Do you think you are in the presence of a Master Manipulator? Do they know that they operate that way? Whether they subconsciously do it, are subtle about it, or wittingly masterful with it, we’ve all been duped before by the deceptive tactics of a manipulator.
Have you ever felt in the pit of your stomach that “something just wasn’t right” during a conversation, only to recognize it afterwards? And when you have realized that “I’ve been fooled” feeling, do you notice how difficult it can be to put your finger on it; to explain it to yourself, therefore, justifying that person’s actions? If yes, you’ve likely been manipulated to some degree.
We’ve all manipulated at some time or another. Sometimes we do it to get our way. Sometimes we selfishly do it to steer clear of a compromising position. Other times it’s downright playful and harmless.
It can be cute occasionally – sporadically even – if it’s a harmless request. Like when your husband/boyfriend rubs you tootsies (aka feet) for hours to make you feel good, and then requests if he can have a poker night at the house with the boys tomorrow – you can’t help but smile, maybe giggle a bit and give in to his charm. Or when your wife/girlfriend sends you risqué photos of herself while you are at work with a note stating “You get all of this and more tonight, but first you must call to setup an appointment with the cable guy to fix our cable” that you’ve been saying you’ll do for months. You can’t help but want to jump on that bandwagon to kill two birds with one stone – and the bonus is, she taught you a valuable lesson to not procrastinate, or was that trick up your sleeve the entire time? Hmmm LOL.
We can enjoy moments like that every day of the week, but unfortunately that isn’t always the case. Do you ever wonder how you can detect manipulation before a manipulator manipulates you? Below are 12 fast-track signs that your partner, family member or coworker is being manipulative.
1. Manipulative people (especially partners) subconsciously seek those who are easily manipulated. They go for people who give in because they’re selfish and selfish people always want things to go their way. Note: You may not see the signs right away, but if cute threats turn into bigger requests, or if they start nagging you or abusing you when you turn down their requests, chances are you are playing at the hands of a manipulator. [Emotional Abuse: Know the Signs]
2. Notice the reaction a person has when you decline them of something. Do they respect your decision when they realize you are being serious? If your partner can’t accept your decision to decline something, even after you explain your reasons clearly (when you shouldn’t have to), you are likely being manipulated in some small or large way.
3. Listen up Love Birds: More demands. More requests. With each passing day your manipulative partner demands get bigger and bigger, and their tolerance for your refusals get smaller and smaller.
4. You are likely in the presence of a manipulator(s) if you have a deep need to explain yourself and your actions every time, to everyone. You just can’t say “no” and shut up! You want them to understand your mind and reasons clearly, while they are vague or they don’t justify the things they do.
5. You realize that even when you are preoccupied or have engagements, you drop everything to accompany their requests. Furthermore, and the most damaging, is that you don’t tell them that you were busy, making yourself look available to be used on a whim.
6. You start to feel selfish for not helping them in their troubles. You feel guilty every time you decline their requests. You start to think that it’s just easier to hate yourself than to be honest with them.
7. The manipulator is a picture of a willing helper. If you ask them to do something they will almost always agree – that is IF they didn’t volunteer to do it first. Then when you say, “ok thanks” – they make a bunch of heavy sighs, or other non-verbal signs that let you know they don’t really want to do whatever said thing happens to be. When you tell them it doesn’t seem like they want to do whatever – they will turn it around and try to make it seem like OF COURSE they wanted to and how unreasonable you are.
8. Emotional manipulators say one thing and later assuring you they did not say it. If you find yourself in a relationship where you figure you should start keeping a log of what’s been said because you are beginning to question your own sanity –You are experiencing emotional manipulation. An emotional manipulator is an expert in turning things around, rationalizing, justifying and explaining things away. They can lie so smoothly that you can sit looking at black and they’ll call it white – and argue so persuasively that you begin to doubt your very senses. Over a period of time this is so insidious and eroding it can literally alter your sense of reality. It is very disconcerting for an emotional manipulator if you begin carrying a pad of paper and a pen and making notations during conversations. Feel free to let them know you just are feeling so “forgetful” these days that you want to record their words for posterity’s sake. The thing about this is that having to do such a thing is a clear example for why you should be seriously thinking about removing yourself from range in the first place. If you’re toting a notebook to safeguard yourself – that ol’ bullshit meter should be flashing steady by now!
9. Manipulators seldom express their needs or desires openly – they get what they want through guilt and sympathy. An emotional manipulator is a great victim. They inspire a profound sense of needing to support, care for and nurture. They seldom fight their own fights or do their own dirty work. The crazy thing is that when you do it for them (which they will never ask directly for), they may just turn around and say they certainly didn’t want or expect you to do anything!
10. Manipulators don’t deal with things directly. They are passive aggressive, meaning they find subtle ways of letting you know they are not happy campers. They’ll tell you what they think you want to hear and then undermine it. Example: “Of course I want you to go back to school honey and you know I’ll support you.” Then exam night you are sitting at the table and poker buddies show up, the kids are crying the TVs blasting and the dog needs walking – all the while “Sweetie” is sitting on the couch looking at you blankly. Dare you call them on such behavior you are likely to hear, “well you can’t expect life to just stop because you have an exam can you honey?”
11. Great manipulators somehow have the ability to impact the emotional climate of those around them. When an emotional manipulator is sad or angry the very room wreaks with it – it brings a deep instinctual response to find some way to equalize the emotional climate and the quickest route is by making the manipulator feel better – fixing whatever is broken for them. Stick with this type of loser for too long and you will be so enmeshed and co-dependent you will forget you even have needs – let alone that you have just as much right to have your needs met.
12. Manipulators have no sense of accountability. They take no responsibility for themselves or their behavior – it is always about what everyone else has “done to them”. One of the easiest ways to spot this out is that they often attempt to establish intimacy through the early sharing of deeply personal information that is generally of the “hook-you-in-and-make-you-sorry-for-me” variety. Initially you may perceive this type of person as very sensitive, emotionally open and maybe a little vulnerable. Believe me when I say there will always be a problem or a crisis to overcome.
Partial credit to Love Panky and Cassiopaea