Sometimes we have people in our lives and after a few months, or even years, we begin to realize that something feels different about the relationship compared to others we’ve had. It feels like this new person is consuming your entire life, you begin to forget who you were before they came around, and you feel drained of your energy. It could be anyone, platonic or romantic, but somehow it feels like this person has gained control of your life.
If this sounds like something you can relate to, keep reading! Today, we’re going to go over the Top 11 Signs Someone Is Manipulating You.
Make sure to read until number 11, because it’s one of the most amazing tips for spotting a manipulator that we’ve ever seen!
Number 1: They seem too good to be true.
If you’ve met someone new, whether a new significant other or a new friend and they seem too good to be true, they might be.
Are they flowering you with lavish gifts and compliments? Every morning, do you wake up to those good morning texts? Or, are you planning your next vacation abroad together, even if it seems too soon?
There’s a chance they could be Love Bombing you. Love Bombing is different from the healthy and natural honeymoon phase at the beginning of a new relationship that we all experience.
When someone is love bombing you, they will overwhelm you with love and affection as a manipulation tactic in order to meet a goal of theirs.
If you begin to feel as though their love and gifts come with commitment or obligations, keep listening to see if your supposed honeymoon phase is actually part of a long term plan to control you.
Number 2: They begin disrespecting your boundaries.
Do you feel like your needs and wants don’t matter as much as theirs do? Do you feel exhausted and drained by putting them before yourself? Do you find yourself agreeing to things you previously stated you wouldn’t agree to?
Are you now justifying why they act this way to yourself? Do you feel ashamed or blame yourself for letting it continue to happen? These are signs that your boundaries are being disrespected or violated.
If you always go to the gym right after work to unwind, and you request to have that time to yourself, but a month later they begin demanding that you skip it to spend time with them, or if they begin to slowly move their own belongings into your home, this could be them disrespecting your physical boundaries.
Your emotional boundaries can be crossed as well. If you request them to stop talking about a topic because it makes you uncomfortable and they refuse, they likely don’t respect your boundaries.
Manipulative people act parasitic, depleting people of their emotional and physical resources for their own personal gain.
Number 3: When you confront them with a problem, they claim they were only joking rather than being accountable.
Manipulative people hate taking personal responsibility for their actions. If there is no one to blame, often they will try to minimize their actions by claiming they were only joking. Instead of acknowledging that they hurt you and attempt to resolve the situation, they’ll play it off as a joke and that you’re simply being too sensitive.
Number 4: They always need the spotlight on them.
If you begin to feel guilty for engaging in activities or hobbies you enjoy without them, or they suggest you’re being self-absorbed for wanting a night alone, this is a sign you’re being manipulated. Manipulative people who are narcissistic expect the spotlight to remain on them. If you got a promotion at work and want to celebrate, but they got a promotion at work, they might call you selfish for not catering to their emotions. When you start to feel like your wins and losses don’t matter as much as theirs, it’s smart to question your relationship with them.
Number 5: Their actions don’t match their words.
If you suspect someone is manipulative, pay attention to the way they talk about themselves. If they’re constantly talking about how kind-hearted and loving they are without doing anything to prove it, they’re probably putting more energy into appearing nice as opposed to simply being nice. Actions speak louder than words, so pay attention to their behaviors and not just their words.
Number 6: They project their own insecurities or problems onto you.
Projection is not only a common defense mechanism, it’s also used by manipulators to gain control over others. Not everyone who projects it is inherently manipulative, but it’s important to be aware of what is happening. Manipulative people will project their values and beliefs about the world onto others, often even blaming them for things they’ve never done before.
If someone in your life accuses you of being dishonest or disloyal, when you’re positive you haven’t been, there’s a good chance they’re projecting their own actions onto you. They’re likely the ones lying.
Number 7: Consider how they talk about others in their life.
When there’s someone who you suspect is manipulative, pay attention to the way they speak to their friends, family, previous partners, or even coworkers. If they seem to only have judgemental and negative things to say about the people surrounding them, the problem might actually be them. Manipulative people often have to make others appear worse in order for them to feel better about themselves. Take extra caution if they appear extra nice when these people are in front of them but talk callously as soon as their backs are turned.
Number 8: You feel obligated to do as they request out of fear, obligation, or guilt.
Manipulators will often use tactics like emotional blackmail to make you become afraid of the result if you don’t act in their ideal manner. Do you find that you’re obligated to spend every weekend with them? Maybe they tell you that you’re selfish if you want to spend time with your friends for an evening instead.
On the more extreme end of the spectrum, manipulative people can even threaten suicide in order to get what they want. If this ever happens to you call 911 and report it to emergency services.
Number 9: You begin to question your own identity because of their gaslighting.
Gaslighting is a common and toxic manipulative tactic used to gain power and control over a person. Typically, the manipulator will use your own vulnerabilities, judgments, and knowledge against you until you begin to doubt your own beliefs or even sanity. Examples of gaslighting are committing to something in the future only to deny it later, claiming your loved ones secretly hate you, or stating you can’t survive without them. The goal is to wear down the target’s self-esteem until they feel completely dependent on the manipulator.
Number 10: You are empathetic, vulnerable, or naive.
If you feel like you’re being manipulated, take a look at the kind of person you are. If you’re the kind of person who has a hard time being assertive, shows a lot of empathy for others, tends to see the best in people, or are vulnerable, you may be an easy target for manipulators. While these aren’t bad traits to have, they leave you more susceptible to getting taken advantage of. Whether you’re the person in the office always stuck picking up extra shifts in fear of losing your job or you find yourself in a new relationship, one of the best things to do is ask yourself if you’re the type of person a manipulative person would prey on. Manipulative people prefer empathetic, trusting people because it’s natural for them to shine the spotlight on others rather than themselves. If you find that you’re always eager to offer your friends support, it’s good to consider that someone with darker intentions may have picked up on that.
If this is an area you may struggle with, try researching how to set firm boundaries with others. It’s possible to remain your empathetic and optimistic self without letting others take advantage of you.
Number 11: You feel isolated from the rest of your support system.
The best way to determine whether someone is trying to manipulate you is to reflect on how much interaction you’ve had with your social circle, like friends and family or maybe even a therapist, since they’ve entered your life. If you’ve been spending less time interacting with them, this is a bad sign.
Whether they told you outright that you’re not allowed to speak to them anymore or if they’ve simply monopolized all your time and energy, making it impossible to squeeze in a quick phone call to catch up, if they’re the only person you focus your energy on it’s a big signal for a toxic person.
The goal is to control you by making you dependent on them. If it’s unusual for you to go months without talking to your friends and they appear unbothered, maybe even happy, they’ve reached their goal. If you don’t have anyone else in your life, the chances of someone else identifying their problematic behavior is less likely. If you feel isolated from everyone else important to you, consider taking a second look at the only person in your life. They might be the real reason causing it.
We hope these tips help you identify manipulative people who might be taking advantage of you!