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Using Reverse Psychology Effectively

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 8 Sep 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Reverse Psychology Psychology

You don’t have to be an intellectual genius or mind reader to learn how to use reverse psychology effectively. This method of influencing simply requires that you pay attention to what another person is communicating – by reading body language and demonstrating active listening – and then offer an exchange that creates a response that is in your favour.

As a separated dad you may, from time to time, find yourself dealing with frustrating and/or challenging situations with your ex partner, that restrict access to your children or limit contact in some way (see our article Your Separated Father's Rights on this site). Reverse psychology can provide a useful method of encouraging your former partner to see your point of view.

Recognising Techniques

Many parents often use reverse psychology techniques with their children but may not be fully aware they are doing this. Because children naturally want to demonstrate independent thinking, they will generally want to do the opposite of what a parent suggests. For instance, think of a time when a child is refusing to eat a particular food. Chances are they soon change their mind once the suggestion that they couldn’t possibly eat more than four forkfuls is voiced by a parent. This is reverse psychology used effectively and it can be used on partners as well as children.

In the same way that a child is influenced to act in an opposite way, an adult can be tempted into changing their thoughts, opinions and views on a situation. Reverse psychology simply plays on the weaknesses of an individual so that you are able to persuade through suggestion, which is rather like making someone think an idea was their idea all along. In a difficult relationship, with an ex partner, using these techniques can help you gain advantages and opportunities.

How to Have Your Needs Met

If you are experiencing difficulty in communication the first step to ensuring reverse psychology works for you is to acknowledge the other person’s point of view. This means remaining calm and controlled no matter how difficult the situation gets. You need to be able to demonstrate how in control of your emotions you are so that the other person is able to see you have their needs in mind. Allowing them to think you have all the time in the world also means that they will begin to give thought to any issues you want to address, which is the opposite to the way they will react if you are demanding and controlling.

By suggesting that you are putting someone else’s needs first you will create a reaction that stimulates interaction and communication, and will mean that your needs are considered also. Reverse psychology can be used successfully in difficult relationships that include some form of power struggle. This does not, however, mean pretending or lying in order to get your own way. Using reverse psychology techniques enables you to influence by suggestion, which means that the other person will become more willing to prove a point or act out of character in order to do as you want.

How to Exploit Thinking Types

People with a stubborn streak, exaggerated self-worth or a high level of confidence can be more easily exploited than those people who are more level in their thinking. Reverse psychology works effectively with people who possess a pattern of behaviour because it is relatively simple to spot potential thought and expression. Individuals who thrive on proving a point will naturally want to do the opposite of what you suggest which makes it easy to use reverse psychology techniques for your benefit.

Difficult ex-partners may create parenting restrictions that limit access to your child/children and impact on the growing relationship you are trying to foster. In these cases, using reverse psychology techniques can help you improve the level of Communication and Contact You Have With Your Children, and also ease the tension between parents. For instance, creating a suggestion that your ex-partner may desire to have more personal free time, to pursue wellbeing or personal interests, will influence thought and bring your idea into reality. This in turn may increase time you spend with your children.

Maintain a Good Reputation

However you choose to develop your psychology skills, it is important that you do so for the benefit of all. Using reverse psychology in a negative way can be seen as being manipulative and controlling, and very few people will welcome the development of relationships with a person who uses psychology techniques to get their own way.

Understanding the importance of mutual expression and exchange will provide many openings for increased communication, and this method of establishing and accepting situations and solutions is far better than having to persuade someone to change their mind to suit your needs. Ensure you show respect for another’s needs and you will have your own needs met more readily.

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[Add a Comment]
Rubylips - Your Question:
I have not seen my wee grandsons for 2 months.I looked after both since birth up to 25hours per week,my sons partner has taken them ,and is not giving us any contact.I love them both so much but will have to wait 6 weeks for full civil legal aid.Anybody got any ideas how contact could be made in the interim.We live in Scotland.Big hug to everybody who are missing their children.L

Our Response:
In this case I'm afraid you would have to seek legal advice to see if an interim contact order may be possible. It would be more likely to be granted if your son applied (being the father).
SeparatedDads - 9-Sep-16 @ 12:02 PM
I have not seen my wee grandsons for 2 months.I looked after both since birth up to 25hours per week,my sons partner has taken them ,and is not giving us any contact.I love them both so much but will have to wait 6 weeks for full civil legal aid.Anybody got any ideas how contact could be made in the interim.We live in Scotland.Big hug to everybody who are missing their children. L
Rubylips - 8-Sep-16 @ 3:10 PM
despondent dad - Your Question:
Hi. I'm pretty sure I'm not the first to have this issue and I'm equally sure I wont be the last. After being divorced now for 7 years I suddenly find my daughter wants nothing to do with me or my family. The separation was very acrimonious and I've struggled to maintain my relationships with my son and daughter. I'm always there when the contact order says, I take them on holidays, attend parents evening, pay over and above what I'm due to, pay for mobile phones, school buses and trips etc. then around 9 months ago my daughter stopped coming without any warning. since then I've had counseling to try and come to terms with some of the accusations made against me by my ex wife regarding my parenting and care for both my daughter and my son. I've recently been made aware of the issue of parental alienation and strongly suspect this is behind the issue. My ex wife does not need any encouragement to run me down or criticize me to anyone who will listen. I've now noticed similar traits to my daughter in my son and his behavior is changing - becoming more argumentative and accusing me of things I haven't done or not giving his mum enough money etc. I've appealed through all mediums I can think of to my ex wife to resolve this but all I get back is a tirade of abuse. I'm being advised by some to go back to court as she is in breach of the contact arrangements and also for the long term effect and well being of the children. However, I've also heard some very poor stories in regards to how the courts and CAFCAS handle these issues and ultimately they can make matters much much worse. Anyone got any bright ideas or experience - I'm at my wits end

