Manipulative Behavior in a Relationship

People are social creatures. Throughout the history of mankind, society has been the key to the survival of the individual. Therefore, each (normal) person is equipped with an emotional mechanism, which allows other individuals to use manipulation in relationships. Having emotions and being vulnerable to manipulation is neither good nor bad. It is what forces people to take the feeling of others into account, and generally allows humanity to exist.

manipulative behavior in relationships

What You Need to Know About Manipulation in a Relationship

Emotions are one of the tools for people to influence each other that's why different manipulation techniques in relationships appear. Expressing feelings is, among other things, a message to others about their state. For example, the expression of anger says that it is better not to touch the one who is angry – they are ready to defend themselves and fight.

In addition, the manifestation of feelings in others evokes our own emotions, prompting to certain actions. For example, to comfort a child who cried or run away from danger, yielding to the general fear. If one learns to distinguish the response that the feelings of others find in us, this can become the basis for the development of empathy, the ability to empathize, and a better understanding of people.

But if the emotion is unpleasant, the person often does not want to remain in such a state, and acts immediately, without taking time to realize neither their own state nor the situation. If they find the action that relieves them of any experiences, when such feelings arise again, they simply repeat it.

In an effort to get rid of negative experiences, some people get used to acting reactively, and they get submissive to emotional manipulation in a relationship. The developed stereotype is formed as a situation - emotion - reaction. And this is bad because a person deprives themselves of the opportunity to rethink the situation and act differently. People who are close to such a person also get used to the fact that they can be made to act through a certain feeling and become victims of manipulative behavior in relationships.

Manipulation is most often defined as the type of psychological or social impact on a person or a group of people to achieve a definite reaction from the person to whom this influence is directed.

It is usually stated that manipulation is a hidden effect, and the purpose of the manipulator is to obtain a certain benefit for themselves. That is the manipulator knows the purpose for which they are manipulating, and the manipulated person does not understand what motivates them to act one way or another.

manipulation in a relationshipSuch manipulations in relationships do take place, for example, in politics and advertising. However, manipulation in a relationship, as well as the reaction to it, are often not fully realized both by the manipulator and the manipulated one. And the roles of the dominant and submissive side are constantly changing.

What Is Special About a Manipulative Relationship?

As mentioned above, people constantly or freely are being manipulated in a relationship or influence each other with their behavior, words, expressions of feelings. In addition, people often want something from each other (and this is normal) and try to achieve their goals. But it is possible to distinguish those properties that distinguish manipulative, “malignant” relations from fairly “healthy” ones.

1. Perhaps the main property of manipulation in relationships is the following: the one to whom it is directed ceases to be perceived as a free person, possessing their own feelings and will. They are the tool in achieving the goal of their partner. The goal becomes more important than the person themselves.

For a manipulator, the desire of another, contrary to their own, is an obstacle in the way that needs to be overcome, and not a reason to learn something about their loved one.

2. Another important one of the signs of manipulation in a relationship is not just a hidden effect but a double meaning. Any manipulation always contains a double message, one is on the surface as an official reason, and the other is hidden and indicates the real purpose of the manipulator. So, any excuse is a way to get what a manipulator strives for.

How to Spot Manipulation in Relationships?

You should definitely learn these signs of being manipulated in a relationship to detect them and cease such a toxic influence of a partner. A person that uses any relationship manipulation tactics is not suitable for you and for a healthy relationship.

