In the past few years, I have learn a lot about emotional manipulation. A friend told me recently that some of my experiences was abuse.
Well, I have never been good at categorizing people and behaviors so I cannot agree or disagree. But I’m not getting into those experiences today.
Manipulation and blackmail, yes. It’s frustrating and I seldom get weak and give in.
Never give in to emotional blackmail/manipulation.
Just don’t do it!
It’s unhealthy. And this is you giving your power to someone else.
I ask myself, and I ask you – Why would you hand over your power to someone else?
Uh uh. There’s no way this could end well. It’ll leave you feeling powerless and
frustrated and so argh-y. Plus it’s you giving their ego a good boost and giving them clear permission to do it again. Because there is no way they are going to stop.
Unless you do.
You have to put an end to it.
No one else can.
How do you know if you’re being emotionally manipulated or blackmailed? Well, don’t ask me! I’m not that good at recognizing it either. Sometimes I only realise it later, or sometimes it takes someone else telling me!
I would say… try to figure out what thoughts and feelings you’re going through at that moment. Maybe you feel this tingly feeling all over, maybe your face feels hot…Now thoughts and feelings aren’t always reliable so you have to use your no-mind (I have no other word(s) to describe it – maybe the ‘space’ within.) – basically that raw sense of right and wrong.
Here are some of the ways I have been emotionally played with (just some which I can remember now – it’s usually that powerless feeling that remains.)
“If you don’t go with me, we won’t go either… So, will you go?”
That was a person trying to convince me to go to Ikea on a weekend. I had said no. Because I pass that place every day on my long commute to work, plus I had no interest in just looking at furniture. I don’t know why I’m explaining so much. Anyway, they didn’t go. Because they figured they didn’t want to buy anything anyway.
“You just want to meet me to give me something? You don’t want to meet me to talk or be with me?”
Now, this was me asking my friend when we could meet, because I had to give her a few items I bought for her from my trip overseas. And that it’d be good if she told me earlier so I could remember to take them along with me.
“You’re going? You don’t want to be with me?”
She was serious. My friend and I were casually hanging out it had been around three hours or so and I was thinking about either going to watch a movie with another friend or go home.
“You’re leaving me?”
This was what made my head spin (After I realised it was weird – which took a while and exchange of a couple of messages). That, was my dance instructor.
I decided to stop dance classes this year (free style and contemporary), as I wanted to focus on some other classes.
Not only did she stop taking classes after that, but she avoided my messages and also didn’t return the 3000 bucks she borrowed (I’d lent her money, because she said she didn’t have enough to pay her bills, and please could I help her out).
On top of everything, when I confronted her that it was amateur of her to ignore my messages and cancel classes for two months, she messaged me back saying that I was “blindly blaming” her.
When she realised I still wouldn’t be extending the dance classes with her, she stopped replying to my messages and didn’t bother refunding or returning the loaned money (and it’s been 5 months).
Even after all this, I felt bad and tried to message back as politely as possible, that I wasn’t ‘leaving’ her, and that she was welcome to visit my home whenever she wanted, and that I’m willing to finish my 8 hours within a week or two if she could just get back to me with her confirmation and that I’d please like the 3000 bucks back in cash (because she was trying to not pay at all, and include that in her fees for the next session).
I just realised how motivating I have been of her childish behavior and emotional blackmail – today. I knew it wouldn’t be as professional, learning from a freelancer as compared to a dance school, but I would have never thought that it could go this way.
My whole body was tingling when she asked me for the money. I should have gone with my instincts but instead I went against the instincts and signs and gave it to her (and her husband – who is patronising).
So overall, I’m tired of this situation and with all the other energy consuming, emotionally manipulative scenarios.
I’m going to have to come to terms with the fact that I probably won’t get to complete those classes or that money back, because I’m not going to go over there and ask them for it. I feel threatened and patronized by them – something I need to work on!
I was sort of shocked by this, so as usual, my reaction is to never meet or interact with them again.
Ah, well. So many lessons to learn, and this is just one of them. I have no idea why that couple affect me to the limit that I can’t even ask for my own money. But that’s what emotional manipulation does. It takes power away from you, and you don’t realise it because it’s very subtle, or when you do, it’s much later.
This, by the way, is not even scratching the surface of emotional abuse or manipulation. And it already feels frustrating. There’s a lot more to it, which I am not yet able to put down in words. But small things are as important as the big ones. The size of the situation does not matter. It shouldn’t be accepted, either way.
We have to put an end to this. Decide that we cannot be treated this way. That we don’t owe anyone anything.
But more importantly, we have to make sure we don’t do the same to anyone. We know how it feels. Why make anyone feel like that?