Manipulators: The Boundary Novice's Bogeyman

Manipulators are the absolute worst -- the Big Bad Bogeyman --  for people with weak boundaries. These self-serving bullies inflict shame onto others in order to make them feel that they did something wrong.


So that the victim feels a sense of powerlessnes, thus ensuring the manipulator remains in control. Please remember there is absolutely NOTHING to control. This imaginary control is what a manipulator feels to be important: to be the Man Up to the victim’s Man Down. They want others to feel subservient and their own ego validated and inflated.

The shame that washes over the victim breeds feelings of powerlessness, and powerlessness typically leads to depression. It is an insidious, free-floating, amorphous depression that the victim experiences but does not know its origin.

The manipulator’s favorite game is played like this: Bully. Shame. Powerlessness. Depression. An evil and sick cycle the manipulator enjoys for sport, but a game that requires two players: one player who inflicts the bullying and the shame, and another to play the powerless victim who becomes shamed and depressed.

The key is to opt out of the game. Be a quitter! Walk away from the table. 

How? What's a Boundary Novice to do?  Let's review some therapy tenents:

1. What can you control? (Only yourself!)

2. Where are your boundaries? (Inside. They are an internal mechanism)

3. Where do you live? (In the present. Not the past when you were a child or the future about which you must worry)

When someone tries to "get" you, recognize it and then embrace that internal mechanism that protects you from manipulation (your boundary). Observe dispassionately. Stay in the present (don't go back in time to when your parent was scolding you).

Today, I used this simile: Exerting a boundary is like standing in a bar with your friends, drink in hand, when a fight breaks out. You quickly move out of the way so you don’t get hit and spill your drink and then, unperturbed because it doesn’t involve you, simply stand aside and watch the action.

Let the manipulator engage with himself; keep calm and carry on!