How to recognize manipulative behavior
Contributor(s): Trudi Griffin, LPC, MS. Trudi Griffin is a licensed psychotherapist in Wisconsin, specializing in addictions and mental health. She provides therapy for people struggling with addictions, mental health issues, and the effects of trauma, both in health care settings and in private practice settings. She received her master’s degree in clinical psychology from Marquette University in 2011.
Number of sources used in this article: 8. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.
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Manipulating means trying to indirectly influence someone’s behavior or actions. Manipulation does not have to be good or bad: a person can try to manipulate others either out of the best of motives or to get the other person to do something illegal. Manipulation is always covert and often directed at our weaknesses, so it is difficult to detect. The cunning that accompanies manipulation can be subtle and easily overlooked because it is often hidden behind a sense of duty, love, or habit. Nevertheless, it is possible to recognize the signs of manipulation and not give in to it.
- If your interlocutor wants to hear from you first, it does not always mean that he is trying to manipulate you. Other factors should also be considered.
- The manipulator tries to talk about himself as little as possible and listen to you more.
- If this behavior occurs most of the time, it may indicate that they are trying to manipulate you.
- Even if you feel that the person is genuinely interested in you, remember that such inquiries may have ulterior motives. If the person avoids answering your questions directly, and tries to quickly change the conversation to another topic, it may indicate that they are not being sincere.
- For example, someone may treat you to a great meal and speak to you affectionately before asking to borrow money or help with a job.
- While this behavior is often not dangerous, remember that you are not obligated to do something just because someone is being nice to you.
Pay attention to attempts to coerce. A manipulator may try to coerce you into doing something through intimidation and threats. He may yell, criticize, and insult you in an attempt to get his way. You may hear him say, “If you don’t do it, I . ” or “I won’t do it until you do it. “. The manipulator may use such tactics not only to force the interlocutor to do certain things, but also in return for promising to stop doing something.  X Source of Information
Pay attention to the way the person handles facts. If the person is treating the facts too freely in order to convince you of something, they may be trying to manipulate you. The person may lie, understate, withhold information, pretend to be ignorant, or exaggerate. The manipulator may also pretend to be an expert on a subject and inundate you with facts and statistics. In doing so, he will try to appear to be much more knowledgeable than you are.  X Source of Information  X Source of Information
“Prove your love to me!”: 13 signs that your partner is manipulating you in a relationship
In an earlier post, we shared a few tipsters to help you figure out a manipulator and tyrant early on in dating. As paradoxical as it may sound, it’s a lot harder to figure out if you’re being manipulated in a relationship. Fortunately, there are a few signs that a partner is taking advantage of you and your bright feelings.
He/she is overstepping personal boundaries.
It’s important to understand that no one has the right to violate your personal boundaries, not even the people closest to you – parents, children and, among others, your lover. Of course, in a couple of personal boundaries we build not as with strangers, we can forgive the partner that we would not forgive a colleague or friend. But if you feel that you are uncomfortable with some of the words and actions of your lover, it is definitely worth discussing, rather than tolerating because of the fact that couples are so accepted.
He/she doesn’t understand the word “no.”
For the manipulator, there is only his desire and his opinion. Therefore, in dealing with any issues, he/she will focus primarily on his/her own interests. You will most likely be asked to share your thoughts about a vacation destination or the color of curtains in your living room, but if your desires don’t match his, the manipulator will quickly dismiss them.
He/she uses emotional blackmail
Any transgression or secret you’ve been careless enough to share with your manipulative partner, sooner or later he/she will use it against you. This most often happens in the heat of an argument, when you are suddenly reminded of all your past transgressions and threaten to reveal your secret to others. Trying to make the person feel scared and uncomfortable is another kind of manipulation.
He/she acts like a drama queen
The manipulator often uses dramatic statements that aim to evoke feelings of guilt and pity. “I thought you loved me,” “You’re the only one who understands me,” “Without you I would die.” If your partner uses such emotionally colored and expressive expressions in the heat of an argument or quarrel, be sure: he/she is manipulating you and is sure to take advantage of your kindness if you give weakness.
He/she constantly demands to prove love
Manipulators are selfish and it is always important for them to be assured that they are the best and irreplaceable. These people will use your love in every way possible to get you to do things you don’t want to do. “If you love me, you’ll quit this job,” “You love me, don’t you? Then give up buying your coat so we can buy me a console.” Such demands to make sacrifices for love are one of the biggest signs that they are trying to control you.
He/she could easily cry.
All manipulators are very talented actors, otherwise no one would believe in their acting. That is why it costs almost nothing for a man who is trying to arouse pity and guilt in his partner to cry. This is most often true of women, who know very well that tears can melt a man’s heart, but sometimes this sneaky trick, and men sin.
You are living your partner’s life.
Suppress a man is much easier if he has no one to turn to for help and support. Therefore, manipulators often seek to break up their other half with family and friends. So the victim will give all of his attention and love only his partner, and that’s what he seeks domestic tyrant.
He / she never admits guilt.
Regardless of what the circumstances were a quarrel, you are always to blame. Manipulators are great at playing the victim, even if the situation was their fault. “I broke this mug because you sneezed loudly,” “I got fired from my job because you didn’t support me,” “I got sick because you washed my socks” – such people simply cannot admit their mistakes and tend to shift all responsibility for them onto their partner.
He/she is practicing gaslighting.
Gaslighting is an attempt to distort reality to make the victim feel insecure. “I never actually yelled at you, you just got it wrong,” “Of course I warned you about Mom coming, you just forgot again.” All of this makes the victim doubt himself and ultimately feel guilty.
He/she belittles your virtues
The manipulator seeks to bind the victim to himself in every way possible, so he/she belittles his/her partner in every way possible. “You couldn’t have done it without me,” “Who else but me needs you like this?” Over time, the victim begins to believe that only one person is needed, and will not even make an attempt to end this toxic relationship.
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He/she is often pretending to be sick.
In an effort to avoid a serious conversation, manipulators may sound sick or even pretend to faint. The same trick is used to make the victim feel sorry for them so that they in turn immediately forgive their partner. After all, the manipulator is unable to ask for forgiveness.
He/she uses the phrase, “I was only joking.
I was only joking” is one of the lowest and most effective means of manipulation. It is usually used after you have been wronged, criticized, hurt. By saying this, the person, first, takes off responsibility for his/her rude words, and secondly, again, causes you to feel guilty: it is your own fault that you reacted so strongly to a harmless joke.
He/she makes fun of you in public
Trying to embarrass your partner in public and discussing his or her secrets with friends is another marker that indicates you are being rudely manipulated. With this trick, the abuser is trying, on the one hand, to show how pathetic and worthless you are and, on the other hand, to prove that only he will be there for you no matter what.
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