5 Tell Tale Signs of Emotional Manipulation

Here Are Five Easy to Spot Signs That You Are Being Emotionally Manipulated

We all have experienced emotional manipulation in one form or another. Emotional manipulation is when a person tries to gain some form of control and change another person’s behavior or perception through dishonesty or deception. This can be done purposefully, but it can just as easily be done by the manipulator without conscious intent. Sometimes, the person just knows what has worked in the past, whether with this particular person or someone else, and it just becomes a established pattern and schema in their mind on how to deal with others to get what they want. However, whether conscious or not, emotional manipulation can be dangerously effective and is exponentially worse if the manipulator is particularly skilled at spotting a person’s weaknesses and acting on that.

Emotional manipulators can come in all forms, but the most dangerous and effective are going to be close acquaintances, family members and loved ones that know you so well and have gained a trusting place in your life. Fortunately, there are some easy signs to spot if you know what to look for, and everyone should have these five big ones on their radar.

1. Playing the victim
Emotional manipulators are masters at appearing to be the victim regardless of the situation. If you get mad at them, it’s your fault for blowing things out of proportion or for having unreasonable expectations, and in turn that has caused them to be upset or underperform.
2. Guilt tripping
Related to playing the victim, emotional manipulators are very adept at making you feel bad. Calculated statements about how selfish you are and how you don’t care about them will suddenly become the topic of conversation. They will often know precisely what levers to press to make you feel guilty.
3. Questioning your reality and sanity
They are skilled and persistent liars that will insist on something so intensely that you may begin to question what you otherwise know to be fact and saw with your own two eyes.
4. Too much, too soon
When you first meet an emotional manipulator, there may be a feeling of a whirlwind as you are rushed into a more trusting and intimate relationship with them. They might start sharing their vulnerabilities and other deep and personal thoughts very early on and even say that they don’t usually do this with others. This can be a positive feeling as you feel special for being let into their inner circle and world. However, this is a ruse and a shortcut to get to a place where you let them in to your own vulnerabilities to be preyed upon and also so that you start taking responsibility for their feelings and emotions.
5. Oneupsmanship
No matter what problems you may have or be dealing with, the emotional manipulator will always be able to point to how they have it worse. They will constantly undermine the legitimacy of your own problems and complaints by reminding you how they pale in comparison to their own.

These are easy-to-spot tell-tale signs of emotional manipulation and if see these in your own relationships, it’s a good time to take a step back and assess what is going on.

Next up: Stay tuned for best practices in how to deal with emotional manipulators after recognizing the behavior.

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