When a relationship is based on manipulation, it can be so important to recognise the signs and break the pattern. Unfortunately, kind and caring people may be prone to attracting manipulating partners. At first, it may appear to work incredibly well! If you’re the “giver” in the relationship and your partner is the “taker”, it may be easy to make things work for a while. Perhaps, you might hope that your partner will change and become more considerate, or that things will balance out eventually.
However, this is often not the case. A manipulative partner will likely learn how to control you more as they get to know you and use their deeper knowledge to their advantage. You may end up feeling confused, lost and isolated, which is why it can be really important to identify when you’re being manipulated and break the pattern quickly.
Below, you’ll discover 10 signs that you might be getting manipulated. If anything resonates with you, it may be important for you to discuss your concerns with your partner and anyone else who could help you gain more clarity.
When things don’t go to plan, does your partner immediately place the blame on your shoulders? By making you feel guilty, they can request favours, take away your ability to make decisions, ask you to “make it up to them”, or make themselves look like the hero.
If your partner is manipulative, you often won’t get to make important decisions. You may offer your opinion, but it will never be taken seriously. Further, your partner might actually attempt to make you feel silly for making suggestions or say that you’re incapable of making the right choice. They may elude to your past mistakes to make you doubt yourself, or condescendingly mock your ideas.
Not only does your partner make you doubt yourself when it comes to important decisions, they might also make you doubt a variety of things, from your other relationships to your sense of style. You may start to lose a sense of who you are because you’ve had to change many different things to suit your partner better.
Does your partner threaten that they will feel sad, scared, lonely, or angry if you do certain things? Do they intimidate you without even having to put threats into words? Do you often feel like you have to work hard to win back their trust and affection? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you may be getting emotionally blackmailed. Emotional blackmail is about controlling someone using fear, obligation or guilt.
Abuse of any kind is often a form of manipulation. Bullying is often a direct way to manipulate someone and it can be a frightening, intimidating and hurtful experience. If your partner uses any type of bullying or abuse, it’s important to put space between you and keep yourself safe. Connect with anyone else who can support you and call emergency services if you ever feel worried for your wellbeing.
In a healthy relationship, you shouldn’t have to “prove” that you love your partner. They should be able to know and trust in your love for them as a result of your experiences together, your affection for each other and words of affirmation. If you need to fulfill your partner’s requests because otherwise they will question your love for them, then it may be a sign you’re being manipulated.
Constantly trying to please your partner because they blame you whenever they feel unpleasant emotions? This can be a big sign that you’re being manipulated. Remind your partner that their feelings are their own responsibility and suggest that they seek external support to help them process their emotions.
If your partner always becomes the victim (even in situations when they clearly did the wrong thing!) then it’s possible they’re manipulating you. No one can be a victim in every circumstance or avoid owning up to their mistakes.
If you always feel like you have to try harder to please and support your partner, they may be manipulating into helping them.
If you notice your partner lying, twisting information, or changing their story, then they might be manipulating you. Healthy relationships revolve around honesty, integrity, openness and clarity. If your partner lies and lacks honesty, then you’re probably being manipulated in ways you don’t even know about.
Realising that your partner might be manipulating you isn’t easy, but it can be an important step in either mending your relationship or ending that relationship.