ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Should I ditch my manipulative friend?

Updated on June 11, 2014
Billy Bob Thornton with Martin Freeman in "Fargo" (2014)
Billy Bob Thornton with Martin Freeman in "Fargo" (2014)

What does my button pushing pal do for me?

A manipulative friend is someone who makes a habit of pressing on your emotions to control your actions. You may love them but you're happier when they're not there.

You stay friends because you recognise that manipulators aren't always bad. They exist on a spectrum. At one end there are nice but immature personalities, at the other dangerous predators like Billy Bob Thornton's character in the TV drama Fargo. You might even empathise with your manipulative friend. Everybody pushes buttons sometimes.

People manipulate for all sorts of reasons. A dysfunctional family dynamic may have taught them bad relationship habits. They might be desperately lonely and unable to express their feelings. Or in the worst case scenario they could be completely lacking in compassion.

They control you because you give them permission. Your emotions belong to you. If someone is messing with them it's because you've allowed it.

Manipulators maintain us by helping us to feel important, understood, compassionate, useful and cared for. They flatter, exploit pity, offer favours and imply shared goals. At their worst they deliberately use our bad relationship habits to isolate us from others.

Is my friend a psychopath?

It's difficult to think rationally when a person provokes very strong feelings in us. Years of high emotion in their presence cloud the mind. If you are wondering whether to break the friendship your decision making process should be rational or you could regret it.

If you can avoid the person for a while, it will give your emotions a chance to cool down. Use the time to think logically about the dynamics of your friendship. Half of your thinking needs to be about why you let them push your buttons. This isn't to make you blame yourself, it's to strengthen your resistance so that it doesn't happen again.

In the spirit of love it's important not to jump to conclusions. Predators exist but they are not as common as television suggests. Your friend's problem could be immaturity or unhappiness. It's not easy to tell when you're angry about being played with like a puppet.

The issue may not even be your friend. If you feel anxious and persecuted a lot of the time, it's possible you have a health problem. There are many illnesses that make a person feel paranoid and jumpy.

No advice page on the internet can tell you what your experience is. Only you can weigh up the evidence of your life and decide whether to stay, run or seek medical help for yourself.

Whatever you decide and whatever you are going through, good luck! The tips in the next section may be relevant to your situation or they may not.

Billy Bob Thornton in "Fargo"
Billy Bob Thornton in "Fargo"

You've been manipulated, so what next?

  1. If you've been isolated from loved ones it will be difficult to judge what is acceptable behaviour towards you. We need to be in supportive communities to understand that we have value. If you don't value yourself you are more likely to think it is acceptable to be mistreated.
  2. You are not morally obliged to stay with the manipulator to make them happy. You are not responsible for another person's happiness. You must be kind always. Humans are kind when they stop dogs eating chocolate. This doesn't make dogs happy. Leaving your friend could be good for them.
  3. You can't fix a troubled person. Only their willpower and a trained professional can do that.
  4. If someone hurts you, it is not your fault. If you consciously allow them to hurt you again you have voted for their spiritual and moral deterioration. It is not Christian for an adult to deliberately choose to enable a person to hurt them.
  5. If you can't be yourself, if you feel resentful or don't like the way you behave around a person yet you admire them, they may be manipulating you more than you realise.
  6. If you are newly conscious that someone has been manipulating you for years, do not confront them. They already have the upper hand because they know how to lie to you.
  7. You can't see into another person's soul. Be careful of thinking someone is better or worse than they are.
  8. If an old friend is newly manipulative, are they in trouble?
  9. A person lacking social skills may be well intentioned but very obviously manipulative. Bad social skills don't equal bad intentions.
  10. Do not interfere in the person's other friendships. The poor dynamic may just have been between the pair of you. You may be wrong. You may be right and they might murder you. If you suspect criminal activity go to the police.
  11. Even if the person is a psychopath they are still a human being. Respect their humanity but stay safe too.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)