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"Don't settle for a relationship that won't let you be yourself" -Oprah
1. Know what you stand for
“If you don’t stand for something, you fall for anything”-Malcolm X. Manipulators love to instill beliefs that will get others to meet their own needs. They will use different reasoning and comparison tactics to get you to budge! For ex: They will use other people to try to say “Well, so and so are doing it and they are happy!” or “I do this for you, why can’t you do this for me”. Sit down for 15 minutes and write down your beliefs, morals, values and standards. Know what they are and why they are there! If you don’t know what they are, that’s a great place to start! Add to this as time goes on and revisit when you need a reminder when times get tough! This will help you define the foundation you stand on.
2. Respond vs React
So what’s the difference right? Reacting is unconscious, whereas responding is conscious. Reacting stems from triggers and conditioned patterns. It’s part of the subconscious mind, the part of the mind that is unconsciously reacting. Maybe you were a people pleaser growing up so you cave in when someone is upset with you. Hence your reaction to giving the manipulator what they want. Maybe you felt insignificant growing up and the way you feel significant now is to be able to meet the needs of others even if it means dishonoring your own. Then, when the manipulator indirectly expresses to you how much they need something to get done, your reaction is to meet it because they know this about you. Or maybe the manipulator expresses how much they need you so you drop anything and anyone to meet their needs. Knowing your triggers and patterns are crucial so you can conciously control them when they arise. Responding means to observe what you are feeling like any outsider would in order to make a quality decision based on what you know is truly right for you. It’s looking beyond the triggers and conditioned thinking, consciously being a part of the response.
3. Learn how to say NO
I understand it’s hard, trust me I used to be a huge people pleaser. I get it. But saying no means saying yes to our sanity. In the beginning while you get better at saying no, I suggest saying “let me think about it and I will get back to you on that”. Don’t say yes to anything right away so you can have time to reflect without any outside pressure or influence. Even if you happen to say yes occasionally, remember you have the right to change your mind by saying “I know I said yes out of reaction but now that I have taken the time to reflect, the answer is no”. Keep in mind that when we allow things to happen that we didn’t genuinely want, it builds self resentment and shame. You may please others around you but when you are alone, you will have to face your inner shame that comes with it. It’s a lonely place. Just when you thought it’d be lonely to lose people over saying no, you’ll realize it’s a lot lonelier keeping the people you have pleased but resenting yourself for losing you. Saying no means pushing past the guilt and meeting the peace that awaits you on the other side. It may take you time to see this beautiful transformation but take it from someone who was a people pleaser, it’s worth it.
4. Have boundaries
When we have boundaries, we are able to establish a clear place to base our yes or no decisions off of. When you spend time with someone for a long time, you start to synchronize brains. “It supports healthy relationships by allowing partners to be “in sync,” and read each other’s cues and minds” (www.psychcenture.com). So what’s the downside of this? Well, when the synchronization is one sided it makes it toxic. It’s healthy when it’s mutual and both needs are being met effortlessly. When this isn’t mutual, we start to develop behaviors and patterns that are inauthentic. When it’s one sided, it’s more of a training tactic than anything else. The manipulator trains you to behave in their favor. A great example of this is retaliation. Where they train you to please them or else they behave in a way you don’t like. For instance, not calling you for a few days as a form of punishment. Training you to synch this into your brain so that you know what not to do without being told. If you don’t know what you have synched at this point, take some space away from this person and things will become more clear. The synchronization process will become weak, making it easier to identify what you have synchronized by association.
5. Set some alone time for yourself
Becoming codependent on someone is nothing new but many don’t even know it happens. If you feel like you are “losing yourself”, this is a sign you are codependent on your partner. If you don’t do what you love or are passionate about anymore due to not having time for it because of your relationship, you have become codependent. Being codependent refers to being dependent on someone emotionally, socially and sometimes physically, not being able to function without them like an addiction. “The main consequence of codependency is that ‘[c]odependents, are busy taking care of others, forget to take care of themselves, resulting in a disturbance of identity development’ “ (www.positivepsychology.com). This means that it’s crucial to have time alone to reflect, learn, spend time with loved ones, do what you love individually and build your own identity!
6. Build that self respect!
Remember that respecting yourself isn’t always going to make sense for others. Self respect isn’t meant for others to agree, please, negotiate and understand. Self respect is built by listening to our inner compass (intuition) and following through with action. This will keep you whole and at peace.
All of these steps help build your self esteem which boosts self confidence! Manipulators love to feed on the insecure. An insecure person is one who has no self respect and low self esteem. If you or anyone you know needs support, please email me at Victoria.firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.