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Three Signs you are Dealing with a Manipulator

Richelle is a nerd of all things healing. Topics she loves are: trauma, healing, narcissism & borderline personality disorder.

3 Signs you are Dealing with a Manipulator


Manipulators & Their Tactics

Manipulators use tactics that leave you feeling confused, pressured, or questioning your thoughts and feelings. Manipulators want to control and use manipulation tactics to do just that: control.

Typically, manipulators try to appeal to your emotions to get what they want. According to Dan Brennan, MD on WebMD manipulation is “…an attempt to undermine your rational thinking”.

For example, your mother may use guilt to manipulate you into attending her birthday dinner, even though you told her multiple times you were busy and had to work. You eventually gave into her guilt trip, because after all “she is your mother”. This is her attempt to get what she wants by appealing to your emotions.

It isn’t Always Easy to Spot a Manipulator

It isn’t always easy to spot a manipulator, but there are certain common traits manipulators share.

3 Signs you are Dealing with a Manipulator

Below are 3 signs you are dealing with a manipulator:

1. They know your Weaknesses and use them Against You

The manipulator manipulator knows you succumb to guilt easily. In order to get what they want, they use your weakness (you feeling guilty) against you. For example, your friend really needs a ride to the airport. She comes to you and asks you for a ride, but you have a previous commitment during that time. She then begins her manipulation tactics: “You are always so busy! I am always available for you when you need a favor. I guess I’ll just use Lyft and spend over $50.00 to get there”. You then feel guilty, and give in. She appealed to your emotions and you gave in.

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2. They Exaggerate or Deny the Facts

The manipulator may do this by withholding information, and only share certain parts of the truth. They will make excuses, and blame you to make sure they are not in the line of fire, and you are.

For example, a coworker may be in charge of a certain project at work that they don’t feel like doing. They approach you, for “help” on the project, because they have no intention of actually doing the project. They give you partial information, and make it unrealistic to finish the project on time. When the boss asks why the project is late, they shift the blame over to you by saying “the project was not completed in time because so-and-so didn’t finish their part on time”. The blame is directed to you, when it was really THEIR project to begin with.

3. They Gaslight You

Manipulators and abusers use gaslighting to confuse their victims. They will state that what you are accusing them of never happened. They will shift the problem back over to you, which will confuse you. For example, you confront the gaslighter and accuse them of criticizing and ridiculing you in front of their family. They respond with “that never happened. You are remembering it wrong. I was just trying to offer constructive criticism to help you be a better person”. They gaslight you to confuse you, and have you question your reality to gain control over you.

Overall, it’s Difficult to Spot a Manipulator

Overall, it may be difficult to spot a manipulator at first, but knowing the signs and tactics they use is the first step to stopping a manipulator in their tracks. There is no way to actually stop the manipulation from happening, because the issue lies with the manipulator. Instead, being able to recognize the signs and directly address the manipulation will help to decrease the emotional impact of their manipulation on you.

Strong Boundaries

Strong boundaries are essential to dealing with a manipulator. You need to communicate to the manipulator that you want no part of the situation they are trying to manipulate you into. Seek out support from a friend, family member, or therapist if setting boundaries sounds difficult to do.

Remember, a manipulator using manipulation isn’t your fault. The fault lies with them. They are trying to control you, and the only way you can stop the manipulation is to stand firm in your boundaries. Your job is to learn the signs of manipulation, and set clear & concrete boundaries to be able to walk away from a manipulator.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Richelle Marie

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