3 Ways to Identify Manipulative Behaviors

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3 Ways to Identify Manipulative Behaviors
3 Ways to Identify Manipulative Behaviors

Manipulation is an attempt to indirectly influence another person's behavior or actions. As human beings that we are, our emotions often cloud our judgment, making it difficult to perceive the reality hidden behind the intentions or motivations of different types of behavior. The main aspects of manipulation are often subtle and can easily be forgotten and buried under a sense of obligation, love or even habit. You can recognize the signs and avoid becoming a victim.


Method 1 of 3: Staying Aware of the Other's Behavior

Smiling Young Woman and Man

Step 1. Realize if the person always wants you to speak first

A manipulative person wants to hear what you say so that they can discover your strengths and weaknesses. She will ask questions and probe for you to give your opinions and share your feelings. Such questions usually start with "what", "why" or "how". The handler's responses and attitudes will be based on the information given to him.

  • Wanting someone to speak first cannot be considered manipulative behavior in itself. Also consider the other things the person does.
  • The handler will not reveal too much personal information during the conversation. Instead, he's going to focus on you.
  • If such behavior occurs in most conversations with the person, it could be a sign of manipulation.
  • While the attitude may sound like genuine interest, think that there may be a hidden intent behind so many issues. If you're trying to get to know the person, but they refuse to answer your questions or quickly change the subject, it may not be simply a matter of genuine interest.
Teacher Speaking Positively

Step 2. See if the person uses charm to achieve a goal

Some people are naturally charming, but a manipulator uses this trick to get something. This person can praise someone before asking for something. She may offer a small gift or card first, or say she's going to do you a favor to get what she wants.

For example, someone might cook a nice dinner and be very kind before borrowing money or helping with a project

Woman Makes Man Uncomfortable

Step 3. Beware of imposing behavior

A manipulator will convince you to do something through force or threat. He may yell at you, make criticisms or threats to guide you to do what he wants. The person might start by saying, "If you don't, I'll ___" or "I won't ___ to you ___." A manipulator will use this tactic not only to get someone to do something, but also to prevent certain actions.

Man Lies to Woman

Step 4. Pay attention to how he handles the facts

If he manipulates facts or tries to dominate you with data and information, he may be trying to manipulate you. Facts are distorted by lies, lame excuses, hidden information and exaggerations. This individual can also pose as an expert on a particular subject and bombard you with information and statistics. He does this to feel more powerful than you.

Father Comforts Crying Teen

Step 5. Notice whether the person is always a martyr or a victim

The person might do something you didn't ask and then throw it in your face. Because she's "doing a favor," she'll wait for it to be returned and may even complain later if you don't do what you want.

A handler may also complain and say, "I'm unloved/sick/I'm a victim, etc." in an attempt to gain his sympathy and convince him to do things for him

Adult Criticizes Young Teen

Step 6. Consider whether there is something behind the person's kindness

A handler is only kind when he needs something from you, but all that kindness ends if something goes wrong. It's the manipulator who is two-faced: one side is angelic when he wants to attract positive attention, and the other side is terrible when he wants to be feared. Everything is fine if you live up to people's expectations.

You may feel cornered all the time when talking to the person

Annotated April Calendar

Step 7. Observe behavior patterns

Everyone exhibits some manipulative behavior from time to time. However, those who are truly manipulative often assume it. A true manipulator has a self-interest and intentionally tries to exploit someone to exercise power, control, and privilege at the expense of the other. If this type of behavior has been occurring all the time, this person can be a manipulator.

When you are being manipulated, your rights or interests are often compromised and it doesn't matter to who manipulates you

Method 2 of 3: Examining Your Communication

Sad Teen Sitting Alone

Step 1. Notice if the person makes you feel inadequate or judged

One of the common techniques is to harass and ridicule you to make you feel inappropriate. No matter what you do, the person can always find something wrong with you. Nothing is ever good enough. Instead of giving helpful suggestions or constructive criticism, the person only points out negative things about you.

This can also happen through sarcasm or jokes. A handler may make jokes about your clothes, your car, your job, your family, and so on. Although the comments are disguised as humor, you may feel insecure or belittled

Girl Stands in Living Room

Step 2. Notice whether you have been treated with silence

A manipulator often uses silence to take control. It can ignore phone calls, text messages, and emails for a long time. He does this to make you feel insecure or think you've done something wrong. His mind will be trying to figure out what happened while he's in control.

  • This contempt is usually unprovoked and happens for no reason.
  • If you ask the manipulator the reason for the silence, he will deny that there is anything wrong or he will say that you are being paranoid or irrational.
Teen with Down Syndrome Asks Adult for Help

Step 3. Identify when the other person blames you

Blaming is intended to make you feel responsible for her behavior, happiness, failures, and successes. You'll end up feeling obligated to do things for her, even if it's not wise.

  • Everything usually starts with phrases like: "If you were more understanding, you would…".
  • If you agree to do things that you wouldn't normally do, or that make you feel uncomfortable, you are being manipulated.
Concerned Young Woman Talks to Man

Step 4. Realize if you are always apologizing

A handler reverses a situation so you think you've done something wrong. It does this by blaming you for something you didn't do or by blaming you for a situation. For example, you made an appointment at 1:00 pm, but he arrived two hours late. If you confront him and he responds with, "You're right. I never do anything right. I don't know why you still talk to me. I don't deserve to have you in my life", the person makes you feel sorry for them and it changes the nature of the conversation.

