Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Big No No: Empathic Manipulation

I've heard many questions about whether or not Empaths have the ability to control and manipulate other people's emotions and responses. The answer is yes. But there is a name for this kind of thing. It is called Empathic Manipulation and it lays in the realm of Emotional Manipulation. So in a way, each term is interchangeable.

This is not a discussion to teach you to do this. It is a discussion to help you understand understand why it is a such big no no for Empaths.

There are two paths an Empath can follow. There is a middle ground, as well, where untrained Empaths dwell. The first path is that of the Altruistic Empath, who gives without the need or desire of receiving anything in return, even if it is a simple as a thank you. The second is the Egotistical Empath.

The Egotistical Empath is selfish and manipulative. They are the center of their own world. They tend to have high EQ (Emotional Quotient), which means they understand how people work emotionally. And they offer nothing without the expectation of something in return, because this is what their worth is based upon. And they are self serving masters of Empathic Manipulation.

The middle ground is a gray area in which undeveloped and untrained empaths exist in. They have no polarized toward either of these types yet, possibly because they do not consciously know what they are and how to use their gifts. So instead they walk around bearing the weight of the world upon their shoulders without understanding.


8 ways to spot Emotional Manipulation

1. There is no use in trying to be honest with an emotional manipulator. You make a statement and it will be turned around. Example: I am really angry that you forgot my birthday. Response - "It makes me feel sad that you would think I would forget your birthday, I should have told you of the great personal stress I am facing at the moment - but you see I didn’t want to trouble you. You are right I should have put all this pain (don’t be surprised to see real tears at this point) aside and focused on your birthday. Sorry." Even as you are hearing the words you get the creeped out sensation that they really do NOT mean they are sorry at all - but since they’ve said the words you’re pretty much left with nothing more to say. Either that or you suddenly find yourself babysitting their angst!! Under all circumstances if you feel this angle is being played - don’t capitulate! Do not care take - do not accept an apology that feels like bullshit. If it feels like bullshit - it probably is. Rule number one - if dealing with an emotional blackmailer TRUST your gut. TRUST your senses. Once an emotional manipulator finds a successful maneuver - it’s added to their hit list and you’ll be fed a steady diet of this shit.

2. An emotional manipulator is the picture of a willing helper. If you ask them to do something they will almost always agree - that is IF they didn’t volunteer to do it first. Then when you say, "ok thanks" - they make a bunch of heavy sighs, or other non verbal signs that let you know they don’t really want to do whatever said thing happens to be. When you tell them it doesn’t seem like they want to do whatever - they will turn it around and try to make it seem like OF COURSE they wanted to and how unreasonable you are. This is a form of crazy making - which is something emotional manipulators are very good at. Rule number two - If an emotional manipulator said YES - make them accountable for it. Do NOT buy into the sighs and subtleties - if they don’t want to do it - make them tell you it up front - or just put on the walk-man headphones and run a bath and leave them to their theater.

3. Crazy making - saying one thing and later assuring you they did not say it.
If you find yourself in a relationship where you figure you should start keeping a log of what’s been said because you are beginning to question your own sanity --You are experiencing emotional manipulation. An emotional manipulator is an expert in turning things around, rationalizing, justifying and explaining things away. They can lie so smoothly that you can sit looking at black and they’ll call it white - and argue so persuasively that you begin to doubt your very senses. Over a period of time this is so insidious and eroding it can literally alter your sense of reality. WARNING: Emotional Manipulation is VERY Dangerous! It is very disconcerting for an emotional manipulator if you begin carrying a pad of paper and a pen and making notations during conversations. Feel free to let them know you just are feeling so "forgetful" these days that you want to record their words for posterity’s sake. The damndest thing about this is that having to do such a thing is a clear example for why you should be seriously thinking about removing yourself from range in the first place. If you’re toting a notebook to safeguard yourself - that ol’ bullshit meter should be flashing steady by now!

