A foundation of respect, trust, and security is necessary in all personal relationships — your marriage or love relationships; your relationship with your family members; and your close friendships.
Both people must be committed to the health of the relationship in order for the connection to thrive.
Of course, we all fall short of this ideal from time to time and might use passive-aggressive tactics or hurtful words to express our own feelings of pain or anger.
But, the emotionally mature person will realize what they’ve done, apologize, and correct the behavior.
Emotional manipulation is not acceptable, and the longer you allow it to continue, the more power and confidence the manipulator gains in this one-sided relationship.
Read on for 5 signs that you are being emotionally manipulated by someone in your life and what to do about them.
1. They use your words against you and to their benefit
A manipulator has trouble accepting responsibility for their behavior, and often if you call them on it, they’ll find a way to turn it around to make you feel bad or guilty.
For instance, if they promised you they would do some chores, then fail to do so, when you bring it to their attention they will say something like, “You know how busy and overwhelmed I am.
Why don’t you think about me for a change?”
Or, “Well, I’m sorry I was working until midnight last night and felt really tired today!” Remember that a real apology is unconditional and followed by a behavior change.
Don’t allow them to get away with guilt-trips. If you do, it will just empower them to do it again.
2. They say something, then deny it later
A good manipulator has a way of twisting your words or replaying your conversation to suit their needs. They try to make you look forgetful, demanding, or ridiculous.
You begin to question yourself and even feel bad or guilty that you challenged the manipulator.
To remedy this behavior, begin to have conversations in a text so you have it in writing to back you up later.
They may try to make you feel bad for questioning your faith or trust in them, but it will make it impossible for them to continue this behavior.
3. They trivialize your problems or difficulties
Manipulators don’t care about your problems unless they can use them to bring the attention back on themselves. For instance, “You had a fight with your dad?
Well I grew up without a dad, so you should be thankful you have one to argue with!”
If you attempt to bring the conversation back to your problem, they’ll likely try to make you look selfish or pitiful.
The best thing you can do is walk away and find someone who is more compassionate and empathetic.
Never show your vulnerable side to a manipulator because they will just use it against you.
4. They use aggression or anger
Manipulators often try to intimidate by using aggressive language, subtle threats, or outright anger.
Especially if they see you’re uncomfortable with confrontation, they will use it to quickly control you and get their way.
Unless you fear physical violence, call them out on this behavior. If this escalates the anger or aggressiveness, leave the room or the house entirely.
If anger and aggression is left unchecked, it can turn to more harmful behaviors.
5. They seek out sensitive, insecure people
If you’re highly sensitive and giving, you are more prone to falling victim to a manipulator.
Learn how to spot the traits of emotional manipulation early so you can avoid these relationships altogether.
If you’re already in a relationship with a manipulator, it may be more difficult for you to pull away, as sensitive people often have a mixed bag of anger, loyalty, guilt, and insecurity tied up in these relationships.
You may need the support of a counselor to sort through your feelings and find a way to break free of this destructive situation.