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signs of emotional manipulation

Last Updated on March 30, 2024 by Joshua Isibor


we’ll be talking on signs of emotional manipulation. While some people cannot express the ill-treatment they receive from their partners, some people have been able to give it a precise name known as emotional manipulation. The pain and tears in a relationship are traceable to the actions of your partner who claims and profess love to you, which why this topic is timely.

The goal is to get you to identify if your partner is emotionally manipulating you. As well as what is causing it. Enough of the heartaches and pain you are going through in your relationship. And I am not suggesting that a relationship is a bed of roses.  What I am trying to say is that pain and heartache can exist. But it should not outweigh the happiness and pleasure in your relationship.

What is emotional manipulation?

There have been several attempts to define emotional manipulation. But I want to attempt to define the concept singly for greater clarity. Emotional is a state of having strong feelings. These feelings are feelings of anger, pain, pleasure, happiness, joy, surprise, disgust, contempt among others.

While manipulation is the act of skilfully controlling or directing someone without the person’s positive consent. Manipulation has a negative connotation. It is overbearing yet appears to be loving. The manipulation appears to be consensual when in actual sense, it is selfish. A manipulator seeks to gain control over the manipulated. But does these subtly. By subtly, I mean the manipulated would not be able to resist or even protest. In simpler terms, the manipulator uses the manipulated to achieve his/her aims.

As a wordInspire Wellness defined emotional manipulation as the act of manipulating another into an intense desired emotional state (such as love, passion, anger) to absorb the resulting emotional energy.

Also, emotional manipulation may be mild, moderate, or severe. Virtually everyone tends to emotionally manipulate another person. Because humans are naturally selfish. And in trying to meet our selfish needs, we might manipulate our lovers and friends. But when it becomes a practice, then it is evil. It is darkness. It is ruthlessness.


Who is the victim of emotional manipulation?

Usually, I hear people say women are manipulators. Thus men are the victims of emotional manipulation. While I am not here to dispute that, I will like to add that both men and women are victims of emotional manipulation.

Last year, my friend Vivian unknowingly dated a married man. This man assured her that they were going to get married in a few months. Vivian believed him. Only to discover a few months later that he was married. Vivian was emotionally manipulated because the man stopped her from seeing other people on the pretext of marriage. Anytime she went on a date with other men, this married man will tell her that she was hurting him.

Now that is a typical example of a lady who was being emotionally manipulated. As you can see both men and women are victims of emotional manipulation.


What are Causes of emotional manipulation?


  1. Selfishness: selfishness causes emotional manipulation. When you have a partner who is only interested in his/her wellbeing. Then emotional manipulation will arise. Because that person will try every conceivable means to meet his/her needs at your expense.
  2. Desire to be in charge: the desire to be in control is what ultimately leads to emotional manipulation. ‘Power they say corrupts’. ‘And absolute power corrupts absolutely’. A partner that wants to have everything without your input or your protest will manipulate you. Some people want to boast to their friends that they are in charge of the relationship. They want to be able to say that they are the decision-makers in the relationship. Thus to achieve this goal, they will manipulate their partners. This is prevalent among men. It is also found among women who do not want people to perceive them as weak. Women who desire to be the head of the relationship.
  3. Lust for money: The desire to gain material resources and gain from a partner causes emotional manipulation. Some ladies will weep for days, deny their husbands sex just to collect money. In the same vein, a man might constantly deny his wife money anytime she goes against his will.
  4. Social norms: the trending social norm can lead to emotional manipulation. A patriarchal society will have men who manipulate their women. While a distorted feminist society will have women who manipulate their men.
  5. Fear: the fear of the unknown and abandonment causes emotional manipulation. When a partner is afraid of a breakup, then he/she will try to manipulate the other partner. He/she does this to keep the relationship.
  6. Psychological issues: I want you to know that some people have underlying issues for emotionally blackmailing other people. What I am trying to say is that some people are sick in their minds. Growing up experiences have framed some people that they only know how to manipulate others. Also, some people start a relationship with the intent of revenging past hurts. People with abusive parents tend to be emotional manipulators. Stories abound of how men and women have ruined their partners because they had bad experiences themselves.


 10 Signs of Emotional manipulation


  1. Distort the truth: manipulators always try to change the facts. You can catch a manipulator cheating and he/she will use words to distort the truth until you will not see that act of theirs as cheating. They can make you feel you are the one who did not see or perceive clearly.

2. They try to change your mind every time: A manipulator will always want things to go his/her way. And one way to achieve that is to use every means to get you to agree with him/her every time. With a manipulator, you do not have a mind of your own. You cannot make your own decision without interference. A manipulator can give you the things you love just to get you to change your mind.

3. They make you feel less of a person: an emotional manipulator will make you feel worthless just to be in control. You are too fat. You are clueless.  These are some of the words you will hear. And the aim is to make you doubt and second guess yourself. If your partner is always making you feel worthless, then he/she is a manipulator.

4. Drown your voice: if you have a voice, then you can protest. Thus the job of a manipulator is to take away your voice. Anytime you want to contribute to a matter, or air your view, he/she changes the topic or gives an excuse why he/she cannot listen to you. Then he/she is manipulating you.

5. Insecure and make you feel guilty for their insecurity: a manipulator will accuse you of cheating. He/she will stop you from hanging out with friends. And when you do, he/she will become unhappy and blame you for their unhappiness. A manipulator will seek to own you and your time. You cannot be happy without them. Unless he/she is happy, you are not allowed to be happy.

6. Show you how huge their problems are: A manipulator always has a problem, while you are not permitted to have one. And you will be a vessel to solve his/her problem. With a manipulator, your problem doesn’t matter or is not allowed to exist. They will talk about their problems and you must sacrifice your time and money to resolve it.

7.Denial: they deny you things that they know will give their partners pleasure. They do this, in an attempt to get have their own needs met.

8.Constant criticism: there is nothing you do that is good enough for an emotional manipulator. They criticize you for not dressing well, not cooking well amongst others. They criticize you for not being caring. All these to get you to be an image of what he/she wants.

9. They give you the silent treatment: this silent treatment is to get your attention and get you to succumb to his/her desires.

10. Blame you for their failures: He/she blames you for his/her mistakes. Things are not working well is because of you. Because a manipulator is not happy, you cannot be happy.

In summary, if you notice these signs in your relationship, then you are going through emotional manipulation. And the best you can do is to stand firm. This can either lead to a better relationship or increased conflict. Or you can decide to leave the relationship that is causing you pain and heartaches.

By all means, deal with emotional manipulation in your relationship.

Click here to Read 5 Tips to avoid emotional blackmail in your relationship


Originally posted 2020-07-24 06:21:52.

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