Emotional manipulation can be so subtle and undercover
that it can control you for quite a while before you figure out what’s happening, if you ever do. Some manipulators are highly skilled. They’re described by some as puppet masters, and you could become an unknowing puppet if you don’t know the signs. As your strings are pulled this way and that, you do just what the puppet master wants you to do. If you’re a victim of manipulation you probably know something is wrong, but you’re not quite sure what. Or you may suspect you’re being manipulated, and you want to know for sure. Maybe you’ve been manipulated in the past, and you don’t want it to happen again.
Knowing if you’re being manipulated is actually easier and more obvious than you might think it is.
While it’s smart to learn the techniques of covert emotional manipulation, the truth is you don’t have to know anything at all about the techniques to know if your strings are being pulled. You only need to look at yourself to know if manipulation is at play.
If you’re in a relationship and notice some of the following signs, there’s a high probability you’re being manipulated:
- Your joy at finding love has turned into the fear of losing it. Your feelings have gone from happiness and euphoria to anxiety, sadness and even desperation.
- Your mood depends entirely on the state of the relationship.
- You’re unhappy in your relationship a lot of the time… yet you dread losing it because you’re blissfully happy every now and then.
- You feel like you’re ruining the best thing that ever happened to you, but you’re not sure how.
- Your relationship feels very complex, although you’re not sure why. When talking to your friends about it, you might find yourself saying “It’s hard to explain. It’s just really… complicated.”
- You obsess about the relationship, analyzing every detail repeatedly in a desperate attempt to “figure it out.” You talk about it constantly, to anyone who will listen. It doesn’t do any good.
- You never feel sure of where you stand with your partner, which leaves you in a perpetual state of uncertainty and anxiety.
- You frequently ask your partner if something’s wrong. It really does feel as if something’s wrong, but you’re not sure what it is.
- You are frequently on the defensive. You feel misunderstood and have the need to explain and defend yourself.
- You seem to have developed a problem with trust, jealousy or insecurity, which your partner points out to you on a regular basis.
- You’ve become a detective. You scour the web for information about him or her, keep a close eye on their social media accounts, and check their web search history, texts, or emails if you have the opportunity.
- You feel that you just don’t know how to make your partner happy. You try hard but nothing seems to work, at least not for long.
- Expressing negative thoughts and emotions feels restricted or even forbidden, so you try to keep those things hidden. You feel frustrated a lot, though, because important things go unsaid.
- You feel inadequate. You don’t feel as good about yourself as you did before the relationship. You feel less confident, less secure, less intelligent, less sane, less trusting, less attractive, or in some other way “less than” you were before.
- You always feel you’re falling short of your partner’s expectations.
- You often feel guilty. You continually try to repair damage you believe you’ve caused. You blame yourself for your partner pulling away from you. You can’t understand why you keep sabotaging the relationship.
- You carefully control your words, actions and emotions around your partner to keep him or her from withdrawing their affection again. Your suppressed feelings build inside of you, and sometimes you erupt like a volcano. You can’t seem to help it, even though it only makes things worse.
- You do things you aren’t really comfortable with or that go against your values, limits or boundaries, in order to make your partner happy and keep the relationship intact.
You should have your answer.
You might be wondering how you or anyone else could stay in a relationship that causes fear, anxiety, depression, self-doubt, frustration, anger, and even rage. Wouldn’t you know something is terribly wrong?
First, the relationship probably got off to an amazing start. He or she seemed like your perfect partner or friend — maybe even a soul mate — and the honeymoon phase was idyllic. Since you’ve been manipulated into blaming yourself for the problems, you stick with the relationship and desperately try to repair the damage. It seems to work sometimes and the relationship becomes blissful once again, but it doesn’t last long. Intermittent reinforcement is a dastardly tactic that creates fear of losing the relationship and then relieves that fear periodically with episodes of love and attention. It can create compliance that is obsessive and self-destructive.
“Manipulation is an evolving process over time,” according to Harriet B. Braiker, PhD., author of “Who’s Pulling Your Strings.” Victims are controlled through a series of promised gains and threatened losses covertly executed through a variety of manipulation tactics. In other words, the manipulation builds gradually as the abuser creates uncertainty and doubt by going back and forth from hot to cold, back and forth from giving you what you desire to taking it away.
“In the end, it doesn’t matter how you got into that relationship — it is the realization that it is one-sided, exploitative, and toxic. The questions that need to be asked are very simple. ‘Are they using their charms or behavior to control you or others for their own benefit? Are they manipulating you? Are they doing things that hurt you or put you at risk? Do you feel like this relationship is one-sided? Are you hurting in this relationship?’ If the answer to these questions is yes, it is time to untangle yourself from the toxic strings that control you so you can get your life back. Take heed – you have no social obligation to be victimized – ever.”
From the book Dangerous Personalities by Joe Navarro, M.A., 25-year FBI veteran
Emotional manipulation is emotional abuse. If you believe you’re in a relationship with an abuser, no good will come of it. This person does not value or respect you or care about your well-being. Leave the relationship if possible, and seek professional counselling if needed.
♥ Thank you for reading.
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“I would like to thank the author for an eye opening experience! This book has clarified more for me than I have ever understood in my entire lifetime.. It doesn’t matter what type of relationship you are in, it can be straight couples, gay couples, relationships between family members, co-workers , any kind of relationship, you must read this book. It will be as if a lightswitch is turned on in your brain and your soul is sitting up and paying attention. To the author, again thank you for opening my eyes.”