Manipulation is a normal part of human social interaction. Those who have cultivated manipulation into a skill that is interwoven into most of their interactions are considered to be manipulative. In the beginning of a budding relationship, it is easy to brush off little quirks in the name of infatuation or by being over-invested in the relationship. At some point, some of their little quirks may leave you with negative feelings and leave you wondering how you ended up agreeing to something you really were not ready for.
Your instincts may have already alerted you that something is amiss, either in your own relationship or in someone else’s, or you may be simply curious. You will always have the upper-hand by being informed and being able to recognize signs of a manipulative partner is the first step in protecting yourself.
Here are 10 signs of a manipulative partner:
1. They Often Give the Silent Treatment
Needing your own space to process negative emotions like anger or sadness is a healthy coping skill; however, complete refusal to speak to another person that you disagree with or to “punish them”, is not. A manipulative individual will use this tactic to take control of the discussion. After all, you can’t continue a conversation if one party is unresponsive.
2. Rushing You Through A Decision
Salesman often use this tactic to get buyers to feel the time-sensitive pressure and quickly decide. Manipulators will use this tactic to get their victims to feel that same time pressure and respond to get the response they want.
3. Small Requests for Big Favors
Oftentimes, a manipulative partner will get their foot in the door by asking a small, unobtrusive favor from you and once you have agreed to that, they follow-up with their much larger request. If you dare to object to their larger request, they will act as though you are in the wrong by not being good on your word, or a similar accusation.
4. Guilt Trips
I, like many people, enjoy traveling but I do not enjoy going on the guilt trips put on by a manipulator! Guilt trips are a commonly used resource by a manipulator when they do not get what they want. Manipulators will turn the tables to make you feel like you were in the wrong and have inconvenienced them significantly by your objections.
5. They Play Dumb
Psychology Today formally defines this term as “pretend ignorance”. Normally, it would not make sense to demand something from someone who does not understand the task or is incapable of completing the task. Manipulative people know that if they pretend to not understand where they have gone wrong or what you are asking of them, they can buy some time on the subject or avoid it altogether.
6. They Rob You of Your Self-Confidence
Those with low self-confidence are easy targets for a manipulator because they can easily maintain a sense of control over that person. A manipulative partner will constantly berate, criticize, or ridicule their partner to maintain a certain level of control over them.
7. They Are Passive-Aggressive
Aggressive behavior is not always physical. Some examples of passive-aggressive behaviors are things like “forgetting” tasks that need to be done, backhanded compliments, and sarcasm. Oftentimes these behaviors are are used as ways to express anger directed towards someone.
8. Little to No Conflict Resolution
When you feel like you have been talking about the same conflict for weeks or even months without resolution, it is possible there are manipulative behaviors at hand. Your partner may have ended the conversation leaving you agreeing with something you may not really be okay with.
9. They Are Constantly Playing the Victim
If you feel like your partner is constantly exaggerating their level of physical or emotional discomfort, they may be trying to manipulate you. A manipulative person may play the victim to try to induce feelings of guilt or a sense of protectiveness in you to twist the situation in their favor.
10. They Fake Concern
All in an effort to undermine you, a manipulative person will become suddenly interested in what is going on in your life. If you decide to let them in, they may ignore your input completely and twist the situation to their benefit.
Relationships are not about seeing how much we can control another person or gain benefit from them. Relationships are about forming a healthy and working attachment with someone that we can rely on to trust, honor, and respect us. Once you find a partner that is invested in your growth and well-being, you will see that relationships are meant to make us feel happy and secure.