6 Signs of an Emotional Manipulator

Manipulation can come in many different ways. Sometimes the ways that someone manipulates others is obvious, other times not. A person can sometimes be so good at manipulating, that you don’t even know that they’re doing it. To understand what a manipulator can look like, in this article, we’ll be looking at six signs.

1. The Manipulator Constantly Judges You

When you’re with someone who is manipulating you, you may feel that you are always judged. No matter what you do, it’s never quite right in their eyes. They make you question yourself, always. This slowly eats away at your self-esteem in an attempt for them to earn your trust (Parker 2021). 

2. They Twist the Facts to Fit Their Narrative

Manipulators are sneaky in their ways to get you to believe in them. They may outright try to make you question your own reality sometimes – this is called gaslighting. They may make you feel that you misremembered something or that you can’t think clearly. Other times, they may twist the facts in events to make it seem as if they were the victim. It seems somehow that everyone is against them, but you’ll notice they almost never take accountability for their actions (Holland 2018).

3. They Shower You in Affection

It may seem obvious when someone is being manipulative, such as gaslighting, insulting you, or lying, there are other signs that may go unnoticed. Lovebombing is when a manipulator showers you in affection to make you believe that they are wonderful to you. This can be especially true in the beginning of relationships where they are the perfect partner, but then suddenly change. Other times they may suddenly act kind to you for a period of time to keep you from leaving. All this is to gain and maintain your trust (Holland 2018).

4. They Listen to You, at First

Manipulators will go to lengths to get you to trust them. Similar to showing you affection, you may also find that manipulators are amazing listeners at times. They seem genuinely invested in what you have to say and how you operate. This is because they are looking for things to get you on later. When a manipulator knows how you work, they use this to their advantage. All the sudden you may find that this once charming and empathetic person is now ignoring you and using your emotions against you (mindbodygreen 2021). 

5. They are Never Wrong

A clear sign that a person is a manipulator is if you notice that they can never be wrong. Somehow they will always try to make themselves seem right in a situation no matter what. They will twist facts, sometimes outright lie, or gaslight you in order to prove their point. While at first they may seem ridiculous, overtime you may find yourself believing them (Parker 2021).

6. They Have Power Over You

When a person is manipulating you, you may find that somehow they are always above you. They always try to maintain some level of control in any situation. At work they may talk to you as if you are clueless in what you’re doing. They may also try to get you to come to their “territory.” Somehow you always have to go to them, but they’ll never come to you (Parker 2021). 

While manipulation can look a number of ways, regardless it is extremely damaging to you. Dealing with manipulators can be extremely tough and feel like a constant, exhaustive, uphill battle. Talking with a professional is a great way to help navigate your feelings and learn ways to establish boundaries. We hope you were able to find this article informative and we encourage you to let us know your thoughts in the comment section.


  • Holland, K. (2018, February 13). How to Recognize the Signs of Emotional Manipulation and What to Do. Healthline. www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-manipulation#emotional-blackmail
  • Jacobsen, J. (2022, January 19). 20 Signs of Emotional Manipulation in Relationships and How to Deal With It. Marriage Advice – Expert Marriage Tips & Advice. www.marriage.com/advice/mental-health/signs-of-emotional-manipulation/
  • mindbodygreen. (2021, May 3). Are You Being Emotionally Manipulated? 8 Signs To Tell, From Psychologists. www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/emotional-manipulation
  • Parker, M. (2021, August 11). 8 Frightening Signs He’s An Emotional Manipulator. Her Way. herway.net/8-frightening-signs-hes-emotional-manipulator/
  • WebMD. (2020, November 25). Signs of Emotional Manipulation. www.webmd.com/mental-health/signs-emotional-manipulation

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