Manipulation 101: When They Undermine Your Accomplishments

Manipulation 101: When They Undermine Your Accomplishments manipulation 101: when they undermine your accomplishments
Photo by Hannah Xu on Unsplash

Manipulation can take many forms in relationships, and today I’d like to talk about the sneaky, soul-sapping manipulation technique where your achievements or successes are consistently undermined, minimized, or outright dismissed by the other person. Whether it’s your narcissistic spouse sneeringly implying your job promotion was “No big deal” or your controlling parent brushing off your exciting life milestone with a mere “That’s nice” — these jabs slowly chip away at your sense of self-worth.

At its core, this manipulation strategy is all about eroding your confidence through invalidation. By diminishing the things you’ve worked hard for, your manipulator is trying to keep you in a subdued, self-doubting state where you’ll remain eager for their rare approval and validation. Because as long as they can convince you your accomplishments are insignificant, they maintain the power to be the ones who decide what does or doesn’t merit genuine praise and validation.

The psychological impact of this dynamic shouldn’t be underestimated. When someone constantly puts down or ignores your accomplishments, it sends the message that what you hope for, work for, and who you are doesn’t really matter unless the manipulator says it does. This negative pattern sinks in over time, making you feel less confident and making you doubt your own abilities. If the person closest to you always makes light of your achievements, it’s normal to wonder if you’re really capable or deserving.

It’s also common for manipulators to use subtle put-downs as a deceptive way to assert their own superiority under the guise of “good-natured teasing” or “motivational tough love. It may look like this: “So, you got that new promotion? Sure, it may seem impressive to you now, but I bet you’ll be in over your head soon enough. That’s actually pretty entry-level for your age.”

See how the dig both invalidates the achievement while implying you’re somehow falling short in their eyes?

The hidden message is to make you feel unsure of yourself so you’ll keep needing their approval and validation for every single thing you do. It’s like a cat hitting at a mouse that tries to climb up the shelf.

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It’s common in emotionally abusive relationships and it will keep you trying to work harder and harder so that you can show them that you’re worthy. It’s a sneaky way for them to stay in charge while hiding their real mean intentions. If you started feeling too confident because of your own successes, they wouldn’t be able to control your feelings as easily.

How Do You Handle Someone Who Constantly Undermines Your Achievements?

When faced with this manipulation tactic, the key is to refuse to accept their invalidations as truth. Their judgments of your talents and successes are irrelevant projections, not an accurate assessment of your worth. Believe strongly in yourself, so their attempts to put you down won’t affect you. When you don’t need their approval or validation to feel good about your accomplishments, their manipulative tricks won’t work anymore.

Because at the end of the day, your achievements — whether being a caring parent, excelling at work, or personal growth milestones — all represent an investment into your own sense of self that no one can take that away from you if you don’t give them that power. Their attempts to undermine you only hurt when you subconsciously see them as the authority on your self-worth. Once you separate your self-esteem from their harsh judgments, their manipulation won’t affect you anymore.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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