And what to do about it?
During more than half of our relationships, we’ve been manipulated, lied or treated bad. And most of the time – we didn’t have any idea that it was happening. That sounds a bit scary, isn’t it? So, why do we need to look for signs of manipulation in a relationship?
Meaning – Why would someone want to control you?
There are many reasons why someone would manipulate you. Basically, he/she wants something – your money, your time, your love etc. And usually, the manipulator doesn’t even realise his mistakes and the fact that he is a manipulator.
Check: WHY LOVE HURTS?
The way someone treats you may be the only way of communication and relationship he knows. It could be a result of a bad childhood, a different understanding of the way partnership should be or just not enough self-confidence. Either way, it doesn’t make it a pleasant experience, and it’s nice to be aware if it happens.
Why do we leave ourselves to be manipulated?
Actually, no one believes that he’s been manipulated before the “proofs” hit him in the head. Many times we finally realise what was going on after the relationship is history for us.
“Love is blind,” they say. Nothing could be further than the truth.
No, love is a pure form of happiness and opens our eyes. The fact we allowed someone to treat us wrong is everything else but love. Actually, we can even say it’s a lack, absence of love.
What do I mean?
Imagine that: You are a parent, and you’re out for a walk with your daughter. Someone you know comes near her and starts talking nonsense, offends her and makes her feel miserable. How long would you stay away from the situation? Minute? Two? I’m sure even 30 seconds are too many. You would jump out of your shoes, defending her and would never, ever talk to that person again.
So, why would you allow that to happen to you if you love yourself? Why it would be insane to happen to someone else, but when the fire is coming towards you, everything is different.
Why do we leave in a world where it’s almost a sin to love yourself and to put boundaries in the way the others treat you?
In the name of love?
Love doesn’t hurt! It doesn’t make us sad. It doesn’t shrink our personality. It doesn’t limit our perception of freedom. It doesn’t grow a fear of loneliness if we’re not together. It doesn’t make us obsessed with the other. It doesn’t make us needy little parts of something that we would like to call a relationship.
Because all that is manipulation. And you have to be aware if you’re its victim.
But how a manipulator acts and how to know if you’re captured on his web? What are the signs of manipulation in a relationship?
That one is the most popular and usually works the best. Most of the time even the manipulator himself doesn’t realise that he manipulates the others.
He/she will play the role of a victim of this evil world. Everything is against him, and you really don’t understand how much he worries about everything. He never has the responsibilities about the things that happen in his life. If something goes in the wrong direction, he will find thousands of reason why it is not his fault.
He/she can talk for hours and hours about the tragedies of his/her life, and you just don’t know how is possible such a fantastic person to experience so much pain.
How do you react? Well, you feel guilty for almost everything that goes wrong around you two, and you try to remove every single wrinkle on the other’s face. You support him/her in any way – financial or emotional, just to make his/her life more comfortable. But somehow it never gets better.
Solution: There is a victim in that situation, and it’s you. There is a way out of that, but it’s long, and you have to show persistence. Everyone is responsible for his life, and no one should make you feel guilty for the decisions he makes. Talk about the way he/she makes you feel and try to fix it but be aware that it takes time and strong feelings in the relationship to survive such a change.
How do you train a dog?
The best way to train a dog is to make it do something and to reward it straight after that. If it does something wrong you either punish it or ignore it till it learns its lesson.
The same situation is when someone wants to control you. It’s when you do something that doesn’t please the other person, and he/she reacts like it’s the end of the world. The best part is that the things don’t get better until you “fix” your mistake and there are no exceptions. Congratulations! You’ve just been manipulated. Successfully!
How do you react? Before every decision, you either speak with the other to “ask for approval” or you already know your “lessons” and do what he/she likes just because you’re tired of all the drama around everything.
Solution: If you want to get out of that manipulation, I hope you’ve got a strong will. You have the right to make the decisions for yourself every day. The things should happen in the way both of you want them to be. Compromises should be made from each side, and that is the only thing you shouldn’t compromise with.
