3 Conversations to Have When You’ve Been Played off Against Someone
Manipulative people are (unfortunately) everywhere. When there’s drama circulating, there’s a high chance that there’s a highly unpleasant person at the root of it. One thing’s for certain, once detected, it’s in your best interest to keep these types of people at arm’s length.
When toxic types can’t control the way you see yourself, they may try to control how others see you; they play the martyr while you’re labeled the toxic one. This is what’s often called a ‘Smear Campaign.’
What is a Smear Campaign?
This is where a narcissist launches a preemptive strike to sabotage your reputation and slander your name so that you don’t have a support network to fall back on.
Warning this could get ugly- they may try to stalk and harass you or the people you know as a way to supposedly “expose” the truth about you; this exposure acts as a deflective tactic to hide their own abusive behavior. In this case, the smear campaign tactic has been used to pit two people or two groups against each other.
Why do some people pit people against each other?
Perhaps they get a sense of power or they enjoy the drama and the misery they create; perhaps they’re projecting their inner demons punishing others for the wrongdoings of people in their past. Maybe some can’t help it – they simply can’t detect their own toxicity.
How is this achieved?
Manipulators very often employ a tactic called Triangulation which is used to keep parties from speaking to one another.
- Malignant narcissists love to triangulate their victims with strangers, co-workers, ex-partners, friends, and even family members in order to evoke jealousy and uncertainty in you. They also use the opinions of others to validate their point of view and pull your attention away from their abusive behavior.
- The people in these ‘Triangulations’ created by the wrongdoer are very often consumed with bickering and blaming that they become blind to the real culprit – “The Narcissist.” What’s frustrating is that if the involved parties were to sit down and speak with one another they would find out the truth.
So what do you do if you smell a rat? When You’ve Been Played off Against Another Person(s), Have These 3 Conversations…
Illustrations courtesy of Shutterstock.
Script 1 | Have a Conversation with the Culprit
Hi there, could I have a word?
I would really appreciate your opinion. I’m a not entirely sure what happened but would you be willing to explain what was discussed last week with [Insert Name]?
Resist the temptation to show strong emotion and listen intently maintaining a neutral expression. The intention is to get an objective view of what has potentially gone wrong in the situation.
That said don’t expect to hear the truth from this person, telling the truth is not important to manipulative people and those with narcissistic tendencies.
Make sure you set boundaries too. Don’t allow people to berate others to you without them being there to defend themselves and don’t fall for anyone ego massaging you might receive as a result of showing this manipulative person so much interest.
By telling a narcissist you value their opinion you are catering to their needs of making them feel special which is more likely to get them to cooperate with you.
Unfortunately, many narcissists weren’t given secure love when growing up and were only appreciated or celebrated for what they achieved.
In this course, author and conflict expert Craig Runde helps you manage workplace conflict more effectively. You'll also learn important practical steps to manage your emotions and engage in a constructive way with others.
Script 2 | Have a Conversation With the Person or People You’ve Been Placed in Conflict with
Hi [Insert Name],
I know things are a little tense between us right now but would you mind telling me exactly what happened the other week? There was a lot of tension between us and I’m not quite sure why?
Hi [Insert Name],
I know we’ve clashed a couple of times but it would be great if we could make amends for the sake of ourselves and everyone around us. I’m willing to leave our issues in the fast and move forward.
Forgive me if I’m making any inaccurate assumptions and I don’t want to start any gossip, but I have a reason to believe that false allegations have been made against me and I feel like this is affecting my relationship with you.
I’m reaching out because I think it would be a great shame if our relationship got ruined because of a third party.
Whatever was said and done, I would like to set the record straight and demonstrate the type of person I am through my actions – the rest will come to light in due course.
This one may be difficult. Perhaps this person has screamed at or behaved really unpleasantly towards you. Whatever has happened, bite your tongue, seek to understand, and remain neutral- you’re looking for an accurate account of events from this person.
Here’s the real trick, try to get on friendlier terms with the person you’ve been played against. Not only will this drive the manipulator(s) crazy but it will ultimately help everyone involved. You may even find yourself a new friend.
Try to find a way to work with this person rather than in competition or against them. If possible, approach the person in question directly and offer to help with a task, or ask a friendly question to diffuse tension.
