“Self-centered leaders manipulate when they move people for personal benefit. Mature leaders motivate by moving people for mutual benefit.”
John C. Maxwell, (Author, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership)
“Guilt is a useless feeling. It’s never enough to make you change direction–only enough to make you useless.”
Daniel Naveri, (Author, Another Faust)
“Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, to the next county, to a foreign country, but NOT to where the guilt is.”
George Carlin (Comedian and Actor)
I lost a close friend a few years ago.
I lost him because I had to cut him out of my life.
It wasn’t easy.
In fact, it was one of the hardest things I had to do.
We had a lot of similarities and I truly enjoyed his friendship.
He’d bust my balls and make me laugh constantly.
He was creative and successful.
He was one of the few people I learned from.
But he also made me feel weak.
He made me feel insecure.
Look—I know other people can’t “make” you feel insecure.
But I felt like crap around him a lot.
I valued his opinion because he was a good friend.
So when I achieved a goal or had an idea, I would share it with him.
This was always a mistake.
Instead of empowering me, this guy would tell me all the reasons I would fail.
He’d tell me it was a stupid idea and that I shouldn’t pursue it.
He’d remind me of all the times I failed in the past.
Eventually, I realized my friend didn’t really consider me as his friend.
He was a fake friend.
Someone who just kept me around – was just friendly enough with me – to keep tabs on me.
Finally, I cut him out of my life for good.
When I did this, the trajectory of my entire life changed.
It sounds dramatic, but it’s true.
Once I was free, and once I started eliminating other manipulative people from my life, opportunities opened up everywhere.
I published my first book, built my first online business, and successfully executed a dozen other ideas that I never would have started with these manipulative people still in my life.
How Manipulative People Sneak Into Your Life
Everyone thinks that manipulators are easy to spot.
Until they get manipulated.
Or guilted into doing something.
How does this happen?
Look—manipulative people don’t blast into your life announcing themselves with a theme song.
They sneak in.
They fake empathy and emotional intelligence as a cover-up for their true motives.
Someone who is emotionally manipulative will often expose themselves through “guilt mongering.”
A study from Carleton University investigated guilt mongering as an unhealthy frontline relationship maneuver that manipulators frequently use.
Manipulators sneak in, figure you out, and use what they know against you for their gain.
If you want to be happy and successful in life, you need to spot manipulators early.
You need to confront them directly and remove them from your life quickly.
Here are 3 points on how to handle manipulative people…
1. Have a “zero tolerance” policy for manipulation.
Keeping manipulative people around is ALWAYS a risk.
You might think that sometimes, this risk is worth it.
Maybe the manipulator has some endearing qualities.
Maybe he or she is fun to be around.
Maybe you think you’re immune to manipulation altogether.
Don’t fall into this trap.
Manipulative people will always cause some part of your life to unravel.
The problem is, manipulative people are not always obvious.
Instead, they often slither into your life as just the opposite.
They sneak in as a “soft sell” with ulterior motives, hiding their desire to gain control or power over you for their own benefit.
They often show up as people really interested in your life.
But manipulative people do not have your best interests at heart.
In fact, they aren’t thinking of you at all – other than how you can meet their needs and keep them happy.
Once they have what they need, they’ll want more.
Your relationship with them will always be unbalanced, both in power and effort.
You’ll waste emotional energy second-guessing yourself and feeling insecure.
You’ll resent trying to please them and feel weak if you change your behavior to make them happy.
If you feel these things in your relationships, you’ve already spotted the early signs of manipulation.
2. Refuse to let “guilt mongers” gain power over you.
If you don’t give in – if you try and set boundaries – they lay on the guilt trip.
One of the easiest ways to spot them is by paying attention to who makes you feel guilty.
Who makes you feel bad about yourself?
Who makes you feel like you’re never quite up to par?
Who takes what they have learned about you and uses it against you?
These are the people you need to eliminate from your life.
Have the guts to get rid of them as soon as you spot them.
Don’t try to change them.
Don’t try to rationalize their behavior.
Don’t indulge in the feeling of guilt they are trying to stir in you.
Of course, other people are not responsible for your feelings.
No one can make you feel guilty without your own permission.
People who psychologically manipulate others will always make sure you don’t appear better than them.
They will cut you down, attack your confidence, and work to create insecurity in you.
This makes them feel better.
Manipulators use their insecurity as justification for making others feel bad about themselves.
This is their problem.
They drain valuable time and energy and have no place in your life.
Don’t feel bad for these people.
Don’t waste your time trying to help them or show them they’re wrong.
They like the way they are – they like the attention and negative power it gives them.
Instead, simply eliminate these people from your life forever – no explanation required.
3. Use the “confront and cut” technique to eliminate manipulators.
The fastest and most effective way to tell if someone is a manipulator is by turning the tables on them.
For example, if someone close to you subtly reprimands you for being too confident, too successful, too pretty, too rich, too oblivious to other people’s feelings, or too whatever—throw it back on them.
Do not play the game. Be direct.
Ask them why they’re trying to make you feel guilty.
Ask them why they’re trying to make you feel obligated.
Ask them what they think you owe them.
These questions are difficult to ask, but they will quickly clarify whether or not someone is trying to manipulate you.
Direct questions like these throw manipulative people off-balance.
The best they can hope to do is label you as overly sensitive.
That’s when you know they’re using you to get something.
That’s when you know they’re trying to guilt you into doing something for their gain.
Once you identify someone as manipulative, do NOT give them a free pass.
Remove them from your life and replace them with someone who doesn’t try to use your own guilt against you.
Look—you get what you think you deserve, so set a higher standard for yourself.
Stop being gullible and start standing up for yourself.
Refuse to entertain unbalanced relationships of any kind.
Live your life according to your values and stop trying to please everyone.
Manipulative people are lurking everywhere. They prey on open, generous, and naive people to get what they want on their terms, with as little investment and effort as possible. Manipulative people find ways to take without giving. One of the ways they do this is to make you feel guilty. Cutting you down, keeping you beneath them, and laying on guilt when you fail to offer up what they want in full. You can spot them by guilt followed by blame under an umbrella of entitlement. It’s your fault, never theirs. They never take responsibility for their actions and are never reciprocal in the relationship. Once you spot them, get rid of them. No second chances. No make-up parties. One strike, you’re out.
To learn more about dealing with manipulators and overcoming feelings of guilt, and to get instant access to exclusive training videos, case studies, insider documents, and my private online network, get on the Escape Plan wait list.