Manipulative relationships aren’t always easy to identify. You may not always be able to determine if your situation is toxic, though there are likely some lingering doubts when dealing with manipulators. There are three kinds of people you can date, those that love you, those that hate you, and those that try to control you. When your partner uses manipulative behaviors against you, sometimes you’re blinded by love and devotion and can’t see what’s happening.
Identifying the manipulative partner can be challenging, but there will be signs. You can feel it in your gut when something is off-kilter in the relationship. Call it gut instincts, but there are usually feelings of guilt and shame attached to it. You must handle this situation, or it will only get worse.
Manipulative Behaviors to Identify
Manipulators are toxic individuals that hide their true intentions. They use actions and behaviors to damage you and destroy your esteem. Many people can’t identify these manipulative behaviors until they’re deep in the middle of a relationship, and by then, it’s hard to escape their clutches.
However, once you know the true poisonous nature of your connection, you can break those ties that bind. Here are some signs that your partner is toxic.
1. Lack of Responsibility Can Be a Manipulative Behavior
If there were ever a song about the narcissist, it’s Shaggy’s mega-hit from 2000, “It Wasn’t Me.” The song talks about a person who got caught red-handed having an affair with their partner, yet they deny any wrongdoing. This is typical behavior of a manipulative person. It doesn’t matter if caught, as they will never admit to anything.
They want to turn it around on you or gaslight you into thinking you saw something else. Manipulators know they’re doing wrong, but they will not admit that to you or anyone else.
2. Playing the Victim
Manipulators like to play the victim card. However, it would help if you were careful as these manipulative behaviors are easy to get caught up in. They will use things that happened to them as a child to gain your sympathy, but they only want to take advantage of you.
Some toxic people are so good at playing the victim that they can make anyone putty in their hands. You might even believe that some of their sob stories are true. Granted, some people were victims and have developed this mentality to get through life. However, many are just using lies to play on your emotions.
3. Manipulators Often Make Empty Promises
Toxic people will make all sorts of promises to you when they need to get you off their back. However, these are broken vows they have no intention of keeping. You will find that these promises come out when caught in lies or you consider leaving them.
Please don’t hold your breath that they will keep any of these pledges to you, as lying is one of their strong suits. It’s a commonplace for toxic people to use deception to throw people off their track.
4. Guilt Trips
Do you feel guilty often? Manipulators make you feel guilty when things aren’t even your fault. You should know that you didn’t do anything wrong, but this is a tactic used by your partner to deflect.
They want you to feel bad about yourself or have guilt over a situation where they’re to blame. Shame is one of the manipulative behaviors that can be most toxic. It causes emotional storms inside that can make you angry and sad simultaneously.
Classic examples of guilt may come when you try to spend time with your family or friends, and they make you feel that you’re ignoring their needs.
5. Manipulative People Tell Lies
Many narcissists are habitual liars, according to The National Library of Medicine. This deep psychological problem stems from many things, but many folks learn how to lie to protect themselves when they’ve suffered a horrific childhood.
Ironically, a study found that people who engage in pathological deception have cognitive deficits. Scientists are still researching if these neurocognitive deficits come from trauma-based interruptions in the brain or if they’re genetic links. Still, dealing with someone who lies about anything and everything is challenging, and it’s one of the manipulative behaviors you want to be wary of in a partner.
6. Extreme Jealousy
One of the manipulative behaviors that are hard to manage is jealousy. The old green-eyed monster is someone you don’t want interfering in your relationships. Your partner may try to spin their feelings out of love, but make no mistakes; nothing is loving about toxic jealousy.
Not only is this person jealous of anyone around them, but they are jealous of those around you too. It’s common for this person to be suspicious of your friends, actions, job, and who you’re talking to on the phone. They try to force you to believe that no one loves or cares about you as they do, but the truth is they’re trying to pull you away from your support system.
Jealousy can be as cruel as the grave, according to Solomon 8:6. If you read of crimes of passion in the newspaper, intense jealousy is behind many of them. Get away from the jealous person, as they will destroy your life.
7. Manipulators Are Frequently Self-Centered
Of course, selfish people want to make everything about themselves. Nothing in your life is as important as what’s going on in theirs. Though this is one of the subtle manipulative behaviors, it usually accompanies others.
They may tell you that your problems aren’t big deals, so they can turn the conversation back to their needs. According to the National Library of Medicine, narcissistic personality disorder comes with the need for admiration and a lack of empathy. Experts have found that these individuals often present with emotional and unpredictable behavior, making them dangerous to engage with on any level.
Manipulators want to control how much time you spend with others, as they want you all to themselves. They don’t like you to be out of their realm of influence for too long, as they fear that people will break the control they have over you. They may become as controlling as trying to dictate who you can talk to on the phone, visit in person, or where you can go to grocery shops or other places.
Some controlling toxic people want to close you off from the rest of the world so they can have you all to themselves. This behavior is not a love relationship but a prison sentence.
9. Emotional Blackmail Is a Red Flag of Manipulative Behavior
Emotional blackmail is typical manipulative behavior that’s used by controlling people. They play on your emotions to get their way. For instance, they will threaten to end things or move on if you don’t do what they want.
They have no intentions of going anywhere but try to manipulate the situation by playing on your emotions. They’re saying to you, “Do this or else!”
If you have bills together, children, or share assets and other responsibilities, they want to use fear tactics to get you to conform. Toxic people know what card to play to get you to do what they want.
10. The Blame Game
The blame game is something master manipulators love to use to control you. One of the issues of these toxic people is that they can’t and won’t take responsibility for their actions. They would much rather blame you and let you take the fall.
The blame game can be very poisonous and one of the manipulative behaviors that can be pretty damaging. Your partner will justify an affair or other actions and blame you because you weren’t taking care of their needs. It’s rubbish, and don’t engage in such demeaning conversations.
They will also accuse you of being too friendly, loud, quiet, uneducated, or a hundred other things that aren’t true. Don’t ingest their chronic negativity into your spirit, as it will lower your esteem and self-worth.
Final Thoughts on Manipulative Behaviors
Manipulators come in all shapes and sizes and are often the people you wouldn’t normally suspect. However, when you choose a person to be involved in a relationship, you must watch for these toxic behaviors, as these folks can destroy your life.
When toxic people use manipulative behaviors to control you, they play with your emotions. Emotional baggage from previous relationships is hard to unpack, so it’s best to get out of these situations as soon as you see the warning signs. Many manipulators have deep seeded psychological issues that can be very dangerous to you and anyone around them.
Protect your heart and your mind at all costs. Know when to walk away from these toxic folks and the poison they bring into your life.