1. First, recognize when you are in a controlling, manipulative, disrespectful or punitive relationship. Usually, the person will be highly critical of you and their comments will have emotional undertones. There is usually also a threat of rejection or abandonment.
2. If you can, walk away from the relationship. It’s unhealthy to be caught up in emotional games where you are the pawn, and you feel trapped and abused.
3. Establish boundaries. For example, don’t allow the person to engage you in critical conversations and emotional put downs. Walk away from any outbursts and emotional displays.
4. Agree to what you will, and will not, accept in the relationships. State these in clear and explicit terms.
5. Put your needs and values before their needs and values (as they will be unlikely to respect these in you first.)
6. Make sure that “no” means “no” … and don’t accept small compromises.
7. Don’t allow yourself to get drawn into any arguments. It will likely go downhill, and you will end up feeling bad.
8. Surround yourself with people who see your gifts and strength – and remind yourself that their viewpoint reflects reality!