17 Signs Someone Is Manipulating You On Purpose

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couple having argument

In relationships, the signs of emotional manipulation can be very subtle and make you feel like you have no control.

People often manipulate each other in their relationships. If we go by the dictionary definition of the word, we are all manipulators in some way or another. Manipulation is a social influence that tries to change how someone acts.

At some point in our lives, we've all used the power of manipulation. One example is getting a friend to skip school so you can both see a movie. Trying to get your friend to skip class seems good, but doing this repeatedly can hurt your relationship.

But repeated manipulation is a big red flag in a relationship, and it's very upsetting for the person being manipulated.

So, how do you know if your partner is manipulating you on purpose and it's becoming unhealthy?

People are emotionally manipulative when they play tricks on your mind to gain control or power over you. The end goal of this kind of manipulation is for someone to gain control over their partner or get an unfair edge over them.

Manipulation of the emotional variety can be hard to spot because it can be very subtle. It can make you feel misunderstood, powerless, and too much to handle. In the next part, we'll talk about how to tell if someone is trying to play with your emotions in a relationship.

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It is important to remember that emotional manipulation may not be done on purpose, and the person doing it may not even realize it. It would help if you talked to your partner about their actions and how they make you feel.

If they find out it affects you and you feel harmed or controlled, they should do the work to stop. If they don't, then you may consider it to be continuing on purpose. 

Here are 17 signs you are being manipulated, and it's probably not by accident

Please remember that this is a list of common ways people use their relationships to hurt your feelings. If you feel you're being manipulated in a relationship, your gut will likely tell you the truth.

1. You always give in to their wants.

Do you always meet them where they want?

Having you visit them at home or their favorite restaurant can give them confidence. Even though they feel safe and at ease in a place, they know you will be on edge. This gives them an unfair advantage over you, which makes a powerful difference.

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2. Your flaws are used against you.

This is one of the most important signs that someone is trying to hurt your feelings in a relationship. Suppose you always feel bad about letting this person in. If that's the case, they've likely been using your weaknesses as weapons to hurt you. 



3. You seem to beg for understanding constantly.

Do you feel that they just don't get you?

Emotional manipulators can get you to believe their version of the story without realizing it. They like chaos and try to set two people against each other to make themselves happy.

You're likely being used if you're always in the middle of a misunderstanding. 

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4. They act like they don't care.

This is a common way people try to make you feel bad. Most of the time, the manipulator avoids confrontation and channels their anger in other ways.

They might always have an explanation for what they did wrong and use silence as a punishment. They also use tools like microaggressions, snide comments, etc., to throw you off balance while being nice to you.

They might also try to trick you by giving you insults that sound like compliments. 

For example, they might say, "You sometimes seem so immature and childish. "How cute!" This makes you wonder if they like or dislike you.

5. They make you feel like they're doing too much for you.

Emotionally manipulative people take on tasks and responsibilities they don't want to do and act as if they're doing you a solid favor. Then, when they fight with you, they use what they did for you against you.

For example, they might offer to cook dinner every night, then bring it up later by saying, "I always cook dinner for your ungrateful self." They might also buy you gifts or take you on expensive vacations to use them against you later.

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6. They act like victims.

In their twisted version of the story, they are always the good guy, and you are the bad guy. You might always feel like you're at fault or that you did something wrong, even though they were the ones who were hurt.

After a while, your self-esteem gets so low that you start believing their version of the story is true.

7. They hone in on the bad and never mention the good.

You always feel like you need to be better, and nothing you do is good enough for them. You always end up being judged and criticized by the person, and you lose faith in yourself and your ability to have healthy relationships with others.

You always feel like small things are being used against you.

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8. You and your partner have always used gaslighting.

Gaslighting is one of the most common ways people's feelings are messed with. The manipulator keeps saying something didn't happen, making you question your sanity and sense of reality.

Often, your real worries and concerns are minimized or ignored, and you start to believe their version of how things went down.

9. They tell lies all the time.

Do you sometimes feel like everything your partner says is a lie?