Script 3 | Have a Conversation With Yourself or a Trusted Third Party
You’ve set the ball rolling for making amends, now’s the time to reflect. People may push our buttons, but through our life experiences, we’re the ones who create them. We assume the everyone thinks like us and should fall in line with our values, but in our minds, we have all each created different ideals. As they say, “We see the world not as it is, but as we are”.
To resist triangulation tactics, realize that whoever the narcissist is triangulating with is also being triangulated by your relationship with the narcissist as well. Everyone is essentially being manipulated by this one person. To combat the triangulation method it’s best to disengage from the toxic individual, gain support from a third party and seek your own validation.
Challenges and struggles between people are often conflicting values clashing. When dealing with other people, it’s often useful to think about what we could do differently because the person with the most flexible behavior wins every time. We want to highlight this because self-actualization and working on our mindsets are the best defenses against those who wish to manipulate us.
We cannot control people trying to play us off against others but when we seek to understand others’ perspectives and keep the lines of communication open we make it pretty hard for them.
Use this unfortunate event as a reason to practice self-awareness. The manipulator has no control over how you react to news and it’s best to disengage from them entirely. When we blame others for how we feel or hold onto negative thoughts about another person the resentment is reflected through our interactions. When this happens, the situation escalates, because the person on the other end is thinking about why you have an attitude towards them.
Most people have the best of intentions, most people want to help; treat people this way, and we can fix the most challenging relationships. It’s better to analyze behavior, not people. Be curious, not judgemental, focus on people’s strengths, and accept perceived weaknesses, setting boundaries for yourself where necessary to protect yourself from the worst of their behavior.
Illustrations courtesy of Shutterstock.
This article was originally published on https://www.nevertherightword.com. If this article appears on any other site other than https://www.nevertherightword.com without clear referencing it is a violation of the copyright owned by https://www.nevertherightword.com.
Narcissists may be individuals but they all share one thing in common: they need to feel special and unfortunately this means that some are prepared to go to great lengths using people to feed their egos.
If you’ve been deliberately played off against another person(s) try your best to calmly identify where the issue is coming from and practice self-awareness and compassion. It’s in your best interest to reduce your interactions with the source of the drama to keep your headaches to a minimum.
If you find yourself falling victim to a smear campaign it is important to stay mindful of your reactions and stick to cold hard evidence. This is especially relevant for high-conflict situations with narcissists who may use your reactions to their provocations against you.
Where possible, document any forms of harassment. You may wish to take legal action if you feel the stalking and harassment are getting out of control. Make an extra effort to maintain your character and integrity as this will come to light when the narcissist’s facade begins to disintegrate.
At Never the Right Word, our aim is to give you practical examples of how to handle life’s difficult conversations. If you have an awkward situation that you’d like example templates for, request a topic here.
Lastly, if you found this content helpful or want to share your own examples, let us know in the comments. We’d also be delighted if you shared this article and joined us on social media too!
Never the Right Word
Hi there! I’m Amy, and I’m the person behind Never the Right Word. I’m a designer-by-day who’s fascinated by human psychology; you’ll find me learning about what makes others tick through all types of media and good old-fashioned conversation. Learn more about me here.
In 2019 Never the Right Word was born to fill the gap of ‘how-to’ websites with copy and paste examples showing you EXACTLY what you need to say to steer difficult conversations into positive outcomes.
Relevant Books We Recommend...
Becoming the Narcissist's Nightmare: How to Devalue and Discard the Narcissist While Supplying Yourself by author Shahida Arabi offers practical tips and alternatives for recovering from the trauma of narcissistic abuse. Each chapter features links to relevant articles, podcasts, and social media resources. The book explores these resources and combines them into a comprehensive and revealing look at narcissistic abuse and its effects on those who have fallen victim to it. Since pathological narcissists are unlikely to seek treatment, it is difficult to pinpoint what exactly makes them tick and determine the manipulative tactics they use. You can get your copy of Becoming the Narcissist's Nightmare by CLICKING HERE.
