People use emotional manipulation in the form of dramatic or exaggerated circumstances with an attempt to gain sympathy and attention. Here are 18 easy ways to spot emotional manipulation so you can prevent being the victim to such people.
1. They constantly play the victim
People who are good at emotional manipulation tend to show that they are the victims in all their relationships. This is one of the easiest ways to spot a manipulator.
2. They try to show one-upmanship
Put-downs, snide remarks and constant criticisms are common traits of such people. They try all kinds of ways to show they know more than you or that they are superior to you.
3. They are controlling
When you are in a manipulative relationship, you unwittingly collude with the manipulator who seeks to control you. This becomes a vicious cycle in that; each time you comply or cave in, you reinforce the manipulator’s will while demeaning yourself and your self esteem.
4. You tend to get defensive in their presence
This is the first clue to spot emotional manipulation. You might already sense they are controlling and manipulative and somehow you always get on the defensive side when they are around. That is the first sign that they are trying to overpower you each time.
5. They obscure their real motives
People good at emotional manipulation tend to show they are caring, or hurting-anything to obscure their real motives. Often, due to this behavior, you fail to recognize that they are taking advantage of you. For example: “I care so much about you. But, I have hurt my hand-so why can’t you take the afternoon off to look after me?”
6. They take advantage of your weakness and insecurities
This is one of the commonest emotional manipulation tactics used by manipulators. They take advantage of your vulnerabilities. In fact; they know your vulnerable areas better than you do and exploit them to their advantage. The need to be accepted is often a weakness- a manipulator spots this easily and uses it to his/her benefit.
7. They turn your statements around and make you the problem
In order to stop being emotionally manipulated, you must recognize this common emotional manipulation tactic. As an example: you might say: “I really wish you had done that!” The manipulator might respond: “You do not know the pain I am in. But then, you have always had a good life which makes you less empathetic towards my problems”.
8. They tend to isolate you
People who are good at emotional manipulation are much like ‘triangulators’. They drive a wedge between families and friends and quickly get people on their side. You might also find yourself distancing yourself from other friends and loved ones.
9. They use anger to stop your questions
One of the traits of an emotional manipulator includes ‘blowing up’ quickly. They use their anger to stop you from asking too many questions in case there is a showdown.
10. They feel they are never ever wrong
One of the commonest emotional manipulator traits is thinking they are perfect and that others have all the flaws. They never take ownership because they are never wrong. Even their apology will be insincere and will feel like bullsh*t.
11. They present you in a negative way
Emotional manipulators seem like nice people, but, as already stated above, they can twist your words around and do not hesitate to spread misinformation about you or misinterpret you.
12. They flirt to acquire an audience
Flirting is another of the common emotional manipulation tactics which these people use to acquire an audience. However, feelings and needs of others are not important to them.
13. They use you
They throw their weight around you and use you to gain their way in life.
14. They say one thing but deny it later
They manipulator will also come up with a convincing argument later that they never made those promises.
15. They offer help but with a torrent of sighs
The manipulators offer to help in housework but use tactics to make you feel bad that you are putting them up to those things. Again you are considered the problem and you end up doing everything for them.
16. They use passive aggressive tactics and do not fight fair
Manipulators are very smart and have a way with words. Even when they compliment you there may be a criticism in it. For example: “I love your hair color. It suits you so well! It especially does a great job of hiding the grays”. You start responding to the compliment and then realize that something was not quite right with the compliment.
17. They bring attention back to themselves
You might start telling them about your day and how bad it was but the manipulator will negate all that you have said and outdo you. They distance themselves from you and gain the upper hand always. They do not have the ability to relate to others with maturity.
18. They play on your emotions
Manipulators play on your emotions-they sense, for example, that you feel guilty-then they use your guilt for belittling you or covertly getting their way.
These are 18 emotional manipulation tactics to watch out for and prevent getting manipulated. Focus on your own needs and let them focus on theirs. Only then will you be getting somewhere.