Does family manipulation sound like a new thing? You may be surprised to learn that manipulation can come from anyone – be it, partners, mothers or fathers… even siblings.
Partner manipulation has become pretty common. Many people have managed to get away from this sort of abusive relationship. However, manipulation is prevalent in all sorts of relationships, apart from the intimate sort. In fact, many people are reporting that family manipulation is also a problem. Mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers are all prone to become manipulative and abusive toward one another, and it can become a serious problem.
Family manipulation is mental, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse carried out by family members toward one another. This sort of abuse is generally used to control another for various purposes.
Signs point to an unhealthy relationship
Having grown up with your family may make it difficult to decipher any abusive treatment. Considering the components of manipulation include “brainwashing”, it’s hard to tell if you’ve actually been mistreated at all. Sometimes, it’s not until you’ve gotten away or moved out of the home that you realize the extent of the unhealthy situation.
Here are some warning signs that family manipulation is or has been a part of your life.
You will recognize family manipulation when lies are involved. Family members, especially the narcissistic kind, will tell lies easily. When direct questions are met with vague answers, this is one indication that manipulative lies are being told.
Liars will always be able to give half-truths to convince you that they are honest and reliable people. When in truth, they are only striving for what they want. A liar will always lie and tell more lies to cover the old ones.
Even family members will resort to the silent treatment. In fact, the closer you are to someone, the more chance that their narcissistic actions will display this sort of behavior.
Silence is one of the manipulator’s choice weapons because it get’s the work done with little effort. For those who are unaware of the tactics, the silent treatment can garner pity and groveling, which is exactly what the manipulator wants. They have won.
The selfless disguise
Truly selfless people are honorable. The manipulator can fool you into thinking they are selfless as well, but they’re really not. They actually have a deeper motivation which includes rewarding themselves and making everyone else think highly of their “outward motivations” – which are false.
While people are busy being proud of the manipulator, they are also falling right into the trap and helping the manipulator win.
Dysfunctional families are notorious for gaslighting. Sometimes you might even find an entire family that constantly tries to convince each other that they are all crazy. The sheer volume of madness present in some families is almost unbelievable.
Gaslighting, in case you didn’t know, is the ability to convince another person that they are crazy while taking advantage of them. I bet you’ve seen sisters or brothers doing this to each other. Honestly, this is so common, it almost seems like a normal aspect of the family unit.
Family manipulation sometimes comes in the form of intimidation. While it might not be straightforward threats, it can still be frightening enough to make you do what the manipulators want. This is what’s called “covert” intimidation which is veiled in a form of kindness, and it is hard to decipher at times.
Pay close attention to the choice words of the manipulator, and these words will reveal true intentions.
A manipulator will use guilt trips on a regular basis. If you tell them no, they will find a way to make you feel bad about putting your foot down. Sometimes if you ask the manipulator to turn the volume down on their music, they will turn it off completely.
This tactic is used to make you feel bad about asking them to tone something down and will return by taking something away entirely. It is also done to show you they have control, and yet you should still feel guilty. It’s weird, isn’t it?
If family members are shaming your weaknesses, then they are being manipulative. For instance, if you have an insecurity about your weight, a manipulator will make shaming comments about that topic. Their intentions are to keep you beneath them in order to retain control. If they can retain control, they will feel better about themselves in turn.
After all, manipulators, truth be told, have a low self-esteem naturally, and all their tactics are used to fix that.
Is your family manipulating you?
Let’s take this one step at a time. If you’ve always wondered whether your family was manipulators, you can use the warning signs to discover the truth.
After you know for sure, you can research ways to improve your life or get support from others. Maybe you can help your loved ones in the process. It may be a long road to healing, but its worth it.