  • After the first date, they immediately want to meet again. A manipulator will call and begin an intensive correspondence. They say flattering words to you and insist on an early meeting. As a rule, you are blandished by strong feelings, and you give up quickly.
  • They are playing hot-cold. The next one of forms of manipulation in relationships is the game of extremes. At that moment, when you are sure that you love and are loved, they suddenly disappear. You are tormented, “What did I do wrong?” Again and again, you ask yourself a question to which there is no answer. In their own way, the player is honest with you, but if you take a closer look, you admit that they have never promised you anything.
  • You are constantly analyzing what they meant. A person says they love you. However, the relationship is in a standstill and apart from meetings that occur less and less, a partner does not offer anything.
  • Their words differ from deeds. The next manipulation tactics in relationships are that they promise too much, for example, to go out of town with you for the weekend, invite your best friend to the birthday party, or watch a new film. All this remained plans, no matter how much you talked about it. They always have a good reason to postpone the plans for some more suitable time. This time will never come.
  • They make you doubt yourself. If one day you openly talk to them about not fulfilling promises, they will convince you that you just misunderstand. You doubt yourself: perhaps it is you who are selfish and constantly demand something from your partner. They will develop these doubts in you. The player is used to living here and now, enjoying the moment. Such a person is not inclined to think about the future.
  • They are afraid of the word "relationship." Try to talk to them about how they see the future of your relationship, and you risk spoiling the meeting. They will begin to convincingly tell how important it is to live in the present. If you start insisting, a partner will just disappear.
  • They have not deleted the profile on a dating site. Even if you have had an intimate relationship for a long time, you can discover their profile and active presence on the site. If you prefer only monogamous relationships, you should think about the future of your couple.
  • They have never had a long relationship. It is typical for a manipulator because as soon as people detect their control and manipulation in relationships, such couples fall apart. If at this point the player has already made you fall in love with them, you might ignore the obvious inconsistencies in their stories.
  • They keep you on a short leash. Even if you decide to break up with them, manipulators will find a way to throw the net again. Such a partner will send a message, it will be a link to something that might interest you or a couple of lines referring to the happy moments together. This will continue until you quit the game, which you have long taken to be a sincere hobby of yours.

Manipulation Techniques in Relationships

manipulation in relationshipsSome psychologists call them "games" and people are called "players," but we prefer the term "manipulation" today. So, it is finally time we get down to business. Let’s take a closer look at the main types of manipulation in relationships used by both men and women.

Humiliation. How to spot manipulation in relationships? This type of manipulation is very insidious and despicable in its essence. A partner will somehow mention the unattractiveness of their loved one (comparing them with others, playing with their insecurities), the lack of such a brilliant mind or any other sphere a partner is not best at. As a result of such manipulations, the manipulator makes a life of partner poisoned by the feeling of not worthiness and the fear of being left alone. That is why, if you want your partner to start to take care of themselves, to increase the level of their knowledge, then you should spur them another way, without killing their confidence. For example, encourage them to go in for sports together, but don't hint at the necessity to lose weight while you are lying on the couch with a bottle of beer.

Attempts of a manipulator to convince a partner that he/she is nothing without them. Man's version of these manipulations are the following, “A woman should stay at home and raise children,” “What can you do without me?”, “Do you think someone else needs you?” This is true for family people, where a man has a bigger (sometimes the only) salary, and a woman is a housewife. Unemployed (or receiving a penny), not as attractive as others, a person begins to doubt themselves, pleasing their spouse even more. This happens because people do not appreciate being cared for when they come to a clean and comfortable home. But this form of manipulation can lead to a woman realizing she is being used and force her to leave a manipulator.

A person "does not notice" how much their chosen one tries to please them. This is a subtle form of psychological manipulation so that the person doesn't think that they have won the heart of a partner and can get into a comfort zone. This method of manipulation can be good and beneficial for relationships. A partner of a “cold” person will not allow themselves to relax, will direct efforts towards self-improvement, education, strengthening relationships. All in all, it is better to stop this as soon as your ego gets satisfied enough. Because when a person will reach a certain level of improvement, they can think you are not worth them. So, they can leave you for another person and live a better-upgraded life with someone who will appreciate them.

Forcing a conflict. This is what energy vampires will do. They blame their partners that they overreacted or just did not get them right. Intentionally bringing the person to cry, tears and hysterics, the manipulator immediately replaces anger with mercy, their tone becomes calm. The manipulated person, in the end, begins to believe that they really live with a person having brilliant patience, and not with a tyrant who says nasty things to get rid of the negative emotions. Hence, there is a number of psychological problems associated with the feeling of not worthiness and self-flagellation.

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