Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mrscatinthehat, Sep 25, 2007.
How do they learn this? How do you stop it?
Dude. It's in their DNA. They get it from their dad. All of them. They ALL get it from their dads.
Stop it? Tricky. You find yourself well into it before you realize, well I'll be dipped, they did it again. Every time you find yourself in the middle of one of their manipulation rings, disengage. Just simply walk away, tell them that you will discuss it later or not at all.
It may not deter then behavior from happening again, but it will stop it in its tracks. They are stubborn and getting their way is very important to them. They will try and try again. But if they see enough times that it is not working, eventually they will give up.
And then they will try something new.
You do learn to recognize it earlier on, as time goes by. And nip it in the bud more quickly. I don't know of any way to really "stop" it, either, except to call them on it as you recognize it. But Kitty is right, they'll just try a different way next time ;-) You just have to be smarter than they are.
Manipulation is one of the hallmark signs of ODD and or CD. Boy do I know those two! My youngest seems to have manipulation down to a science. If they offered degree classes in it, he could teach it!
You just have to stay strong and not engage. Easier said than done though.
I'm not sure manipulation is a behavior that can be totally stopped. Rather, I think that you have to learn to work with your difficult child.
kt is rather infamous for her ability to manipulate; to triagulate. If she can't get her way one way - she'll get it another. It's non-stop chaos. It can be happy, crazy & hyper chaos. It can be angry, loud & defiant chaos. kt will use whatever she can to get whatever is on her mind at that moment.
It's been a long slow journey to begin to see improvement in this area. The biggest hurdle to manipulation is to have everyone, I mean everyone, who works with your difficult child be on the same page. That means you must be willing to open up & share things with people you might rather not. All these people must ahead of time agree to the reaction or response to a difficult children manipulative antics.
Consistent responses to the reactive challenges that difficult child throws your way is a must.
kt is light years ahead of wm; it's sad to see.
Good luck with this. I don't thing we'll ever totally overcome this negative behavior with the tweedles.
My difficult child loves to manipulate. Linda is right it really is important for everyone to be on the same page. husband and I are on the same page for the most part but difficult child still tries to manipulate and once in awhile gets away with it. He will manipulate anyone and everyone if he can.
what everyone has said is all so true. I wanted to add that I was in a foster paretning class once and one of us said something about a child manipulating and the therapist came back with, "eveybody manipulates...it isnt just kids". And I have remembered that. Now, with some of our kiddos, it is as you all have said, excessive. I see it more as I deal with some of my kids who have reactive attachment disorders. Nancy Thomas is a great author on that subject and gives tons of great ideas on how to deal with this issue. Kids who have "needs" in thier lives tend to manipulate even more. And I am finding as those needs get met, there is less manipulating, less anxiety and more joy in the kid. Here was a great story I hard from The Post Institute (great resource) An adopted girl threw horrendous fits each night when told to shower. These parents went round and round and she came up with tons of reasons not to shower, major behavior problems. Somehow, they got to the root of the matter and the girl had been sexually abused in guess where...the shower before she was adopted. They allowed her to take baths and presto, no more problems. Now that is an extreme example and if your kid wasnt adopted, then you know all of their history so you can rule out unknown traumas. But I think kids act certain ways to fulfill a need often. One of my reactive attachment kids seems to prefer chaos. Someone explained it to me that most of us enjoy and strive for peace and feel relief from serenity...but kids with trauma can be the opposite...they have been so hyper vigilant in order to stay one step ahead and evn to survive that peace is uncomfortable to them and they create chaos if it isnt there. I said all this to say...sometimes manipulation is the symptom. But I hate it liek the rest of you guys!!!! Angela
M was a master, and when he couldn't make it work on one of us, he moved on to triangulation. I guess one way to deal with it is to not make quick decisions, and not be afraid to change our minds if we either haven't thought things out or that we were misled. After all, we are the parents. And it isn't a crime to admit that we have made a poor decision if we haven't had all of the facts.
I think there is a whole lot more called manipulation than really exists.
We have also found that there is really NO way to stop it. Most of the disorders our children have that affect them GIVE them this POWER of manipulation, and it really IS hardwired in their DNA. As for them getting it from their DADS....well, I'm not so sure about that, but I guess since mostly women frequent this board, we get to blame them cause they aren't here in great numbers to stick up for themselves!!!!
Although this isn't really able to be "stopped", there are some good things that will help head it off early. A HUGE part of this is COMMUNICATION. Everyone must be talking openly about things that are going on and this makes a big difference. Between open communication and MAKING your difficult child accountable for their behaviors and accusations, it will help them think twice before they try to pull something over on you. difficult child's really are a catch 22, because they will COMPLETELY exhaust you, but you HAVE to stay 100% alert and on your toes to handle them and keep yourself one step ahead....which just will EXHAUST you more, and it is like this totally endless cycle that never stops!!!
I have found the "Stop Walking on Eggshells" book and workbook (author Randi Kreger) to be VERY helpful. It primarily deals with borderline personality disorder, but many difficult children do exhibit these Cluster B type personality traits in varying doses. They do have good tips on coping with rages, setting limits, and taking charge of your child's medical care.
They have a very enlightening section section about emotional blackmail in the workbook. They say emotional blackmail is a powerful form of manipulation in which people close to us threaten, directly or indirectly, to punish us if we don't do what they want. The main tool of the trade is FOG: fear, obligation and guilt. Kids or adults may use emotional blackmail because it's the best or the only way they know how to get what they want or need. Unwilling or unable to make a direct request, FOG becomes the lever of choice to those who suffer from low self-esteem and have trouble setting personal limits and stating what they want. Victims capitulate because they often possess these same qualities.
Some suggested phrases to cope with it:
"I'm sorry, I won't be able to"
"I'm sorry that makes you upset"
"I just can't do that"
"I understand you feel that way, but I'm going to have to say no"
"That's your choice - this is mine"
"I understand I've done that before, but this time I can't"
"Let's talk about this when you're less upset"
"You may have a point, but I can't do it this time"
"I understand you feel that way. I hope you find another solution"
"Threatening me isn't going to work. I've made my decision and I'm asking you to respect that"
They say it's vital to keep in mind you're doing this both to reclaim your life and to ensure the health of the relationship.
These are all excerpts from Stop Walking on Eggshells.
My personal survival throughout my past year's ordeal with my difficult child has been to confide in a FEW trusted people, not sacrifice my own exercise schedule, and to listen to stand-up comedy on satellite radio whenever possible. I can actually laugh through my tears and it makes me feel better even when the world seems to be falling apart!
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