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this . You don't say how old your daughter is, as if she is over the age of 11, then her opinion will be taken into consideration by Cafcass and subsequently through the courts. While Cafcass has had a lot of mud thrown at it, it has also helped many fathers, please see link: My Positive Experience of Cafcass, here. Also, What Goes into the Cafcass Family Report? Link here may also help. It is very difficult to prove Parental Alienation Syndrome through the courts, however, it is being increasingly recognised. The main thing is to try and communicate directly with your daughter and try and find out the issues from her directly.
SeparatedDads - 24-Nov-15 @ 2:11 PM
Hi. I'm pretty sure I'm not the first to have this issue and I'm equally sure I wont be the last. After being divorced now for 7 years I suddenly find my daughter wants nothing to do with me or my family. The separation was very acrimonious and I've struggled to maintain my relationships with my son and daughter. I'm always there when the contact order says, I take them on holidays, attend parents evening, pay over and above what I'm due to, pay for mobile phones, school buses and trips etc. then around 9 months ago my daughter stopped coming without any warning. since then I've had counseling to try and come to terms with some of the accusations made against me by my ex wife regarding my parenting and care for both my daughter and my son. I've recently been made aware of the issue of parental alienation and strongly suspect this is behind the issue. My ex wife does not need any encouragement to run me down or criticize me to anyone who will listen. I've now noticed similar traits to my daughter in my son and his behavior is changing - becoming more argumentative and accusing me of things I haven't done or not giving his mum enough money etc. I've appealed through all mediums I can think of to my ex wife to resolve this but all I get back is a tirade of abuse. I'm being advised by some to go back to court as she is in breach of the contact arrangements and also for the long term effect and well being of the children. However, I've also heard some very poor stories in regards to how the courts and CAFCAS handle these issues and ultimately they can make matters much much worse. Anyone got any bright ideas or experience - I'm at my wits end
despondent dad - 23-Nov-15 @ 10:41 PM
Helpingafriend - Your Question:
I need help,My friend Mr D has gotten in a new relationship with a female we work with.His ex is very clever she dropped baby off at D's house on Saturday and is refusing to pick up baby, knowing full well he cannot see his new gf over weekends and also is putting him at risk of losing sing his job because he can't go to work as she won't tell him where she isD has messaged and rang and only gets sly comments back. He wants things to be amicable between them and has respected her wishes to not have new partner around new partner.Is there anything my friend can do to make her pick up the child or anything he can do to get potential rights for the childPoor baby :(

Our Response:
I'm afraid there is nothing your friend can do to make his ex pick up the child. However, if he wants a Residency Order for his child, then he would have to apply through the courts (although there is no guarantee your friend would be awarded residency). A Residence Order is an order issued by the Family Proceedings Court, and details which parent the children should reside with. This order normally provides details of when and where the children can be visited by the parent who has failed to gain residency. Once the order has been granted, Parental Responsibility for the children goes to the person with whom the children will be living. You should only apply for a Residence Order if he and his partner cannot come to an amicable arrangement relating to the living arrangements of the children. If this is the case, he should consult with a solicitor specialising in family law, who will advise him on the best course of action to take, and may suggest that a period of mediation is entered into before pursuing the matter through the courts. Paramountcy is the term used to describe how the court will look upon such requests for the issuing of a Residence Order. Paramountcy relates to the importance to the children of where they should live and also what is in their best interests. For example, if the court feels that the children’s best interests would to stay with their mother, then they are obliged to issue in her favour. The most important aspect of any court proceeding relating to the care and wellbeing of the children is what is best for them. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 8-Sep-15 @ 2:16 PM
I need help, My friend Mr D has gotten in a new relationship with a female we work with. His ex is very clever she dropped baby off at D's house on Saturday and is refusing to pick up baby, knowing full well he cannot see his new gf over weekends and also is putting him at risk of losing sing his job because he can't go to work as she won't tell him where she is D has messaged and rang and only gets sly comments back. He wants things to be amicable between them and has respected her wishes to not have new partner around new partner. Is there anything my friend can do to make her pick up the child or anything he can do to get potential rights for the child Poor baby :(
Helpingafriend - 7-Sep-15 @ 9:19 PM
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