Games Abusers Play on You – Part 1

When bullies and abusers feel they are exposed and their con is clear to you, they might react in one of two ways: The first is to get angry and get back at you for exposing them.  The second is to lay it on thicker and bring out the nice guy personality where they shower you with kindness and gentleness.  They use the second technique to confuse you and to make you feel guilty that you even doubted them.

I want to talk about the second behavior because it is very dangerous.  When you see kindness from the bully you start blaming yourself for doubting him and think that you were unfair of thinking of him so badly.  This is exactly his intent.  He is manipulating you .  To prove it, wait until you accept his nice behavior and accept him again, and see how he goes back to his same old cunning deceiptful manipulation.

This is why relationships with abusers and bullies usually go through cycles of ups and downs.  He abuses you until you are fed up.  When he feels you are about to leave and just had enough, he switches to kindness and gentleness and pampers you to the extreme.  Then you soften and go back to square one of abuse.

You can avoid this vicious cycle and its effect on your emotions and health by following a couple of tips I tried.

Instead of letting him control the cycle, you control it.  Meaning, get to the point where he has to be extra nice, don’t accept it completely by becoming nice again to him, but accept it to the point where you accept his nice behavior without getting too nice to him.  Now, when he feels he is ready to switch back to old self, don’t wait until you cannot take it anymore.  Reduce your tolerance a bit and make him feel that the red lines you drew in the relationship got tighter a little bit.  For example, if he is used to ridiculing you before subliminally, and you do not do anything about it until he starts doing it explicitly, the next cycle, draw the line at any subliminal demaning behavior.  Ask him why is he doing that, then ask him to stop.  Don’t give him a chance to make you feel guilty , or come up with excuses.  Walk out of the situation as if you are fed up.  Next time you see him he will try to talk about it to convince you that you acted unreasonably and that he was not putting you down, refuse to discuss it and tell him that this is making you feel uncomfortable and that you are not willing to talk about it.  he will get mad, but he will know that this is a red line and he cannot cross it.

This way the area that bothers you and you do not tolerate will get smaller and the abuse will subside a bit by bit.  He will probably  try to find another person to abuse since you are not taking it anymore.

Don’t think that you can fix him let us not get over board.  They will never see themselves as doing something wrong or that they need fixing.  They just move from one abuse-ready person to another.  At least shield yourself and hopefully others should be able to fend for themselves.

Let me know if you are familiar with this behavior and let me know if my technique works.

Comments (4)

  1. I appreciate the way you are writing about these manipulations, I struggle with the seemingly opposite strategies of not reacting or being affected and standing up to the person. I am often told to ‘forgive’ and ‘let go’ however, does this passive behaviour collude with the person so they continue more of the destructive behaviour. For eg if my family members or youngsters were treated badly, I would want to intervene as I think we have a job as social people to socialise each other into respectful behaviours.

    1. Deidre
      Thank you for writing.
      short answer is Yes. If manipulators are not stopped, they will continue the destructive behavior. However, you have to ask them to stop doing this to you (or family) not become their psychiatrist and tell them to stop being manipulators. That might not be feasible.
      Most of us dread confrontation, but it is what helps us grow past these difficult people. In a way, these manipulators are stuck and unable to grow as human beings because of some problem. So, they manipulate and abuse to have others stuck with them in that point. As they say Misery loves company. So, you have to move on and not get stuck with them. This happens by either avoiding these abusers altogether, or if not possible, to confront and stop the abuse.
      As far as kids, they need a clear and strong model from us of being able to say “stop” and walk away when someone is hurting them. Does this answer your question?

  2. Part 2, I am dealing with one of these CDM’s who was successful the first time and I left the workplace because of the behaviour which was abuse followed by blame and silent treatment. I am now on the second round of silent treatment which has lasted 4 months. Just recently this abusive behaviour has spread to another worker and that person has now started witholding resources I need to do my work, playing mind games and called me abusive and unfit to be around our clients. This accusation came as a result of me notifying a potential physical risk that could impact myself and service users, and my colleague absolutely spacked out on me and refused to allow me to phone our supervisor to report the original critical incident to do with worker and client duty of care. All attempts to discuss rationally the way she spoke and has now continued to speak to me, ie disrespectfully and judgmentally and interpretaively, meets with a counter criticism, judgment and telling me to grow up. Ive tried several times when she is in a good happy mood but the reaction is still the same. Now she has started lying and refusing to cooperate at work, and our role requires cooperation. The management dont seem brave or courageous enough to set some clear ground rules and consequences for abusive actions to others, and the formal grievance I finally lodged has been 4 months in process and I am getting blamed by coworkers for what I did to the worker. (This in spite of her putting in a grievance against me). How can I firmly say I am not willing to have this behaviour and be beleved. I know a butcher who would not let customers treat his staff badly, so why cant community service managers and supervisors do the same. Is it the psychologising of peoples actions that means we have to endure their crazy behaviour? I am blamed and projected upon for such a range of far fetched impossible attributions. Thanks for the chance to out this craziness.

    1. Dee,
      in a business situation, it is not that it is either you are right or they are. I would be careful when many give you the same input. Especially people who are trustworthy or independent. listen and objectively check your behavior. In most business cases, there is truth on both sides. At the end, in an uncomfortable workplace, one either fixes the problem, moves on, or stays under pressure. I think I would weight my options in the same order I put them above: start with trying to fix, if unable then move on, if unable you have no choice but to endure, which I would really not recommend. but if you have to stick around, Find ways to vent your fears, anger, and sadness outside work. I wish you well.

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