Disclaimer: /S = sarcastic
Hello my dears! My name is Johanna, and I welcome you to the Johanna Draconis - The Deconstruction Of C-PTSD podcast.
In this episode we will talk about manipulation - about manipulation language to be precise. Or in other words: Why everything is your fault. How couldn’t it be? /s
With the big family holidays coming up and I know how for many of you that is a very difficult time. Be it because you don’t have family around you or you do have family around you.
A small disclaimer beforehand: As an autist some things in social areas fly above my radar or I perceive differently, so if I left anything unclear or the like, please don’t hesitate to contact me or ask anything.
Alright, with that out of the way, let’s talk about it.
I mean it IS your fault. Of course it is. How couldn’t it be? You see… if you are not at fault, I AM. And that can’t be. So you must be the one at fault. Clearly. I don’t feel like I am in the wrong, so clearly I am not. /s
That might be a joke, but it is actually a pretty good summary of what is happening. But that isn’t the real problem with manipulation, as once it is exposed it can be handed pretty easily.
You see when we are attacked by a weapon, we see the weapon, we see our wound and its clear: We were attacked by this weapon. But with manipulations our opponent is a magician.
Now you have a wound, but there is no weapon and he is just smiling. Because similar to a magician using illusions, the manipulators uses really similar tricks.
He hides his movement in smoke and because everything is happening so fast - you just don’t know WHAT just happened. But still the feeling remains.
But most people have issues going against something, if there is not a clear cut out case for what happened - like the weapon and the wound. They just know something is wrong.
Once a manipulator has to act in the open, his tricks become obvious and easy to block. So lets shine a bit light on it all shall we?
Manipulation Language - Who does it?
First off I want to make something clear: Not everyone who uses manipulation language does it with bad intent. Some are unaware that their behavior is wrong, other just really want to avoid a topic.
That doesn’t mean it is okay what they are doing and that we can not still use the knowledge to protect ourselves. All I am saying is, it might come from someone who genuinely loves you.
And nonetheless: It doesn’t matter how good or loving a person is - they still can do things wrong. Sometimes they can do very bad things. And they have NO right to tell you how to feel about that. But to that later.
Manipulators can take many forms and shapes. Just because someone is weak, handicapped or a victim, doesn’t mean they can’t also be a culprit. Weakness doesn’t mean helplessness. It can be used as a weapon.
We get to that later. So manipulative language could be used by anyone, but there are some hints that a person is doing it regularly or is a “true” manipulator.
That person usually can never admit they did something wrong aka owning up to their mistakes. Neither will they be able to handle criticism rather well. They can’t really understand the feeling of the others.
Some people might have cut all contact with them… for absolutely no reason… at all… totally./s Another hint might be, that they are beloved in their society. Everyone loves them. Yeah, that can be a huge red flag.
Manipulation Language - Denial of your feelings - Intro
One of the main problems manipulators have is, that they don’t really get the others feelings. Sadly some people think how they feel are facts. So if they feel like there is no reason to be upset - then there is not one.
But if their opinion, voice and emotions matter, so do yours. Why should they have more weight than you? It is really helpful to imagine the scene with the roles reversed. How would it play out then?
Luckily, like most things, manipulation language does have its classics. Or at least a reoccurring theme. So let us do a few examples.
Manipulation Language - Look what you made me do
Number one: Look what you made me do.
Yes, YOU. Of course YOU made me do it… I was basically forced. There were no other options! Because you behaved this way, I had to take this route and suffer severe consequences! It is your fault. /s
Here we have it again: I don’t want to take up responsibility, so I give it to you. The good thing is: You can reject that gift. Side note: Gift means poison in German, thought that it is fitting here.
An harmless example would be: Because you didn’t bring the cake I wanted, I had to order one for 50 online! Another example: Because you refused my request, I had to punish you.
Edited of course. Usually they wouldn’t mention it costs so much, unless to guild trip you about how much money they had to spend. Also they usually don’t say punish, but just the thing they did. As if it is normal.
