Manipulating Your Mental Health

Manipulators are all around us. Sometimes they are our friends, family members, acquaintances, coworkers or strangers. Manipulators can also use fear tactics to further attempt to control your thoughts and behaviors. It’s important that you learn how to catch onto manipulative behavior so that you can protect your mental health. It’s not hard for someone to attempt to manipulate you but it can be difficult to catch onto their behavior if you’re not aware of it in the first place!

Depressed As A Doormat

Grayscale photo of depressed woman sitting next to window holding doll

When People Stomp All Over You

There are many people who were raised to not disobey their parents and argue back, but at a very extreme level. As children, they feared their parent’s disapproval and did everything they could to appear perfect. As they slowly exited out of adolescence and entered the real world, they soon realized that the way they were brought up was not suitable with people outside their culture. They found themselves to be depressed by their interactions with others because they always cared about what others thought of them; they also never had the strength to stand up for themselves.

Your upbringing defines your adulthood to a great extent. It’s when you’re a child and adolescent that your personality is molded and shaped into the person who will carry you to the end of your days. If your personality is not shaped well from a young age, you will experience difficulties in relationships later on in your life. When people stomp all over you, it means that you do not have the courage nor strength to argue back and stand up for yourself.

You give others the power and even turn them into authority figures, similarly to what you did with your parents growing up. When others make fun of you or point out your flaws, you become ashamed of yourself, almost internalizing and believing everything they say, rather than standing up for yourself. You may even experience what some like to call a “shutdown;” an episode of low energy, drive or motivation to do anything besides being paralyzed on your couch or in your bed. You become a doormat and everyone keeps walking all over you.

Even though you may have a job, raise children and still be functional, your interactions with others limit your happiness. If people are nice and get along well with you, then you find yourself having no problems. It’s only when those who argue back and critique you that you become frozen in time and no longer know how to react. You want to fight back, experiencing an internal desire to stand up for yourself and tell them, “stop saying these things! They are not nice and I don’t believe in what you are saying!” But sadly, you never learned how to do that growing up.

But it’s never too late! Psychotherapy is the process of analyzing your life and learning how to change your thoughts and behaviors. Anyone can benefit from psychodynamic/psychoanalytic therapy; you don’t need a mental illness to be qualified for therapy. If you find yourself in this category of persons who are functional but struggling with depression and problematic behavioral patterns, then I highly recommend you start psychotherapy! You will not regret it.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Actions Speak Volumes

Brunette girl helping brunette boy stand up in forest

Words Fade Away

We all have met people who talk it up when a certain topic arises; actually, when a lot of topics arise. These people will proudly put themselves on a pedestal and make it known to the world how great they are at a certain activity, or how familiar they are with a certain topic. But their words easily fade away because it’s actions that always speak volumes.

When you encounter these types of people, rather than becoming irritated and confronting them, allow them to voice their opinion while you lay low and casually observe. By doing this, you are actually going to find it quite soothing that you are not like them! This process allows you to appreciate how your character does not fall down to theirs.

Always remember that your words are no comparison to your actions. You may wonder, “Why? I always seem to say the right thing and get away with it! What’s wrong with that?” But it’s not about saying the right thing and pleasing others in return. People who rely on their words with little actions to back them up are usually insecure and untrustworthy.

And if you demonstrate actions that back up your words, but your words are nasty and hurtful, then they’re equal to nothing. What good does it do to this world to express hurtful and judgmental actions and words? God gave us a brain for thinking, a tongue for talking and a heart for loving!

You should always be putting a healthy emphasis on all of your words and actions. Even one single harsh word towards another person may be enough to cause them to kill themselves. Even one harmful action towards another person may be enough to cause them to go on a shooting spree.

Your actions speak volumes and the people around you notice them. It’s your responsibility to demonstrate proper and respectable behavior. Your behavior influences others, even if it’s not on a conscious level. Every person influences another person. And if we learn to demonstrate proper actions on a consistent basis, then this world will become a better place.

It’s time for you to take your actions more seriously.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Breaking The Rules

Black man with yellow wooden stool on top of shoulders and head

Your Rigidity Is Holding You Back

Ever since we’re toddlers, we’re taught about something called “rules” that govern our conduct within a particular activity or sphere. For the most part, rules are necessary in order to attempt to live in a structured and civilized society. Without rules and regulations, our world would be in even more chaos than it already is.

So as you can imagine, rules do not always have to be followed depending on the situation that you are in. All of us break rules on a daily basis without even knowing it:

  • We’re late to work by 10-15 minutes (but no one says anything about it)
  • We run the yellow and many times red light at intersections
  • We don’t fully stop at stop signs
  • Sometimes we pay our rent a few days late
  • Some people still torrent music and movies (forgetting that it’s illegal)

. . . and the list goes on. We cannot live a perfect life where no rules are ever broken. We constantly break rules without even knowing it. But there are people who are just way too serious regarding their conduct, allowing their rigidity to prevent them from living more flexible lives.

If you’re living a rigid life where you’re finding yourself always following the rules, and repeating the exact same actions day in and day out, then you might have found your answer as to why you’re not finding meaning and happiness in your life. Humans weren’t created to live as rigid creatures; God provided us with free will!

Even though Adam and Eve broke the first rule of all time and imposed sin and punishment on all future generations that followed, does not mean that you should attempt to live a life in which you are stuck within the rules established by society. Rigidity only promotes a dull life and a dull life promotes behavioral and mental health problems.