If you love me, you will do that!
When I was a child, I had problems with eating my meals. Just like every child. And I remember how my grandmother was telling me “If you love you will eat your meal. You love me, right?”. That sentence was working every single time and years later I realised how much manipulation I’ve experienced around my meals.
But you get the point, right? There’s always a condition for the other to be happy and to love you even more.
How do you react? You’re constantly running around, trying to win or keep his/her heart. Even if it’s something you don’t fancy or it’s against your will. And all that’s missing is a scoreboard so you can check how many points you have left until you finally win him/her.
Advice: Putting conditions on the “amount of love” someone has to you, is not love at all. You shouldn’t do anything to “keep” someone’s precious love. All you have to do is be yourself, and there’s nothing more to be asked for.
I do this for us/you/our future!
One of my favourite! It doesn’t matter that you haven’t seen together for more than 20 minutes for the last three weeks. He was working for your future. It doesn’t matter that she asks you to transfer most of the money from your salary on her account. She does it for you; she manages the financial part of the household better than you.
How do you react? Most of the time you feel guilty because you “obviously don’t think enough for your future” or at least not in a proper way. Or you just don’t see the things from a different point of view. Or you don’t predict the future as good as the other. Basically, whatever it is – you’re not good enough for it.
Solution: The only thing that’s not good enough, is you staying in a situation like that. One of the secrets of successful manipulation is to make the other feel guilty. That will make you shut up and think that you’re too selfish. The result? You’re ready to do anything to prove you’re not an egoistic creature.
Hot and cold
Every day is different. You never know his/her emotions and whose fault it is for them. He/she is absolutely fine and in the next second ignores you for the next few hours or days. You never know what’s wrong and what you did, but it’s apparently your fault. The moment you go too crazy about it and decide you had enough of that game the other person is an angel again. Love is in the air, and the skies are in perfect blue.
How do you react? You have no idea what’s going on around you or why the other is not in a mood again. You think it’s your fault and spend the next hours in trying to realise what you said, did or the way you looked at him at every single second before he/she went crazy. Actually, that makes you feel mad and fed up, but somehow the game goes on again and again.
Solution: You have to stop it! You’re not a toy, nor your feelings. If you want to do something you can try to ignore this behaviour and hopefully when the result is not the same the game will finish. But you have to be sure the person is worth the struggles.
You’re never good enough
No matter how much you try, he/she is never happy. If you decided to clean the whole house before she comes back from work she will ask you what you’re going to eat and why you didn’t cook instead. If you went to buy a new dress especially for your dinner out, he would look at your unpolished nails with criticism in his eyes, and you’ll feel pathetic.
How do you react? It’s never enough. It doesn’t matter how much you try to be your best you just can’t get to his/her level and you feel miserable about the person you are. And grateful in a weird way, because the other is still with you.
Solution: Run! Run as fast as you can at the moment you recognise yourself somewhere here. Being under someone’s shoe and feeling less than him/her is horrible. You are amazing just the way you are. I’m not saying “perfect” because nobody is. But you are unique, and you deserve someone who will see that uniqueness. There is no hope of changing his/her manipulative mind. And honestly – it doesn’t worth the struggles.
They need you to live
We’re getting deeper and deeper. You’re the reason for him/her to stay alive. You know exactly how he wants to leave this world if you stop loving him. There’s no hope, and you’re his only bright sun in the darkness of that life.
How do you react? You know the problem is mental, right? And you have no idea what to do. The only thing you know is you don’t want to be the reason for someone’s death. And you’re not sure if he/she is serious about all this stuff.
What you could do is to ask for help someone that knows more about this than you. Don’t play the game because if the manipulation is successful is not going to end soon. Just speak with professionals about the situation and try to provide help for the other. Because he/she needs it.
Did you spot yourself in any of the situations above? Do these signs of manipulation in a relationship relate to you in any way? If you’re wondering about the right answer to something, please share your story or ask a question. We’re here for you.