Recognizing Psychological Manipulation

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Manipulation is a form of abuse that may go unrecognized.  Abuse, whether it is emotional, sexual or physical, is a traumatic experience. This type of abuse is linked to gender based violence.

There is an increased level of gender based violence in Liberia is likely to result to marital rape, suffering to women, deprivation of liberty, threats of violence – leading to physical harm such as battering, psychological harm and gender inequality.

These risk factors may be a tough pill to swallow, however it must be made known.

We Liberians have the tendency to overlook issues in our society. Somehow we think the problem will solve itself, or we say, "It is the next man’s problem".  If we do not take a stand now, the next generation will ultimately fall prey to abuse or continue the cycle of abuse. It is within our power to address the matter, to render support and advice to our neighbors – to educate both women and men within our communities.

The purpose of this article is to recognize the signs of abuse, what it involves, how to safely move on, how to manage the situation and key ways to handle a manipulative person.

After conducting research on the subject matter, I discovered that most abusers gain power and control over their victims by using various manipulative tactics.

Psychological manipulation is an attempt to indirectly influence the behavior and actions of someone else through mental distortion and emotional exploitation and to seize power, control, benefits and privileges of a victim. The manipulator can do so by detecting a weakness and consequently using that weakness against their victim.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A MANIPULATOR

* The manipulator will exploit your weaknesses and make you feel inadequate. You may blame yourself for not meeting their needs. Being manipulated to feel bad about yourself, will lead you to eventually surrender your power and rights.

* Manipulators may be charismatic and often have a hypnotic hold over others.

* Some manipulators go from being highly polite to one individual and completely rude to another – or totally helpless one moment and aggressive the next. The manipulator will frequently play the victim.

* A psychological manipulator is also a bully and will try to intimidate, verbally abuse and humiliate their victim.

* Manipulative people use guilt, shame, lies and trickery to get what they want. They can never admit to being in the wrong.

HANDLING A MANIPULATIVE PERSON

* Prioritise your work and social life

* Keep your distance and create a healthy lifestyle

* You have the right to say “no” without feeling guilty. Psychological manipulators will make requests or outrageous demands to make you go out of your way to meet their needs. Use time to your advantage by saying, "I will think about it".  Some may demand immediately action or response. Remember you have a right to be respected. Say NO.

* When dealing with verbal abuse, confront the abuser with a friend or relative. Create your boundary, be confident in your response to the abuse and down play their insults.

* Express your feelings, opinions and wants.

LEAVING AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP

* Talk to a trusted person about the violence.

 * Change your daily routine, contact number and work route or hours (if possible).

* Keep a journal of all violent incidences, noting the dates, events and threats made.

* Identify a safe place to stay.

* Set money aside. Ask a friend or family member to keep hold of the money.

* Life is like a game of chess. To win you have to make a move. Knowing which move to make comes with INSIGHT and knowledge, and by learning the lessons that are accumulated along the way.

“We become each and every piece within the game called life!”  – Allan Rufus

Liberian women have a natural ability to endure trying circumstances. We also possess great inner strength to overcome challenges.

Knowledge along with awareness is a powerful tool; it is most useful in the handling of potential abusers and manipulative individuals. It promotes social change and will effectively decrease the number of cases being reported.

Educating women on the main categories of abuse will encourage them to seek help; they will gain strength and courage in the process; it will empower them to help other women living with abuse .

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