Four Yogic tips to Help Relieve Anxiety Related to Manipulators

Being a human means having to deal with anxiety and negative emotions.  I'm specifically talking about anxiety as a result of dealing with narcissists or manipulators.  There is no way to avoid it, even as children we have come into contact with many different personality types, including manipulative friends.  Those friends who encourage us to break a rule.  As adults we are a little more aware, however can still get caught up in the niceties of narcissists and manipulators.  It can happen at work or even within family and close friend groups.  Negative interactions bring unneeded stress and anxiety.  You will find four yogic tips to help relieve anxiety related to manipulators. Family, friends and acquaintances come in many different forms.  It can be hard to see the manipulation at times, especially when it involves a family member or close friend.  Depending on the situation, you may not know how to help your self in the manipulation setting.  Using a yogic thought process may benefit in working through the emotions that come up during these negative interactions and experiences.

Some points on Manipulation and Narcissistic Characteristics:

Narcissistic and manipulating people are really good at what they do.  They are great at building you up by handing out compliments or encouraging you to feel good about yourself in some way.  The manipulator could be giving you a complement for having toned legs or discipline with your routine.  This makes you feel good in the moment but after a little while, the complements start to get less and negative jabs become more common.  This can come in many different forms making them harder to see.

Here's an example, while visiting with family for a few days you find that you would like to attend a yoga class.  The narcissistic family member will assure you that going to a class is no problem, he or she has something else that needs to get done so it's perfect.  Upon return from an hour long yoga class, this family member says something like "You have been gone for hours.  You missed out on ____".  Making the jab quick but accomplishing the goal of making you feel guilty.

Another example is having out of town family or friends come stay for a weekend.  In the morning everyone is having coffee and talking.  You decide you want to get in a quick 30 minute workout thinking it's alright because that's part of your routine and there are no set plans.  First thing that could happen is you are given a guilt trip for wanting to go in the first place.  So you stay and before you know it, it's too late to workout.  Another thing that can happen is you decide to go for a quick workout while no one else is ready or making plans.  Upon your return, supposedly everyone is waiting on you, however no one is ready and waiting.  Your anxiety and stress level are high because the manipulator is causing you to feel guilty.

At first you may believe the whole thing is your fault (anxiety) and that you are holding everyone up (stress).  You may even think you have been selfish but narcissistic types and manipulators have guilted you into thinking this way.  First of all, there is no reason you should feel bad or anxious for doing what you need to do to take care of yourself.  Secondly, when your actions directly hurt someone that is cause for stress but in these cases no one is being hurt.  It is just another way the narcissist or manipulator is trying to gain control by making you feel bad, anxious or stressed.

Before coming to yoga, these types of manipulative experiences caused me to apologize or feel bad.  I would end up going over board trying to "win" the person over.  I was raised to please and to be polite.  Which can be seen by manipulators as weak and easy to manipulate.   That being said, I was also raised to stand up for myself and not let people walk all over me.  Therefore, in the end, the manipulation usually caused me more anxiety and stress.

While going through my yoga teacher training, I found myself taking notes on a similar topic.  It was not a direct comparison, however the idea of being a yogi and learning how to deal with various "evils" was covered in the first few hours.  There are healthy ways to deal with manipulative and narcissistic people.  It depends on the situation but the following tips can help to keep you calm and centered.  Not allowing the negative and anxious feelings to take over.

Four yogic tips to help deal with narcissistic types and manipulators:

  • First and foremost, breathe and be in the present moment.  Don't worry about how this person may treat you in the future and don't look back thinking how nice they have been to you in the past.  It is all about the present.  Find a positive affirmation to say to yourself to keep you in the present.  This could be saying "What is happening at this moment?" or "I did what I thought was right at the moment, nothing bad happened as a result." or "What is the reality of this moment?  Saying something like this can help you breathe, focus on what is really happening and can keep you calm, allowing the stress or anxiety to dissipate.
  • Many narcissistic and master manipulators are unhappy in someway.  Meet these unhappy people with embrace and compassion.  There is no need to get angry which only empowers them.  Let them feel what they feel, while you have compassion for it and keep your cool.
  • Manipulators do everything they can to get what they want, so if they get what they desire at the moment.  Meet their pleasure with delight, instead of being jealous which is the persons ultimate goal.  A manipulator wants everything to go his or her way and believe he or she deserves it.  Hoping that in return for his or her good fortune, you will be envious.  It's another way to "win" or get attention.  In this case don't feel envious.  Remember the things you feel lucky for and the things that bring you joy.  This will bring about contentment in your actions rather than jealousy.
  •  Learn to let go.  I believe this is the most important of all the tips.  You will not be able to convince a narcissist or manipulator that they are in the wrong.  Instead of arguing or battling something you won't win, meet the situation with disregard.

All this may seem pretty simple, nonetheless when dealing with a master manipulator, it is easy to get caught up in his or her feelings.  That is the manipulators ultimate goal.  To them, they have won because you are behaving how he or she wants.  Try to remember to listen to your inner voice and stay unattached and in the present.  By keeping your cool, those negative feelings will fall away.  It doesn't matter what happened in the past or what will come in the future.  What matters most is that you do what feels right for you in the situation.

Ciao,

Val

Disclaimer: The information on this website (Alt Yoga Vibe) is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for medical treatment or hands on instruction.  If you are experiencing any severe pain or symptoms, please consult a healthcare practitioner.   

Sources: 

http://www.sakkyndig.com/psykologi/artvit/twenge2009.pdf

http://narcissisticbehavior.net/the-typical-narcissistic-woman-as-a-friend/

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