Stop Being Manipulated in a Relationship

Edited by Donna, Alma, Eng

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Signs That You Are Being Manipulated In A Relationship

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Manipulation is a form emotional control where a person tries to change your mind or behavior without addressing you directly. Very often, you do not even realize how expertly your lover, partner or spouse is using your fears and insecurities to control you. Sometimes they don't even realize either because they have been conditioned since childhood to believe that honesty leads to rejection or they may even have their own fears that you might leave them if they told you the truth.

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Your first step to halting the manipulative behaviors in your relationship is to recognize them. Signs that you are dealing with a manipulative partner are:

  1. 1
    Your partner was the sweetest, kindest, most amazing person in the world and now, after just a year or even just a few months, is a source of daily heartbreak
    .
    He or she may now be critical, withholding affection or even abusive, when everything does not go their way. You might feel like you have somehow lost their affection, and that it is your entire fault. You might also feel like you would do anything to win the back the admiration and the approval of the person who first fell in love with you.
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  2. 2
    Your partner makes you feel guilty and like it is your fault that the relationship is not going well
    .
    He or she may take your personal inventory by running a list of your personal flaws by you. Certain things in your relationship may not be allowed to happen until you improve yourself. In the meantime, you have to make up lost ground by doing endless favors for your peeved partner.
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  3. 3
    Your partner withholds information and keeps you on a need to know basis
    .
    They know that their unpredictability keeps you by their side, because you are terrified that they will leave you for someone else. This tactic is called "keeping you on the wobble" because it keeps you insecure, uncertain and completely focused on your manipulative partner.
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  4. 4
    He or she keeps changing the rules in every discourse or situation so that you can do no wrong, and only they may win
    .
    They also set false goals for you, saying that the two of you can go on holiday once you complete some chore, but then add another chore and another as you complete each one so that you always stalled in your progress and never, ever get that holiday you expected.
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  5. 5
    Your partner blames you for circumstances that could not possibly be your fault
    .
    Truly manipulative people will say that they are morally or spiritually superior to you and accuse you having bad energy. The implication here is that you have a lot to make up for because your very presence is ruining everything.
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  6. 6
    Your partner gaslights you by telling you that you are making up history or having false memories
    .
    Gaslighting is a very common tactic that portrays you as being too demented to tell reality from fantasy, thus protecting the manipulator from any wrong doing. Only the manipulator's version of events is the correct one.
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  7. 7
    He or she lies to you or about you to manipulate circumstances in their favor
    .
    For instance, the alcoholic partner who is a manipulator may tell others that you are the problem drinker and the he or she is actually the helper. Usually a manipulator will do anything to save their own reputation at the expense of yours.
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How to Put A Stop To Being Manipulated

A manipulator will be charming until he or she gets what they want.

Most people who are easily manipulated have good hearts and a lot of faith in their fellow human beings.

