Say No! How to resist manipulation (Part 1)

Realize that anyone who tries to change your mind will try to make you feel guilty, so that you give in. They give you lots of reasons, valid believable reasons, and then blame you for being irresponsible, etc. if you say no. They often work you hard and long to wear you down so they achieve their goal. This article is inspired by Canadian author Mary Kassian over at Girls Gone Wise.

Here’s some tools to resist the manipulation mechanism. Be prepared:

  • Don’t let their comments “stick”. Let them run off of you like water off a duck’s back.
  • Agree. Each time the person gives you another reason or tries to attack you, agree with them. Agree with their comment (in whole or in part), or agree with their right to an opinion. “I can see why you might think that…”
  • Rewind/repeat. Rewind the tape, as it were, and repeat your position.
  • Keep holding your position, don’t give in! If you have decided you have decided.

Kassian demonstrates this by giving an everyday example:

Jane: “Would you like to baby-sit tonight?”
Karen: “No. I am tired and want to spend a quiet evening at home tonight.”
Jane: “The kids sure enjoy having you as a babysitter.”
Karen: “That’s great! But I just want to relax at home tonight.”
Jane: “I don’t know if I can find another sitter on such short notice.”
Karen: “That may be, but I just want to spend a quiet evening at home tonight.”
Jane: (getting agitated) “I really need to get out! Don’t you care?”
Karen: “I can see that you want to go out tonight and I do care, but I am tired and want to spend a quiet evening at home.”
Jane: “Some friend you are!”
Karen: “I can see how you might feel irritated with me, but I just want to spend a quiet evening at home tonight.” “Ask me again some other time.”

Scientology’s skillful manipulation
When it comes to cults and other deceiving and manipulating groups or individuals, sociopaths, etc. you are pushed to the extreme. These cults, especially the Church of Scientology is highly trained and extremely skilled in deceiving its parishioners. Being strong and intelligent is not enough to defend yourself against them. They have the tools to get you and make you give in – whatever it takes.

I was in Scientology for 10 years so I know how devastating their methods are. Part of those years I was in a relationship with a sociopath from the same cult. I was lied to, deceived, manipulated and abused weekly for years. By being coerced to do things that are against your integrity can and will ruin your life, your belief in yourself and your self-respect. I had no clue what I entered into when I started my Scientology journey and what harmful effects it had on my life.

WARNING: The Church of Scientology goes after your kids because they know that kids are easier to manipulate than adults. Ex-Scientologist Lori Hodgson lost both her kids to Scientology and are not allowed to see or talk to them. Please watch her story:

In How to resist manipulation (Part 2), I will share some videos about how critical thinking can make you more resistant to manipulation. And how to practice critical thinking with your kids.

Stay clear. Stay strong. Never give in!

13 thoughts on “Say No! How to resist manipulation (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: How to resist manipulation (Part 2) – Critical thinking | Anette Iren Johansen

  2. Especially for women, seems to me as my hubby would just say no to someone and they listened in short time. I’ve encountered it at most every level and in very institution of life. Women it seems can be manipulated easier than men. I certainly have had that experience and I’ve learned to be stronger in time. Even with Scientology, returning for one year after being away for many. I noticed I stood my ground but not completely. Of course that didn’t last long and I left for good. I didn’t need someone controlling me after I enjoyed freedom earlier. I don’t regret going back because I gained certainty of what they had became. On to part 2…

      • Right, and my life seems the hard way as I’m sure there are many of us. But it does work! :)

    • I quite like your article Annette, however, this woman you give credit (Mary Kassian) to is promoting extreme Christian cult behavior that completely disenfranchises women and opens them to male tyranny in the name of God.

      I believe in giving credit where credit is due, but once bitten, twice shy and frankly, I see little difference in what Mary Kassian affirms as a creed “wise“ women should accept as their creed, i.e. total submission to male leadership – because the Bible says so. Not for me. She is no friend of mine if she wants me to bow down in submission because of a religious authority.

      For example:

      WE ARE CALLED as women to affirm and encourage men as they seek to express godly masculinity, and to honor and support God-ordained male leadership in the home and in the church.
      MARRIAGE, as created by God, is a sacred, binding, lifelong covenant between one man and one woman.
      WHEN WE RESPOND humbly to male leadership in our homes and churches, we demonstrate a noble submission to authority that reflects Christ’s submission to God His Father.
      SELFISH INSISTENCE on personal rights is contrary to the spirit of Christ who humbled Himself, took on the form of a servant, and laid down His life for us.

      Annette, you have provided an excellent example of how someone can sound so amazingly reasoned, but that turns out to be a bait and switch when it comes right down to it, like the little frog who gradually boils to death.

      • Thanks for pointing that out, Maria. I agree that I would not in any way promote any cult. Or any belief system where women should be controlled by men. I do not promote anyone to follow any “guru” or religion.

        I will not delete her name here however, as it was her article that inspired this blog post. And her everyday conversation example was so simple to explain the point. I credit her for that. But whatever else opinions she has I do not find relevant in this context.

  3. The Scientology sales technique is the most vicious hard sell there is. Prepare to be eviscerated by the “ruin finding” where they will hammer you into feeling helpless about whatever problem they can stir up in you. They will ignore anything at all you say that is good about your life, humiliate you any way they can and if you get upset about this treatment – wow, there’s really something wrong with you!

    • Perfect and accurate sum up! And you are ALWAYS ISOLATED behind closed doors and often surrounded by two or more people that bombard you whenever you try to say something. Pretty INSANE!

  4. Some cult ‘ indicators’ , (author: credit at the bottom of the passage)
    The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
    ‪ Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
    ‪ Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
    ‪ The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
    ‪ The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
    ‪ The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
    ‪ The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
    ‪ The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members’ participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
    ‪ The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt iin order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
    ‪ Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
    ‪ The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
    ‪ The group is preoccupied with making money.
    ‪ Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
    ‪ Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
    ‪ The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.

    This checklist will be published in the new book, Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias (Berkeley: Bay Tree Publishing, 2006). It was adapted from a checklist originally developed by Michael Langone.

  5. Hi everyone! I’ ve read extremely careful everything so I’ll conclude here my opinion.

    1) Regarding countermeasures of manipulation mechanism, I agree all of them, but there is a small problem. These ways of protection directly assume the fact that the “target person” is aware of the attempt of manipulation. So that person will act accordingly: rewind, agree, holding the position, etc. But what if the target person IS NOT aware that someone is trying to manipulate him(or her)? Not all the pushing people in our lives can be harmful or manipulating. So, Anette, you teached us to avoid eating poisoned mushrooms. What about teaching us to identify the poisoner himself? It will be useful too.

    2) About the dialogue, if Jane would finished with: “I’ll pay you 100 USD /hour”, I think Karen would give in :)… (sorry, just a stupid joke) :)

    3) Targeting kids is 100% criminal. No excuse, just criminal.

    • Identifying the manipulative person is THE problem. Once identified the handling is much easier. I’ve learned from experience to listen to my gut feeling. If I feel pushed, feel tempted to say yes when I should say no, etc. or feel that my integrity is off track, I know there is someone trying to trick me. These guys are so hard to spot and they are able to destroy so much one has to trust one’s instincts and stay clear. They are extremely convincing, so real, that you instantly think something is wrong with you, not them.

      • “They are extremely convincing, so real, that you instantly think something is wrong with you, not them.” Smart words, this is the main essence of the problem, an entire article synthesized in one sentence.

What do you think?