When you’re rigid, you’re not living: you’re experiencing the inability to be changed or to adapt to new circumstances in a psychologically healthy manner. When this happens, you’re essentially constructing a mental prison and voluntarily entrapping yourself in it. The worst part of it is if you lose the keys to your mental prison and become stuck indefinitely.

Many of us build a mental prison multiple times throughout our lives and not even know it! Some of us remain in these prisons for years or even a lifetime. Real prisons are actually not as bad as mental prisons: they at least provide a structured environment where inmates can participate in activities and learn from each other.

Prisons restrict one’s physical boundaries but mental prisons restrict one’s state of consciousness. Do you prefer being confined within a physical boundary for an X amount of years, or within your own mind despite having the physical freedom to navigate as you wish?

This is not to indicate that after reading this article, you should go out there and start breaking rules left and right. This is for you to take a step back and reanalyze your way of being, and to prevent yourself from constructing a mental prison which can hold you back. This is for you to break free from your rigidity and to start living life again!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Can’t Keep My Eyes Open

Tired young man laying in bed with sunrays shining on face

Exhausted But Still Kicking

The lack of sleep is a silent killer, similar to uncontrolled high blood pressure. While high blood pressure viciously attacks your organs such as your brain, heart, kidneys and more, the lack of sleep nonchalantly attacks your mental well-being. And so you start to rely on coffee, energy drinks, stimulants or a bunch of sugar.

While not the best way to go about your day, millions of people worldwide are sleep-deprived due to a poor sleep hygiene. Not having enough time to sleep is only an excuse propelled by those who actually do not have the discipline to get a full night’s 8-hour rest. It’s not hard to get good sleep, but are you interested in getting it in the first place?

The worst days are when you wake up and can’t keep your eyes open! All you can think of is emailing your employer, “leave me alone for today, I don’t want to think about you” and climb back into bed and peacefully snooze. That sounds nice and can definitely be done once in a while, but should not be your go-to-strategy.

And even if you sleep all day, it’s just not the same quality of sleep as you get during the night, especially when going to bed earlier in the evening. Sometimes it’s worth considering taking days off from work in order to refresh your mind and unwind your chakras. But your best strategy should be an awesome sleep hygiene!

You may be exhausted and still kicking, but is that really how you want to go about your day? Wouldn’t have it been easier to just go to sleep on time the previous night? But that’s where a lot of us struggle: we want to watch another episode of a Netflix show, talk an extra hour on the phone, fall deeper down the YouTube hole, etc.

The excuses for not getting enough sleep at night can pile up, until you become chronically sleep-deprived and start to experience a change in your mental well-being. Lack of sleep is associated with irritability, sadness, anger, anxiety and a poor outlook on life; it’s associated with feeling incomplete!

Can’t keep your eyes open but are still kicking? Good. A little pain is what it sometimes takes to make a change in poor behavior.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Being The Center Of Attention

Young black man talking to two young white women

Sharing The Spotlight

Learning how to be content with not being the center of attention all the time will serve you very well. It helps you realize that not everything is about you and that other people deserve just as much attention. By allowing the attention to shift within a group, you are promoting a nurturing and healthy environment for everyone to grow and learn from one another.

People who have difficulty with not being the center of attention are either suffering from histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder or have a very inflated ego. Guess what happens when attention naturally shifts away from them? They burst.

You want to be modest in life and by always being in the spotlight, you are actually inflating your ego, which prevents the development of modesty. A healthy balance is always key to developing and maintaining a stable state of mind and emotional wellbeing. It is more important for you to feel good mentally than to have your ego massaged on a consistent basis.

You will start to notice that you will appreciate yourself more when you don’t always have attention directed towards you. It helps you in many ways:

  • You become more observant of what other people have to say
  • You become more observant of how other people behave
  • You improve your listening skills and learn more from others
  • You give yourself more time to gather your thoughts
  • You humble yourself
  • You start to learn how to become more selective in your word choice
  • People become more appreciative of your presence
  • People respect the fact that you give others a chance to share the spotlight

Whenever you find yourself seeking way too much attention, take a step back and ask yourself, “do I really need all of this?” It is not about how much attention you receive; it is about the quality of the attention which you receive. Receiving less attention but delivering more memorable acts, is worth much more than receiving a lot of attention on silly and immature behavior.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Suffer The Results Of Your Behavior

Black man wearing a white sweater while reading a book

Knowledge Takes Practice

Knowledge is very important to have: it helps you build connections, maintain intelligent conversations and keeps you educated about different concepts in life. Knowledge can be acquired through life experience and reading.

No one can question your life experience! What you have gone through and seen with your own eyes is yours; you were there in that moment to take away something from it. Life experience is very valuable because it teaches you concepts and ideas which you cannot obtain from a book, such as relationships, decisions and valuable information learned from other people.

Reading teaches you information that can make you more knowledgeable on various topics. But one important point to make is that knowledge takes practice; you cannot read for a certain amount of time and expect to maintain the knowledge indefinitely. Your brain is constantly repressing old information no longer being used and applied and learning new information presented to it.

Your behavior is determined by many factors, including life experience and knowledge obtained from books. Therefore, if you lack significant life experience or you are not well-read, your behavior will deliver you results that may be subpar; you will suffer at the subpar level.

The solution is to expose yourself to as many different life experiences and to become educated through reading and learning from others. Knowledge does not last forever; you have to practice to maintain your current level of knowledge and to escalate it to higher levels!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)