Top 5 Ways To Spot A Manipulator

We have all encountered toxic people in our life. These are the ones that have contributed more pain than happiness in a relationship.

No one wants to entertain toxic people, but we are often made aware of their malice ways after a relationship has formed.

Manipulators are cunning in this way. They are quick to learn your weaknesses and squirrel their way into your life before you know what hit you.

Preston Ni, M.S.B.A., wrote for Psychology Today stating:

Psychological manipulation can be defined as the exercise of undue influence through mental distortion and emotional exploitation, with the intention to seize power, control, benefits, and privileges at the victim’s expense.”

Being able to see warning signs ahead of time is crucial. Know if you are dealing with a manipulator before time is heavily invested in an individual.

Let’s look at 5 ways to spot a manipulator.

  1. A manipulator will try to make you feel guilty.

Manipulators will use guilt to try to bend you to their will. They often use vulnerabilities to get you to feel guilty; resulting into doing what they want.

Saying, “Don’t you want to make your son happy?”, when trying to get you to come to a play date, is preying on your vulnerabilities as a mother. This is to get the desired outcome of your attendance.

The manipulator may use victimization to place guilt. They may say, “I have no one to help me move, and all my friends are abandoning me in this time of need.”

  1. A manipulator will want you to do things for them with nothing in return.

A healthy relationship has a give and take. When a relationship is always one-sided it is toxic.

A manipulator may use flattery to get you to do things for them, but they will not be around when you have a need that arises.

They may say, “You are so good with numbers, I bet you could do my taxes in no time. I will drop them off later for you to look at.”

  1. A manipulator will have ulterior motives.

Almost every time you get together or have a conversation with a manipulator, an ulterior motive will surface.

Phone calls or meet ups may seem innocuous, but during the course of the conversation the manipulator will have a request ready.

The request will be buried in flattery, guilt, or shame so you will be defenseless to contest it.

They may say, “I stopped by because I haven’t seen you in awhile and want to see how things are. Since the kids are having such a fun time together, I am just going to run a few errands and be back in a couple of hours. Thank you for letting us pop by. See you in a bit!”

Unbeknownst to you, the plan of the manipulator was to have you watch their child all along.

  1. A manipulator will use negative emotions to control a conversation.

Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT, wrote for Psychology Today:

“Emotional blackmail is a form of manipulation that is emotional abuse. It may include the use of rage, intimidation, threats, shame, or guilt.”

When a manipulator seeks control, they will often begin to cry, yell, or belittle you during a conversation.

If you at first deny assistance at a dinner party, they may say, “You never could manage your time well to get anything done since becoming a mother. Would you like me to give you some tips for managing your children and other tasks?”

Lancer speaks on this type of manipulation saying:

It’s veiled hostility, and when abusive methods are used, the objective is merely power. You may not realize that you’re being intimidated.”

  1. A manipulator will always shift blame away from themselves.

Lancer says:

Some manipulators deny promises, agreements, or conversations, or start an argument and blame you for something you didn’t do to get sympathy and power.”

If a manipulator didn’t show up to an agreed upon lunch date. They may say, “You didn’t call me when you were on the way to the restaurant, so I figured we weren’t meeting.”

This shift of blame used assumptions. A useful tool by manipulators.

Manipulation is a way toxic people try to control you with underhanded tactics. Don’t fall victim to these ploys.

If you are in a relationship with a manipulator, know you have a right to be treated with dignity, and speak up when you are being used; say, “No!”

Let us know in the comments section if you have confronted a manipulator, or if you feel you may be in the presence of one.

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