Relationship Experts Explain How To Deal With A Manipulative Partner

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It is a shock to realize that you have gotten into a manipulative and controlling relationship–most relationships do not begin this way. We all have stars in our eyes, things are great, and there are lots of promises that are made in the interest of landing a desirable mate.

Once the dust has settled, you may realize that you’ve gotten involved with a manipulative partner. What now? Has your relationship become more rocky than solid? Here are some clear signs that your partner has manipulative and controlling tendencies:

Your Partner Is Dr. Jekyll And Mr./Ms. Hyde

One minute you are the recipient of such sweet treatment it’s enough to give you a toothache, and the next minute you feel like you’re dealing with the wicked witch of the West. The worst part about this up and down treatment is that it’s unpredictable; you never know what you’re going to get. This is an exhausting cycle to ride with a partner; speaking up for yourself and refusing to put up with such treatment will give you a good idea whether your relationship can weather these changes.

You Are The Victim Of Passive Aggressive Behavior

Does your partner deliberately sabotage your happiness and success? Do they display jealousy over other relationships that you have in your life? Do they attempt to control your actions, attitudes, thoughts, and even physical location? If you are the unfortunate victim of any of these situations, you have a manipulative partner. Maybe it’s time to teach that partner that you care about that there is a different, healthier way of relating to you.

Are You Stressed Out By Your Relationship?

If your partner’s behavior, antics, words and actions cause you stress and emotional pain, you are in manipulative relationship. We all make mistakes, and we all have bad days, but our partners should be the ones that we run to, not run from, as life throws its curveballs at us. If you find it easier to be away from your partner than with them, you are likely in a controlling relationship.

What Do I Do Now? How Do I Deal With This?

Regardless of how long you’ve been in this relationship, it’s how you respond to this behavior and attempts at controlling that will determine whether you are a victim. If you are willing to accept them on their terms and not stand up for yourself, then you can expect the behavior to continue and possibly worsen. Many times, relationships that begin as mildly manipulative and controlling evolve into more abusive situations where one or both partners eventually leaves battered, bruised, and disillusioned about relationships. Something must be done before it comes to fisticuffs.

Common Tactics Of Manipulative Partners

Partners with this way of relating to people “never do wrong”. They may use distraction in conversations and situations to divert attention away from their undesirable behavior. They may issue direct or indirect threats as a means of controlling your response to them. When these tactics are ineffective, they may resort to periods of time where they are deliberately charming, attentive, and deceitful in an attempt to woo you and win back your good graces. This honeymoon period always ends, however, when they perceive that you have done or said something that is unacceptable to them. Don’t fall for it, it’s yet another in a long line of behaviors designed to try to control your behavior.

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What You Can Do About It

Perhaps the biggest decision you need to make is whether or not staying in the relationship is worth your time and effort. Quite often, if the partner is not willing to change or look at his/her own behavior, it’s a lost cause, and you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of heartbreak and pain if you choose to stay.

Should you choose to try to work on your relationship, here are some things you could do to combat their manipulative behavior:

  • Be aware of what is happening: take a rational look at your situation
  • Set boundaries as early and often as possible: let them know how they must treat you
  • Keep them responsible for their actions; have them reflectively look at their actions and behavior
  • Accept no excuses for unacceptable behavior
  • Stand your ground, and be willing to accept the consequences of your own behavior
  • Get support from others around you to help you deal with your situation objectively
  • Act as quickly as possible to send a message that you are focused on change and working on your relationship
  • If nothing is working, then by all means, get out!

No one deserves a relationship that is a stressor in their life. While you must ultimately deal with the consequences of your choices, remember that you DO have a choice. You don’t have to stay if the situation has become unbearable. Stand up for yourself, believe that you deserve more, and be willing to work together to improve your relationship. If your bond is strong enough to weather the changes, you will both come out better on the other side.


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