Do you Manipulate or Negotiate?
Recovery Coach Dufflyn Lammers Asks…
Do you manipulate or negotiate and offers advice on how to tell and what to do
Negotiating has a tone of “us,” as in, how can “we” find some common ground? A tone of goodwill. This involves two or more people having an open discussion of whatever task or issue is at hand and finding a compromise where both parties can take some satisfaction.
Manipulating has a tone of “I win, you lose.” A tone of convincing. This happens when one or more parties introduce guilt or fear into the conversation as a means of controlling the other’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.
Many of us in recovery have habits of manipulating that we are not aware of, or we may slip in and out of awareness. Is it any wonder considering what many of us have been through?
The first step to negotiating not manipulating is to become aware of one’s own behaviour. Begin to notice if you…
- Guilt others into doing things your way
- Scare people into doing things your way
- Negate your needs in the interest of maintaining closeness with others
- Hold others responsible for choices you have made
Take some time to examine your own style and the style of those you are in relationships with. Remember, you can’t change anyone but yourself. Others may respond differently to you, or they may not. This is also great information.
Communication is about sending and receiving thoughts and ideas. There is infinite nuance in tone of voice, body language, word choice, rhythm, and so on. When we are authentic in our communication we do not experience any ambivalence because we are being honest with ourselves and with those we are negotiating with.
One clue that someone is manipulating is when their actions do not match their words. Can you observe this in yourself and others?
Another clue that we might be manipulating is when we fail to listen.
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we will say next (in order to get what we want from the other person) that we do not really hear what the other party has said.
On the other hand have you ever had someone listen to you, and when you’ve finished speaking repeat back to you what they heard and say something like, “It makes sense you would feel frustrated.” Feels much better doesn’t it?
Once we have become aware of our habits, we are ready to make changes. Here are a few simple steps to becoming a better listener—a negotiator rather than a manipulator.
- Breathe deeply and relax. Trust yourself and others enough to just be present. Give the conversation the time and space it deserves.
- When you are having a conversation, note any tension in your body, any desire to jump in, any urge to “teach” or correct. Stop and ask what your intention is before you speak.
- Make statements of truth. Resist the urge to tell stories or bring up the past. You will connect much more effortlessly if you stay in the moment.
- Once the other person has finished speaking, summarise what they have said aloud, and reflect back to them the feelings they have expressed verbally and/or what you have intuited.