Is It Persuasion or Manipulation? Watch for These 12 Red Flags

Is It Persuasion or Manipulation? Watch for These 12 Red Flags



If you have a significant other, it’s normal to have a difference of opinion on occasion. It’s also a given that you both will use gentle persuasion to get your lover to have a change of heart. But even when you are trying your best to be persuasive, it still stays within the perimeters of love and respect.

The manipulative mate couldn’t care less about your opinions and will use anything in their power to control you. According to an article published by the Psychiatric Clinics of North America, manipulative and toxic relationships are often a sign of a narcissistic personality.

Red Flags That You’re Being Manipulated

Having meaningful conversations about differences of opinion support a healthy relationship. If one partner is a manipulator, the results are damaging to the other’s entire well-being. Here are 12 red flags that will show you the difference between gentle persuasion and cruel manipulation.


1. They Stay on Their Turf

If you are a sports fan, you’ve probably heard of the home-court advantage. It’s the psychological boost of confidence you feel when you are playing on your turf. Manipulators are the same way; they seem to work their best when you are on their territory.

Those who use persuasion don’t mind where they are discussing issues. Be aware when someone insists that you be at their place or in their office before you can have a meaningful conversation. They are hoping that you feel at a disadvantage when you’re in their space.

2. They Use Your Words Against You

Another classic tool of manipulative people is that they are masters at twisting the truth. Manipulators are excellent listeners, but not because they care about what you’re saying. They hang on to each phrase to figure out their next move.

When you least expect it, they will take your words and conversation out of context to use against you. They will put a little slant it in to make you look foolish or like a liar. If the ruse works, you may end up agreeing with them.

3. They Move Too Quickly in a Relationship

When someone is gently persuasive and wants a closer relationship with you, they don’t mind taking the time. Whether or not you believe in love at first sight, successful relationships aren’t built overnight. However, a manipulator with a hidden agenda works at warp speed to get in your good graces.

Are they a bit too touchy-feely before you even know them well? Perhaps they’ve already declared you both to be a couple before you’ve even considered it. Are they making big plans while you’re wondering about a second date?


4. They Twist the Facts for Their Advantage

Persuasive people don’t have to lie to make a point. However, manipulators thrive on twisting facts and conversations to make their opinions seem credible. They also aren’t above lying to secretly make you look like the bad guy and make them out to be the saint.

For example, suppose you plan an outing with your friends, and the manipulator isn’t happy about it. He may twist one of your friends’ words or concoct a reason why you shouldn’t go on your adventure. They may also exaggerate the facts to make them seem worse, so you’ll always side with them.

5. They Try to Outsmart You

Someone once said that nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care. Education, experiences, and talents were meant to be used as gifts and never as weapons to hurt people. Many manipulative people try to use their experiences and credentials to overpower or demean others.

It creates a toxic relationship that can make simple conversations seem like a battle. Does your significant other try to act intellectually superior to you? When they are trying to force their opinions, they may try to use their education as leverage.

Instead, those who use persuasion value your intellect, experience, and skill. They appeal fairly to your intelligence to decide on a personal or professional relationship. Manipulators pull out all stops to make their methods better than yours.

6. They Constantly Criticize You

A true lover brings out the best in you and offers sincere praise for your accomplishments. When you’re with them, you feel loved, worthy, and appreciated. If you are being manipulated, your self-esteem may burn out quickly due to the toxic environment. Manipulative people gain attention to themselves by belittling those around them, mainly their significant others.


It’s normal for a couple to argue and spew out a few criticisms. Some of the gripes may be false, but others legitimate. A manipulator is quick to criticize everything you do and speak. The plan is to eventually break you down until you feel too stupid and unworthy to say “no.”

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7. They Try to Make You Feel Guilty

Nobody is above using a few guilt tactics to get their point across to another person. However, people who are easily guilted into doing things they don’t want can be targets for manipulators. These toxic personalities are virtual travel agents for guilt trips.

If your lover is using persuasion, they will highlight the positive aspects of their opinions. Manipulators depend heavily on guilt and goading. They usually have good memories and can use any past mistake against you so you wouldn’t dare speak up for yourself.

8. They Don’t Validate Your Concerns or Feelings

Someone who loves you and cares about your well-being will be empathetic to your feelings. Even if your perception is a bit off, nobody has a right to tell you how to feel or think about things. A true lover will validate your feelings as important and worthy to be heard.

Don’t expect such well-deserved courtesy from a manipulative mate. No matter your emotions or how passionate you feel about a subject, they’ll completely disregard you. They will spout off a scripted list of reasons why your feelings are unrealistic, petty, selfish, and worthless.

9. They Make Backhanded Compliments and Jokes

Shakespeare wisely penned that many truths are said in jest. Toxic and manipulative people have the skewed idea that you can negate an insult by saying, “just kidding.” They don’t care that they are the only one who’s laughing.

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