Are You In Love With A Crazy Maker? Recognizing The Traits of a Manipulative Partner

“Love comes when manipulation stops; when you think more about the other person than about his or her reactions to you. When you dare to reveal yourself fully. When you dare to be vulnerable.”

~Joyce Brothers

Manipulation can take many forms. Some are aggressive and others are subtle. Manipulation basically means I can’t get what I want directly so I’m going to get it indirectly. You can be involved with a manipulative partner and be unaware of it because that is the nature of manipulation. Here are some of the common behaviors to look for:

1) The “Who Me?” Scam. Does your partner refuse to admit that they have done something wrong or hurtful? They act all innocent when the truth is, they were inappropriate in what they did. By denying that they’ve done something wrong they usually get you to back down and perhaps even make you feel guilty for accusing them of something in the first place.

2) The Stories Don’t Match Up. Manipulative people are notorious for telling half truths or omitting the whole truth. Watch out for subtle changes in the wording or versions of what happened or was said. You’ll usually catch on to this when you notice a friend or family member telling you something your partner said but your partner told you something different.

3) Straight Out Lies. Manipulative people will stop at nothing to get their way. Their motto is often, “Why tell the truth when a good lie will do.”

4) All Of A Sudden It’s Your Fault. Does your partner make you feel guilty for doing or not doing something? Typically you didn’t even know they wanted you to do or not do it in the first place. You apologize til you’re blue in the face but your partner refuses to accept it. Instead they hold a position that you don’t care enough and you are selfish. If you tend to be a people pleaser, this is a powerful weapon to manipulate you.

5) Power Plays. Manipulative partners are great at pulling you into an argument with the use of confrontational attacks. These attacks typically start with:

“I can’t believe you would… “

“Why do you always… “

“How could you… “

“I thought we agreed… “

You end up giving into them because you just want the argument to be over and for them to shut up.

6) The Silent Treatment. This may follow a confrontational attack. Your partner shuts down in a fuming pout to see how long it takes you to crack. They gain control because you eventually confess everything was your fault just so you can make up and end this trench warfare. All the while you are thinking that what you did wasn’t deserving of what just happened.

7) Tension Fills The Room. Are your family and friends worried about your involvement with this partner. You should pay attention if these loved ones cringe when your partner’s name comes up. Especially if you have always trusted what these loved ones have had to say in the past.

8) Severing Your Ties. Is it easier to not spend time with your family and friends? Manipulative partners may push you to make a choice between them or these loved ones. If they can get you to drop your family and friends then your partner can assume the role as the center of your universe. Now he or she can have all of your attention and control will be much easier.

9) Rude Behaviors. Do you feel the need to apologize for how your partner acts around your friends and family? Do they interrupt? Are they dismissive?

10) Do You Get Defensive? If you catch yourself getting defensive if someone questions your relationship then you may be blind to potential red flags.

11) Hiding Behind Someone Else. Does your partner make statements but pretend someone else said it? They start their statements with “Everyone thinks you… ” “They said you… ” If you get upset they can simply reply “Don’t get mad at me. I didn’t say it.”

12) Plans Are Overturned. You might be involved with a manipulative partner if your plans are regularly overturned into doing what they want.

13) Are You Possessed? Protection is noble; control isn’t. Is your partner excessively jealous and possessive? Are you interrogated about how long it took you to go to the store and back? Are you questioned intensely when you spend time with your friends?

14) Here We Go Again. Do you recognize repeat offenses of the same behavior? Perhaps they blow up in a frightening rage and call you all kinds of bad names. They later apologize and say they will never do it again. But they do.

15) Playing Dumb. This is a hard one to spot because everybody occasionally forgets or misunderstands. A manipulative person will be more routine with their superficial apologies of “I forgot.” or “I didn’t realize.” “Oh, are you mad at me?” “I didn’t mean it.” And “I was just kidding.”

16) Distraction and Diversion Techniques. A moving target is hard to hit. If you try to pin down a manipulative person they will often change the subject and before long you’ll forget what your initial complaint was. Once you’re off track, they switch to their own agenda.

17) Use of Putdowns. Putdowns and sarcastic statements increase feelings of shame and self doubt. These feelings help the manipulative person establish their sense of dominance. They tell you things like, “No one else will ever love you or put up with you.” Over time you’ll believe it and you stop resisting their behaviors.

18) Does your partner bring out the worse in you? A true, loving partner will help you become your best.

Be careful. These behaviors seep in a little at a time. All of the above are warning signs. Do not lose your sense of individuality and strength. Your relationship should be building you up, not breaking you down.