The gift of empathy is much-needed in the world yet there is also a dark side to empathy which manifests as emotional manipulation.
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of another, see through their eyes and convey that understanding. The highest level of Empathy becomes the vehicle through which we convey compassion, kindness and understanding.
The lower level of empathy is emotional manipulation. Emotional manipulation happens when a person uses words or actions to try to emotional manipulate another person’s emotions to their own gain. This normally involves guilt tripping, ignoring boundaries, shaming or outright threats if the manipulator’s needs are not met.
A person who uses emotional manipulation will often feel they are lacking in something. Emotional manipulation becomes a survival tool used to try to fulfil their needs.
Most emotional manipulators use manipulation to try to gain control of or make the other person take responsibility for manipulators needs. This can be physically or emotionally, normally because of a perceive lack.
Emotional manipulators use their gift of empathy to find a person’s weak spots. You have to know where it hurts, right?
This is the dark side of empathy as the emotional manipulator can put themselves into the shoes of another. Not to empathise, but to use their gift of empathy against another person.
If you are susceptible to emotional manipulation, always remember that you are responsible for yourself and no other person. To share your gift of empathy and help other people, when you choose to, is a wonderful gift, especially when people are truly in need.
If a person tries to manipulate your emotions to make you responsible for their physical, mental and emotional needs, this is a form of emotional abuse. An emotional manipulator deserves empathy just as much as anyone else but you can develop boundaries and the ability to say no to protect yourself.
(c) Samantha Wilson 2016. All Rights Reserved.