Seven Tips to Avoid Being Controlled by Manipulators

Leaders who repeatedly complain about the same issue want affirmation, not resolution.

Every suggestion you offer to a manipulator is inadequate.

Never take up the sword for someone who’s standing on the sideline.


Manipulators love to explain why solutions won’t work.

Tip #1: Stop offering suggestions after the second off-handed rejection of advice. Instead ask, “What would you like to do?” (And stop talking.)

When you ask a manipulator what they would like to do about their concern, they come up with things OTHERS should do.

Tip #2. Listen for excuses and blame.

Manipulators want support, not solution.


Manipulators talk about the offenses of others so you will feel offended for them. “Injustice” is a weapon to rally the naïve into a battle that should be avoided.

When people refuse to confront their own issues, they want you to do it for them.

Manipulators explain how others have injured them. When you take up the sword FOR a manipulator, you end up cutting yourself.

Manipulators use fear and offense to bring ruin on others.

Tip #3. If you leave a conversation offended FOR someone else, you’re bound for ruin in an issue that isn’t yours.


Tip #4. Never do someone’s dirty work for them.

Manipulators fabricate evil motives. It’s amazing how much insight a manipulator has into the secret thoughts of someone that offended them.

Tip #5. Beware the offended person who uses “concern for others” as a weapon to weaken your relationship with others.

You’ve been manipulated if you dislike someone because of someone else.

Tip #6. When you confront manipulators, they’ll laugh it off. “Oh, I didn’t really mean it. I was just upset.”

When you suggest solutions to manipulators, they keep on babbling. Their goal is to get you to agree they’ve been wronged.

Tip #7. Be cautious with the person who pretends to seek advice.

What manipulation techniques have you seen?

What suggestions do you have for navigating the minefield of manipulation?

Bonus material:

How Manipulative People Use These 7 Tricks to Control You (Forbes)

Manipulative People: How to Spot them, How to Manage Them (BizNews)

How to Work with a Manipulative Person (HBR)