  1. 1
    Recognize that you are the victim of a manipulator, confront your partner and get angry about it
    .
    Feeling anger at the injustice of it all will give you the courage to stand up to the person's deceit in the future. Getting angry may also intimidate your partner into behaving, as he or she is likely secretly scared that you might leave the relationship first.
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  2. 2
    Learn how to say no calmly and without guilt
    .
    One thing that manipulators are known for is taking advantage of someone who feels good about doing things for others. Before you know it, your manipulator has turned you into a slave who is doing all sorts of favors for him or you. Be aware that these requests for you to do thing start off nicely with lots of flattery and maybe even a reward. However, as time goes on you may find yourself being emotionally blackmailed or bullied into doing things for them you would rather not do. Express to your partner, that in the future, you will have the right to decline doing favors for them without being criticized or treated badly.
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  3. 3
    Hold up a mirror to the manipulator by answering their request with a question
    .
    Examples are, "Does what you want from me seem fair?" "Do I have any say in this?" and "What's in it for me?" This lets the manipulator now that you are on to him or her, but be aware that this kind of response to you could cause an argument. For instance, the manipulator could tell you to suck it up because life is unfair. He or she could flat out state that you do not deserve to have a say or anything because you somehow caused the situation. He or she may say that there is nothing in it for you and that asking such a question is an example of how selfish you can be. Other times, holding up the mirror stops them dead in their tracks because your questions have made them realize that they are out of control and going too far with you.
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  4. 4
    Make the manipulator wait for an answer
    .
    In this scenario, you are doing some manipulating of your own by telling the manipulator "I'll think about it." Usually a manipulator will create a sense of panic or some kind of drama so that you have to act immediately and do their bidding without thinking. This stalls them and buys you the time you need to say no, or the manipulator may even withdraw the request as a way of punishing you for not cooperating.
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  5. 5
    Stick to your promises and keep your word
    .
    If you tell your boyfriend that you are not going to run to the liquor store for him anymore, but you do after he begs you to the next day, then the manipulation in your relationship is going to continue with full force. The same goes for the male who tells his girlfriend that he is not going to give her money to buy clothes anymore, but relents when he sees that she is very excited about a local shoe sale. Manipulators know that you will do just about anything to make them smile and that you live for their approval.
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  6. 6
    Ask your partner to get straight to the point when they talk to you
    .
    Manipulators talking in a circuitous way, taking forever to get around to asking you what they really want. They will preface a request or you to do something with many reminders of all the things they have done for you, so that you will feel guilty for saying no.
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  7. 7
    Don't let your partner set your priorities for you
    .
    Manipulators will constantly try to change your agenda for you so that your focus is off of yourself and what they want and need. You have the right to decide what is important to you and set your own schedule.
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  8. 8
    Do not let your manipulative partner silence you or tell you when you can speak
    .
    It is very common for a manipulator to set the rules of conversation, which are usually you agreeing with whatever he or she says, or else they lose their temper or withdraw from you. This is one of the ways that a manipulator trains you to do your bidding. If you are silenced, say your peace anyway and walk away.
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  9. 9
    Let your partner know that you have the right to an opinion that is different than his or hers
    .
    One coercive tactic of the manipulator is to shun you or create a scene of some kind if you do not agree with them. Practice your right to have opinions that are different from others and do not tiptoe around anyone who is telling you otherwise.
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  10. 10
    Do not let your manipulative partner humiliate you in public or in front of relatives or friends
    .
    A manipulative individual does this to train you to fearfully do what he or she says because you do not want to be embarrassed again. Be aware that most people, if they are healthy emotionally, will see this bullying for what it is, but many will not take your side because they want to keep the peace and stay uninvolved.
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  11. 11
    Learn how to be an autonomous individual who is financially, socially and emotionally independent of a relationship
    .
    Many victims of manipulators are somehow dependent on their partners or their survival and this puts them at the mercy of them every day. Make it your personal goal to be too powerful for anyone to manipulative.
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  12. 12
    Work on changing yourself and not your manipulative partner
    .
    Sometimes people change and sometimes they do not. It is better to put your faith in yourself, rather than a person who has a history of taking advantage of you. The bottom line is that once someone has been this dysfunctional with you, they are not likely to change their ways at all. If you are going to stay with someone who is toxic and manipulative then you need to find a strategy for not letting that person affect you.
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  13. 13
    If you do fall for their manipulative tactics, forgive yourself and resolve to do better next time
    .
    Remember that the behavior of a manipulative person can be unpredictable and completely baffling. Not understanding why your partner acts the way he or she does is not going to make you a bad person. A good example is the partner who senses you are drifting away from the relationship and developing other interests, so he suddenly becomes very romantic and attentive again, wooing your with lots of attention and maybe even financial gifts. This of course, is a bit set up that is designed to knock you off your pedestal once you get too confident again.
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  14. 14
    Get with the program and join a support group for codependents like Al-Anon or ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics and Abusers.) Most manipulative people are also addicts or have psychological problems, which is why they behave like they do in the first place
    .
    The reason this matters so much is because the manipulative individual will try and isolate you from any helpful friends who might be trying to lead you to a better situation. Furthermore, you will learn strategies for coping with a manipulative partner.
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Tips and Tricks

Expect a lot of arguing to ensure if you confront a manipulative partner.

  • In most cases, the manipulative partner is likely to explode and escalate your confrontation into a full-blown argument, so expect resistance
  • Remember that unless you stop the behavior, he or she is likely to repeat the exploitation and then normalize it so that it is an everyday part of your relationship
  • If your partner decides to punish you for standing up for yourself, then walk away and ignore him or her until they behave in a kinder manner
  • If your partner says they will change and then don't and keep violating your personal boundaries, sit down and make a list of behaviors that you will not tolerate, and if the person violates them then make a plan to leave and then leave
  • Note that there is also a possibility that your abuser might walk out of your life if you are not prepared to be the victim and if that is the result of your attempts to change the situation, then let it happen
  • Keep in mind that not many people will believe what you ever say about your partner being manipulative or even abusive at first because he or she is usually very kind and sweet with others
  • Always be wary of a partner that is suddenly flattering you constantly, as that is an indication that you are about to be set up for a fall.
  • If you feel that you are at the point where your partner thinks that he or she is more important than you and that they expect you to do all of the giving with nothing in return, then it is time to end the relationship entirely

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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Article Info

Categories : Relationships

Recent edits by: Alma, Donna

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