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Emotional Vampires, Anyone?

My close friend and critique partner, Catie Rhodes, and I have been discussing personality types a lot lately. People are downright scary, but the emotional manipulator can cause havoc on you, and the worst part is they can ensconce themselves into your lives before you truly realize how toxic they can be.

Now, we’re all guilty of some type of manipulation. Every one of us has told a white lie of some sort to get what we want. The difference is, most of us knew it and hopefully felt bad about it later. This behavior is so embedded in the emotionally manipulator it’s a part of their personality they aren’t even aware of.

Types of Emotional Manipulators (taken from The Counselling Blog).

The Constant Victim – This kind of individual will always finds a way to end up as a victim in their relationships.

One-Upmanship Expert – This person uses put downs, snide remarks and criticisms, to show that they’re superior, and know much more than you.

Triangulators – This person tries to get other people on their side. They’re quick to put you down, and to say some nasty things. They separate good friends or drive a wedge in families.

The Projector – This person thinks they’re perfect and others have the flaws. They take no ownership – because they’re never, ever wrong.  

The Flirt – This person uses flirting to get their way in life. They want to be admired and to have an audience. However, your feelings and your needs are of no concern to them.

Spotting An Emotional Manipulator

So how do you spot an emotional manipulator? It’s tough, especially if they’re in your close circle of friends. And once you spot them, you’re stuck between the cliché rock and a hard place. Are they worth keeping in your life? That’s a decision only you can make.

But if you do decide to hang in there, make sure you don’t allow them to have control over your emotions. When the EM tries to twist you up, don’t allow it. Tell yourself their issues are about them, not you. If an EM deliberately baits you, for example trying to engage you in a debate they won’t allow you to win, don’t engage, no matter how much your pride demands.

Dealing With Emotional Manipulators

Emotional manipulators control the room temperature. Whatever an EM is feeling, whether they are down in the dumps or on cloud nine, the room atmosphere flows around them. And if it doesn’t, they will manage the situation until it does.

I’m sorry that happened, but here’s what happened to ME. You could have a death in the family that day, and the EM will find a way to up the anti and get the attention turned back to them. And to be honest, I don’t think it’s a conscious decision by many of them. It’s just a deeply ingrained behavior. And calling them on this is a mistake – see my next point!

Being honest with emotional manipulators is a waste of time. They’ll turn it around on you. Example: “I’m really upset you’d say I hurt your feelings. I’ve got a lot going on right now, and I didn’t want to burden you. But I’m really sorry.” Even worse, you’re suddenly apologizing to them. You feel like you’re getting a load of b.s., and you probably are. Trust your intuition, always.

It’s all your fault. No matter what the issue, EM’s can make you feel guilty for slighting them in the smallest of ways. And many times, the slight doesn’t even make sense until they’ve twisted it around so you’ve got nothing to argue against.

To Wrap It Up

The thing to remember with emotional manipulators is that we can’t control their behavior. We can only control our own. Don’t allow an EM to have so much power over you that your daily life is effected.

Check out The Counseling Blog for the full list of emotionally manipulative behavior, and visit the reference links below for more strategies.

Eight Ways To Spot An Emotional Manipulator

Protecting Ourselves Against Emotional Manipulators

An Examination of Emotional Manipulation

The Perfect Comeback For Your Passive Aggressive Friends (courtesy of Catie Rhodes).

5 comments on… “Emotional Vampires, Anyone?”

  1. I think it’s important to understand that the people who do this don’t START OUT that way. In the beginning of our relationships, or we would never date them or become friends with them, we would run. They seem incredibly kind and supportive and make us feel wonderful. (Unless they are the in-laws, then all bets are off.)

  2. Read the post and found out I’ve been an EM for all my life. Saw someone last week who was in bad shape but managed to get the center of conversation focused on me. Have got to watch. In my case, shut up and listen and let what I’m doing lie until someone asks. Thanks

  3. Pingback: Review Roundup: Rising From The Ashes | Catie Rhodes

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