Dominique King Lean in with Love

Learn to handle toxic manipulation

Dominique King Lean in with LoveQ. I ended a friendship a year ago due to a lack of respect for boundaries. “Laycee” has refused to accept that I am not interested in trying to fix our friendship. She has resorted to arguing at mutual friend events, antagonizing me on social media and manipulating people into believing I am the problem. Any advice? – Raelynn

A. Raelynn, I understand you believe your boundaries should be respected. Unfortunately, some bank on the boost of self-esteem, control or entertainment they will receive by disregarding those boundaries.

Don’t take the bait

Investing time, arguing and trying to get others on your side is what Laycee hopes you will do. You are toxic teammates in building and maintaining this two-way bridge. Our egos can tie us to harmful situations because we feel the need not to give up ground. We torture ourselves to prove we are immovable or that someone or something has not gotten the best of us.

Ask yourself why you are so emotionally invested in a situation you don’t care about. Step back, get quiet and invest in self-reflection.

Go ahead – burn that bridge

Realynn, you don’t need Laycee’s compliance or your mutual friends’ approval to end this friendship. However, you do need to permit yourself to burn this bridge.

Firm boundaries do not singularly rely on others respecting them. We must also be willing to back away from people, groups and situations that would compromise our ability to uphold them.

In an effort to gain attention and reactions, Laycee is doing everything she can to feel a sense of control over you and the situation. Her ultimate goal is to continually push you to a place that validates her ability to affect you.

While you may find these interactions frustrating and draining, for Laycee, it is quite the opposite. Taking the bait gives her a charge, entertainment and a restored sense of power.

‘Gray rock’

Practice being a “gray rock.” Put nothing into the situation and expect nothing in return. Regardless of her behavior, be committed to not giving any emotional or long-winded responses. Block, ignore or be the first to remove yourself. That way, Laycee’s antics will no longer trigger a reaction from you.

If her attempts become more desperate or concerning, however, this may be a more serious problem. Some may tell you it’s not that serious, but you may need to be concerned for your safety.

Document everything and research what is required for a temporary or permanent restraining order. Never be afraid to reach out to your local authorities for help.

Be well; you are worthy.

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Dominique King
Dominique King

Dominique King is a blogger who centers around marriage, family, fitness and personal growth. Her insightful and practical approach to advice gives everyday couples, parents and individuals a space to get answers to their questions.