How to Detect and Avoid Manipulation

16 December, 2015
The first thing to do in order to achieve efficient manipulation over someone is to do it without the other person noticing.
This phrase might seem like a riddle, but it’s the foundation for success of people who manipulate others. The most common manipulation usually takes place within a romantic relationship or between family members, when one person wants to control another’s behavior. So, manipulation isn’t always done by people seeking some kind of personal gain. It’s also done by people who think they know where another person’s benefits may lie or people who try to define their path so that it leads a certain direction.
It’s not easy to detect an experienced and skilled manipulator. Their tactics are so subtle that it’s very complicated to notice them. Actually, the people surrounding the person being manipulated usually notice before the person itself. That person usually can’t believe their reality thanks to the pain that it would cause them it if was true.

When the manipulation is being done by someone close, it’s almost impossible to understand what is happening. In a relationship for example, both people must make decisions and give their opinions without making the other person feel bad, offended or attacked.

If one of them manipulates the other, it results in an imbalance of power in the relationship. One of the members of the relationship will then assume the role of the dominant and the other a role as the submissive. This applies to daily tasks such as the handling of money, exes, the children, activities, outings, work, etc. That is to say, it can affect each and every one of our activities.

Do you want to know if your partner (or anyone close to you) is manipulating you? Then pay close attention to these warning signs. You may have walked right into the lion’s den. And if you don’t react in time, you’ll suffer very serious consequences:

You feel guilty about everything.

That’s the feeling that the other person has over you. That’s the first symptom. It doesn’t matter what you do, say or think, you’ll always be doing something wrong to them. Though you haven’t made a mistake, they’ll always be trying to make you feel guilty.

 “You leave me alone to go off with your friends.” “I’m sick and you’re still going to work.”  A manipulator is an expert at twisting the facts and always turning them in their favor, in order to make the other person feel responsible and guilty.

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You absorb all of their traumas.

When we’re in a relationship with someone, we tend to put ourselves in their shoes when they tell us something that happened to them in their childhood or in the past. However, the problem with manipulators is that they take advantage of this fact. For example, they’re always seeking constant caring.

Their own insecurities and weaknesses are projected onto whoever they have in front of them.

“I don’t want you to go out because it reminds me of when my ex cheated on me with my best friend.” “You better not go to work so that your boss doesn’t harass you like mine does to me.” This way they limit your freedom and don’t allow you to make decisions for yourself.

They say they fear abandonment.

They may also claim to have a trauma they haven’t been able to heal. “I’m scared you’ll leave me.” “I couldn’t live without you.” “I can’t breathe when you’re not by my side.” And none of this is said in a romantic way.

With this tactic, they manage to make their partner forgive all of their mistakes. Remember that there’s a fine line between comprehension and consideration and emotional manipulation. Don’t let other people’s problems fall onto your shoulders and keep you from moving forward.

They cause you to doubt your own abilities. 

Before you met your partner, you would boast of your achievements. You thought you were good at certain activities. There were many things about you that you loved. But now you’re not so sure if you really are skilled at accounting, at giving good advice or getting good grades. Please note that these doubts are surely related to actions or activities that involve other people (work, friendships, studies).

The manipulator’s goal is that you’re always by their side and no one else’s. But they may also not allow you to do certain things because keeping you helpless allows them to stay in charge. This means that since supposedly you don’t have the skills to do certain tasks, the other person then has to do them. This undermines your autonomy and generates dependence. It also weakens the person and makes them more likely to suffer from future manipulations.

On one hand, the people that use these types of tactics are usually very skilled and subtle. But on the other hand, maybe without realizing it we’re allowing these things to happen. In order for a relationship to work, both people have to be on the same page and mutually support each other. If one of them is being manipulated, they are not guilty, but it’s necessary that they stray from that path so that things don’t get even worse.