The mistake of this ‘logic’ is of course, first, that you are responsible for their actions and second, that there were only 2 possible outcomes. Either you do as told or this was bound to happen automatically.
It was THEIR choice to act this way. Everyone is responsible for their own actions. We are the ones having to live with them for the rest of our lives.
So as long you have to carry the responsibility of what happens afterwards, you make the calls… and they make theirs. You are not responsible. They are. And they really don’t like that.
That is why they give the blame to you. Because otherwise they would have to face consequences and they don’t like that. Which is natural, but also wrong. It is best to just refuse this “deal”.
Manipulation Language - Why are you being so difficult about it?
Number two: Why are you being so difficult about it?
Yes, we were just planning to rob you, why are you making such a big deal out of it? We were all having such a nice time, but no, you HAD to call the cops and now I am in prison because of you. /s
Of course it is your fault, because otherwise I would be responsible for the mess I am in right now./S Once again you are given the blame and responsibility to a situation. You see a pattern?
Though this time it a bit more… destructive. As you were passive in the last example, you are now active - as in actively trying to ruin the people around you. Usually happens if you refuse to play along.
Other example would be, if you tell someone that their partner is cheating. You are not at fault for the marriage breaking up, the person cheating is. They made that choice.
If they really would think their action was okay, then they would tell their partner. But of course not, that is why they are upset that they got exposed. You are at fault for everything.
So if you hadn’t taken the moral high ground (aka didn’t want to live with guilt and keeping his cheating a secret) they wouldn’t be in that mess. Completely ignoring that they choose to cheat.
Once again they try to drop of the guilt, shame and responsibility off to you. The best reaction to that is just to laugh and walk off. Otherwise any defense will be used as an ammunition against you.
Manipulation Language - Summary
So what to say in summary? First always be skeptical if someone tries to determine you are the reason for all the things gone wrong. ESPECIALLY if the person is in some way or form involved.
Always ask yourself, what the benefit to the other person could be from this. Also: You are innocent until proven guilty. No need to defend yourself, if your opponent has not brought any good reason why you did it.
It is not you who has to prove you are innocent, but them to prove that you are the one at fault. Simply connection events, does NOT make you guilty. A big red flag is, if they don’t give you time to think.
Manipulators always want to keep you on the run, so you don’t have time to think. Ask to talk about it another time, if they refuse… take a step back. Something is usually fishy then.
You might not immediately get it, but the more you read or see about manipulation sentences, the more easily your brain will spot them and be mostly immune to them. Practice helps - as usual.
This week was a sad one for me. My grandmother died, from my mothers side. She had a cold, which turned bad, she was taken to the hospital and went sleeping. She was close to 100 years old.
So it wasn’t really unexpected, but still a surprise. I had a bad feeling about that and luckily visited her a few months ago, despite my state I was in, because I felt I wouldn’t see her otherwise again.
We kind of said our goodbyes, also to my grandfather, and I am so glad I did that. I would have felt horrible otherwise. As I only could visit them a few times during the last years, because of my c-PTSD.
I expect my grandfather to follow her soon, a person which I always felt a special connection and is the reason why red roses are my favorite flower. His garden with the rose bushes was a paradise.
But because of their age, they had to abandon it… more and more with the years. Until they couldn’t even cook in the end anymore. My grandpa was the greatest cook and made me love vegetable as a kid.
I of course support my mother in this time of need, as I promised them I always would. I am glad I have the knowledge to help her and other people in situations like this.
So, I hope wherever they end up be, they have a wonderful garden again with their beloved birds, where she can eat finally all the cake again she wants to and both have the best time one could have.
That was it for todays episode, I hope you liked it. I just saw that today is Veterans day, so I wanted to say, that the best thing you can do for your loved ones and your country is, that you take care of yourself.
Loosing someone is horrible, even if you think no one cares, someones does. You are not alone in this.
If you have any questions or feedback and the like, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information and transcript you can find as usually under johannadraconis.com/Podcast and links are in the description.
I hope to see you next time. Watch yourselves and have a wonderful time.