7 common signs of manipulation in relationships and how to deal with it
Nowadays, many couples struggle with toxicity in their relationships.
A lot of people become victims of their manipulative partners while being completely ignorant of the red flags on the way.
Unfortunately, recognizing whether your partner is being manipulative on purpose or not is never an easy task. That’s because oftentimes, the one initiating the manipulation is not even aware of the dark side of their actions. In most cases, they believe they are doing it all for love.
However, some people are perfectly aware of what they’re doing while turning manipulation as a part of their behavioral pattern towards their partner. That’s exactly why you should learn the types of manipulation in relationships. Being wary of the signs telling if your significant other is trying to control your feelings and emotions is going to help you address the issue and eventually overcome it as a couple. In the worst-case scenario, you will be able to free yourself from their toxic influence by moving on without them in your life.
Here are 7 common types of manipulation in relationships you should be aware of:
1. Covert contracts
You may have read this term in the book “No More Mr. Nice Guy” by Dr. Robert Glover. Dr. Glover describes it as a common type of manipulation where men or women are being insecure in their relationship. It usually happens when one of the partners is being too hesitant to address their concerns and discuss them with the other one. Instead of trying to talk things through, these people will do something nice for their significant other and expect something in return. Understandably, when things don’t go as planned, they would start picking fights triggered by the anger they have been bottling up all that time.
2. The trap
Insecurity often leads to unwanted results. When some people are being insecure about their partners’ feelings, they would often set traps to test them. They would ask misleading questions or even go to extremes such as getting a friend to hit on their other half. These little mind games are too dangerous to play with, as they may lead to issues that can tear the whole relationship apart.
3. The silent treatment
We have all either received or gave the silent treatment to our partners. It is probably the most common type of manipulation in romantic relationships. Instead of making our worries vocal, we chose to stay silent and wait until the other person somehow magically understands what we’re trying to tell them. While sometimes remaining silent to give yourself time to think things through may be healthy, doing it only to tease your partner or test their feelings for you will never lead to anything good.
4. Checking each others’ phones
These days, most of the communication happens through social media apps where you can simply chat and connect with people. Some of the most jealous individuals would often go through their partners’ phones to check if they had been texting with someone else. While they may think they are doing it to protect their relationship, it is nothing but an act of invasion of privacy. Unfortunately, when their significant others try to explain this issue, they would often say things like, “If you don’t have anything to hide, why do you care?” Oftentimes, this behavior is provoked by trust issues triggered by something that happened earlier in the relationship.
5. Manipulation through social media
If not you of your partner, you sure know someone who has used their Instagram stories to make their boyfriend or girlfriend jealous. Frankly speaking, social media has made these mind games quite easy to play. Things like posting a selfie with someone of the opposite sex, writing quotes with a hidden meaning, or intentionally commenting on someone else’s posts just to trigger some sort of jealousy in your partner can definitely be considered as acts of manipulation.
6. Using sex as a tool for manipulation
Undoubtedly, sex is an essential part of every romantic relationship. However, this doesn’t automatically allow you to use it to get what you want from your partner. Still, many people believe they can threaten their other halves with withholding sex whenever they’re not pleased with something in their relationship. Sure, the act of holding up sex may be considered playful in a healthy relationship. But if it’s used only as a punishment, it becomes a serious problem. In this case, talking about the issue that provoked this behavior may help both of the partners to regain their mutual trust and create a healthier couple environment.
7. The life controller
At first, the partners that use this type of manipulation seem to have nothing but good intentions. They support your decisions and help you make healthier choices. Or at least that’s what they want you to believe. As you may believe they are simply helping you, they are actually trying to control as many aspects of your life as possible. This way, they are shaping your life the way they want it, so they can easily manipulate you and get you to do whatever they please. This is perhaps the most toxic type of manipulation in relationships.
How to handle manipulation in your relationship after you spot it?
There are three crucial things you need to do when you sense your partner is trying to manipulate you, whether they are aware of their toxic actions or not.
- Figure out whether the problem is in you.
- Try to understand what provokes your partner’s manipulative behavior.
- Talk things through.
First, you need to look inside yourself and honestly ask yourself whether you have been doing something that triggers your significant other’s insecurities and doubts. After you genuinely answer that question, you should try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes. You need to understand what is the true reason for their actions. And when you finally have your answer, you need to at least try to talk things through as a couple. Proper communication is a must for a healthy relationship environment.
Manipulation in relationships is extremely dangerous and may turn into a toxic behavioral pattern if not addressed in time. Not only it can result in ending the relationship, but it may lead to permanent emotional trauma in both of the partners. The longer it remains ignored, the harder it gets to be quelled.
Being aware of the types of manipulation in relationships will definitely help you locate the problem and overcome it.
Even if it means ending the relationship for the good of both you and your partner.