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A Deceptive Dance V Strength in Kindness

Healthy relationships are founded upon open communication and mutual respect, however sometimes navigating how to express our-selves can be tricky. There’s a fine line between being Emotionally Assertive and manipulative. Let’s break down the key differences to help you find your authentic voice.

Emotional Assertiveness: Strength with Kindness

Emotional Assertiveness is about expressing our needs, wants, and feelings directly and authentically, whilst fully respecting others. Its about clear communication delivered confidently with kindness.

How it’s expressed:

• “I feel frustrated when I find the sink full of dishes. Are you willing to washup after you make food?”

• “Sadly, I can’t meet for coffee tomorrow; I’d be happy to find a date next week.”

• Using “I” statements to take ownership of your feelings.



• Builds trust and strengthens relationships.

• Creates a safe space for open communication.

• Empowers you to set healthy boundaries.


Manipulation: A Deceptive Dance

Manipulation, on the other hand, is about using indirect or deceptive tactics to control someone’s behaviour or get what you want. It often involves guilt, obligation, or fear.


How it’s expressed:

• Guilt trips: “If you really cared about me, you’d keep the kitchen sink clear.”

• Playing the victim: “Why do you always have to make things about you?”

• Making veiled threats: “If you don’t do this, then I’ll leave you.”



• Erodes trust and creates resentment.

• Makes communication strained and dishonest.

• Damages self-esteem and fosters co-dependency.


Dealing with Manipulation:

If you find yourself on the receiving end of manipulation, it’s important to set boundaries. Here’s how:

• Identify the manipulation: Notice how you feel about the behaviour.

• Communicate calmly: “I am willing to discuss things with you; will you tell me clearly what you want?”

• Don’t give in to guilt trips: Prioritise your well-being and remain the judge of your own behaviour.

• If needed, seek support from trusted friends or a therapist.


Finding Your Balance

Emotional Assertiveness empowers you to have healthy, fulfilling relationships. By expressing yourself honestly and respectfully, you create a space for genuine connection. Remember, it’s okay to say no, and it’s important to communicate your needs. With practice, you can find your voice and build strong, trusting bonds.


If you would like to know more about The Emotional Assertiveness Model and how it can help you strengthen your relationships, get in touch with John directly at


With love

TEAM Emotion