I’ll be the first to admit I’ve fallen victim to extremely manipulative people. Granted, I was rather young. But it sucks no matter how old you are! But I’m no longer bitter about my experience after experiencing manipulative behavior in relationships because they taught me an awful lot. Like when to spot a manipulative asshole from a mile away.
That may seem like a joke, but in all honesty, I perfected the art of sniffing out a manipulator. The trouble is, sometimes the manipulative person doesn’t even realize what they’re doing—which makes it even harder for you.
Why manipulation needs to stop
I’m sure you think it’s obvious. It needs to stop because it’s not right. Well, that barely touches on the many reasons. The fact is, manipulative behavior, especially if it’s long term, harms a person for life if they don’t know how to stop it or get away from it.
It has the potential to permanently harm someone’s self-esteem, even spinning them into depression. Manipulation seems like a little thing, but it has lasting effects most people don’t even realize stem from manipulation.
Manipulative behaviors that are major relationship red flags
A new relationship should be a time to sit back and enjoy someone else’s company. However, be on guard for some red flags that may make you want to rethink getting into a relationship with someone in the first place.
If you’re unfamiliar with what to look for when it comes to manipulative behavior, have no fear. Luckily, I’m here to help navigate you through all the worst manipulative, red flag behaviors to look out for.
#1 Jealousy. Obviously, jealousy in small degrees isn’t something to be concerned with. Nor is it bad if you have an adult discussion about why the jealousy presents itself. It becomes a problem when it gets angry and manipulative.
People often get jealous because of their own insecurities and use this in order to control their partner. If your significant other gets jealous all the time and then blames you for being “too available” for others, pump the brakes on that relationship.
#2 Not apologizing. This is a very difficult thing to catch. There are a lot of ways people work around apologizing without actually saying sorry. If you can’t even remember a time when your partner apologized, you could be being manipulated.
If your significant other never takes responsibility or has an excuse for everything they do what upsets you, they basically make you believe they don’t have to be sorry for anything and their behavior is acceptable.
#3 Not acknowledging your concerns as valid. We all know that person who responds to our concerns with, “you’re crazy,” instead of listening and trying to come up with a solution.
By doing this, they manipulate you into thinking you don’t have valid concerns. Sometimes they even manipulate people into thinking they really are crazy. They knock down your concerns so you don’t bring them up again. Because they want to get away with it over and over again.
#4 Arguments that ONLY take place on their home turf. This is one you really have to pay attention to. If you’re at your place or even driving somewhere and get into a little fight about something, pay attention if they actually want to fight it out.
Manipulators often save their arguments for when they’re at home. Why? It’s all about being dominant. When they’re in their own home, they hold the power which subconsciously makes you realize you can’t win the argument.
#5 Their mistakes are always because you did something first. “I wouldn’t have even been out at the bars if you didn’t go to the movies with your friend when I wanted to hang out.” Does something of this variety sound familiar? Well, if you’ve ever been in a manipulative relationship, it should.
If your new beau is already pulling this stuff, run far and run fast because they’re manipulative. By using this tactic, they tell you they’re justified in their actions. They can’t be punished because you did something bad, too.
#6 They don’t keep their word. Empty words foster empty hearts. There’s a reason people end up feeling like the joy is sucked out of life. Sometimes it’s because of a partner who never follows through on their word.
If you’ve been promised really fun dates, that they’ll treat you amazing, and they’ll even cook for you, yet you never experience those things because they don’t follow through, you’re being manipulated. They tell you what you want to hear to keep you around.
#7 Guilt trips. This is the best known manipulative behavior, and it’s also the easiest to spot. If someone says anything that seems dramatic and makes you feel bad, it’s this. Something along the lines of, “Fine. You can go out with your friends. I’ll just stay home and clean the bathroom,” then you’ve been manipulated.
#8 Passive aggressive behavior. Leaving notes all over the place. Talking to people behind your back. Leaving a sink full of dishes when they know it’s your night to do them. These are all passive aggressive manipulative behaviors.
They’re not verbally telling you they’re upset, but they make sure you know they are. This is one of the most immature signs of manipulative behavior. It’s best to just walk away and not return.
#9 They fish for compliments or praise by verbalizing self-doubt. People fish for compliments all the time. While they’re really annoying, usually they’re harmless. However, if a person is also manipulative and they do this, it’s a red flag.
If they always tell you they hate the way their body looks or they can’t stand their hair or they wish they were just a little bit attractive, they fish for compliments. They make you feel bad for them, so you’ll do anything to cheer them up.
#10 Forces their insecurities onto you. If you’ve ever been with someone who made you act a certain way because of something that once happened to them, they manipulated you. This fairly common technique some people actually think is justifiable.