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How to Recognize Manipulative Behavior in Your Relationships

April 5, 2018 1779 117 No Comments


Manipulation is extremely serious, whether a coworker, friend, family member, or significant other partakes in the behavior. Understanding the signs of manipulative tactics and how to recognize manipulative behavior in your relationships is essential to avoid potential long-term issues, and problematic behavior that is entirely preventable. Here are some of the warning signs to watch for.

Guilt and Shaming

One of the tell-tale signs of an individual using manipulative tactics is guilting and shaming. When you feel guilted or you have been made to constantly feel sorry for an individual, they are likely manipulating you with a purpose in mind. This is especially true for kind-hearted victims. You might notice your partners tries to shame you for not taking care of the kids when you go out for a girl’s night, or perhaps they guilt you into taking some of their own responsibilities. You are not going crazy. If you feel taken advantage of, you might be.


Promises Then Denial

If you notice your partner never follows through with their commitments or promises, it might be part of their own manipulative behavior. They’ll make a promise, but when it comes time to follow through, can twist the past, making you look forgetful, demanding or ridiculous. Don’t fall for bait and switch behaviors. Make a note of their own promises and hold them accountable.


Diminishing Your Own Problems

A manipulative relationship will feel draining, and that’s because it is. Your problems might be overwhelming, but when trying to get help or support, a manipulative partner will downplay or turn your problems around so theirs look much worse in comparison.


Emotional Evasion

You’ll find plenty of signs of passive-aggressiveness in a manipulative relationship. Signs of this might be your partner not confronting problems with you directly, instead, talking behind your back or mentioning problems to a friend they’ll know you’ll hear about it from. Demand honest communication in all your relationships and don’t allow passive-aggressive behavior to rule your actions with other people.


Accountability Programs

Individuals who have struggled with severe addictions are much more likely to utilize manipulative behaviors and actions when attempting to get their way. If you have a loved one who has struggled with addiction in the past and are now showing signs of manipulation, a sobriety accountability program may be the optimal solution. This is often necessary if they have struggled with drugs and alcohol in the past and are now showing signs of manipulative behavior or reemerging addiction.


Relationship Therapist

Consider the option of seeing a relationship therapist if you are struggling with a significant other or spouse who is manipulative. Working through any issues you are facing together with a relationship therapist provides a third-party that is more capable of seeing the “bigger picture” of your relationship and any problematic behaviors that have come to fruition.

A relationship therapist is capable of determining root causes of issues and acts as a mediator when helping those who are struggling with various manipulation behaviors in their relationship itself. Get the relief you need by talking through issues and working to correct manipulative behaviors.


Understanding manipulation and how it is used in relationships is imperative to avoid feeling guilted, shamed, used, and hurt. When you are able to pinpoint manipulative behavior, it is much easier to stop it in its tracks and to seek other individuals in your life who are simply less toxic.