Don't fall for these tricks. If you see it happening, run for the hills.
Manipulative people are a lot like herpes: no one wants them, they ruin your love life, and they never seem to go away. Emotional manipulators are masterful at getting what they want, often at the expense of everyone else’s emotional well-being.
They also tend to like to keep their manipulated victims close by because it’s easier to keep manipulating the same person than to just move to a new person. If you’re dealing with an emotional manipulator, it’s likely that you’ve had one of these eight tactics used against you.
1. Emotional blackmail
Ever notice how quickly emotional manipulators jump to making you feel like you’re in the wrong or that you’re the bad person, even when you’re dead sure you’re in the right? Emotional blackmail is what it’s called, but most people know it as guilt tripping and blame-shifting.
This is really insidious because they end up getting you to take the blame for their wrongdoings, and also basically use their manipulation to keep you with them, even when you know it’s bad for you.
Did you ever have a person who just made you question whether or not you were actually sane? Do they “remember” things differently than you do? If so, you’ve dealt with gaslighting.
Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic that makes you feel crazy, even when you’re not. It’s about getting you to second-guess yourself until you give up and let your manipulator have their way. The most common way they do this trick is saying something, then denying that they said it later on.
3. Withdrawing affection
When manipulators really aren’t getting what they want from you, they will often start to give you the cold shoulder until you capitulate, or they’ll begin to threaten to break up with you. They know that people thrive on affection and that withdrawing it quickly causes people to panic. So, they use your need for affection and approval to control you.
4. Using your own words against you
Emotional manipulators have a way of getting people to do what they want by using their own words against you. More often than not, they use your own words against you in the form of a fake apology or a reason to make them look like the martyr. Call them out on it and cease communication if they do this.
5. Turning everyone against you
The easiest way to make someone feel powerless and to take away their confidence is to turn everyone around them against them. This is why many emotional manipulators will go on full smear campaigns against people who they no longer feel they can control, as well as people who they feel are threats. If you notice that they’re turning people against you, call them out on it and set things right.
6. Sucking the energy from your life
Some manipulators will actively become energy sucks when they want you to feel uncomfortable around friends and others who make you feel happy. The easiest way to deal with this is to leave the room, then leave the manipulator at home.
7. Unleashing anger
Anger is scary, which is why some manipulators will use it to get their way. They know many people are easily cowed into doing what they want, as long as there’s an angry fist being waved in their face.
8. Preying on your intentions
Some people just attract emotional manipulators like flies to honey, and there’s good reason for this. Primarily, it’s because manipulators actively seek out victims who have a certain profile. If you’re insecure, overly trusting, or a genuinely decent person, your best line of defense is learning traits of a manipulator and bailing before they can hurt you.