Manipulation can be an extremely complicated, confusing, and emotionally taxing experience. Relationships with manipulators may have their highs and lows along with sometimes subtle tactics which can make it so you don’t notice what they are doing. To better look into what manipulation may look like, in this article, we will be looking at 6 signs you are being manipulated.
1. You Feel Like Everything Is Your Fault All the Time
When you are being manipulated, it’s common for the manipulator to make themselves “in the right” all the time. In the workplace they may downplay your intelligence or experience to make you feel that you’re always making mistakes (Casabianca 2021). In relationships they may justify their actions by twisting facts and words to make themselves seem superior. Additionally, they may use a tactic called triangulation to bring another person into a conflict to take their side (Casabianca 2021). No matter what, it seems like you are never right in any matter and you always feel at fault for what happens.
2. You Constantly Feel Judged
In addition to feeling like you’re always wrong in situations, it is common to feel judged all the time by your manipulator. This can make it seem like every action you have is constantly scrutinized, no matter how big or small (WebMD 2020). You may notice that they either never offer constructive criticism or do so in a patronizing manner. They always make it seem like they know better and that you have to work to get on their level (Casabianca 2021).
3. You’re Guilt-tripped into Decisions
Manipulators have a tendency to make themselves the victim in every situation. You may notice that you’re always doing things for them out of guilt, even if it makes you uncomfortable. If you fight back, they may retaliate by saying they can’t control their behavior because of some circumstance beyond their control. Even if what they are doing would be considered objectively wrong, they always have a reason to justify themselves in doing it (Mindbodygreen 2021).
4. You Doubt Reality
Gaslighting is another common tactic that manipulators use where they will make you question your sanity. You may find that it’s hard to trust your own judgment because your manipulator always convinces you that you are wrong in how you think, feel, and experience the world (Casabianca 2021). Any feeling you have is somehow irrational or incorrect for the situation. Manipulators will make you feel like you’re making up situations or are misremembering events. It’s common for victims of gaslighting to question if they have a mental health condition (Casabianca 2021).
5. You Are Constantly Compared to Others
Another tactic manipulators will use against you is making you feel inferior to others. Your manipulator will always make you feel like you are falling short of expectations and that other people are doing better (Holland 2018). The goal is to make you compete with others to win their approval. You feel like you have to continually one-up another person, however it is never enough (Holland 2018).
6. You Are Love-bombed and Punished
Manipulators have their way of keeping you coming back to them. In relationships especially, you may find that they will love-bomb you for a period of time in which everything in your relationship seems great (Casabianca 2021). They give you attention, gifts, and will speak highly of you to other people. While this may seem positive at the time, in reality it is to gain your trust. You may find after this period ends, they resort to punishing you. Using tactics like the silent-treatment, making fun of you, or any of the other tactics listed in this article. This cycle tends to repeat keeping you stuck in it.
While manipulation can sometimes be hard to detect, with many of the situations complicated, it is important to recognize it. Manipulation can have huge effects on your mental health and overall well-being. Finding ways to establish boundaries, or knowing when to walk away can have massive impacts on your life. Let us know what your thoughts on this article are and if you found it insightful!
- Casabianca, S. S. (2021, September 29). 6 Signs Someone Is Manipulating You. Psych Central. psychcentral.com/blog/signs-manipulation-in-relationships#signs
- 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#misdirection
- mindbodygreen. (2021, May 3). Are You Being Emotionally Manipulated? 8 Signs To Tell, From Psychologists. www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/emotional-manipulation
- WebMD. (2020, November 23). Manipulation: Symptoms to Look For. www.webmd.com/mental-health/signs-manipulation