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Have you been in a relationship with someone that feels confusing and volatile? It might be a sign that you're being manipulated.

Key Points:

  • Watch out for these 10 signs to know if you’re being manipulated:
    • They constantly make you prove yourself. They are impatient, demanding and selfish. They guilt trip you frequently. 
    • They communicate passive-aggressively. They talk about you behind your back, or use a middle man for communication. 
    • They gaslight you. This means they make you feel like you can’t rely on your own memory. They will twist and reinvent the truth. This is a dangerous form of abuse. 
    • They are always “Just joking.”  They take things too far and accuse you of being too sensitive. 
    • They play the victim. They make you feel like everything is your fault. They never believe they’ve done anything wrong. 
    • They kill you with kindness. They do favors to pressure you to do things in return for them. Their kindness has ulterior motives. 
    • They make your problems feel small. They always want the spotlight. They do everything they can to get the attention they want. 
    • They emphasize their calm, cool, and collected side. If you express anger or frustration, they stay calm in order to make you dramatic. They are dismissive of your feelings. 
    • They use emotional blackmail. They try to control you by threatening self-harm if you ever leave.  If this is happening, consider contacting the police before things get out of hand. 
    • They take advantage of your trusting and sensitive nature. They target sincere and trusting individuals. They are good at spotting people pleasers who put their own needs on hold. 

Quote This:

Controllers, abusers, and manipulative people don’t question themselves. They don’t ask themselves if the problem is them. They always say the problem is someone else. – Darlene Ouimet. 

See Also: Friendship, Relationships

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. Have you ever had a friendship with someone that was hard and confusing for you? Explain. What happened in that friendship?
  3. Did this list of tools manipulators use surprise you? Explain. Were there things on this list that you didn’t realize were tools of manipulation?
  4. Do you think you may be guilty of using any of these tactics on another person?  If so, what can you do to stop and make things right with that individual?
  5. Is there anyone in your life using these tactics on you? Is there someone in your life you can turn to for help in getting away from the manipulative person?
  6. Why do you think we let ourselves get into situations where we are manipulated? Is it something we can control? Why or why not?
  7. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.