Signs Of A Manipulating Partner

By Aaron Love 9 months ago

They Criticise You

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In a healthy relationship we can all allow for some constructive criticism, it can really strengthen the relationship. However, a manipulative partner might choose to take this to an extreme and just start belittling you and destroying your self-worth, self-esteem and general confidence.

Isolate You From Friends And Family

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One of the worst and most obvious signs that someone is trying to manipulate you is when they try to separate and isolate you from your friends and family. They know that without this support network you've grown they might be able to deepen the control they have over you.

Don't Take Responsibility

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One of the worst aspects of a manipulative person is that they're unable to take any responsibility for their mistakes. This pattern of behaviour, if it persists, can be lead to you becoming overwhelmed and overburdened with the blame whilst they can walk away guilt free.


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Gaslighting has become a more recently recognised manipulative tactic that someone might use to try and distort your reality. They might try and make you question your own mind and memories, sometimes even twisting whole stories to leave you feeling extremely confused.

Use Affection As A Reward

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A manipulating partner can often use affection and attention as a way to try and control you. They try and withhold affection for you until they get something that they want or you do something for them. The love being conditional should quickly make you realise they're a red flag.

Giving You The Silent Treatment

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The silent treatment is something many of us might joke about with our partner when we're slightly annoyed; but a manipulator might actually do it seriously. They might completely withdraw from conversation and affection which can leave you in the dark and make you feel like you're in the wrong.


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Love-bombing is a tactic that some people use to try and gain the trust and attention of their partner at the start of a relationship. This usually hides their true nature and weeks or months later once you're involved you can begin to notice it was all a ploy to get you in their web.

They Intimidate You

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Intimidation is one of the most common things a manipulator might do to try and control you in a relationship. The intimidation can come via physical threats or even emotional bullying. The goal for them is to try and make you feel as though that you're trapped in a relationship and won't oppose them.

Try To Guilt Trip You

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A manipulative partner might also try and guilt trip you for a number of reasons, they're masters at it after all. This can often make you feel responsible for their emotional state when all they're really trying to do is make you care about them even more than you actually do for yourself!

Playing The Victim

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They might also try and guilt trip you by introducing the idea of them being the victim in all circumstances, even if they're the ones that are actually causing the conflict. This can make you feel a little sympathetic towards them and leave you feeling pretty emotionally drained in the end.

Emotional Blackmail

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A manipulative person might also use some emotional blackmail to try and get their own way in a relationship. You'll notice this if everything they're trying to do is exploit all of your emotions and vulnerabilities. This is an extremely toxic trait to have and it can leave you feeling very drained.

Always Wanting To Know Where You Are

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One of the main exhibits of a partner who is trying to control you is them trying to make sure they know where you are at all times. If your partner is showing an obsessive interest in where you every hour of the day then you might feel a little suffocated and as if you don't have any space for yourself.

Going Through Your Phone

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We all need our personal space every now and then but a manipulative partner might not want to give us any privacy at all. They might ask to or even without consent try to go through your phone, something I'm sure you'll all agree can really erode any boundaries you might have or want.

Controlling Your Finances

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The control a manipulator might have over you isn't always emotional or physical, on some occasions it might also be materialistic too. They might try and control your finances and make it difficult for you to spend your own money unless they decide to give you their approval first.

Disrespecting Your Goals

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A manipulative partner is usually only interested in things that will benefit them in the short term, therefore your goals won't be of much importance to them. The issue here is that if you gave them the same attitude they would become incredibly annoyed and bothered by the situation.

Turning Friends And Family Against You

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Manipulative partners don't just try and isolate you from your friends and your family, they also try and make them turn against you too. This could come from some unnecessary conflict they've made by spreading false information or just blocking your contact routes through to them.

They Get Jealous

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I'm sure we've all felt some periods of jealousy in life, it isn't nice but it's a pretty natural feeling to go through unfortunately. They might become quite possessive and act quite irrationally when you interact with others and this can create some issues with insecurity and anxiety for you mainly.

They Lie To You

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Honesty is one of the key aspects in a relationship, but a manipulating partner will frequently and consistently lie to you in order to try and control the entire narrative of the relationship. This will obviously leave you in the dark for a majority of the issues and make you question your ability to trust people too.

Use Flattery

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Flattery is another pretty common manipulative tactic that in the arsenal of one of these people. They can compliment and praise you excessively as a way to make you feel appreciated and even special. What you don't know however, is that this is all done with ulterior motives.

They Have Mood Swings

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A manipulating partner's mood swings can be quite unpredictable and really throw off the dynamic of a day depending on what they say. One moment they might be extremely happy and want to spend time with you and the next you won't want to be anywhere near them.

Unrealistic Expectations

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A manipulative partner often sets some quite unrealistic expectations for you and they might demand some perfection or constantly make you strive for something impossible. This makes you feel as though you won't ever be able to measure up to what it is they want from you.

Threatening To Leave You

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Even though we might know that someone is manipulating us, some of us aren't able to leave as we've already become emotionally invested in the relationship. They can use this to hurt us by threatening to leave us until we comply with the demands that they're making.

Refusing To Communicate

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Communication ranks alongside honesty as one of the key components of a healthy relationship. Therefore when a manipulator chooses to refuse to engage in serious conversation it can leave us feeling unheard. They won't even address any of the issues in the relationship.

They're Passive Aggressive

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There's always moments in our lives where we have to fight the urge to be passive-aggressive towards people, but this is a common trait in manipulators. This can be quite a subtle tactic to try and express their distaste at something and leave you feeling as though you're questioning your feelings.

You're Always Apologizing

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One of the main problems I've already mentioned is that a manipulator will avoid taking the blame for anything. This usually results in you always having to take the blame and feeling as though you have to apologize. This can create quite an unfortunate cycle of guilt and self-blame within us.

They Project Their Insecurities

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In order to try and save their own mind and emotional state, a manipulator might try and project their insecurities on to us. This could be picking up on our own insecurities or even accusing us of being guilty of the things that they do themselves. It's extremely toxic!

An Inflated Ego

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One thing a manipulator always seems to have in common with other manipulators is that they have an inflated sense of ego. They will always believe that they're right and anything they feel or desire will have to take precedence over your feelings or needs instead.

They're Only Nice When They Need Something

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Unfortunately, manipulators can always seem to be quite charming and this is how they manage to worm their way in to our lives without us realising their true self. They can turn their charm on and off though and once they have what they want they can revert to their negatives.

Buying You Lots Of Gifts

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Another way they can find to control you a little is by buying you loads of gifts. Obviously it's nice to feel appreciated in a relationship, but you need to be careful that they aren't just buying you things to be able to distract from their bad behaviour or to make you feel like you owe them.

You Feel Like You're Walking On Eggshells

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If you think you're in a relationship with a manipulator then you probably are! Always trust yourself in these circumstances and understand that you shouldn't be walking on eggshells with someone who's meant to be your partner. You shouldn't have to be worried about what you're about to say.