Manipulation of any kind is a sure-fire way to make a relationship toxic. It’s something that nobody should ever have to put up with – no truly loving partner would treat their other half in such a despicable way. It’s basically emotional abuse, and it’s totally intolerable. Often, the manipulator in question has learned exactly how to hide or disguise their actions in order to keep their victim under control. They try to make their partner think that their manipulative behavior is normal, acceptable, or simply not happening at all. This makes it super hard to leave a manipulative boyfriend or husband: they make you feel like you’re the problem, not them. They often blind you to their true motives and consequently get away with their sinister emotional and mental control.
Have you ever worried that you or someone you love is being manipulated by the guy who’s supposed to care for them? Do you even know what the signs of such behavior are? Here are just some of the things that most men do when they’re manipulating you. If you recognize any from your own relationship, it might be time to question whether just how healthy and loving it actually is.
I’m a man and I’ve been writing this blog for over a year and a half and I’ve decided to add this advice column element to my work. A lot of men may not like it, but I need to be honest here and call all of the shitty men out on their bullshit that hurt the women they are with so here goes.
In the end it will make us all better people.
7. Instead Of Addressing Things Head-On, They’re Passive Aggressive
A manipulator will rarely actually tell you straight-out that you’ve upset or annoyed them. Instead, they’ll leave passive-aggressive little hints that you’ve apparently done something wrong. They might even get other people to tell you that you’ve upset them, or talk about you behind your back. You’re always made out to be the bad guy: they portray themselves as being too scared or worried to bring up issues. In reality, it’s them who inspires fear in you. Indirect criticism or bullying can be just as harmful as directly telling you that you’re at fault. You end up feeling constantly paranoid that you’ve offended the manipulator, and since they never actually tell you if you have, you’ve no way of knowing either way. You’re left in a permanent state of panic and tiptoe around them to avoid confrontation.
6. They Get Angry Super Quickly
One of the scariest traits of a manipulator is just how quick to anger they can be. Even the smallest of criticisms can set them off, and even minor annoyances get a severe furious reaction. This kind of behavior can even make you worry for your physical safety – there’s no telling what the person might do if they continue to fly off the handle. They’ll rarely show remorse in the aftermath of their angry outbursts, instead seeing their response as proportionate and justified. In reality, that’s very rarely the case. Blowing things out of proportion is one of a manipulator’s greatest talents, and is a way to keep your fearful and thus controllable. If your partner constantly uses threats, aggression, or explosive anger to get their own way, it might be time to consider removing yourself from that situation. It can only end badly.
5. They Always Want To Be The Center Of Attention
Manipulators thrive on attention. It’s what they need to boost their probably quite fragile ego. If you dare to focus on something other than them, they will pester and nag you until you abandon everything to please them. They’re keen for everyone to know if they’re angry, upset, or hurt: they thrive on making everyone focus on their emotions. Often, they genuinely see themselves as more important than everyone else in the room. Why would you bother talking to anyone else when they’re in your presence? However, the only attention the manipulator really wants is that which will present them in a good light. They want others to support them, praise them, and even feel sorry for them if it suits their purposes. The minute you try to draw attention to their harmful or controlling behavior, they’ll make everything about your flaws and faults. Their aim will be to make everyone distrust you and support them.
4. They Like To Bring Up Your Deepest Insecurities
Everyone has their own insecurities and worries. There are aspects of ourselves that we wish we could change, and there are faults that we’re sure the entire world can see. The manipulator knows this and uses it against you. They’ll constantly bring up your insecurities in order to make you feel small. Even if they don’t directly try to convince you that your worries are true, they’ll make you experience all of the negative emotions that come with that kind of self-doubt. They might use your perceived flaws as a reason why you should stay with them. After all, who else would want to date someone with those faults? They try to make it seem like they are your only option. It’s the perfect method of control that plays on all of your deepest insecurities. After a while, you might start to believe that what they’re saying is true. You might genuinely feel like you’re an irreparably flawed person, and your self-esteem will suffer.
3. They Make You Feel Ashamed Of Yourself and Your Relationship
If you’re embarrassed or ashamed to talk about your relationship with friends and family, there’s probably something seriously wrong. If you suspect that your loved ones would be concerned and shocked by the way you’re treated, you’ll probably try to hide the truth from them. The sad thing is, many victims of manipulation know that what they’re enduring is wrong. They know that they deserve better, and know that they shouldn’t tolerate their manipulator’s actions. However, they feel too trapped to risk telling anyone about their struggle. They might feel ashamed that they managed to get into such a toxic relationship in the first place. They might worry that they’ll be judged or criticised for letting it happen if they do decide to come clean. Victim-blaming is a real phenomenon that is far too prevalent in our society, and the shame it creates stops many women from getting the help they both need and deserve.
2. They Give You The Silent Treatment
It might seem like a tactic that only petulant children use, but the silent treatment is genuinely employed by a lot of manipulators. It’s yet another way for them to gain control over their victim. They might refuse to even discuss what’s made them upset in the first place, making it impossible for you to resolve the dispute. Trying to get them to talk can be emotionally draining and exhausting, and is often a lot of effort for very little gain. You become desperate and begin the cycle of constantly apologizing and trying to make up for a crime that you’re not even sure you committed. The manipulator knows all of this – it’s their intention to make you emotionally fraught. It’s far easier for them to take advantage of you when you’re willing to do anything to please them once again.
1. They Don’t Respect Your Boundaries
Personal boundaries don’t exist to a manipulator. They believe that they own you and thus have a right to act however they please. They might push your physical boundaries, touching you without consent or getting far too close for comfort. Invading your personal space is a normal occurrence for them – they have a right to be there, after all. They might push emotional boundaries too, prodding and poking at your state of mind with jibes and insults until you finally snap. You could be forced to answer a whole load of personal questions that you’d rather not respond to, or share secrets that you wanted to remain unspoken. Eventually, the victim will give up on enforcing boundaries altogether – what’s the point of having them if they’ll just get ignored? Unfortunately, this leaves them all the more open to the manipulator’s controlling ways.
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