Emotional manipulation happens much more often than we realize. We have probably all been guilty of it at some point, in small subconscious ways at least. This is a far cry, however, from the purposeful and likely malicious emotional manipulation of a chronic abuser.
These individuals are practiced in their skill and have done their research. They know exactly what to say or do to push your buttons and get whatever they want out of you. It is essential to be able to discern the behavior of an emotional manipulator so that you can avoid the emotional trauma and permanent damage they cause.
1. They make you feel guilty for their transgressions.
An emotional manipulator is always a master of placing blame. They will find ridiculously convoluted ways to blame anyone and everyone, and most likely you, for all of their shortcomings.
If they stood you up for an appointment, it’s because you didn’t give them a clear time, if they forget for the 100th time to bring back the textbook they borrowed from you it’s because you didn’t remind them before they left the house.No matter what it is, you’ll end up apologizing for something they’ve failed to do.
2. They’re always the victim somehow.
This is demonstrated partially by the behavior mentioned above. If the stories and explanations behind every screw up portray this person as a constant victim of circumstance or other people, it’s probably due to an inability or unwillingness to take any personal responsibility.
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3. Their actions never match their words.
Emotional manipulators are masters of language. They will make promises and use flattering words to lull you into a sense of trust and security, and then they will fail to follow through on pretty much every promise they make. This is because they never intended to follow through in the first place.
4. They lie about things that don’t even matter.
These people have gotten so used to weaving webs with their lies that even tiny, inconsequential details get twisted into white lies that serve no actual purpose.
They embellish so much of their lives that they’re almost incapable of just telling the straight truth, even when lies aren’t necessary.
5. They are gold medalists in the pain Olympics.
Manipulators are by nature, one-uppers. The minute they hear somebody talking about a struggle or a bad thing that happened, they’re prepared with an even wilder, more sympathetic story to garner attention with.
They know that sympathy is a powerful tool and they’ll use any opportunity they can get to increase how much you feel for them.
6. They set you up to believe you’re negotiating.
This is a very popular and well-known tactic amongst manipulators. They will pose a question in a specific way that makes you believe you came to a compromise when really you’ve simply agreed to the demands they had all along.
If they want to borrow money they’ll ask for 50$, expecting you to say no, as soon as you deny them that, they’ll say “Well anything helps, 20$ would be great?” and you’re much more likely to accept this and cave to the request. You think you’ve made a deal, but all they wanted was 20$, to begin with. They knew just how to get it from you.
7. They are experts in faking mutual trust.
The emotional manipulator requires your trust in order to fool you. They need your sympathy, but most of all they need your trust. The most effective and quick way of doing this is to insist and demonstrate to you how much they trust YOU.
They will stop at nothing to convince you that you are the top of their list, ride or die closest friend and confidante they’ve ever had. This way you see no reason not to reciprocate that trust. It’s a human instinct to want to trust someone else, and if we feel like they are giving us their trust, we begin to feel almost guilty if we don’t return the sentiment.
This is the unfortunate truth behind this “trust” of theirs, however, all of those secrets and intimate, personal things they’ve shared with you are false. They know how to be careful and will never give you ammunition with which to take them down.
Emotional manipulators are dangerous and they can be hard to spot, but if you pay attention and never forget your own worth, don’t let anyone tell you what you do or don’t know, or what is or isn’t true, you don’t have to be a victim.
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