Abuse within relationships is not always physical in nature and so the tell-tale, outward signs may also be lacking. Instead of brute force, people oftentimes use manipulation to play off of their partner’s feelings and emotions.
They do this for mainly selfish reasons, in order to control and get what they want out of the relationship. While we’re all guilty of trying to manipulate or control a loved one every now and then, some people take it way too far and end up causing real harm.
People who are under constant emotional strain caused by continuing psychological, verbal, and emotional manipulation often end up repressing their experiences. In a sense, they shut down and become numb to the hurtful things they hear over and over again.
It’s human nature to use denial as a coping mechanism and so they write it off or bury it deep down inside. Yet at some point things inevitably come to a head, maybe the person wakes up to what’s happening to them or someone steps in and helps, but before that happens things usually get to a very low point.
Manipulators use a range of tactics to deceive and break their partner down over time and because it’s more subtle and psychological, it’s harder to pinpoint and uncover. In order to put a stop to manipulation and emotional abuse, you need to first be able to recognize the signs and behaviors most commonly associated with it. Below is a list of the main clues which point towards your partner being psychologically manipulative towards you:
1. You are always wrong and rarely ever right- Manipulators will always fight to have the upper hand in a relationship and to them that means always being correct. Even if they know they are flat out wrong or mistaken about something that can easily be disproved, they will stick to their guns and argue until you finally back down.
2. Your other relationships are disappearing or in bad shape- If you find yourself being cut off or pushed away from your friends and family because your partner disapproves of them, they’re alienating you from loved ones. Manipulators need to be in control and they want to be the ones who ultimately decide who you can and cannot see. They will try to tell you how long you can visit for and make you feel guilty when you spend time with others. However, if your partner truly loved and respected you, they would not force you to give up friendships or cut you off from important people in your life.
3. You no longer enjoy things you once used to- It’s not only people you begin to distance yourself from, hobbies and activities you normally enjoy doing are also pushed to the side. People end up losing their passion for the things they once loved doing the most. Between the guilt, sadness, and confusion that manipulators cause their partner to feel, it’s easy to get bogged down and lose interest in the things you usually enjoy. Don’t lose sight of your zest for life because of a manipulator, make it a point to jump back into old hobbies if you find yourself being pulled away from them.
4. You tell them everything but get nothing in return- Manipulators will dig and dig at you until you reveal everything to them, even your deepest, most darkest secrets that you never tell anyone. However, they will not tell you their secrets, nor will they keep what you tell them solely between the two of you. Rather, they use them as pawns and will tell whomever they choose when it works out best in their favor. Usually this means that things are revealed in such a way that’s calculated to hurt and embarrass you as well.
5. You’ve become emotionally unstable- If your partner makes you feel guilty all of the time and no matter what you do or say they make you question everything, it’s enough to drive anyone crazy. Constant guilt is a heavy burden to carry around and leads to self-hate. You begin to devalue your worth and that in turn leads to depression, more stress and anxiety, and emotional turmoil. Only once you escape the manipulation and cycle of guilt can you begin to clear your head and become emotionally stable.
6. You feel unhappy and not like your normal self- When you lose sight of who you are because of your relationship, you end up feeling terrible and lost. Any changes in someone’s personality for the worse are never good, but when it’s caused by teasing and humiliation at the hands of your partner, it can quickly spiral out of control. Manipulators do not care about your hopes, dreams, wishes, or desires. They will not help you reach any goals and may actually try to get in the way to make you fail. You’re left feeling all alone and unsupported, which makes you depressed and miserable. If that sounds familiar, you need to seek help before you sink any deeper.
7. You no longer trust anyone- After so much mental and emotional manipulation there comes a point where you stop trusting other people. It’s like you’ve grown to expect lies and deceit from everyone around you because that’s all you ever get from your partner. If you feel alienated and unable to confide in old friends or family members, that’s as big a red flag as you can expect to find. It’s time for you to move on and distance yourself from the cause of all your distrust, aka your manipulative partner.