One of the most common instances of emotional manipulation I’ve faced is that while the other person may pressure you and give you ultimatums, they’ll remind you that ultimately, it’s your decision.
That, regardless of what influence they may have, you will always be the guilty party. They aren’t forcing you to, so that absolves them from any blame and placing it upon you instead.
Some examples, in my experience, are:
- They’ll remind you that every decision has consequences (and normally in the situation, they’re the ones that give you that consequence.)
- You’re responsible for your own actions, but they aren’t responsible for theirs - while you can’t be influenced by what they do, they can by you. If you make a mistake and they get upset, the fault is yours. However, if they make a mistake and you get upset, it’s still your fault - that it’s either your fault that they made the mistake, or that it’s your fault for being upset by the mistake.
- They make themselves out to be fair and reasonable people.
- They often remind you of their right to have an opinion and to criticize. “The truth hurts,” is a commonly used phrase. Their view of a harsh truth is normally intended to shame you, rather than give you room to reflect and improve.
- While they tend to be the ones doing the blaming, they’ll tell you that you always blame them. You never give them a break, you never allow them to be upset with you.
Arguing with people like this will end up just taking you in circles, and ultimately ending with the same conclusion that they’ve presented to you: it’s your fault. No matter how they treat you, you are responsible for your own feelings - therefore, if you’re hurt over what they’ve said, they cannot be told that what they did was wrong. It’s not their fault that you were influenced.
If it’s applied to someone else, they’d at least understand that words hurt, and you’re responsible for treating others with respect. For them alone though, somehow it’s everyone’s fault but their own. Nor can blame even be shared. There is no mutual ground. No understanding. No acknowledgment of wrong doings if they’re the culprits.