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.
How can you tell if it’s happening to you? If you’re a victim of manipulation you probably know something is wrong, but you’re not sure what it is. Or you may suspect you’re being manipulated and want to know for sure. While it’s smart to learn the tactics of covert emotional manipulation, you don’t have to know what they are to know if you’re a victim; you need only look for the signs of manipulation in yourself. You can find the list of signs here: “How to Tell if You’re Being Manipulated.”
Skilled covert manipulators are adept at reading you and they quickly learn your weaknesses, strengths, fears, dreams, and desires. They won’t hesitate to use all of these against you with an arsenal of manipulation tactics. They hunger for power and control and they will stop at nothing to get them, even if it 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 that love 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, since they can’t really love you. This is usually accomplished during a period of intense love-bombing. They do it to hook you, and it’s what makes you vulnerable to the manipulation and abuse that will follow. Love bombing is an exhaustive campaign of flattery that “bombs” the unwitting target with non-stop positive reinforcement in the form of compliments, praise, appreciation, declarations of undying love early on, promises of a future, frequent calls, texts, or emails, gift-giving, great sex, and a lot of time spent with each other. It’s extreme and over-the-top. It can (and does) happen online as well, sometimes without ever having met in person.
The love-bombing stage doesn’t last. Soon the relationship begins to change into one where the victim is demeaned, devalued, and made to blame themselves for the problems. To keep you hooked, the manipulator makes regular appearances as the wonderful, loving guy or gal you fell in love with. This is a cruel and effective tactic known as intermittent reinforcement, designed to give you false hope and make you desperate to repair the romantic, loving relationship you believe you once had. Unbeknown to you, that is impossible.
How did what you believed was the best relationship of your life turn into something worse than you could ever have imagined? The answer is largely contained in two words: covert manipulation.
Victims of this underhanded and deceptive manipulation
struggle with depression, obsessive thoughts, rage, low self-worth, insomnia, anxiety, panic, fear, inability to trust, use of alcohol or drugs, and physical illness. Irrational and extreme behavior such as isolation, withdrawal, and thoughts of self-harm can result from the trauma.
♥ Please don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you need it.
A LIST OF CRISIS HOTLINES
- A LIST OF CRISIS HOTLINE NUMBERS (SUICIDE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, ETC.)
- International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies
- International Suicide Hotlines
- Línea Nacional sobre la violencia doméstica las 24 horas del día al 1-800-799-7233
- National Domestic Violence Hotline (in the US): (800) 799-7233
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 24/7 Hotline: 800-656-4673
- National Stalking Helpline (UK) 0808 802 0300
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- U.S. and International Resources for suicide prevention, post-attempt survivors and their families
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“The BEST Manual on how to protect yourself from becoming a victim again.. I am going to recommend it to the facilitators in the divorce support group I am attending.”
”Worth your time! Well written, clear, and concise. I so appreciate the wisdom I found in this writing. I feel empowered once more!”
“This small book was full of tons of useful information. I don’t usually write in my books, but my copy of Boundaries has underlining on almost every page. I was really glad I bought it.”
“This is a short, easy to understand textbook on manipulation tactics. I highly recommend it to anyone; people who don’t yet realize what’s happening to them, seekers of understanding and peace, loved ones of persons being manipulated, healthcare providers, criminal justice, and seasoned survivors trying to stay on top of their manipulation detection game. Don’t let the modest price tag on this fool you –- the information inside is worth far more.”
“Practical, concise, well-written and researched. Everyone should have a copy of this book. In fact, they should give one to every high school student. That would prevent a lot of people from getting involved in ‘?relationships’? with these hidden, manipulative predators. An easy five stars, I wish I could give it a hundred!”