Emotional Manipulation

White man wearing black sunglasses smoking cigarette

Manipulators are all around us. Sometimes they are our friends, family members, acquaintances, coworkers or strangers. These people love emotional manipulation and can also use fear tactics to further attempt to control your thoughts and behavior. Itโ€™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.

Narcissistic man practicing emotional manipulation using shh sign

Emotional Manipulation: What to Look Out For

People who manipulate enjoy getting you to do things which aren’t in your best interest. They use tactics such as lying, deceit, passive-aggressive behavior, withholding information, gaslighting, psychological and physical abuse and even sex to achieve selfish goals. Some manipulators are very obvious in what they do and don’t hide it. They have mastered the art of getting others to do what they want. Other manipulators are very discreet and have learned to manipulate without the other person noticing.

All manipulators are dangerous to your mental health but I would argue that the discreet ones are most dangerous. The classic obvious manipulators are people with antisocial personality disorder and/or substance use disorders. These people get stuck in a life of crime or drug abuse, and resort to manipulation to make their ends meet. They’ve done so much manipulating in their past that it’s second nature for them. Discreet manipulators are those with narcissistic personality disorder or sociopathy.

Narcissists are excellent at getting what they want because their inflated ego is full of confidence. They tend to be sharp and emotionally intelligent and have mastered the art of manipulation. Sociopaths have similar traits in addition to dangerous behaviors such as killing, stalking, raping, kidnapping, etc. Either way, whether you’re dealing with an antisocial, narcissist or sociopath, they all have one goal: to win and to see you lose. Keep in mind that many people don’t have any of these personality disorders but still manipulate. They probably aren’t as intense as those with personality disorders, but they can still get away with manipulation if you’re aren’t aware of what they’re doing.

In the end, trust your gut feeling if you think someone is manipulating you. Your intuition is often right.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Things Change People Change

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When someoneโ€™s behavior changes towards you, sometimes you end up ruminating over it to the point of affecting your mental health. Things change, people change is something that you need to expect from now on. Don’t be surprised anymore when people change their behavior. It doesn’t mean that you did something wrong. As a matter of fact, you may be doing everything right and the other person just can’t handle it. Remember that you don’t always know people’s intentions from the start. Every relationship takes time for you to spot their true colors. Sometimes their true colors are hidden very well.

Things change people change: white man drinking bottle of alcohol

People Randomly Change

There’s no point trying to understand why people change because you may never find out the truth. This happens in all age groups from childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Because life is a journey with many ups and downs, people are prone to changing their thoughts and behavior. When this happens, you end up in their crosshairs, sometimes intentionally or unintentionally. It hurts to witness a friend change their behavior and turn into somebody else. The friendship you once thought you had is now replaced by another person.

So what do you do? Well, the first thing you want to do is to analyze yourself. Has your behavior changed towards them? Honesty is important because if you’re in denial, then you won’t be able to salvage the relationship. If you did change, ask yourself why? Sometimes changes are necessary, especially if it’s towards people who you no longer like or appreciate. This tends to happen when someone is abusing drugs or alcohol. It becomes painful to see them changed by drugs, so you start to change towards them in return.

If you didn’t change and someone else changed, then try to analyze if your behavior influenced them. If you can’t find anything wrong about your behavior, then don’t worry about it. This means that it’s coming from them and you can’t do anything about it. You can try pointing it out to them but this often doesn’t lead to good results. They end up becoming defensive and questioning your behavior, leading to no where. The best thing you can do is to retreat and let them contact you when they want to. If they continue to demonstrate a behavior which you don’t appreciate, then distance yourself. Silence is often more powerful than words.

Lastly, don’t get self-conscious and feed into their behavior. They know what they’re doing. If they really care about you, they will come back as their true self; the self that you once appreciated.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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Actions Speak Volumes

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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)

Make Lying Wrong Again

Grayscale photo of guilty woman smoking cigarette and looking upwards

Feeling Guilty Lying

The world has never stopped lying and nor does it plan to anytime soon. But you should! Lying is the act of deceiving others by stating intentionally false statements. It helps get your point across as well as get you out of uncomfortable and potentially damaging situations. But with that comes many consequences. That’s why we need to make lying wrong again!

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of starting to enjoy lying. You’ll notice that with lying, you can get away with words, actions and behaviors which you otherwise wouldn’t have. When this happens, you feel a sense of power because you can get away with something and not get caught for it in return.

When you begin to notice enough times how wonderful this feeling of power really feels, you become more tempted to continue lying. Eventually, lying becomes part of your repertoire. But the problem with lying is that it also changes your character over time. You might not notice it at first, but the more that you lie, the more that your values, integrity and morals begin to change.

That being said, one of the consequences of lying is the feeling of guilt. Your moral conscience is telling you, “what are you doing? This is not right! You were never raised like this.” When you feel guilty, you no longer enjoy the lie that proceeded it. So what people do is they either stop lying, or they continue to lie and become immune to their guilty feelings.

However, becoming immune to guilt requires a sacrifice; it doesn’t just naturally happen. That sacrifice is called your character. By accepting the act of lying and adding it to your toolbox, you learn to slowly ignore the feeling of guilt, while at the same time sacrificing your morals and values.

When this happens, you no longer feel the same as you once did; you become transformed into another person. People may or may not notice this transformation, but guess who usually does? You do. And when you start implementing this false persona on a consistent basis, that’s when you risk developing mental health problems.

The best course of action is to avoid lying as much as you possibly can. It’s a terrible and deadly habit to adopt. Sometimes you’ll find yourself in situations in which you won’t know what to do besides to come up with a good lie. When this occurs, you can reanalyze the situation at a later time of how you could have handled it without deceiving others.

We already made America great again! But how come we are still sinning left and right? Let’s make lying wrong again.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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Breaking The Rules

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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)

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