What is manipulation?

Manipulation can unfortunately be a part of all sorts of relationships for many, whether romantic or not. Manipulative people can scare, coerce, criticize, guilt trip, or even flatter and act innocent, without sincerity. This lack of sincerity can bring on many issues and questions to those on the receiving end. 

Let’s dissect some of these questions and issues.

What is manipulation?

Manipulation often consists of a mic between control and coercion due to the need to control their environment, surroundings, and people. It’s an emotionally unhealthy psychological strategy used by someone to get what they need.

Control: Not allow another person to choose their own action or response by overpowering them in some way.

Coerce: Achieve one’s own desires by bullying, restraining, or dominating another person.

Manipulation can range from the typical pushy salesperson to an emotionally abusive partner and even by simply saying you’re “fine” when not truly being so.

Signs of manipulation 

Emotional manipulators are often highly skilled in hiding manipulative behaviors. It’s often started out with subtle manipulation that increases through time.  As a general outline, below are nine signs of an emotional manipulator.

  • They undermine  your grasp of reality.
  • Their actions don’t match their words.
  • They are experts at doling out guilt.
  • They claim the role of the victim.
  • They are too much, too soon.
  • They are an emotional black hole.
  • They eagerly agree to help — and maybe even volunteer — then act like a martyr.
  • They always one-up you.
  • They know all your buttons and don’t hesitate to push them.

The impact of manipulation

Being on the other end of manipulation through long periods of time can often lead you to question your sanity and have a negative impact on you in all forms, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. A few are listed below.

  • Increased mental stress and physical fatigue.
  • Depression or anxiety.
  • Compromised self-confidence, which can lead you to doubt yourself.
  • A threatened sense of reality, which can make you think you’re going crazy.
  • Feelings of helplessness or shame.
  • Unhealthy, self-soothing behaviors to deal with stress and fatigue.

Where to find more help 

If you or someone you know is struggling with a manipulative relationship, please refer them to the resources below:

Resources: WebMd Manipulation: Symptoms to Look For

TIME “How To tell if someone is manipulating you and what to do about it”

Good therapy “PsychPedia: Manipulation”

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