Manipulators are people with intensively controlling nature, who use the vulnerability of others to their own advantage.
They intentionally instill self-doubt in their victims in order to make them easier to control. And when things don’t work out as planned, they act as if they are the ones who got hurt and need to be saved.
To avoid being caught too deep into a toxic manipulator’s mind games, you need to be aware of the signs you should look out for.
Here are 5 common traits of manipulators you must watch out for.
1. They make fatuous requests, convincing you of their rationality.
If you have faced an experienced manipulator, then you definitely know that one of their commonly used strategies is convincing you of the logic of the most absurd requests. And while doing so, they usually add a sense of urgency to the situation to limit your time of thinking things through. Therefore, they can easily make you believe almost anything they say, presenting it as the most right thing to do, while in reality, it has little to no sense.
However, if you suspect someone of requesting or offering you something that sounds beyond unreasonable, try asking them questions to clarify the situation. By turning the attention back to the manipulator, they might lose their focus and unwillingly admit their true intentions.
2. They exaggerate everything they can.
Feelings, emotions, situations, reactions – these are amongst the many things manipulators tend to exaggerate in order to make you question yourself. They expand, embellish, and overemphasize everything, including the consequences that will occur if you try to leave them. This type of toxic behavior often turns into gaslighting – the act of deceiving someone to the point where they question their reality and become unable to make a decision on their own.
To avoid being gaslight, always seek proof of the things someone is trying to make you believe in. Whenever you’re being told something that sounds rather suspicious, compare it to the reality around you. You might realize that the things they are trying to convince you of are highly exaggerated.
3. They make you feel guilty.
Guilt-tripping is another commonly used strategy amongst manipulators. They present themselves in the role of the victim and hold you accountable for mistakes you didn’t even make. Depending on your high levels of empathy and compassion, they pretend to be deeply hurt by your actions.
If you refuse to play by their rules and actually stand up for yourself, the manipulator will most probably go further into guilt-tripping you. However, as long as you stay true to yourself, and as long as you are convinced in your rightfulness, they should not be able to make you feel guilty for something you didn’t do or cause.
4. They enhance their nonsense gradually.
During your initial interactions with manipulators, they will try their best to win you over with their excessive magnetism and remarkable intelligence. Once they are assured they have your full attention, they will begin testing your awareness with small, reasonable requests. Then, these requests will slowly and gradually escalate, without you even noticing the difference. And in the cases you do notice something’s wrong, you might already be too deep into their mind games.
The key to avoid being put in such a troublesome position is to always pay attention. The second you lose focus, you might get yourself into someone’s deceiving trap, not being able to find your way back.
5. They act as if they know everything.
Manipulators always strive to sound superior to everyone they talk to. They present themselves in the best way possible, which often includes lies about their personal achievements. What is more, they use others’ insecurities and failures to brag about their own success. For instance, whenever you ask a straightforward question, which they do not want to answer, they would tell you that you don’t have the general background to understand the matter. They would also speak in lengthy monologues to limit your chances of opposing their statements.
The best thing to do in a suchlike situation is to focus on the facts. Instead of blindly believing every word they say, listen carefully and link those words to what you already know. And if somehow they managed to get under your skin and made you doubt your own competency, don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion. Sometimes a third party can be quite helpful in exposing even an experienced manipulator.