Emotional manipulators can be found across all ages alike. An emotional manipulator is the worst kind of person to interact with in life. Their behavior is a combination of predictability, excessive touchiness, and passive aggression. When we come across individuals with a capacity for emotional manipulation regularly, we are often left feeling confused, inadequate and tormented.
Psychologists claim that emotional manipulators are covertly aggressive with a high degree of tenacity to achieve whatever they want from whoever they want.1The only way to identify and avoid emotionally manipulative individuals is by being aware of their most popular tactics. Here are 7 ways to spot if you are in the presence of an emotionally manipulative person and how to effectively deal with it for your sake.2
1. They Make You Feel Like A Hero And Zero
Emotional manipulators are excellent at sensing other people’s insecurities so well that they use this ability to their favor. They show a lot of attention, affection, adulation with excessive amounts of superficial charm and sympathy. This kind of love-bombing in the initial stages of the relationship hooks us deeply and tightly in their trap of influence.
Often, we associate our sense of self with the way an emotional manipulator grades us so much that we start accomplishing things just to please them. Understanding the control they have on our minds, they start their emotional abuse by making us feel worthless through their actions.
2. They Are Masters Of Denial And Fake Innocence
Manipulators have no conscience at all when it comes to self-introspection. They are incapable of feeling guilty and vehemently deny what they’ve done or said by feigning innocence or fabricating lies. These individuals are so good at denial and proving themselves clean, we often end up questioning our clarity or sanity.
They ensure that we never get an upper hand over them in an argument with them that questions their behavior, leaving us suspect our actions instead.
3. They Have An Excuse For Everything
When you hang out with an emotionally manipulative person, they often make promises to you and always keep breaking them. This lack of accountability is a characteristic feature for any psychological manipulator. If you call them out on what they haven’t fulfilled, they use dirty tactics like downright denial, crocodile tears or weave some tall story of tragedy.
They enjoy keeping you in the dark about their motives and whereabouts and they ensure that they are never truly transparent with you, so that you are left clueless and powerless.
4. They Are Compulsive Wet-Blankets
Emotional manipulators are superb at discouraging and disapproving anything that could make you happier. They are so skillful at displaying their temperamental behavior, they ensure that everyone around them should know and behave according to their moods. Being narcissistic in nature, they don’t care about being a mood-killer and in fact want you to uplift them.
This specific behavior is often seen whenever you want to do something that would make you joyous or popular with family, friends or colleagues. Manipulators don’t want you to escape their clutches of control and would take you on guilt trips to achieve that.
5. They Seem Helpful But Have Ulterior Motives
We come across some people in life, who are so passionately interested in our lives especially when we are going through hard times. They lend us a helping hand in managing things in our household and workspace sometimes, without even being asked. Often they win over our family and friends by being goody two shoes.
Unfortunately, they are just wolves in sheep clothing with clear-cut ulterior motives that include disrupting and harming your life in various ways. They even ask favors that you can’t deny because they make you feel obliged to do it given all the assistance they’ve done for you.
6. They Always Downplay You
Even if you had a terrible day, your emotional manipulator will make you feel that your problem is nothing when compared to theirs. They are the worst people to confide in and would make you feel even worse by criticizing or mocking you.
If you have achieved something, they use the same tactic of making you feel inadequate and your achievement unworthy of recognition.
7. They Are Vague And Passively Aggressive
Sulking, closing off emotionally, chronic blaming and victimization are the common traits of passive aggressive individuals. They are also very fickle about what they want and have unreasonable expectations. If you have a pet project that demands attention away from domestic chores or kids, although they claim they will take care of everything, they won’t. On the other hand, they will turn around the entire situation blaming you for being an incompetent parent.
At work, this scenario shows up when you are inching closer to a promotion or raise. Your boss could call you out for trivial errors or set unrealistic expectations for you to fulfill so that you end up feeling undeserving of progress at work.3
Although it’s painful to accept the truth, it’s crucial to recognize manipulators in our midst as early as possible. Many of us feel helpless when it comes to escaping the madness and lead a gaslit existence. Once you identify a manipulator, it get’s easier to think ahead of what they would think or behave.
Set boundaries with them. Never allow them to linger in your life especially when they display one of the behaviors above and beg for a second chance. Remember, nobody can manipulate you without your permission and before they wreak havoc in your life, cut them off completely from it.
|↑1||Karakurt, Günnur, and Kristin E. Silver. “Emotional abuse in intimate relationships: the role of gender and age.” Violence and victims 28, no. 5 (2013): 804-821.|
|↑2||Simon, George. K. In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People. Parkhurst Brothers. 2010|
|↑3||What is Passive Aggressive Behaviour? CounsellingDirectory|