How To Spot a Manipulator

Manipulative behavior is something you have to watch out for. You can usually experience this with friends, family members, co-workers, and even lovers. Manipulative behavior is often difficult to spot, and manipulators often get away with it for the simple reason that they’re good at what they do. They might be manipulative consciously or unconsciously. In some cases, your kids can be manipulative in some way, which is a behavior you should certainly curb at an early stage.

Spotting a manipulator is important in breaking the cycle of manipulation. Don’t let a manipulator get the best of you. Break the cycle and assert yourself.

Rethink your feelings. Try to look into your dealings with people—your family, friends, relatives. If dealing with some of these people leave you depressed, exhausted, guilty, fearful or worthless, it’s most likely that you have found a manipulator among them.

Look out for their tools for manipulation. By definition, manipulative behavior is self-serving and controlling. Sometimes a manipulator can be physically assertive and even abusive. However, the real way they control you is psychological. Consciously or unconsciously, a manipulative person will know what goes on with your emotions and in your mind. They will use this knowledge to bend your will to their whims. It’s not often aggressive behavior that they impose on you. Rather, sometimes it’s a feeling of guilt that they take advantage of. Sometimes, it’s helplessness. Sometimes, they put blame on you unfairly. However, sometimes a manipulator will be charming, and will flatter you to submission.

Look out for a sway in behaviors. Manipulators can sometimes alternate between flattery and guilt-tripping. This depends on whether you are acquiescing to their requests.

Is he using your relationship to his advantage? Some manipulators use relationships to their advantage. These people use relationships to manipulate you through your affection or through your guilt. When it comes to manipulators, there are no grey areas. It’s either you’re with him or you’re not. If you don’t do what they want, there’s something wrong with you.

Find out why. You should try to analyze the reasons behind a manipulator’s actions and behaviors. They will often use emotions to win arguments, rather than logic.

How to deal? Breaking the manipulative cycle involves you answering back. Use logic, and don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Take your time to rebut a manipulator’s arguments. They will usually change their tactics and will often alternate between wooing you and arguing against you. These kinds of people always want to be in control and will use different tactics to achieve this.

Be sure you’re in a safe environment, and that you’re in the position to confront a person for his manipulative behavior. In some cases, that person will not be significant in your life—he may be a co-worker or a neighbor. In some cases, though, you might want to maintain good relations with someone who is manipulative, especially if he is a family member or relative. Do realize that it will take some time for you both to work out your differences and arrive at a peaceful compromise.


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