I recently got out of a manipulative relationship. I was good friends with a woman who seemed normal and friendly, though occasionally controlling. But over time, I started feeling lied to or pulled into doing things that I didn’t particularly want to do. This friend would do something hurtful then pretend the event never happened. Or she would blame her behavior on something else, playing the victim instead of admitting a wrongdoing. I wanted to trust this “friend,” but often felt there was just something wrong. Was I going crazy?
Every person has had to deal with a manipulative person at some point in his or her life, whether it’s the car salesman, a greedy preacher, best friend, or even family member. I must say in my life that I’ve dealt with more than my share of manipulative people — those who set traps, lie, and persuade to get their way.
I could never understand why I felt so strange in these relationships until I began researching psychological manipulation. Manipulative people know what they’re doing and use specific tactics to try to control those around them. Some of these manipulators can be very good at what they do. But some of them are close friends who you love dearly. So the question is: how can an ordinary person, who generally trusts people, handle a person bent on deception?
For my specific problem, I started researching on the internet, but I wish I had had Dr. Ed Slack’s comically illustrated book Two Legged Snakes: Understanding and Handling Manipulative People. Dr Ed Slack has been a psychologist for over 25 years and specializes in working with addicts and manipulators. His book is designed to give practical information to regular people.
In Two Legged Snakes, Dr. Slack outlines different types of manipulators and explains how you can respond to their snaky maneuvers. Other sections describe who is most likely to believe these liars as well as include advice on how not to become one yourself.
I really enjoyed reading Two Legged Snakes. It’s a great place to get basic information on manipulative behavior without having to flip through a massive text book. In fact, Dr. Slack purposely made his book simple and accessible to every day people.