Packed with over 325 ready-to-use phrases to use when working with challenging personalities, Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Difficult People by Renée Evenson is an all-in-one guide for resolving conflict. Organized for easy reference, this book offers powerful tools for defusing potentially explosive situations, such as; 20 challenging coworker behaviors, with specific phrases and actions for dealing with each, 10 difficult boss personality types, with guidelines for working through problems with each, blunder recovering tips, and a five-step process for turning bad situations into positive ones. We highly recommend this book. You can get your copy of Powerful Phrases by CLICKING HERE.
In Difficult Conversations: What to say in tricky situations without ruining the relationship; author Anne Dickson describes a range of difficult conversations that frequently occur in intimate, social, and work situations, and reveals simple but powerful techniques that will help you to transform the scenario. You'll discover how to communicate directly and honestly - without causing friction with those close to you. We love that this book offers 'real-life' examples and links to strategic and high impact negotiations. To get this book from Book Depository please CLICK HERE.
The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt by Robert Sutton delivers a methodical game plan when you find yourself working with a jerk, whether in the office, on the field, in the classroom, or just in life. Ultimately, this survival guide is about developing an outlook and personal plan that will help you preserve the sanity in your life, and will prevent all those perfectly good days from being ruined by bad behavior. Sutton starts with a diagnosis. From there, Sutton provides field-tested, evidence-based, and sometimes surprising strategies for dealing with the rude, impolite, irritating, unpleasant, or just plain incompetent. Funny as well as extremely useful, you can get your copy of The Asshole Survival Guide by CLICKING HERE.
Check Out Our Recommended Resources.
Looking to become a digital publisher like us? We highly recommend these tried-and-tested tools:
We Recommend Elegant Themes
The Elegant Themes membership gives you complete access to 87 amazing themes and 3 awesome plugins, including Divi, the ultimate WordPress Theme and Visual Page builder. Elegant Themes have been building the world's most popular WordPress themes for the past 10 years, and rest assured their products will always be improved and maintained.
Build Anything With Divi Theme
One of the most popular WordPress themes in the world. Building layouts is easy and fast, making it ideal to create mockups and wireframes, prototyping a design, and creating the website itself. Build from the frontend or backend. The builder is intuitive. It's easy to learn and can be used by non-developers to create amazing websites.
Customize With Divi Cake Plugins
Divi Cake’s main goal is to help the members of the Divi community find the perfect premium Divi themes, layouts, and plugins created by leading Divi developers and designers. Shop hundreds of premium Divi products like Divi child themes, Divi layouts, and Divi plugins on Divi Cake, the community-driven Divi Marketplace. Find out more about Divi Cake here.
We ❤️Shutterstock Media
We get our images from the OG in stock assets. Boost your business with the right images. They're royalty-free and ready to use. Footage & Music Libraries. 4k Images Added per Hour. No Daily Download Limit. Speedy Search & Discovery. With flexible plans and countless amounts of premium content uploaded weekly, we had to mention Shutterstock.
Skill-Up With LinkedIn Learning
When you want to enhance your professional skills with expert-led, online video tutorials, the only place to go is LinkedIn Learning (Lynda). With a subscription you get 24/7, unlimited access to over 13,000 business, design & tech online courses and with a free month. We like them because we get expert-led courses that we can access anytime, anywhere. What's not to love?
Reliable Hosting With SiteGround
SiteGround boasts a whole list of fantastic features at amazingly affordable prices. Along with multiple growth options, free site transfers and domains, built-in Content Delivery Network integrations, WordPress support, AND human support we wouldn't go to anyone else. They're basically faster, safer, and more supportive- you can check them out here.
We Trust Grammarly Premium
Even seasoned writers need a helping hand at times, that’s why we trust Grammarly Premium. As the World's Most Accurate Online Grammar Checker, Grammarly Premium goes beyond grammar to help you ensure that everything you write is clear, engaging, and professional. Try Grammarly Premium’s AI-powered assistant here.
Find Graphics With Creative Market
Creative Market is the world’s marketplace for design. Bring your creative projects to life with ready-to-use design assets from independent creators around the world. We love the unique finds, social media templates, vectors you name it they have it. I also doesn't hurt that our founder has a little store on there...
Donating to Never the Right Word will
help us produce more free content. Thank you!