If you have been a frequent target of manipulative people, you may feel frustrated and disappointed in humanity. There are ways to gain insight and develop a persona that will repel those who want to gain control over you.
Victims of manipulators often have attractive qualities, such as being pleasant, cooperative, and compliant. These traits may have served you well when dealing with your parents and your teachers, and now on the job.
However, in spite of the positives, you may feel incomplete, that you are not sexually or socially appealing, or you are not intelligent or talented enough. A skilled manipulator can sniff out your feelings of inferiority and exploit them by using praise or affection to temporarily relieve them. But your compliant nature ultimately will give them what they want.
To counteract this, you can find ways to build up your self-esteem and confidence. If you give yourself credit for the things you do efficiently and correctly, you may decide to broaden your education and try new things; you might even find you have talents you were unaware of. The more you become self-contained and emotionally self-sufficient, the less room there will be for an exploiter to worm their way in.
You probably remember party games kids played, wherein you had to figure out what the secret rules are to be in on the joke. For example, in the game called “scissors” everyone passes a pair of scissors and declares whether they are “open” or “closed.” This is confusing to the unaware because the secret rule has to do with whether your legs are crossed, not what’s going on with the scissors, which is the distraction. Once you have figured out the gimmick, there is no going back, and if you play a similar game, you will catch on sooner.
Manipulators are clever at using distraction to keep you confused about their true motives. But once you catch on to their patterns, and tricks, you will lose patience for playing their games.
It is sad to realize a manipulative person has a jaded and entitled world view. While you were learning as a child to be compliant and people-pleasing, they were learning to use bullying, charm, and/or dishonesty to get their way. Even though they can sense weakness, self-doubt, and emotional pain in others, manipulators often don’t feel any responsibility for helping to alleviate it in a altruistic way.
Whatever they are offering, they expect to get back much more in return. If they sense you have become dependent on them in any way, such as for your self-worth, they will lose the impetus to reward you as often and will begin to exploit your fear of loss and feelings of inferiority.
To repel a manipulator, you need to disconnect from them and quit:
Simply start saying no and become unavailable. Don’t waste time trying to reason with them, because this will inevitably pull you back in the game. When you are firm and emotionally self-reliant, the manipulator will eventually go find an easier target.
To gain insight, work on self reliance, and get at the root of any unproductive beliefs you may hold, you may benefit from seeing a therapist for a short period of time. Gaining confidence will make you less attractive to manipulators, and conversely, more attractive to other confident and sincere people.