In distress some people become major drama kings and queens. They triangulate, manipulate, and turn the tables to create negative drama. It seems they are constantly clamoring for the limelight while stepping on others along the way. They create smoke-screens and diversions to avoid responsibility and somehow manage to escape getting caught. They develop a narcissistic attitude that they are above the law.
The back story
Behind the scenes, people who manipulate desperately need excitement and thrilling challenges. When they don’t get it positively, they get it negatively by creating negative drama. It’s exciting, but leaves a wake of destruction. They are charismatic and can be great leaders, but are scared of being transparent and forming close relationships. Because they can’t deal with intimacy, they keep people at arms length through manipulation. Sadly, by seeking supremacy and dominance, they sacrifice their leadership capacities. Before long, even their surrogates abandon them because they don’t like being taken advantage of.
If this is you
- Use your charm and charisma to inspire people positively.
- Show courage by being transparent and consistent in your relationships. Stop surprising and embarrassing people who want to trust you.
- Get your excitement by being a positive hero. You can accomplish amazing things when you collaborate and serve something bigger than your ego.
- Support and encourage people. There’s no need to shower lavish praise on them. Simply be a consistent and affirming presence in their life.
- Rally all the courage you muster. These people respond best to very firm boundaries, straight talk, and direct communication. They can take it.
- Be very direct in your communication. Avoid emotional appeals and extra details. Cut to the chase and tell them what you want them to do. e.g. “Give me my marching orders for today.”
- Arrange for positive excitement. Create healthy competitions, short-term goals with high-stakes, or tasks with immediate payoff.
- Negotiate with them, just for the sport of it. Regardless of the outcome, the process of negotiation is motivating for them.
- Keep it moving. The more fast-paced things are, the better they perform.
This article is part three in a series on how to communicate with people in distress, starting with six tips for staying sane when others are acting crazy. Read all six articles to discover why people act the way they do in distress, and how you can communicate to make a positive difference.
This series is based on our work using the Process Communication Model, a research-tested framework for understanding and communicating with different personality types, in and out of distress.