I wanted to shed light on one common manipulation strategy that can occur in stalking situations or in relationships where one party seeks to exert control over the other.
I shared this example with some inspiring individuals in Australia and New Zealand who have been undergoing the SAFE Certification for the past few months.
When discussing the topic of manipulations and control in relationships with a group, I often ask, “Do you receive an excessive number of calls or texts from this person?” The most common response is usually “yes.” I then inquire about their typical response, and it is common for my clients to admit that they have ignored these messages numerous times.
Different answers may arise, but one scenario that frequently comes up is when someone responds with, “I ignored their calls or texts, but later when we met or spoke on the phone, they mentioned, ‘I’ve been trying to reach you, but you haven’t been picking up.'” While this question may seem insignificant, it often contains an implied question.
If they sense or hear discomfort from your end, they might respond strategically: “I apologize if I was bothering you, but I was genuinely worried about you.” Although this strategy may not be apparent to most people I have educated, it has the potential to be innocent; however, it can also be utilized in a manipulative manner.
First, saying they are sorry, then expressing it was all out of concern for the person’s well-being often has the person doubting any ill feelings they had, even to the point of feeling guilty, which the “bad guy” might hope to achieve.
This is a straightforward example of how I like teaching some of these topics.