How to Deal with an Emotional Manipulator at Work

You have felt their presence at the workplace, even if you have never heard them speak out in public. They are working behind the scenes, getting others to speak for them or do things for them. They do not want to be seen as the ones critical of a new initiative, so they make sure others stand on the dais for them. An emotional manipulator will use underhand, abusive, and deceptive methods.

This co-worker will have mastered the art of getting others to bend to their will. They are good at making others feel incompetent to fulfill their self-centered agenda.

emotional manipulator

Why This Matters

There are numerous dangers to having an emotional manipulator at work. For one, they can push employees with talent to the edge or even out of the company. Besides that, they can cause workplace conflict that leads to reduced output for the entire company. Another thing is that they can negatively affect the emotional climate at the workplace. This can result in everyone just having a negative attitude towards his or her work. It can even cause company profits to diminish if they are not spotted.

Manipulators are dangerous at the workplace because they usually want to advance personal goals. They put aside the aspirations of the company to achieve theirs. For instance, if they want a top-level managerial job, they may make it hard for the person occupying the seat to get anything done. In the end, he or she will quit or be fired. Emotional manipulators can bring down careers that have taken years to build all for self-glory. For them, it is about winning without any consideration to what that might mean for others.

6 Ways to Deal with an Emotional Manipulator Effectively

1. Know Your Rights in the Workplace

The most important tool in your arsenal when dealing with an emotional manipulate is to know your rights. Always be alert to ensure that they are not violated. As long as you are not harming others, you have the right to defend yourself at the workplace. Some of the rights include the right to:

  • Be respected;
  • Have an opinion;
  • Say No;
  • Fair pay.

In a workplace, psychological manipulators will have no regard for these rights. They will attempt to deprive you of your rights so that they can use you for their own gains. However, if you have knowledge on your rights, they will not stand a chance.

2. Keep Contact at a Minimum with Them

After you spot an emotional manipulator, you will want to keep contact at the minimum. One way to spot manipulators is in how they deal with people at the workplace. They will be extremely gentle with one employee and rude to others. If you see such kind of extreme swings, it is best to avoid such people.

Only talk to them when there is an absolute need to do that. The reasons why a psychological manipulator does what they do are complex. You are not a psychiatrist, and it is not your job to help them resolve their issues.

3. Avoid the Trap of Self-Blame

The manipulator will usually spend a great deal of time looking for any weaknesses that they can exploit. They will work to make you feel stupid or inadequate in some other way. In such an instance, it is important to remind yourself you are not the one at fault.

You are the victim of a psychologically disturbed individual who is trying to achieve a personal agenda. If you remind yourself of this fact, it is less likely that you will surrender to the emotional manipulator.

bully funny cartoon

4. Put the Spotlight on Them

One way through which an emotional manipulator will try to bend you to their will is by asking you for favors. These favors will require that you go out of your way to fulfill them. However, when they come to you, it is important to reverse the roles and put the spotlight on them. Ask them basic questions such as:

  • Does this seem like a reasonable request to you?
  • Do you really expect me to do that for you?

When you begin to probe them with such questions, it acts as a mirror. The manipulator begins to see how unreasonable their requests are and they shy away. However, if they persist on asking you for the favors, remember you can always say no.

5. Make Good Use of Time

One trick an emotional manipulator will use is to try to make you give hasty responses. This is a technique used by salespeople called closing the deal. However, if you know someone is a manipulator, you do not have to respond to his or her request at that instance.

Make time your friend. Simply say you will think about it. After that, go home and evaluate if the request they made is reasonable. Come back with a detailed and firm response if you think they are making unreasonable requests. Next time, they will not think of you as an easy target.

6. Know How to Reject Requests in a Diplomatic Manner

Being able to say no is great but so is being able to do it in a diplomatic manner. Effectively communicate your no to the emotional manipulator without starting a quarrel.

That way, you will still have a workable relationship with the manipulator. This could help to make you a more productive person at the workplace.

To Peace

Sometimes you will need to remind an emotional manipulator that there are disciplinary consequences for their behavior. Whichever tactic you choose, remember that the manipulator will not give up on the first try. They will try to arm twist you a number of times before they give in. It is up to you to stay firm. With time, they will give up or move on to someone else.

If you have any thoughts on the tactics shared above, feel free to leave a comment below. If you have something to add to this list, you can also leave it in the comment section below.

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