Are you always in the wrong? Do you always have an overwhelming sense that you “owe” your partner and have to follow their advice even if it goes against your better judgement?
If you can answer yes to any of those questions you may be with a practiced manipulator. Here’s five signs you’re dating someone manipulative.
They Prey On Insecurity
When you’re in a healthy relationship your partner will help you feel safe and in many ways, complete. If you’re with someone who’s manipulative, it’s the polar opposite. Your insecurities are often used as a tool to gain influence.
If you feel insecure, and doubt your own decision making, it places your manipulator in a more powerful position. A confident, self assured person, makes decisions with conviction.
An insecure person is more likely to rely on someone else’s decision making rather than their own.
There are many tools in the manipulator’s toolbox, and one of their favorite’s is to be passive-aggressive.
Everyone knows how this works. They’re upset about something, and instead of being direct and trying to reach a healthy resolution they find something petty to make you upset. Maybe they “forget” to run an errand, or “accidentally” throw away something that’s important to you.
Why would someone do this, right? How does this help them? First, it’s a way to let you know you’re not doing what they want. They’re unhappy, so you should be unhappy too.
The reason they want you upset, is because you’re more likely to say or do something you’ll regret when you’re mad. When you respond in anger, your retaliation will then be used as leverage to get what they want.
The Power Of Reciprocity
There’s a fine line between persuasion and manipulation. One of the more powerful persuasive techniques is the power of reciprocity. Simply put, if I do something nice for you, you’re more likely to do something nice for me.
It’s a feeling of obligation we’re taught from a very early age. It’s as simple as when someone says, “thank you” and you feel obligated to say “you’re welcome”.
If someone gives you a gift for Christmas, what happens? You feel an overwhelming obligation to return the favor. This is the power of reciprocity at work, and your manipulator knows exactly how it works.
Before asking for something, a manipulator will often do several small favors so you feel like you owe them something and need to return the favor.
Another persuasive technique that gets abused by a manipulator is the power of commitment and consistency. If someone can get you to say “yes” to a few small requests, you’re more likely to continue agreeing with them.
This “yes” behavior will begin with very small favors or requests. Once they get you saying yes, and committing to agreeing with them they go in for the big kill. Which is what they’ve been setting you up for all along.
Guilt Is A Common Strategy
Manipulation is all about power, control, and influence. One of the easiest ways to manipulate someone is with guilt. It creates a sense of self-doubt, and places you in an inferior position emotionally.
Your manipulator will go to great lengths to help you connect the dots and realize how much pain you’ve caused them. A good manipulator will often have a “go to” argument when they want to invoke a strong sense of guilt and wrong doing.
If your partner continues to bring up mistakes you made months, and sometimes years, ago they’re using your guilt to manipulate you.
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