Published on August 4, 2020

Six Signs You're Being Manipulated

Manipulation plays a critical role in every one of your friendships and relationships. So, what are the signs you’re being manipulated? Whether it’s by a friend or parent, the signs of manipulation can be hard to spot, but if you know what to look for, you can spot these traits easily. Hello everyone and welcome to In this article, we're going to learn about six signs you're being manipulated.

Object constancy

This strange phenomenon plays a critical role in every one of your friendships and relationships. Just imagine you and your closest friend get in a fight. Maybe you butt heads over a stupid misunderstanding. You both lose your tempers. You both feel frustrated and angry and the fight may last for a few days, but during a fight, how do you feel about your friend? You still like them, don't you?

Even if you're fighting, your feelings about your friend haven't changed. It works the same way in romantic relationships. If you and your partner get in a fight, you still love each other even if you're frustrated at the moment. This is object constancy. It's your ability to maintain positive emotions about someone despite feeling angry or annoyed.

In lasting friendships and relationships, object constancy keeps you moving in the right direction. You can apologize and make up because the love between you still exists, but what happens when you argue with a manipulative friend or partner?

When a manipulator gets angry, their object constancy flies out the window. They'll insult you, they'll degrade you, they'll yell at you, they'll treat you like a complete stranger as though your friendship or relationship never existed.

Now, when a friend or partner reacts like this, it's tempting to blame yourself. You feel like you made a huge mistake and you try to undo the damage you've done, but the problem isn't you, it's them. Their feelings for you are selfish and shallow. They don't care deeply about you as a person. They only care about what's best for themselves and that's why their love for you disappears when things get heated.

Weaponized guilt

Guilt is one of the strongest weapons for manipulative people. It's a tool they use to avoid their own mistakes, pass the blame and take advantage of others. There are two kinds of weaponized guilt: the first is up front and obvious. A manipulator will create guilt using a direct accusation. These accusations are often shameless unfair and easy to recognize, but that doesn't make them any less effective.

Just imagine you're playing basketball with a friend. The game gets a little bit heated and you accidentally knock your friend to the ground. Your friend falls awkwardly on their wrist and they end up in a cast. In the weeks after, your friend may blame you directly for their injury. They may convince you to run errands or do favors for them saying: hey, you're the reason I can't do it myself.

When someone consistently blames you for something, especially if it was an accident, guilt is a natural response. You want to make it up to your friend. You didn't mean to hurt them, so you give in to their guilt trips hoping a few favors will even the score, but that rarely ever happens. Instead, a direct manipulator takes advantage of you as many times as they can, no matter how badly it makes you feel.

The second type of guilt is much more subtle. Let's say the same scenario happens. You're playing basketball. Your friend falls and breaks their wrist. The next day, your friend may say something like: I would make lunch if only my wrist wasn't hurting so badly.

Now, this time your friend is creating guilt without actually accusing you of anything, but it's implied. After hearing a comment like this, you feel responsible for your friend's injury. You feel guilty that they got hurt, because of you and each time your friend emphasizes their pain or limitations, it feels almost like a direct accusation.

Weaponized guilt is one of the common and destructive habits in any friendship or relationship. Guilt is used to make someone else feel bad and to take advantage of them for your own personal gain. If your friend or partner uses guilt on a regular basis you're being manipulated.

Emotional blackmail

Manipulative friends and partners use your fears and emotions against you. This can be an incredibly confusing and painful experience. It's one of the most prevalent forms of emotional abuse, because your friends and partners know you better than anyone. They know what you're insecure about, they know what you're afraid of and they know how to hurt you. So, what does emotional blackmail look like?

There are many different ways to blackmail someone, but insecurity is the common denominator. Your friend or partner uses your worries and anxieties to make you doubt yourself and that self-doubt drives you further into their clutches.

Imagine you're thinking about leaving your partner. You're having doubts about the relationship, so you brought up these concerns to your partner, but they don't listen. Instead, your partner uses emotional blackmail to trap you inside the relationship. They say: at your age, I'm the best you're going to get. Suddenly, you feel insecure and afraid. You begin to wonder if your partner's right and your confidence disappears completely.

This isn't the only kind of emotional blackmail out there. Manipulators also use threats, warnings and intimidation to instill fear in their partners. Some use insults and criticisms to shatter your self-esteem. Others use your past against you, leveraging one mistake over and over again. Emotional blackmail is not just manipulative, it's abusive. If your friend or partner is emotionally blackmailing you, it's time to leave that person behind.

Excessive monitoring

Does your partner text you constantly? Do they pester you with questions like: where are you and what are you doing? This kind of behavior is called monitoring. Driven by anxiety or insecurity, your partner feels compelled to keep tabs on you. They're worried, you're going to betray or cheat on them, so they go to great lengths to monitor and control your behavior.

In the beginning, monitoring doesn't seem that bad. Your partner may act a little bit needy, but neediness isn't always negative. Many relationships resolve that neediness by fostering a strong trusting bond, but what happens when that neediness grows? What if your partner is constantly compromising your space? What if your partner floods your phone with calls and messages every time you leave the house?

Your partner claims they're just worried about you, but monitoring is a form of manipulation. Your partner wants to control and restrict the things you do. They want to know about every nook and cranny of your life, not because they care about you, but because they want to control you.

Let's say your partner calls you repeatedly when you hang out with your friends. Now, on their own, a few phone calls are pretty harmless, but over time, your partner will create a rift between you and your friends and that way, you spend less time with your friends and more time with your partner.

So, just pay attention to the way your partner acts when you're apart. Do they give you the space and trust you deserve or do they hover over you every second of the day? If the latter sounds familiar, you may be in a manipulative relationship.


This type of manipulation can be difficult to spots, but it can easily turn any friendship into a toxic dynamic. Self-victimization means playing the victim. Your friend or partner may frame themselves as the innocent victim of every situation. The world is always coming after them and they're never at fault.

In any relationship, victims pass the blame onto their friends and partners. Victims think they're doing everything right. They believe they're putting in all the effort in the relationship. They think they're the ones doing all the work while framing you as lazy or selfish.

Playing the victim is just as manipulative as anything else on this list. You play the victim to make others feel sorry for you. It uses a subtle combination of guilt and shame to tug on other people's heartstrings. Victims act like you're the source of every problem in their life while completely ignoring their own faults.

If you know someone with a victim complex, don't let them control you. It's difficult to see through their lies, criticisms and backhanded compliments, but if your partner constantly plays the victim, you're being manipulated.

Passive aggression

Passive aggression is a tool used by almost all manipulative partners. Instead of openly expressing your anger, a passive aggressive person will subtly manipulate their friends and partners. Let's say your friend flakes a plan you made together. At the last second, they ditch you, leaving you feeling disappointed and angry.

The healthy response would be to tell your friend how you feel. They'll likely apologize and the two of you can move on, but a passive-aggressive person would do something like this: they would wait until the next time their friend wants to spend time together, then they would intentionally ditch them, ensuring their friend feels just as disappointed as they did.

Some people call this revenge, but it's just one of many ways that a passive-aggressive to express anger or frustration, but not all acts of passive aggression are dangerous. Sometimes passive aggression is small and harmless. Some people simply don't know how to express themselves any other way.

If your partner is passive aggressive on a regular basis, communication is often the answer. Tell your friend or partner that it's bothering you and they'll make an effort to change, but what if your friend does it on purpose? What if your partner continues to be passive-aggressive even after you've voiced your concerns? If this sounds like your situation, you're probably being manipulated.

Thank you for reading this article and be sure to consult our website to stay informed about our coming articles, because more incredible content is on the way.

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