(AscendHealthy.com) – Manipulation is a common tactic abusers use. One of the problems with emotional manipulation is that it can be so subtle and deceptive, we hardly notice it. But this kind of behavior rarely occurs in a vacuum; there are always clues and red flags along the way. Learn to spot them in seconds with this list.
Manipulation is a way to influence or control someone with deceptive, indirect, and even abusive methods. It can be tough to recognize when someone is manipulating us sometimes. It may seem friendly or benign like the person has our best interests in mind. But in reality, the objectives are control and power.
Manipulation is not always subtle. Sometimes it can be outright hostile and abusive. No one deserves this type of treatment, whether it’s from a total stranger or a loved one.
Expert manipulators use many different tools to exert control. Their favorite weapons include guilt, lies, denial, blame, emotional blackmail, complaints, passive-aggressive behavior, evasion, flattery, fake concern, and mind games.
Let’s take a closer look at six tell-tale signs that point to emotional manipulation:
1. Guilt Trips
Master manipulators often use guilt. They can make us feel guilty for bringing up something that’s bothering us. They question why we even mentioned it. At the same time, they can turn around and manipulate by putting us on a guilt trip for not talking about it. Emotional manipulators can place us into no-win scenarios, making us believe we’re wrong no matter what we do. When people try to make us think that everything is our fault, they are using emotional manipulation.
2. Passive Aggression
Another way people manipulate us is through passive-aggressive behavior. This type of behavior involves a pattern of expressing negative feelings indirectly. When people are passive-aggressive, their words and actions don’t match. Typically passive-aggressive people sidestep confrontation. They may opt to use other people to communicate with us.
3. The Silent Treatment
Sometimes people can manipulate us without using words at all. Instead, they don’t respond to any form of communication, including emails, calls, and face-to-face talking. These manipulators use silent treatment to control us and the situation. They can make us feel responsible for their bad behavior. This is not just manipulative; it’s also abusive.
4. Undermining Our Grasp of Reality Making Us Doubt Ourselves
Emotional manipulators are incredibly good liars. They may try to convince us that something happened when it didn’t. Or they might tell us they didn’t say something when we know they did. The problem is, sometimes they are so skilled at lying, they can make us doubt our sanity. This can be a particularly bad situation when the person knows our weak points. They can use our insecurities to manipulate us. Typically they make comments meant to leave us feeling vulnerable or upset.
This type of manipulation is often called “gaslighting.” When someone gaslights us, we may feel guilty or defensive. They can make us feel like we did something wrong when that’s not the case. Emotional manipulators never take responsibility; they just blame.
5. Foot-in-the-Door Techniques
Another tactic that manipulators try is the foot-in-the-door technique. In this type of deception, the person starts with a reasonable request. But then after we respond to the small request, they move onto asking for something bigger. Manipulators can also work in reverse. They may ask us for something big first. After initially being rejected, they lower their request to something smaller that we will be more likely to agree to.
6. Playing the Martyr
Manipulators may also play the martyr. When someone is controlling our emotions, they may start by eagerly agreeing to help with something. But that initial eagerness quickly turns into moans and groans about what a huge burden it is. And when we point out the tactic, they turn it around on us, making us feel guilty for bringing it up. The goal of this type of manipulation is to make us feel indebted and maybe even crazy.
It may take time to recognize when we’re being manipulated. Often the signs are subtle and may take time to evolve. When we realize what’s going on, we must trust our instincts.
In some cases, it may be best to cut the manipulator out of our lives altogether. We can’t always do that, though, especially if the manipulator is someone we live or work with. When that’s the case, speak to a counselor or therapist for the best guidance on how to handle the problem and safeguard your emotional health. It’s also a good idea to confide in a trusted family member or friend to help identify the behavior and set boundaries.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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