The manipulator will also interpret anything you say in the worst possible way, which may make you apologize for what you said

Man Speaks Rudely to Teen

Step 5. Watch out if he keeps comparing you to other people

In an attempt to get you to do something, the manipulator may say that everyone is doing a certain thing, naming a specific person who is going to do it or telling friends and colleagues that they would do it too. She might even say you're going to look like an idiot if you don't act like that too. Everything is designed to make you feel guilty and pressured to act as she wants.

"Anyone else would do that", or "If I asked the guy, he would definitely do it", or "Everyone else thinks it's cool but you" – these are all ways to make him do something through comparison

Method 3 of 3: Dealing with a Handler

Hijabi Woman Says No

Step 1. Know that it's okay to say "no

The person will continue to manipulate you as long as you let them. You have to say "no" to protect yourself. Look in the mirror and practice: "No, I can't help you with this", or "No, this won't work for me.” You have to learn to defend yourself and deserve to be treated with respect.

  • You don't have to feel guilty about saying "no". It's your right.
  • You can politely say no. When the handler asks for anything, try saying, "I'd love to, but I'm too busy for the next few months," or "Thanks for asking, but no."
Jewish Guy Says No 2

Step 2. Set limits

The manipulator who thinks it's all unfair and says he can't think straight is just trying to gain your compassion in order to use it for his own benefit. In this case, he will have an appearance of "impotence" and will seek your support in various ways, be it financial, emotional or otherwise. Watch out for attitudes and comments like, "You're the only person I have" and "I don't have anyone else to talk to" and so on. You have not been prepared and are not required to meet his needs at all times.

If the person says: "I don't have anyone else to talk to," try to contradict them with concrete examples, such as: "Do you remember that Maria came yesterday and spent the entire afternoon talking to you? Are you all ears when you need to call her to vent? I can talk to you just for five more minutes, but then I have an appointment I can't miss."

Sleepy Girl Relaxes in Corner

Step 3. Avoid blaming yourself

A manipulator will try to make you feel wrong. Remember that you are being manipulated into looking bad about yourself and that you are not the problem. When you start to feel bad about yourself, identify what's going on and put a stop to it.

  • Ask yourself, "Does the person treat me with respect?" "Does he make reasonable requests of me and expect too much from me?" "Will I be in a one-sided relationship?" "I feel good about myself in this relationship ?"
  • If the answers are "no," it's likely that the handler is the problem in the relationship and not you.
Middle Aged Man Talking

Step 4. Be assertive

A manipulator often distorts the facts to look more attractive. When there is a distortion of reality, ask for clarification. Say that this is not how you remember it and that you are curious to understand it better. Ask the person simple questions about when they both agreed on an issue, how they believe that approach was formulated, and so on. When you come to a consensus again, take this as a new starting point and not the reality that has been distorted. For example:

  • The person says, "You never support me in these meetings, you just keep your side and leave me in the middle of the snake's nest."
  • You should respond like this: “That's not true. I thought you were ready to talk to investors about your own ideas. own".
Sad Guy Takes Deep Breath

Step 5. Listen to yourself

It is very important to listen to yourself and your feelings in this situation. Do you feel oppressed, pressured, forced to do things you'd rather not do? Does the person's behavior affect him all the time, so that after helping him in some way he still expects you to offer even more help and support? Your answers should serve as a real guide to the direction the relationship is taking.

Asexual Teen and Tall Woman Talk

Step 6. End the guilt

One of the most important things to think about when avoiding guilt is that the best thing to do is nip it in the bud as soon as possible. Give back in kind and don't let the person's interpretation of your behavior determine the situation. Such an approach is to take what she says and show her how disrespectful, arrogant, unrealistic or impolite she was.

  • If the person says, "You don't give a damn about everything I've done for you," try saying, "I sure appreciate what you've done for me. I've said that many times. Now it looks like you're the one who doesn't care how much I care."
  • Loosen the person's hold on you. When she tries to blame you by suggesting you don't care for her, don't fall for it.
Parent Asks Friend Question

Step 7. Focus on the manipulator

Instead of letting him ask questions and demands, take control of the situation. When he asks for something or pressures you to do something nonsensical or uncomfortable, test him with a few questions.

  • Ask him: "Do you think this is fair to me?" "Do you really think this is sensible?" "How will this help/benefit me?" "How do you think I feel about this?"
  • These questions can make him admit his mistake.
Guy Talks to Fidgety Autistic Girl

Step 8. Don't make rash decisions

The handler may try to pressure you to make a decision or give a quick response. Instead of giving in, say you'll think. That way, you don't have to agree to something you don't want and don't have to be put up against the wall.

Girl Braids Hair of Friend with Down Syndrome

Step 9. Find support

Focus on your healthy relationships and get closer to those who make you happy and confident. Search for family, friends, mentors, your boyfriend (or girlfriend) and friends online. These are the people who will sustain your life and make you happy. Don't isolate yourself!

Person Fears Abandonment

Step 10. Stay away from the individual

If you find it becoming too difficult or dangerous to interact with the manipulative person, keep your distance from them. It is not your obligation to change it. If she is family or a co-worker who is always around, try to limit your interactions. Only speak to her when absolutely necessary.


  • All types of relationships, including romantic, family or platonic ones, can be manipulative.
  • Look for a pattern in certain behaviors. If you can reliably predict how someone will act to achieve certain goals, you are more likely to be on the right track to detecting manipulative behavior.

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