Manipulation is hard to spot and practiced manipulators prey on your good intentions. It is especially hard for people to recognize it when they are in a romantic relationship. Manipulators will twist your thoughts and words for their benefit, and work to mold you into someone to serve them and their needs. They feel the need to control every aspect of your life in order to keep you obedient to their whims. Some people will be outright emotionally abusive,
while others manipulate deceptively. Either way, it is important to be aware of the signs, and stop it before you lose who you are. Does your partner guilt you? Say something and later deny it? Make you doubt yourself? The longer it continues, the more the relationship becomes one-sided and unhealthy. The trust, respect, and connection will be lost. So, what are the hallmarks of manipulative behavior?
Spinning Your Words
A manipulator has a hard time accepting personal accountability, so they will find a way to blame you. If you call them out on something, they will not acknowledge the complaint or apologize for it. Instead, they will spin the complaint in their favor using tools like pity. They will make you feel bad not only about reasonable promises but also for bringing it up in the first place.
For example, if an abusive partner has agreed to a commitment, and does not follow through, they will conveniently forget they ever agreed to it. They will twist the conversation to suit their needs and make you feel guilty, forgetful, and demanding. They spin the situation around into making you feel as if you’re the one to blame, inducing confusion and guilt. This way, they break down your self-confidence, replacing it with a dependency on their judgment, a dangerous road.
Ever been in a situation where you have done nothing wrong, but your partner has made you feel guilty for it? This is a sign of manipulation. They will make you feel like they are loving you better than anyone has or ever will. In return, you will set aside how hurt you feel and love them. It is a mind game to the manipulator. They will say something along the lines of, ”as long as you’re happy, then that’s all that matters, even if I have to set aside how I feel,” when vocalizing disapproval. This way, your love is twisted to force behavior to suit their needs.
Minimizing Your Feelings
Having a bad day and feel like expressing it to your partner? Everyone turns to their loved one when they are going through a tough time. But for a manipulator, they are not trying to hear how “tough” you have it. Instead, they minimize how you feel, and use it as a platform to focus on their issues.
They excel at turning the tables to make you look and feel selfish. Something as simple as, “oh, you had a bad day at work. Well, be appreciative that you have a job that you love and the money you make. I hate my job and wish I could leave but need the money.” They flip the script, further crushing who you are using your own emotions. This psychological tool is one more in their effort for reducing you to a servant.
Using Aggressive Behavior/Words
Threats and aggressive behavior is something a manipulator can casually do. If they are backed into a corner, or want to get their point across, they often slam things, hit things, throw things, call you names, and act in this manner so things go their way. It will remind you of a child throwing a tantrum until they get what they want, but scarier
because this is supposed to be an adult.
Using Insecurities As A Tactic
Manipulators will not only use your insecurities, but their own to control the relationship. They will not apologize for a fight or something outlandish they did by justifying it instead. They make you responsible for their emotions. If they are mad or sad, then it would be your fault, always. For them, you are the cause of strife and must fix it, even if the reality is different. It is your fault he was late to work, your fault he has no money, your fault he is depressed, etc.
If you have an insecurity, they will exploit it to further control you. A manipulator will make you set aside all of your wants and needs in order to please them. They fabricate a shared mind by replacing your will with their own
Couples will argue, sometimes use passive-aggressive tactics during a disagreement to get what they want and even say harmful things. But, there is a difference between casual disagreements in a relationship and manipulation in a relationship. The definition of manipulation is any means to get something they want other than asking for it directly. The person will use force, threats, or harm to get another to bend. It might seem harmless in the beginning, but it is a form of control. When a person tries to control every aspect of your life, you need to get out. It is not love; it is tricks, power, and control at your expense.