Few things are worse than being in a relationship of any kind with a manipulator. And by the time there is a connection, chances are you will stop noticing the signs of being emotionally misused.
Instead you will start screening yourself for bad behavior, for unrealistic claims towards your partner, for provocations and lack of genuine understanding.
And you know what? Stop.
Stop giving the sulky manipulator loads of free credits to treat you better in time. Or next time. Stop remembering their initially great behavior. Stop belittling the free gifts you have given them in terms of support and care. And stop, stop, stop closing your eyes to the reality of the frustration and pain they are causing you by draining your energy away and making you feel like the bad guy.
Here’s how to do it. Be on the watch for these 5 sure (and worst!) signs of emotional manipulation. And the moment you notice them, get the f*ck up and leave. Period.
1. Twist what you’ve said in their favor
Manipulative people never assume responsibility for what they said or did – it is somehow always the other person’s fault. If you approach them with a justified complaint about their actions, they will find a smart way to make you feel guilty for not being understanding or patient.
Let’s say you confront a manipulative person for being 1 hour late for an appointment with you, they will most probably say something like “You would have never accused me for being late if you knew how much stress I am under!” or “You know, I am giving I best here! I was so busy and still managed to turn up for the appointment, what more can you possibly want for me?”. They might also elicit how ungrateful and insensitive you are, completely shifting the focus of the issue from their behavior (which is always justified) to your words (which are demanding, hurtful and just too much of).
An emotional manipulator will often explain his/her behavior with being burned out, stressed out, and even sick. Thus, playing the victim of circumstances that are out of their control, they will enjoy the extra care and understanding you must offer them – just because they’re simply going through so much right now. Capish?
2. “I never said that!”
It is in the heat of an argument that the emotional manipulator will deny what they have said. They are prone to making false promises to get what they want or to make you trust them and follow on their course. So when it’s clear that they didn’t stick to what they promised and you confront them about it, they will simply say “I never said that.” Right there.
They will explain to you how you got them wrong, how you twist their words to your own favor, how manipulative you are, how you are inventing stories and holding them responsible for something that they never actually said!
Another way of deflecting your justified anger is to ridicule your taking things way too seriously. “I was only joking!”, they would plead, making you feel like an idiot for interpreting a funny remark as something meaningful. And it is now you (again) that is ruining the relationship – by adding so much stress, expecting so much of them, complaining for everything, and just generally being a pain in the ass.
3. Play the victim
Playing the victim has many benefits for the manipulator: they get away with responsibility and they enjoy an extra credit of your patience and understanding, just because they are always such martyrs.
The easiest prey of emotional scammers would be a kind-hearted, empathic person who they will win with flattery, fake and fast intimacy, and idealization. After the rapport has been established, their behavior will suddenly become inconsistent and cold – but always with the solid argument that they suffer so much anyway, they are under tremendous stress, people are abusing them, they are out of luck, they’re just sick, it’s a very hard period for them right now (don’t you understand?!), etc.
Emotional manipulators will turn you into their savior by making you feel special and indispensable to them. They will boost your ego by allowing you to be the only person they can count on. And the moment you start feeling drained or annoyed by them, they will immediately become shocked and disappointed with you. What is more, they will gaslight you into believing it was actually you who whined too much, who was insensitive to their issues, and who was impatient with them even though you knew how much pain they’re under anyway (so why did you even try to add more to it!).
4. Belittle all of your problems
Since it is always about them and their problems, it is no wonder that emotional manipulators will not have the time, energy and desire to discuss your situation. Neither will they admit you are going through difficulties.
The equation they want in a relationship looks like that:
they are troubled > you are just whining and blaming it on them.
A relationship with an emotional manipulator will always be one-sided in terms of giving support.
Unfortunately, you are on the side of giving it without being entitled to receiving any. That is why you are not allowed to go through personal difficulties – because if you do, you are putting the manipulator in the unpleasant position to stop taking support and energy away from you and start giving you some. And that is the last thing an emotional scammer would like to do.
Instead they will convince you you are just inventing problems. That you are seeking to find them.That you are ungrateful. You are weak. You are stressing them out. You are just not good with finding solutions. You focus so much on the bad. You exaggerate. And so on.
The only advice you need: Don’t try to hear them out and consider they might be right. Tell yourself “Enough is enough.” And move on to some more joyful place where you would be able to be who you are without excuse or regret.