4. Guilt. Emotional manipulators are excellent guilt mongers. They can make you feel guilty for speaking up or not speaking up, for being emotional or not being emotional enough, for giving and caring, or for not giving and caring enough. Any thing is fair game and open to guilt with an emotional manipulator. Emotional manipulators seldom express their needs or desires openly - they get what they want through emotional manipulation. Guilt is not the only form of this but it is a potent one. Most of us are pretty conditioned to do whatever is necessary to reduce our feelings of guilt. Another powerful emotion that is used is sympathy. An emotional manipulator is a great victim. They inspire a profound sense of needing to support, care for and nurture. Emotional Manipulators seldom fight their own fights or do their own dirty work. The crazy thing is that when you do it for them (which they will never ask directly for), they may just turn around and say they certainly didn’t want or expect you to do anything! Try to make a point of not fighting other people’s battles, or doing their dirty work for them. A great line is "I have every confidence in your ability to work this out on your own" - check out the response and note the bullshit meter once again.

5. Emotional manipulators fight dirty. They don’t deal with things directly. They will talk around behind your back and eventually put others in the position of telling you what they would not say themselves. They are passive aggressive, meaning they find subtle ways of letting you know they are not happy little campers. They’ll tell you what they think you want to hear and then do a bunch of jerk off shit to undermine it. Example: "Of course I want you to go back to school honey and you know I’ll support you." Then exam night you are sitting at the table and poker buddies show up, the kids are crying the t.v. blasting and the dog needs walking - all the while "Sweetie" is sitting on their ass looking at you blankly. Dare you call them on such behavior you are likely to hear, "well you can’t expect life to just stop because you have an exam can you honey?" Cry, scream or choke ‘em - only the last will have any long-term benefits and it’ll probably wind your butt in jail.

6. If you have a headache an emotional manipulator will have a brain tumor! No matter what your situation is the emotional manipulator has probably been there or is there now - but only ten times worse. It’s hard after a period of time to feel emotionally connected to an emotional manipulator because they have a way of de-railing conversations and putting the spotlight back on themselves. If you call them on this behavior they will likely become deeply wounded or very petulant and call you selfish - or claim that it is you who are always in the spotlight. The thing is that even tho you know this is not the case you are left with the impossible task of proving it. Don’t bother - TRUST your gut and walk away!

7. Emotional manipulators somehow have the ability to impact the emotional climate of those around them. When an emotional manipulator is sad or angry the very room thrums with it - it brings a deep instinctual response to find someway to equalize the emotional climate and the quickest route is by making the emotional manipulator feel better - fixing whatever is broken for them. Stick with this type of loser for too long and you will be so enmeshed and co-dependent you will forget you even have needs - let alone that you have just as much right to have your needs met.

8. Emotional manipulators have no sense of accountability.
They take no responsibility for themselves or their behavior - it is always about what everyone else has "done to them". One of the easiest ways to spot an emotional manipulator is that they often attempt to establish intimacy through the early sharing of deeply personal information that is generally of the "hook-you-in-and-make-you-sorry-for-me" variety. Initially you may perceive this type of person as very sensitive, emotionally open and maybe a little vulnerable. Believe me when I say that an emotional manipulator is about as vulnerable as a rabid pit bull, and there will always be a problem or a crisis to overcome.


Forms of Emotional Manipulation

1. Dominance — Abusive individuals need to feel in charge of the relationship. They will make decisions for you and the family, tell you what to do, and expect you to obey without question. Your abuser may treat you like a servant, child, or even as his possession.

2. Humiliation — An abuser will do everything he can to make you feel bad about yourself, or defective in some way. After all, if you believe you're worthless and that no one else will want you, you're less likely to leave. Insults, name-calling, shaming, and public put-downs are all weapons of abuse designed to erode your self-esteem and make you feel powerless.

3. Isolation — In order to increase your dependence on him, an abusive partner will cut you off from the outside world. He may keep you from seeing family or friends, or even prevent you from going to work or school. You may have to ask permission to do anything, go anywhere, or see anyone. Source: Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, MN

4. Threats — Abusers commonly use threats to keep their victims from leaving or to scare them into dropping charges. Your abuser may threaten to hurt or kill you, your children, other family members, or even pets. He may also threaten to commit suicide, file false charges against you, or report you to child services.

5. Intimidation —
Your abuser may use a variety of intimation tactics designed to scare you into submission. Such tactics include making threatening looks or gestures, smashing things in front of you, destroying property, hurting your pets, or putting weapons on display. The clear message is that if you don't obey, there will be violent consequences.

6. Denial and blame — Abusers are very good at making excuses for the inexcusable. They will blame their abusive and violent behavior on a bad childhood, a bad day, and even on the victims of their abuse. Your abuser may minimize the abuse or deny that it occurred. He will commonly shift the responsibility onto you: Somehow, his violence and abuse is your fault.


