How to Deal with Emotionally Manipulative Parents?

What is Manipulation? What are the Reasons behind Manipulation? Why do Parents become Manipulative?
How to Deal with Emotionally Manipulative Parents

Becoming a parent comes with lots of responsibilities and immense love for a child. But all this love and care lasts until a child is working according to their expectations. And when they feel like they need to exercise more control over their child, they start manipulating them. Manipulation is not just being strict, but it can be the opposite also. Those parents are called emotionally manipulative parents. So, today you will understand the signs of manipulative parents and how to deal with manipulative parents effectively and without hurting or disrespecting them.

1. What is Manipulation?

You need to understand manipulation in order to locate it in the way your parents are treating you. In manipulation, you get influenced emotionally and mentally, and they make you do things that they want. It is done to impose an influence over others. Treating them emotionally in such a way that they eventually start working according to the manipulator’s way. They will put up on a show in such a way that you will start feeling that whatever they are doing is right, and you are hurting them by not listening to them. (Also read What is Narcissistic Rage Silent Treatment?)

2. What are the Stages of Manipulation?

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There are three stages of manipulation for emotionally manipulative parents. (See What Is Parentification?)

  • First, they will observe you. Since they are your parents, they will quickly catch your weakness.
  • Second, they will try to take advantage and benefit from the weakness to manipulate you in times when they want to.
  • Finally, they will generate new methods of manipulating you depending upon the situation, your mood, your weakness at that moment, etc. Also, check out anxious attachment in adults.

3. What are the Reasons behind Manipulation?

  • People use manipulation because they feel they own you and sometimes parents think that they own you.
  • The basic reason for this thinking is they gave birth to you, brought you up, educated you, and have done all sorts of things for you.
  • Now they feel like they should be re-paid for their effort to raise you. (Also read What is Personalization Cognitive Distortion?)

4. How to Recognize Manipulative Parents?

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Generally, parents will believe in you. They will believe in the morals with which they have raised you. Most parents will support you whenever you feel like losing and even boost your morale with simple gestures, while emotionally manipulative parents will not do that in a simple way. They will keep saying things to make you feel they are not happy about what you are doing and that you are being disobedient and you might start feeling that you are not a good child for your parents. Remember, not all parents are manipulative but in a few cases, they are. Must read importance of child behavioral psychologist.

  • They have raised you and have expectations of you as every parent has, but manipulative parents are imposing them on you. On the other hand, supportive parents will let you know what they think or want so that you can decide what is best for everyone. So, this basic nature has to be there in every family to maintain a good atmosphere.
  • They will burden you or blame you for lacking experience compared to them.
  • They will not respect your opinion and consider it important too, but they will show off that they are doing this for you. (See Best Child Psychology Books)

5. What are the Signs of Manipulative Parents?

To know whether you are emotionally and psychologically manipulated or not, look out for these signs in your parents.

  • Using Reverse Psychology: Anything you say is used against you, and whatever they say, they will claim that you have misunderstood the meaning behind it, although you understood it correctly. Suppose they say you are of no good, but afterward, they will blame you because you misunderstood them. They will play with words, and you will fall for it without knowing and end up apologizing even if you were right. (See How Do You Handle Difficult Situations?)
  • Using Supportive Nature: Emotionally manipulative parents make you believe that they are meant to help you out. But at the same time, you will start feeling guilty about bothering them because they will express it that way. You start feeling stressed or uneasy around them instead of feeling at ease with your parents. If they somehow manage to support you, for one thing, they will continuously do or say such things to make you realize they don’t want to do it but are doing it because of you. 
  • Distancing Themselves: To prevent you from making a wrong decision or make you realize that they are not supportive of your decision, distancing themselves is fine. Because if you care about them, you will understand that something is wrong with your side. You start feeling as if you committed some crime, and they are depressed because of that. (See Psychology of Ignoring Someone)

6. How do they use their Controlling behavior?

Emotionally manipulative parents expect you to live, walk, talk, eat, study, marry, make friends, and even breathe according to their wishes. (See What is a Positive Mindset?)

  • If someone praises you, they want to be credited because they raised you well. And if someone says something opposite, then they will say that you have ruined their name. 
  • They try every possible way to keep you away from relatives, cousins, friends, and even neighbors. All these attempts were only to keep you under their control.
  • And even after their several attempts, if you are being social, they will use the opposite weapon. These parents will start blaming your friends for everything you do, and they can even go to such an extent as going to your friend’s place and saying things against you. 
  • In order to bring you back under their control, they might get aggressive also. They will raise their voices and use abusive words also. These parents can even turn towards physical abuse, like hitting you, locking you up in your room, etc. (Also read Am I Passive Aggressive?)
  • One more sign of a manipulative parent is that they will belittle you, maybe it is in front of your friends, teachers, or relatives. They continuously compare you with others to make you realize it is because of them you are studying and eating well.

Yes, parents say things like this also. It is also a way of manipulating you emotionally to make you feel you should do as they want because they are raising you. (Also read How to Heal Yourself Emotionally?)

7. How to Deal with Manipulative Parents?

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  • Try to be as calm as possible because they are your parents no matter what they do. It would be best if you were not disrespectful towards them. (See How to Deal With Family Members Who Put You Down?)
  • Try to express that you know they are being manipulative, and you will try to do your best the next time. Do not pressurize yourself.
  • Although it may be of less or no use, speak up and tell them how it feels when they are manipulating you and how stressed you are.
  • Tell them it is their manipulation that you are unable to perform better because you are afraid of how they will react if you again fail.
  • Never isolate yourself from your social circle because sometimes discussing things with friends, cousins, or teachers might help you out.
  • You also need to set boundaries if you are an adult because you are moving into some serious decisions in life and need to decide accordingly without anyone’s manipulation.
  • Make them realize that you will do all the necessary things for them. They also need to understand you have different priorities and perspectives. (See How to Deal With a Disrespectful Child?)

So today, you got to know about emotionally manipulative parents and what are the signs of manipulative parents. You also learned how to deal with manipulative parents respectfully and logically instead of shouting and making a scene like them. (See Benefits of Getting an Emotional Support Animal)

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