No one likes to think they are being toyed with. And even more so, no one wants to be emotionally abused. From inside a relationship, it is not always easy to spot the signs of emotional manipulation. You may think you are doing what your boyfriend wants because it makes him (and you) happy and makes your relationship strong. In fact, he is preying on your insecurities, fears and your vulnerability to simply be in control. Worse, he makes YOU feel bad if you don’t want to do what he wants. No one, but no one, should have that power over you. If alarm bells aren’t already going off in your head, here are the signs to look for:
1. He’s Passive Aggressive
Passive aggression is one of the most exhausting and demoralizing forms of emotional manipulation there is, especially in the environment of a relationship. If there is a pattern of fake apology after fake apology and situations in which you feel forced to forgive before you are ready, then he is simply doing this so that he can move on and begin manipulating you again. Try to see the difference between real remorse and fake remorse.
2. He Pretends to Help
If he really loves you and respects you, you will not have to ask twice for him to help you in any given situation. In fact, you shouldn’t have to ask at all; it should be an intuitive move on his part to offer help. If he thinks you are being unreasonable by asking for his help, and he only agrees after a degree of reluctance, then you have to question whether he has your best interests at heart.
3. He Keeps Flip-Flopping
Do you ever find yourself disagreeing with him about certain memories and events that have happened in the past? Be careful and pay attention, he may be trying to alter your memory and perception to elevate his own reputation or point of view. This is a bad sign, as it shows he is lying to your face to try to emotionally manipulate you.
4. He Likes to Guilt Trip
Something that an emotional manipulator really loves to do is send people on guilt trips, constantly making them feel bad about themselves with regards to decisions they have made and things they have done. If your boyfriend does this a lot, then the chances are that he is trying to keep you feeling bad about yourself with low self-esteem purely to feel better about himself and to ensure that you won’t leave him. If this is the case, you need to reconsider the relationship.
5. A Lack of Directness
Do you find that you often find out about annoyances on your boyfriend’s part from his friends rather than him? Talking behind your back and being indirect in this fashion is a tactic to make you paranoid and insecure about yourself. Confront him about it and hash it out face to face. You may see his true colors come to the forefront and it will help you to get out of the bad situation.
6. He Never Takes Responsibility
If he never takes responsibility for his actions and, even worse, tends to blame you and your behavior for undesirable things that he does, then this shows a childish, immature nature and is a clear sign that he is trying to manipulate you emotionally. If you constantly feel responsible and sorry for absolutely nothing then he will always have the higher ground, which is what he wants.
7. You Only Ever do What He Wants
A healthy relationship is down to good compromise, so if your boyfriend is only ever interested in doing things as a couple that he wants to do, then you need to really think about the fact that he is disregarding all of your needs and only selfishly satisfying his own. To him, the relationship is just a way to boost his own ego rather than making you happy as well, a classic sign of emotional manipulation.
Even the most strong-willed of women can find themselves on the wrong end of emotional abuse – because that’s what it is. Call it manipulation, but it’s still abuse. No one deserves and no one needs and no one should put up with it. The solution – run and find someone you deserve and who deserves the amazing person you are.
Have you recognized any of these signs in your own relationship?