic she is choosing to use will not work to accomplish that goal.

Step 6: Setting Your Terms
[Also explained in depth in the book!]

1.) Announce your intention.

2.) Teach the manipulator how you want to be treated.

3.) Establish clear boundaries and limits.

4.) Ask the manipulator to acknowledge that you have needs, values, opinions and preferences for your own behavior, that, while they many be different from his or hers, they are not bad or wrong.

5.) Tell the manipulator that you are hopeful that by setting limits and reestablishing your personal integrity, the overall quality of the relationship for both of you will improve.

Step 7: Compromising & Negotiating
While there is no compromise or negotiation of the tactics used by the manipulator, there needs to be healthy give and take on meeting your respective needs and preferences. As you will recall, a hard-core manipulator is only interested in serving his own interests and his own ends. Left to his own devices, the manipulator will not automatically be looking out for what you need or desire.

"To Resist or Leave, That is the Question"

(Pgs 172 - 175)

If you are caught in a web of interpersonal manipulation, your immediate goal is to stop participating as a compliant victim who yields to pressure and capitulates to insidious, coercive or unfair tactics of control. There are two approaches to this goal: Resistance and/or Extraction (leaving the relationship altogether). In a turn of the tables, both approaches comprise the countercontrol that you will now exercise over the manipulator....

You will do this by inserting a period of time between the manipulator’s request or demand and your response.

When you resist manipulative pressure successfully, you recalibrate the power balance in the relationship. You must realize that this shift in the power equation inevitably will alter the relationship and the behavior of both parties involved. Do not be afraid of this change...

Since you will initiate the changes and will hold your ground, the manipulator can choose either to adapt to your lead or else remain stuck in a strategy that no longer works, at least as far as the relationship with you is concerned. You must keep your eye on the prize: By remaining clearly “on message” – that the old manipulative methods will no longer effectively work to control you – you can reclaim your freedom, autonomy, self-respect, integrity, and self-esteem. This is absolutely a battle worth fighting and winning...

And many manipulative personalities – particularly those that comprise full-blown personality disorders, as discussed previously – simply do not and will not change....

For such individuals, manipulation of others is their modus operandi – their immutable way of functioning. When you proclaim your independence from manipulation by effectively resisting coercion and pressure, the manipulator’s response simply may be to change partners and continue dancing. If you will not play the game, the manipulator will find a more vulnerable target who will....

Remember, manipulators use manipulation because it works.
Stop helping them.


There are worse consequences than leaving or losing a relationship altogether. Certainly losing yourself in the fog of manipulation – losing sight of who you are and what you value, need and believe – would be a truly dire outcome. Remaining a victim of manipulation, diminishing your self-respect or integrity, and losing your self-esteem are far too high a price to pay for holding onto the elusive or illusory security that such a relationship may represent.

Finally – and this is important – if your willingness to be manipulated costs you a relationship,

What did you really have in the first place?

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