How to Spot an Emotional Manipulator: Learn About Emotional Manipulation - 22 Ways You are Manipulated and What to Do

Manipulation of five hands on one hand emotional manipulator

When you start updating your sanity every now and then and questioning yourself more than usual in a relationship - this could be an emotionally manipulated relationship. The sort of people who use the manipulation strategy to ask for wants and needs are considered to be Egoistic, Selfish, Greedy, and Evil. They use the manipulation strategy of fear, obligation, and guilt to get to their victims.

Understanding the term emotional manipulation and how you can be a victim of these deceptive acts is an essential factor for everyone in the aspect of human relationships.

Emotional manipulation can stretch for a long time between the Manipulator and the Victim and it can be destructive. Someone with a long term or abnormal low self-esteem can be said to have been emotionally manipulated at some point. There are people out there who are Masters of this act and it's quite phenomenal, to say the least, that the victim never gets to discover that he's being emotionally manipulated. The art of emotional manipulation is clouded in mystery but not to worry you are in the right place to learn how to get yourself out immediately from the grasp of a manipulator.

A digital manipulation of person through the screen of a phone

What is emotional manipulation? 

First, let me take you through these words. Knowing how these words below affect human relationships will bring you closer to the meaning, motive, and activities of an emotional manipulator.

  • Swing 
  • Hack
  • Maneuver 
  • Drive
  • Exploit 
  • Orchestrate
  • Steer
  • Play upon
  • CoaxC
  • Cajole
  • Frame
  • Convince
  • Influence
  • Control
  • Finesse

Emotional manipulation is the act of manipulating another into an intense desire or emotional states such as love, passion and anger in order to absorb the resulting emotional energy. It is a destructive type of social influence that aims to change the belief, perception, ideology, or behavior of others through deceptive tactics. The interest of the manipulator is advanced at the expense of others.

Facts you must know about an emotional manipulator

1. They have the ability to manage emotions.

2. They have the ability to facilitate thinking through other people's emotions.

3. They can accurately perceive other people's emotions by being able to read them.

4. They have the ability to discern and understand emotional meanings.

5. They often use mind games to control a victim and take power in a relationship.

6. They will always try to take charge of the relationship by exploiting the true elements ( love, trust, and respect) of a relationship.

7. It is very hard to identify a Manipulator without speculating, especially when you are probably the Victim.

8. Like a football game, they manipulate you by maintaining Home Advantage. They always want to meet wherever they feel comfortable and you aren't. That makes you agree to almost anything said, even when you know deep inside that you shouldn't.

9. An emotional manipulator gets close and personal with you quicker than normal. They tend to establish quick relationships upon meeting them for the first time.

10. They exploit your emotions by sharing fake, dark secrets about themselves almost immediately they establish a friendship with you. They do this purposely just to make you feel special so that in the long run, you too can share the sensitive side of you - which they can use against you later. They actually do use these secrets against a victim, so beware.

11. Like I said earlier in this article, an emotional manipulator is a master in the art of deception. They will always twist the fact and alter reality with lies just to confuse you. They are subtle sometimes and are perfectionists in fiction. They normally would exaggerate their emotions and overwhelm you with the passion consequently in order to gain your sympathy and make themselves look vulnerable. This is a major weapon in their craft of deception.

12. They establish control by allowing you to speak first with the sole aim of using your answers to manipulate your decisions. You should be aware that when smeone starts throbbing you with series of questions so that you share your thoughts and concerns, that person is actually emotionally manipulating you.

This kind of scenario is also often seen in lawyers and police. These kind of persons can make you say things you are not guilty of. They ask you the next question based on your answer to the previous one. It's better you always allow the interaction to be equal.

13. They have the ability and strategy to control your choices and Influence your decisions by making you feel sorry for voicing out your concerns about a particular situation or thing. 

This tactic comes through aggressive response to your voiced concerns, and then, they later make you feel guilty for expressing such concerns by combing sweet and convincing words to gain your trust.

