Manipulators are part of the life of almost everyone.
Their most usual prey though are kind-hearted people. They need someone who needs closeness and love, someone who gets hurt and needs validation, so they can play on that strums and make the person adapt to their ever changing moods and needs.
It is a painful experience to love or to have loved a manipulator. Because you believe you can save them and change them. You believe that they can eventually become consistent, generous, loving. You wait. You adapt. You remember the good times. You forget the bad times. You want the relationship to work out. And here is what you will go through while bravely fighting for that relationship.
This doesn’t mean you are gullible or stupid. It means you fell for the wrong person and still gave your best. The world is full of assholes. Having been sweet to someone who didn’t deserve it is not something you have to regret. You can only try to be more careful and learn from it.
So here is what to watch out for when you try to decide if someone is a manipulator.
You never know what’s next
It is typical for manipulators to change their mood abruptly. One moment they are smiling and gentle, and the next they make a corrosive remark. With them you can never predict when they’ll blast. Venting out their inner tension and issues in the form of accusations and dissatisfaction is also typical.
Their word doesn’t count much – they can promise you one thing, BUT if something more comfortable or beneficial for them pops up, they will twist the promise so that it fits their new idea. And if you try to hold them responsible, they will always find a way to become the perpetrated one, the misunderstood one, the one that is pressured into doing something impossible.
They don’t like the effort
If you have ever dealt with a manipulator in your life, you would know that they seem very invested at first. They strike you as enthusiastic. As people who put their heart into whatever they need to achieve. Later on though, you would notice how tired they become with every little task that needs to be performed.
Getting them to do something starts feeling like pulling out a teeth. They are always overwhelmed, fatigued, drained. They forget what they have said they’d do. They say you ask too much of them. And expect you to do more than them, because it is your choice – you wanted to do it anyway.
They are charming when they need it
Kindness and sweet words are something that can tell you the manipulator is about to ask for a favor. Manipulators know very well how to court and flatter you. They know how to make you feel special and important – when they need something from you.
This doesn’t mean that they cannot be genuinely kind and affectionate. They can. But the very fact that they will simulate those intimate feelings to help them achieve something kind of like strips this feelings of their value – even when they are felt and expressed freely.
The relationship follows their rules
A manipulator will always shape a relationship so that it fits their needs. It seems as though they’re planning ahead for both of you but only putting into the equation things that they want and need. They won’t budge an inch away from what they consider best for themselves. And if you want to introduce your own rules, they will be disrespected, regarded as whims and demands.
Meanwhile the needs and rules of the manipulator slowly become the standard in the relationship, creating the atmosphere and rhythm that best suits them. The worst part is that most of this goes unnoticed, so it will be only after months have passed from the end of the relationship that you will be able to see what they have done.
Fights somehow never end
They will tell you they hate to quarrel. But somehow they always manage to make a depreciating comment that would drive you nuts and make you talk back at them. Then they will be shocked how you cannot take a joke. They will ask you to lay off and be more chill, not so touchy. If you try to criticize them on anything, you will pay dearly. They will turn that into an emotional massacre in which your actions and words will be twisted so that an evil picture is created of you as needy, greedy, rude, ungrateful, weak, unloving, etc.
Every little thing you bring into their attention will be outweighed by the heaviness of your flaws, misdoings, and general egotism. The bad you’ve done will be enhanced and the good will be forgotten or warped to seem either neutral or bad.
They seem to get your point only when you’ve had enough
Usually you will feel misunderstood with a manipulator. You will go in circles trying to express your feelings and you will feel as though they touch a mirror and are reflected back at you. The manipulator seems to be impregnated against your truth. They will let you crawl and beg, and clarify and swear, and give examples, and be vulnerable.
And they will seem to not get your point. They didn’t do anything wrong. Actually you did by starting the accusation and ruining their day and confidence.
It is only when you are ready to go, that they will seem to get you for a minute. In that sweet minute when they appear understanding, you will decide to stay because it feels so consoling to be understood for once. And they will tell you they will change. And they will for a while only to soon become their old self and pretend you never had that conversation.