Do you feel like there is someone in your life that is controlling what you do by controlling and manipulating your emotions? Do they make you feel guilty for things that you are NOT doing? We define this as the attempt to control how someone should feel by manipulating what they think and believe. Here is an example, sometimes parents will say things like "It makes me sad when you don't come and visit us. It makes me sad when you don't call." Notice how in that situation, those parents are putting responsibility for their emotions onto you. They want you to accept the thought that you are responsible for how they are feeling. Now, you know that you are not responsible for how they are feeling. Just remember that is only a thought. Only you can be in control of how you are feeling and others need to be in control of how they are feeling.
What about the guilt factor? How many of us fall into the guilt trap? For some of us, it is how we were raised and for others it is an insecurity that we may have developed that causes us to give in to feelings that we should not be owning. When people say things like "Well, you just don't love me if you don't do that. I don't matter to you if you don't do that." That is what other people do to try to create a sense of guilt within you. If you agree with those feelings, then you will be made to feel guilty and then you will probably change your behavior based on those emotions. That is emotional manipulation at its best.
Sometimes people don’t realize that they are doing this. Sometimes it comes from their own fears and insecurities. This can be very subtle and this tends to happen in families all of the time in very subtle, manipulative ways. This also can create a ton of anger and resentment in relationships as well. When people don’t realize they are doing this, it is coming from a place of emotional emptiness that they are trying to fill with your actions. They rely on the what other people do or don’t do to make themselves feel happy. As I’ve said in the past, if you are relying on the actions of others to determine your happiness, just how happy do you think you will be?
As my Master Coach, Brooke Castillo says, “It's important that you recognize that your thoughts are your responsibility and that other people can think what they would like to think, but you are never responsible for them or how they feel.” This is a hard concept for people to wrap their heads around, but it is the core of making a change.
A few blogs ago I talked about boundaries. This is the perfect situation for you to put your boundaries in place. You have the ability to create boundaries in your life so that you can be more in control. With boundaries you can see that other people can behave the way that they want to but you will have your own rules for how you will behave to take care of yourself. Your boundary sets the tone for what you will and will not allow to enter into your emotional space. When someone is constantly trying to emotionally manipulate you they are trying to brainwash you with negativity which causes feelings of dis-empowerment. YOU have the ability to take your power back. Setting up boundaries will allow you to keep your power in place.
Allow people to be who they are. Just know that when people try to control you, they are very confused. They think that somehow controlling you will make them feel better.
I have a lot more information on this concept that can change your life for the better. Let me know if you would like to discuss this further.