What Are Emotional Manipulators?
Covert emotional manipulation occurs when a person, male or female, who wants to gain power and control over you, uses deceptive tactics to change your thinking, behavior, and perceptions.
Emotional manipulation operates usually undetected on the level of conscious awareness. It holds you psychologically captive. Victims typically don’t even realize what is going on while it’s happening.
Emotional manipulators know your weaknesses and triggers. A skilled emotional manipulator puts your sense of self-worth and emotional well-being in their hands. Once you make this mistake, they methodically and continually chip away at your identity and self-esteem until there is little left.
They not only destroy your self-esteem, they even make you question your own sanity. Here’s you are dealing with narcissists, pick up artists, and psychopaths.
It’s precisely because they can be so destructive that it is important for you to recognize the signs in your own life. This isn’t as easy as you may think, because emotional manipulators are typically very skilled at what they do.
They begin with subtle manipulation and raise the stakes over time, so slowly that you aren’t even aware that it’s happening.
If you feel less strong, less confident, less secure, less intelligent, less sane, or in any other way “less than” anything you were before, you are being covertly emotionally manipulated.
Fortunately, emotional manipulators are easy enough to spot if you know what to look for.
9 Signs You Are Dealing With An Emotional Manipulator
- They Undermine Your Faith In Your Grasp of Reality
Emotional manipulators are incredibly skilled liars. They insist that whatever caused a problem within your relationship or life is a figment of your imagination. This is an extremely powerful way of getting themselves out of trouble. They insist that incidents didn’t happen when they did. They insist that they did or said something when they didn’t. They are so good at doing this that you end up questioning your own sanity.
- Their Words and Actions Don’t Match
These people are very adept at telling you what you want to hear, but their actions tell a different story. They will tell you how lucky they are to know you or be in a relationship with you, but then act as though you are a burden on them. They pledge their support to you, but when it is time for them to follow through on their words, they act as though your requests are completely unreasonable.
The end game here is to undermine your belief in your own sanity. They make you question reality and mold your perceptions according to what is convenient for them.
Emotional manipulators are masters at leveraging your guilt to their advantage. If you mention something that is bothering you, they make you feel guilty for mentioning it. If you don’t bring it up, then they make you feel guilty for keeping it to yourself and letting it eat away at you.
Anytime you are dealing with an emotional manipulator, anything you do is wrong. And regardless what the problem is that you may be having with them, the problems are your fault.
- They Play The Victim Role Exceptionally Well
One thing you must realize when dealing with an emotional manipulator- nothing is ever their fault. Anything that they do, or fail to do- is always someone else’s fault and that someone, is usually you.
If you get upset then it’s your fault for having unreasonable expectations. If they get upset, then it’s your fault for upsetting them. Emotional manipulators don’t take accountability for anything they do or say.
The minute you tell them that they need to seek psychological help, they screw with your head by telling you, and dam near convincing you, that you are the one who needs the help and then list out a bunch of reasons.
- They Are Too Much, Too Soon
Emotional manipulators always seem to skip a few fundamental relationship steps. They share too much of their lives too soon- and they expect you to do the same.
Their end game is to make you feel “special” for being in their inner circle, but it’s also intended to make you feel sorry for them and responsible for their feelings.
- They Are Emotional Black Holes
Regardless what they are feeling, they are masters at sucking everyone around them into their black hole emotionally.
If they are in a bad mood, not only does everyone around them know they’re in a bad mood, they can actually ‘feel’ them emotionally. This creates a tendency for people to feel responsible for the manipulator’s moods and then obligated to fix them.
- They Eagerly Agree to Help and Then Act Like a Martyr
The initial eagerness to help or volunteer typically morphs into sighs, groans and suggestions that whatever they agreed to do is this huge burden on them.
The minute you shine a spotlight on their reluctance, they turn it around on you. Suddenly now you are the bad guy because they wanted to help but now you are just being paranoid. Their end game? To make you feel guilty, indebted to them, and possibly even feel like you are crazy.
- They Always One-Up You
Regardless what problems you may have, theirs are worse. They undermine the legitimacy of your complaint by constantly reminding you that their problems are far worse.
In one way or another they are always making you feel like you have no reason to complain so shut up and stop talking about it.
- They Know All Your Buttons and Triggers and They Don’t Hesitate to Push Them
Emotional manipulators know your weak spots. They find them out at the very beginning of your relationship, and they are incredibly quick to use that knowledge against you.
If you are insecure about your weight, they will comment on what you are eating or the way your clothes fit. Their awareness of your emotions is off the charts, and they use it to manipulate you instead of trying to make you feel better about your shortcomings.
Breaking Free From Emotional Manipulators
Emotional manipulators literally drive you crazy because their behavior is so irrational. Their behavior goes completely against reason. Do not allow yourself to respond to them emotionally or get sucked into their vortex.
The more irrational and off-base a person’s behavior is, the easier it should be for you to remove yourself from their lives. Do not try to beat them at their own game.
Distance yourself from them emotionally. You don’t need to respond to the emotional chaos– only the facts.