14. One clear thing about an emotional manipulator is that they diminish you to play up themselves. You just cannot be the one with the highest praise he didn't tell you he has achieved greater and in fact in more critical situations. Likewise, it does not believe your problem is the greatest it will always tell you that a situation is worse than yours. What teams to achieve with this trick is to subdue your experience and invalidate it despite the evidence. He instead projects his own problems so that you are compelled into focusing on his own situation. They make you diminish your problems and commands your emotional energy on theirs.

15. One clear way to understand the craft of an emotional manipulator is to their jokes. Watch out for those critical just that is aimed at diminishing your personality and creating doubt a new. They normally end up saying I'm sorry it is just a joke when in the true form there is sarcasm and disguised humor Behind Those sorry jokes.

16. An emotional manipulator is suspiciously quiet during an intense situation that requires outpour of emotions like watching a football match and screaming 'goal!' when your favorites team scores. Their reaction is normally the opposite of the person they are manipulating. You will be surprised to learn that your future reaction to similar situations will be gauged by their reaction the other time such thing happened.

17. An emotional manipulator shifts the blame to the manipulated because of their understanding of his emotions. They say or do something and deny it later and they are able to achieve this through the trick of flickering with your memory of events. 

When they are certain that you are not able to remember what happened exactly, they immediately point the problem on you and make you feel guilty of the situation and responsible for the misunderstanding. Remember, I wrote earlier that they attempt to exploit the true elements of relationship which are love, trust, and respect; they tend to ignore your calls, messages and other forms of communication because they use the silence technique to obtain sympathy or control of your emotions. They make you feel responsible for their behavior. This kind of manipulation is in fact vivid in many marital and courtship relationships. They tend never to share in the blame. They always make you feel like you're the sole cause of the problem.

18. They would never accept their wrongs, but they normally would use your feelings and insecurities against you. They will always remind you of your inadequacies, frailties, weaknesses, and human omissions. 

They criticize you to hurt your feelings and take away your self-esteem and self-confidence, as they replace is it with an inferiority complex. You must watch out for this kind of emotional manipulation strategy. During heated argument or fight, they purposely manipulate your emotions with damning statements to trigger doubts and succeeds in placing you in a tight corner. You should be aware of this kind of trick, and be a voice of yourself. Don't let them be a voice for you.

19. One strategy of an emotional manipulator is giving you little or no time to make a decision. They put pressure on you to decide unprepared - when you're not ready. They hope to gain control over the situation by putting unnecessary pressure on you because they have a covert agenda. 

They normally would come up with fake reasons for a swift response to the situation on the ground. This is just a deceptive tactic to suppress your control so they can get what they want and stay ahead. You should learn to delay your response if you notice any sort of discrepancy in the question or proposal.

20. It's not English if you are not communicating. The real purpose of communication is to hear and be heard. An emotional manipulator purposely employ intellectual harassment to bombard you with twisted reasoning until you are convinced and reluctantly agree to the demand or to wrongdoing, even when you are right.

21. A manipulator's ultimate goal is to keep you in the state of not being able to believe in yourself anymore. They derive joy from the fact that you can no longer trust yourself, instinct, and experience - as a result of losing touch with reality. Simply put, an emotional manipulator drives his victim insane.

22. Emotional manipulators aren't happy people themselves. This deceptive art arises mostly as a guard against intimidation, exclusion, fear, and despair. They too have a history of trying to stand up for themselves due to past experiences. 

As a result of trying to gain self-esteem or self-love, their inner happiness is compromised. This behavior does not develop naturally in humans, it emanates from a series of events such as sexual/physical/emotional abuse and neglect and ineffective and/or inappropriate parenting.

