5 Telltale Signs You’re Dating A Manipulative Person

This type of person is only using you for their own personal gain.

Woman being manipulated by man pixelshot, BGStock72, Alpgiray Kelem

In the search for love, many who are unprepared walk straight into traps set by people with power complexes and major issues. If you don't know what the signs of a manipulative person are, then it's likely that you've been caught in their web as well. Manipulative people are everywhere. They weave complex situations with lies, guilt, and fear, but the signs aren't often easy to spot. 

And before you know it, you might find yourself in a relationship with a manipulator. One of the easiest ways to help people recognize the signs of manipulation is by giving examples that are easy to understand. With that in mind, you can look at the characters in Star Wars and see classic examples of manipulative personalities. Manipulators may possess only one or a few of these five traits, but they are important to recognize regardless.


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Here are 5 telltale signs you’re dating a manipulative person:

1. They use their money, power, and influence to lure you

Let's say a man recently met a woman and wowed her with his wealth. She thought that his money would solve her problems. In Star Wars, as Anakin grows up, he develops a lust for power; he wants to save his wife from death. His seemingly noble desire attracts him to Emperor Palpatine who promises him the ability to accomplish this goal. However, Anakin’s pride ends up corrupting him into a possessive control freak and slave of the dark side. Manipulators like Palpatine use their relationships for their self-aggrandizement, rather than seeking the good of the other person. They will use whatever it takes to lure you in without actually caring about you.




2. They guilt you to build influence

Once manipulators have enticed you into their clutches, they often attempt to make you feel guilty. They pressure you to please them — otherwise, you suffer the consequences. They prey on kind people, especially people-pleasers, those who dislike confrontation, and the overly introspective ones who verge on the side of the scrupulous. With guilt, manipulators try to accumulate as much influence in your life as possible.

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3. They work in extreme absolutes (ultimatums)

In Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Anakin’s Jedi teacher Obi-Wan Kenobi infamously decries, “Only a Sith Lord deals in absolutes.” In Star Wars lingo, Jedis are the good guys, and Siths are the bad guys. Manipulators give you ultimatums and attitudes, as well as mistreat you if you refuse to give them their way. Their hot and cold temperament fluctuations confuse you into depending on their approval for your happiness.


For example, if you've only dated someone two times, but they tell you that for you to introduce them to your friends, you must call them your "boyfriend" right away. Manipulators turn everything around around them, from your birthday to friends’ events. They need the spotlight and only allow others to relax once they feel content. They encourage you to cancel plans with other friends and pressure you to move quickly otherwise you might incur their disfavor or miss out.

4. They use fear to control you

Many people experience the fear of losing a significant other. They may think that their current boyfriend or girlfriend is as good as it gets. If someone coerces you by threatening to leave you if you don't acquiesce to their demands, they're using fear to control you. This is whether they're insistent on getting married before you're ready, or forcing other changes in your life you're not prepared for. Everyone has a right to state their needs and boundaries, but if someone hurts you or pulls away when you don't meet their needs, that's a huge red flag. Manipulators try to make you dependent on them and think that you need them. They use undercover blackmail techniques to instill the fear of bad consequences, their anger, and their ability to turn people against you.



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5. They'll shower you with flattery and praise ... at first

Let's say your new suitor sends you all the right gifts. For instance, he brought flowers and wrote a thoughtful card after you had two major fights in the early stages of the relationship. Manipulators use smiles and laugh as bargaining chips for a reason, especially if they want more. They calculate everything, which makes them fake and rarely genuine. When getting gifted presents and flattered, you may forget about the bad times.

Manipulators will often say the right things, but never actually follow up with their actions. Manipulators do this when they feel that they are teetering dangerously on the edge of your chopping block. Emperor Palpatine stroked Anakin’s ego and turned him against the Jedi council by feeding him lies. Manipulators often slander others and isolate their victims. Usually very charismatic and persuasive, manipulators possess silver tongues. Just when you might break it off, they will do something especially kind to make you forget the bad times.

Fortunately, you can take your life back and end the relationships with manipulators; life is too short to walk on eggshells. Unfortunately for Anakin, he descends deeper into Darth Sidious’ clutches, and his wife dies as a result of his anger. Ironically, she was the one he'd wanted to save in the first place. If you're in a relationship with a manipulator, it may feel like a cloud hanging over your head, preventing you from enjoying your life or being yourself. Manipulators create a black hole; they want to suck your soul until you depend on them for everything.


Even during the breakup, manipulators will pull out all the stops to stay but don't get sucked back in. It's normal to feel anxious and trapped in this situation when your significant other creates drama and a toxic environment. But you can pull yourself free when you recognize the red flags of a manipulator. Sometimes manipulators turn physically abusive, but often they remain emotionally abusive, and as a result, are harder to pin down. If you think that you have fallen under the spell of a manipulator, remember that you hold the power. And once you realize the situation, you can, with courage, stop this train.

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Alessandra Conti & Cristina (Conti) Pineda are the women behind Matchmakers In The City, a top certified personal matchmaking firm in Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.