Emotional manipulation is difficult to spot and overcome in relationships. It can range from subtle and unconscious to overt and calculating, but whatever end of the spectrum it’s on, manipulation in relationships can hurt a couple’s bond and definitely affect your personal happiness.
For a relationship to work, you must find a way to stay on the same team.
Manipulation turns you into enemies because it stems from deceit.
If you’ve ever felt like something is off in a close relationship or casual encounter—you’re being pressured, controlled or even feel like you’re questioning yourself more than usual—it could be manipulation.
Manipulation is an emotionally unhealthy psychological strategy used by people who are incapable of asking for what they want and need in a direct way.
People who are trying to manipulate others are trying to control others.
There are many different forms of manipulation, ranging from a pushy salesperson to an emotionally abusive partner—and some behaviors are easier to spot than others.
Signs of Manipulation
Manipulation can happen in many forms. In fact, sometimes kindness can be a form of manipulation depending on the intent. Then the question is raised, is any form of influence considered manipulation?
Whether manipulation has good or bad intentions, it is still an attempt to undermine your rational thinking.
People who manipulate others have common traits that you can look for. They include:
1. He looks for your weaknesses
One way for manipulators to get control over the one they are exploiting is through targeting their victim’s weakness. So if your partner uses your insecurities, fears, worries and concerns against you, better know it is a kind of manipulation.
2. Silent treatment
The silent treatment can be wielded as a weapon to punish a partner, and beat their will to submission especially when there is a conflict of opinions on a certain matter.
If your partner sticks to the silent treatment going until you apologize, even if you weren’t wrong, then you have a master manipulator at your hand, and you need to address this issue as soon as possible.
If you notice your partner persistently and blatantly lying to you and then making you question your own perception of how things are going down, you’re probably being gaslit.
It’s all about making you feel insecure in the relationship while also trusting them over yourself.
This may manifest in a conversation wherein you confront them about wrongdoing or a blatant lie they told, and then somehow the conversation ends with you apologizing to them.
4. They Are Defensive
Here’s one of the top reasons why I think it’s challenging to deal with a manipulative partner. It’s not just that ‘they’ wouldn’t confront you with what’s bothering them. They don’t want YOU to confront them either about their behavior.
And if you do, they’d resist your perspective and immediately seek refuge in being defensive.
Maybe things are hard at work. Oh, I had a squabble with my best friend. There’s always an excuse to take your attention off the problem at hand.
Haven’t you had an episode when you tried talking to them about it, but then they got so emotional that you ended up feeling bad for bringing it up in the first place?
5. They diminish your problems and play up their own
If you have a bad day, an emotional manipulator may take the opportunity to bring up their own issues.
The goal is to invalidate what you’re experiencing so that you’re forced to focus on them and exert your emotional energy on their problems.
6. They make you doubt yourself.
Want to know why it’s so easy for them to manipulate? Because they’ve brainwashed you to the point where you no longer trust yourself.
That’s right, manipulators take your insecurities and use them against you. They consistently point out what you’re doing “wrong” and how they could have done it better.
They point out your weaknesses, then show you that with their help, you can do better, be better. They slowly convince you they have your best interests in mind… but they don’t.