Common Characteristics of an Emotional Abuser

Male

1. He was verbally abused as a child, or witnessed it in his own family.

2. He has an explosive temper, triggered by minor frustrations and arguments.

3. Abusers are extremely possessive and jealous. They experience an intense desire to control their mates.

4. His sense of masculinity depends on the woman's dependency upon him. He feels like a man only if his partner is totally submissive and dependent on him.

5. Abusers often have superficial relationships with other people. Their primary, if not exclusive, relationship is with their wife/girlfriend.

6. He has low self-esteem.

7. He has rigid expectations of marriage (or partnership) and will not compromise. He expects her to behave according to his expectations of what a wife should be like; often the way his parents' marriage was, or its opposite. He demands that she change to accommodate his expectations.

8. He has a great capacity for self-deception. He projects the blame for his relationship difficulties onto his partner. He would not be drunk if she didn't nag him so much. He wouldn't get angry if only she would do what she's supposed to do. He denies the need for counseling because there's nothing wrong with him. Or he agrees to get counseling and then avoids it or makes excuses to not follow through. He might not want her to get counseling because, he reasons, she wouldn't have any problems if she only turned to him.

9. He may be described as having a dual personality -- he is either charming or exceptionally cruel. He is selfish or generous depending on his mood.

10. A major characteristic of abusers is their capacity to deceive others. He can be cool, calm, charming and convincing: a con man.

11. The mate is usually a symbol. The abuser doesn't relate to his partner as a person in her own right, but as a symbol of a significant other. This is especially true when he's angry. He assumes that she is thinking, feeling, or acting like that significant other -- often his mother.

Female

1. She was verbally abused as a child, witnessed it in her own family, or was verbally abused by a previous partner.

2. She has low self-esteem.

3. She has an intense temper, triggered by minor frustrations and arguments.

4. Her sense of power or control depends on her partner's acquiescence and his performance per her demands. She feels "in control" only if her partner is totally passive and giving in to all of her preferences and decisions.

5.
She has rigid expectations or fantasies of marriage, partnership, or men, and will not compromise. She expects him to behave according to her expectations of what her partner should be like; perhaps the way her parents' marriage was, or its opposite. She demands that he change to accommodate her expectations.

6. She projects the blame for all relationship difficulties onto her partner. She wouldn't get angry if only he would be who she wants him to be... She wouldn't drink if he didn't make her unhappy... She denies the need for counseling because there's "nothing wrong with her, only with him." She might not want him to get counseling because she's threatened by the threat of an outsider "taking sides" with him.

7.
Abusers are extremely possessive and jealous. They experience an intense desire to control their mates.

8. Abusers often have superficial relationships with other people. Her primary, if not exclusive, relationship is with her husband/boyfriend.

9. She may be described as having a dual personality -- she is either sweet or exceptionally cruel and sharp. She is selfish or generous depending on her mood.

10. A major characteristic of abusers is their capacity to deceive others. She can be sweet, calm, charming and convincing.

11. The mate is usually a symbol. The abuser doesn't relate to her partner as a person in his own right, but as a symbol of a significant other. This is especially true when she's angry. She assumes that he is thinking, feeling, or acting like that significant other -- often her father (or other family member or authority figure).


Symptoms Of Emotional Abuse

1.
Being frequently humiliated, criticized, and undermined.

2. Feeling like you cannot discuss your problems with your partner or spouse.

3. Being constantly ridiculed for expressing your opinions.

4. Feeling like you are being isolated socially.

5. Having a limited access to places, resources and finances.

6.
Having had your partner stole money from you.

7. Having had your partner running up debts and leaving you to pay them off.

8. Feeling like you are in a pendulous relationship where your partner swings from being emotionally receptive and warm to extremely distant.

9. Feeling like you have to give in to sex to avoid an otherwise impending argument about it.

10. Feeling like you are trapped in the relationship.

11. Having had your partner throw away or destroy your personal stuff.

12. Having had objects destroyed.

13. Feeling afraid of your spouse or partner.


So what does this have to do with you? Perhaps nothing, save the ability to understand your gift a little better. But if you've ever had the question, 'Are Empaths capable of manipulating another person's emotions?', then you should pay close attention to what is written above because Emotional Manipulation is Emotional Abuse, just as Empathic Manipulation is.

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