Covert emotional manipulation
occurs when a person who wants to gain power and control over you uses deceptive and underhanded tactics to change your thinking, behavior and perceptions. Emotional manipulation operates under the level of your conscious awareness. It holds you psychologically captive. Victims usually don’t realize what’s going on while it’s happening.
A skilled emotional manipulator gets you to put your sense of self-worth and emotional well-being into his or her hands. Once you make that grave miscalculation, he or she methodically and continually chips away at your identity and self-esteem until there’s little left.
How can you tell if you’re a victim? For help, read the blog post “How to Tell if You’re Being Manipulated.” It’s also wise to be aware of the many tactics manipulators can use against you, but if you want to know if you’re being manipulated, you need only recognize the effects of manipulation in yourself.
This website is concerned with the most dangerous manipulators, psychopaths; but others manipulate in the much same way (such as narcissists and “pick-up artists”). Psychopaths see themselves as superior and see others as nothing more than prey to be hunted to fulfill their needs. They have no ability to love, no empathy, no guilt or remorse, and no conscience. To the psychopath, life is a “game” of taking power and control and getting what they want, such as sex, money or influence, and they destroy the victim emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and/or physically in the process. To them, this is nothing more than fulfilling their needs, using whatever it takes. When they’re bored and filled with contempt for you (e.g. when they’ve “won the game”), they move on to the next victim.
These highly skilled covert manipulators are incapable of having a real relationship, and many set out from day one with a plan. They are adept at reading you and quickly learn your weaknesses, your strengths, your fears, your dreams and your desires. They won’t hesitate to use all of these against you with an arsenal of effective manipulation tactics carefully chosen and personalized just for you. Manipulators hunger for power and control and they will stop at nothing to get them, even if this means harming you.
If you feel less strong, less confident, less secure, less intelligent, less sane, or in any other way “less than” anything you were before, you are being covertly emotionally manipulated.
Just when you believe the magical excitement of a loving relationship has made a welcome and long-awaited appearance in your life, something very different and sinister might actually be in the works. Psychopaths are highly skilled at hiding their real personalities and their real plans. Their goal is to trick you into believing they love you – and they do everything they can to make you believe that during a non-stop phase of romantic magic. This intense bonding stage is created for one reason — to hook you and make you vulnerable to the manipulation and abuse that will follow.
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The purpose of your relationship will change from loving you to demeaning, degrading and exploiting you, confusing you, and diminishing your self-respect, self-worth, and self-esteem. The psychopath will make just enough appearances as the wonderful, loving guy or gal you fell in love with to keep you hooked, to keep you blaming yourself for losing the best thing you ever had and to keep you willing to do anything to save the relationship.
You’ll accept mere crumbs if that will prove your love. You’ll stop wasting time discussing your needs, emotions and fears, which he doesn’t care about and considers unacceptable weaknesses. You’ll blame yourself for things going wrong, analyzing every word and every mood, going over every conversation, and becoming very confused about what’s really going on. Your life, your job, your relationships with others, and your physical and mental health will suffer.
He keeps you around until you’re the desperate mess he manipulated you into becoming. When that happens, he will announce — with feigned or real vitriol, disdain and seething contempt — that you bore him and he’s done with you. You’ll be left an emotional wreck wondering how things went so terribly wrong…wondering how your soul-mate relationship went from heaven-on-earth straight into the bowels of hell.
Victims of this underhanded and deceptive manipulation struggle with feelings of confusion and severe emotional pain. Many also experience obsessive thoughts, rage, lost self-esteem, insomnia, anxiety, panic, fear, an inability trust, use of alcohol or drugs, lack of support, and physical illness. Irrational and sometimes extreme behavior can occur, such as isolation and withdrawal from friends, family and society, and suicidal thoughts or actions.
The hard truth is that the psychopath never wanted love. You were targeted by a predator for the purpose of victimization, and the plan for your harm was there when he targeted you and found you receptive to his advances. After all is said and done and you’re lying alone in the rubble, you realize something was horribly wrong.
When someone starts a relationship pretending to love you but really wants to hurt you, you have been the victim of emotional rape, a heinous moral crime. You will not find help from information and support designed for getting over a normal relationship.
How did the most loving and beautiful relationship of your life turn into the worst relationship of your life? The answer is contained in three words: covert emotional manipulation.
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