7 Signs Someone Is Manipulating You (And You Don’t Even Realize It)


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Signs Someone Is Manipulating You

Do you feel guilty, lost, or confused? Is someone manipulating your emotions and you don’t even know it? Being manipulated can not only ruin your relationship, but it can also take a toll on your mental health. 

Although recognizing emotional manipulation in a relationship can be difficult, learning to identify the subtle signs of manipulation can help you protect yourself. 

What is emotional manipulation in a relationship?

Emotional manipulation is a form of abuse and involves words, behaviors, actions, and omissions that control and distort your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This can affect how you see yourself, your loved ones, and the world around you.

Constant manipulation can negatively affect your self-esteem and lead to stress, anxiety & depression in the long run.

We often experience psychological manipulation in family and romantic relationships, but it can also occur in friendships and professional relationships as well.

Emotional manipulation can be very complicated as the manipulative person can use different strategies and tactics to control and exploit you. 

In this article, we are going to have a better look at the signs of you being manipulated as it can be difficult to spot emotional manipulation when you are the victim.

7 Signs You’re Being Manipulated

1. You feel guilty all the time

Do you always feel that everything is your fault?

Manipulators often use guilt-tripping as a tactic to get what they want. They make you feel responsible for their mistakes only to change your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

They will twist the facts to justify their own actions while downplaying your efforts to make you believe that you make mistakes all the time.

You feel like you can never do anything right no matter what.

2. You are being constantly judged

Does your partner, boss, or family member judge everything you do? 

Regardless of how hard you may work at something, your manipulator never hesitates to criticize you or to show how much better they could have done it.

They constantly make you feel that you are inferior to them and they know better than you.

3. You have low self-esteem

Do you have a poor sense of self? Do you feel you lack self-confidence?

A manipulator will always focus on breaking your confidence as it will become easier for them to control you. This is why they use different strategies to make you feel inferior to them.

They make you feel like you need to prove your worth to them and you will always seek their validation for everything. They knock you down to gain power over you as they do not see you as an equal.

As they break your self-esteem, you start doing what they want and stop yourself from expressing your genuine emotions just to avoid confrontations.

Read 12 Things You Can Do To Build Your Self-Esteem: A Step-By-Step Guide

4. You doubt your sanity

Are you starting to question your mental health? Do you think you are going insane? Gaslighting is a dangerous manipulation tactic used by abusers to make you doubt yourself and your reality.

Gaslighting occurs when your manipulator twists the facts or downright denies it when you confront them. 

They convince you that you are misremembering events or making things up in your head, leaving you to doubt your own thoughts, memories, feelings, and judgments.

Gaslighting can make you confused, stressed, anxious, insecure, and filled with self-doubt.

5. You are always compared to other people

Does your partner, parent, or boss constantly compare your efforts or achievements with someone else? Comparing you with others is a subtle manipulation tactic to make you feel inferior and to break your self-confidence. 

Comparison allows your manipulator to show you how others are doing better than you and how you are always unable to meet expectations.

By making you compete with others, your abuser conditions you to seek their approval.

No matter what you do, you will never be good enough for them.

6. You think they love you, but they still abuse you

Does your partner shower you with love, admiration, and attention all the time? Even though it feels good, you think it’s a bit too much?

Love bombing is a manipulation technique to influence your emotions and make you dependent on your abuser. 

By giving you excessive attention and affection, your manipulator tries to hijack your thoughts and feelings and coax you into a relationship sooner than you want.

As you take them more seriously and become dependent on them, they become more demanding and abusive in the relationship.

They gain your trust by love bombing you and when you start trusting them, they punish you for loving them.

7. You feel they exploit your insecurities

Does someone use your biggest fears against you to their advantage?

A manipulator will always know how to identify your greatest weaknesses, flaws, and insecurities to break your self-confidence

They will intentionally criticize you or talk about your flaws before others or may bring up your fears and insecurities when you’re already feeling low.

They use your flaws and fears to hurt and insult you… to show you how weak you are compared to them.

They take advantage of you by making you feel upset and vulnerable.

Manipulators are smart, sneaky, abusive, and narcissistic. They can use many other tactics to manipulate and abuse you and you won’t even realize it.

Here are some other subtle signs that you are being manipulated by someone –

  • They are passive aggressive
  • They criticize you constantly
  • They lie pathologically or twist the facts
  • They don’t let you make any decisions
  • They give more value to their problems than yours
  • They never take responsibility for their mistakes
  • They give you the silent treatment to punish you
  • They make you walk on eggshells
  • They ignore your opinions or concerns
  • They act calm in times of crisis

Manipulators and abusers have many more tricks up their sleeves to keep you confused and in control. 

This is why it is important that you learn to identify the subtle signs of manipulative behavior and take steps to protect yourself and your mental health.

Do you think someone in your life is trying to manipulate you? Let us know about your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.


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