A person who is good at manipulating emotions is great at lying about small and big things. They lie about things as small as what they had for dinner and as big as whether or not they still talk to their ex. You can never tell if someone is telling the truth, which drives them crazy.

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10. They talk for and over you.

Does your partner answer your questions before you have a chance to speak?

One of the most common ways a partner hurts your feelings is by never giving you a chance to say what you want. They may invalidate your opinions by talking to you.

Someone who tries to control your emotions may also talk over you when you make a point, cutting you off from the conversation.

11. They often give ultimatums.

Do you give each other a lot of ultimatums?

Your partner might give up on ultimatums quickly and threaten to leave you over small issues. They like to be in charge of the relationship and don't mind making you feel worried and insecure. You might even have to always be careful around your partner.

12. They always make fun of you or put you down.

Do you feel small when you're with your partner?

Even when you're with other people, they may try to make you feel insecure by making comments that make you feel bad about yourself.

They don't mind saying things like, "She doesn't like it when I watch models." "Don't listen to him; he doesn't know anything about being financially stable," etc. Whenever you spend time with them, you always feel tired afterward.

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13. They make you doubt yourself and make you feel unsafe.

Have you ever felt worried about something that didn't bother you before?

This is one of the best examples of using emotions to get what you want. They might talk about your weight, compare you to their ex-lovers or people they were attracted to, or ask you to be more like someone else.

All of this makes you have problems you never had before. If this continues for a long time, you may even show signs of anxiety or depression. You always feel like you're being watched and checked up on, and there's always too much pressure on you.

Some even say it's like living in a fishbowl. They put you under pressure to do things you wouldn't normally do, like get breast implants or buy a car or house you can't afford.

14. They don't mind making trouble.

Emotional manipulation isn't afraid to put you in awkward situations with other people. They love to make trouble in public, yell at you, or put you down in front of others. Even worse, they say bad things about you to your friends and family while making themselves out to be the victim. They might even come to your job!

You often ignore your feelings so they don't cause a scene.

15. They blackmail you into doing things.

"You should do this or..."

Emotionally manipulative people usually use blackmail to get you to act the way they want. To get you to do what they want, they could threaten to tell your friends or family about your secrets or leak private photos, among other things. You might feel like you can't get out of the relationship.

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16. You feel like you're going up against facts and numbers.

People who know how to use their emotions to get what they want are often very smart. They show you what they mean using facts, research, and statistics.

You may even feel like your feelings and arguments don't make sense. They're interesting when they do this, and you start to wonder if you're crazy when talking to them.

17. They make you the butt of their jokes.

They use humor and jokes against you and then say you're too sensitive if you get upset. These jokes are meant to make you feel something and make you laugh. They love to throw you off balance whenever they feel like it.

People's jokes often leave you wondering what they were getting at and whether or not it was a subtle dig at you.

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What can emotional abuse and manipulation do to a relationship?

Emotional manipulation can make even the best relationships go bad and do a lot of damage that can't be fixed. Emotional manipulation leaves deep wounds that can get worse over time.

Here is what emotional manipulation can do to your relationship:

  • Make people feel unsafe and less likely to trust you.   
  • Ruin the mutual understanding you have for one another     
  • Increase low self-esteem   
  • Affect how safe someone feels. 
  • Increase negative communication.

Many people do it without realizing it, so they might not even know what they're doing.

What can you do about emotional manipulation?

The first step in dealing with emotional manipulation is to figure out what it is. If you think your partner is manipulating you without meaning to, you can talk to them about it and ask if they would like to try therapy.

If your partner keeps trying to control you no matter what you do, you might want to think about ending the relationship and getting help for yourself.

In some cases, your partner may not be able to stop emotionally manipulating you because they are dealing with pain or mental health problems that make it hard for them to act normally around other people.

If this sounds like you or your partner, it may be helpful to talk to a therapist to learn more about the problem.

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Sidhharrth S Kumaar is an Astro-numerologist and Founder of NumroVani. He couples his knowledge of the occult and modern sciences together to solve real-world problems in mental well-being and relationship growth.