Manipulation is the practice of using indirect or deceptive strategies to change the behavior, emotion, or perception of others. Some individuals with a brain injury may show manipulative behavior due to behavioral and/or personality changes caused by the injury. They may have difficulty expressing their wants and needs and fulfilling expectations of others. Therefore, they may engage in other behaviors, such as manipulation, to have a sense of control and get what they need or want. Some tactics that manipulative individuals may use on others include:
|Using strong emotional connection to control the victim’s behavior
|Using the victim’s insecurities to control his or her behavior
|Lying and denial
|Using broad or exaggerated statements
|Playing the victim
|Changing the subject
|Using fear to control the victim’s behavior
|Using social injustice or unfairness to control the victim’s behavior
|Being passive aggressive
|Recruiting others to further help with manipulation
Strategies that victims can use to cope with manipulation are:
- Be aware that their behavior may just be a result from their brain injury. A brain injury may amplify or alter a person’s personality and/or behavior. Understand where they are coming from and why they may feel the need to be manipulative.
- Know your rights and recognize when they are being violated. You have the right to be treated respectfully, express your thoughts and feelings, and say no without feeling guilty.
- Set healthy boundaries. Keep a healthy distance and avoid engaging with the manipulator until you really have to. Be assertive and firmly say no without arguing with the other person.
- Do not take their manipulative behavior personally. Avoid blaming yourself. Ask yourself questions such as:
- “Am I being treated with respect?”
- “Are their expectations reasonable?”
- “Does this relationship make me feel good?”
- Stay calm and collected. The more emotional and upset you get, the more they may feel like they can control you.