Ways to Know When You Are Being Manipulated In a Relationship

Prabhleen Gupta

Prabhleen Gupta

Founder- Personal Mastery


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The manipulators always try to get into the head of their partner. They have the intention of having control and power over others which leads to influential behavior. The advantage that manipulators have is they know about your weak points and the ways they can use them against you.

It is important to identify when someone is manipulating you so that you can stop that behavior. For that, you need to take a stand for yourself by being aware of the situation.

Identifying the manipulation is not that easy. In relationships, it starts very subtly when you are ready to do anything for the love and the bond you both share. But with change in time, it takes a toll on your mental health and you feel helpless in front of your partner and their manipulative behaviors.

We will be covering the signs to identify the emotional manipulation and how you can deal with the partner who manipulates you for their advantage.

What Manipulation is it all about?

It can be referred to as a tactic used by people to hold control over others for getting various advantages. People manipulate their partners to get what they want that too at the expense of others. The manipulators have very techniques that they use to get into others’ heads such as Gaslighting, lying, silent treatment, and passive-aggressive behavior.

The manipulation can be used in two ways i.e. subtle or direct. Both ways it is unhealthy for you and your relationship.

Signs of manipulation

Sometimes it becomes tough to identify whether you are being manipulated or not. In such situations, trusting your gut is the smartest way to know where your relationship is going and whether it is healthy for you or not. When you feel constantly have the feeling that you are doubtful, fearful, or emotionally drained chances are that you are being manipulated.

Here are some signs that would help you know how correct your gut is about the manipulation.


Gaslighting is lowering someone’s self-esteem by manipulating them indirectly. Someone Gaslighting you might present a different side of yours in front of others which makes you doubt your own personality traits. It is a subtle manipulation that would end up in blaming; your partner would blame you for your reaction to their manipulation.

When someone is Gaslighting you, they would make you feel that you are not worthy of expressing what you feel and they would never accept their wrongdoings. Their motive is to hold control over your actions and thoughts.

Passive-aggressive behavior

Passive-aggressive behavior reflects the type of behavior when your partner is avoiding direct conversation and does not express how they are feeling. The person using passive-aggressive behavior uses tactics involving avoidance or dodging the discussions and confrontations. It might also involve sarcasm but those sarcastic comments might get on your nerves.

You might get to know when someone is using passive-aggressive behavior by their gestures; when they are trying to get their attention by pouting or sighing. Being overdramatic and reflecting immature gestures is the way that they are trying to make you ask what is wrong with them.

Threatening and being coercive

When your partner is threatening you for not doing what they wanted you to do, it is manipulation. If you do something against their will or are about to do something like that, they might threaten to leave you.

Also, the threats might include self-harm for making you do something as they wish. They might not do something like that but the manipulation would make you do things for them. And this is something that you can never avoid.

Sometimes, they go to extreme limits of manipulation and end up hurting themselves. In such a situation, you must encourage them to seek help from an NLP professional to get rid of such behavior.

Withdrawal and silent treatment

Your partner might be manipulating you if they are showing signs of withdrawal. In other words, they might be giving you the silent treatment for something you have done against their will. The withdrawal might involve excluding you from the general information of their life or affection. And they might treat you the same way until they make you do things and then get normal afterward as if nothing happened.

How to deal with someone with manipulative behavior

Don’t try to avoid it

Identifying manipulation is a task and when you get to the point do not act like it is nothing. You need to understand that emotional manipulation is a big thing that needs to be addressed. You must attempt to talk about it with your partner and tell them how you feel when they try to manipulate you.

Also, in the talk, you can give the example of their certain behaviors and how their manipulation had an impact on you. They might be also unaware when they are doing it so you must be specific about that so that they know what you are talking about. For instance, if they gave you the silent treatment, you can talk to them about how it bothered you and you disliked their behavior or felt hurt.

Set some boundaries

Setting boundaries is very important whether you are being manipulated or not. And in a situation when your partner is trying to manipulate you, you have to set some boundaries for your mental peace. You do not need to distance yourself from that, instead, talk to your partner about what is acceptable to you and what isn’t.

If they are not taking you seriously, you can also talk about the consequences of stepping out of your relationship boundaries. If they fail to understand what you are saying, you might express yourself with examples. Also, you need to keep yourself a priority if the relationship is becoming toxic for you and end it as soon as possible.

You will get the red flag when your partner is not seeing any issue in their behavior and constantly overlooks what you are trying to say or express. Instead of changing their attitude towards you if they are constantly blaming you for feeling too much, then you need to take some serious actions.

Show some compassion

Here, we are not talking about showing compassion to others or your partner but yourself. If you have ended the relationship because of emotional manipulation or any other reason, you need not feel guilty about it. You must tell yourself how it was bad for your mental and physical health and how things could get worse.

If you are surviving the situations of emotional manipulation, you must show some compassion for yourself. And try to understand that you need to feel equally safe and respected while being in a relationship.

How to have a talk

It is not an easy thing to have this talk with your partner, but it is quite essential to express how you are feeling. Make one thing sure that you are prepared to talk about this. Since you are familiar with their attitude and behavior, you must be prepared with what they would come back with and how are they going to defend themselves.

There are chances that they will manipulate you in that conversation as well but you need to be aware of that and remain on the track to save yourself from further manipulation.

Here are some tips that will help you be prepared for the talk:

Be prepared

You need to list down the ways they have manipulated you before. They might defend themselves and reject your allegations but you have to have strong points which will prove them wrong.

Talk about yourself

This is the moment when you have to put them aside for some time and talk about how the manipulation works on you and affects you. You need to express how you feel when they are trying to control you.

Listen to them

Listening to their point of view is also something that would help you. But you need to be clear in your mind about the manipulation. There might be a situation when they unknowingly manipulated you and it can be explained to them not to repeat such kind of behavior.

The problems might be less when you are also open to listening and understanding them. They would also try to reach your level and deal with the problem in the same way.


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