Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist

How to get out of the drama

Letting Go of An Emotional Manipulator

Are you addicted to an emotional caretaker?

Are you addicted to an emotional manipuator? Are you blaming that person for your feelings of frustration, anger, guilt and dissatisfaction? Do you actually believe that you can't let go of your expectations? It's not easy, but you can do it.

Let's face it, emotional manipulators can be powerfully magnetic and amazingly perceptive. They have an uncanny ability to sense when you are at your wit's end, and just at the moment you think you can't take anymore, they back off, become more reasonable, maybe even thoughtful or funny or attentive. This does not mean that they have suddenly gained insight or won't go back to their selfish, demanding ways. It simply means that they sense you are about to move away from their grasp and they don't want to lost thier advantage with you. By being more pleasant, they keep you close and under control.

An emotional caretaker is very vulnerable and responsive to even the slightest positive indicators from the emotional manipulator. The caretaker is so hopeful and so needs the manipulator to see and understand the love and caring you are providing, that these small positive moments are counted with enormous value.

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Letting go of an emotional manipulator means giving up needing their approval, their validation, and their view of the world and tuning into your own self-approval, self-validation and self-view of your world. As long as you are trying to fit into the emotional manipulator's distorted perspective or trying to get him/her to see and understand your perspective, you will find yourself lost in a labyrinth of perplexity and confusion.

Letting go of an emotional manipulator means figuring out for yourself what you feel, what you want, and what you will do about it and sicking with it. The emotional manipulator wants you to match her/his picture of you and will go to extremes, both positive and negative, to get you to conform to her/his wishes, preferred image, and choices.

As you know, not matching what the emotional manipulator wants, exposes you to his/her anger and disapproval. Letting go means that you disengage yourself from trying to please or get their support and endorsement for what you feel, think, or do. This means not caring so much what the emotional manipulator thinks about you. After all, you often don't approve or like what the emotional manipulator is doing or saying, so why does it matter so much to you how the emotional manipulator thinks and feels about you?

That's the key. It is not just that emotional manipulators keep you bound to them, it is that you keep yourself bound to them by seeking and needing their approval and validation, which, of course, they give or withhold to get what they want from you. And they know just how much to give and take away to keep you coming back.

You have control over the choices you make. What you don't have control over are the choices that emotional manipuators make. This is an important life lesson. Focus on the what, why, when, and how of your own life and give up trying to manipulate the manipulators in your life. Let their demands go. Let them focus on fulfilling their own needs while you work on taking care of your wants and needs. Then you will be getting somewhere.

Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D., LMFT, is a therapist, author and speaker on the topic of borderlines and narcissists.


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