Banana cut in manipulated shapes

Techniques used by emotional manipulators 

  • Denial
  • Lying by omission
  • Lying by commission
  • Minimization
  • Diversion
  • Rationalization
  • Evasion
  • Selective inattention or selective attention
  • Shaming
  • Playing the servant role
  • Guilt Trip
  • Covet intimidation
  • Vilifying the victim
  • Feigning confusion
  • Brandishing anger
  • Feigning ignorance
  • Bandwagon effects
  • Projecting the blame
  • Seduction

Vulnerabilities exploited by a manipulator

  • Low self-esteem
  • Naive
  • Lack of assertiveness
  • Glory of identity
  • Emotional dependency
  • The disease to please
  • Emetophobia
  • Low self-reliance
  • Addiction to earning the approval/appraisal and acceptance/recognition of others
  • Over conscientiousness
  • Low self-confidence
  • Over intellectualization

People likely to fall victims to emotional manipulators 

  • Trusting
  • Greedy
  • Elderly
  • Frugal
  • Dependent
  • Naive
  • Altruistic
  • Masochistic
  • Impulsive
  • Lonely
  • Impressionable
  • Carelessness
  • Narcissistic
  • Materialistic
  • Immature
Comic representation of two emotional manipulated men

What to do 

Manipulators take their time to map out the vulnerabilities and characteristics of their victims. Likewise, it may take some time for a victim to realize that someone is emotionally manipulating them. Putting this in mind, the first thing to do is to trust your instinct and be able to discern when you are crossing the line. Take note that people can normally be influenced to do something positive and change for the better but a manipulator will somewhat encroach your privacy and tend to take over your life.

These are what you should do when you discover someone is emotionally manipulating you.

1. Don't get sucked into the mix 

Since manipulative behavior is rational and off-base you should never attempt to respond to them emotionally, neither should be so carried away by their over-the-board emotions. You should understand something clear here, not everyone is a Manipulator, therefore there can always be a sincere request or outpour of emotion from a person. 

Distance yourself from them emotionally and relate with them like they are some sort of practical projects in the laboratory. Don't attach emotions to the discussions. All you have to do is to respond to the fact, not the noise around it. Yes, respond to issue on ground, not the distractions. If you think you have no response, just walk away, and if it's becoming violent, report immediately to the police.

Emotional manipulators know your weakness and they are very smart to use them against you without hesitating. Since you are aware of this, it takes tactical maturity from you in maintaining an emotional distance.

When you have set emotional boundaries between both of you, you will start noticing that their tactics become more desperate because they realize the new you, and they are losing control over you.

The boundaries between you and the manipulator might be rigid or enmeshed, but you as a human being should also know how and when to set where the other person boundary begins and where yours end. You definitely have your own volitional experience as an entity. Guard yourself always not to cross the line.

2. Delay your response

Understand that you can't actually stop someone from pushing the buttons of your weak spot if you cannot discern how and when it's happening. All you have to do at that time is to delay your response. 

Go back in and reschedule your response - regroup. Review your earlier chats with the manipulator and decide which way to go and what to respond. Don't be scared to buy yourself some time. It should be normal for you to buy some time; it actually does being a state of panic in the world of the Manipulator. The Manipulator would automatically start wondering what you're up to. Once you are able to dissect his tactics, you will begin to discover that their behavior, ways, and techniques are actually predictable and easier to understand.

Don't be in a hurry to sign that contract or agree to that deal because some people did that yesterday and they are in a serious mess today. Delayed response is one technique that frustrates a manipulator and keeps him off balance. Remember that you can never be manipulated without you consenting to it and cooperating afterward. 

A manipulator needs an affirmation from you to confirm the success of his technique. You have to guard your heart against his dubious agendas. Even if you work or live with the person, you can consciously and proactively establish boundaries even when you are embroidered in difficult conversations with them. If you decide how and when to engage or respond to a manipulator, you are actually stepping ahead of them and they will withdraw, acknowledging defeat and the fact that you are now smarter.

More to what you have read here; you might need to involve a third party if you think you can't do it on your own because there are times when an emotional manipulation becomes severe and can lead to harassment and violence.

I am of the believe that you have learnt about emotional manipulation and from this article, I hope you can be able to spot and emotional manipulator when you see. I am of the believe too that the 22 ways you can be emotionally manipulated as highlighted and discussed in this article is very well understood.

Let us see your comments below as we like to know if you have been involved or you are currently going through emotional manipulation. What steps have you taken and how are you currently dealing with it. Please, share with us your experiences, if any, about emotional manipulation and we will be glad to offer help where it's needed.

Always say no to emotional manipulation.

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