In most cases, a person’s manipulative behavior is acquired from the people around them, usually their parents or other people that they’ve grown up with during their formative years.
If you were growing up and see that your mother avoided confrontations with your father, but always got what she wanted by subtly tricking him with manipulation and deceit, you may start to believe that manipulation is a much better way to deal with a problem and avoid confrontation at the same time.
When you grow into an adult after being exposed to this kind of manipulative behavior as a youngster, you may start using manipulation to get what you want, especially if you believe you don’t stand a chance of getting it with outright aggression or confrontation.
And that’s how a manipulative person’s mind works. They avoid direct confrontations, and instead of going against someone to their face, they use subtlety and trickery to convince someone into doing something for them, without ever opposing them to their face.
Why are you the unlucky one to end up with a manipulative lover?
People with manipulative tendencies are drawn to people who lack assertiveness. If you can’t say ‘no’ or have a hard time stopping yourself from doing favors for someone even if you don’t want to do it, in all probability, you’d be drawing manipulators like moths to a warm flame.
If you lack assertiveness in your personality, you’d have the tendency to bring out the manipulative side in any of your lovers or the people you date. Initially, your partner may use flattery or plead with you to get things done their way. But as they get more and more confident, they may use blatant aggression to frighten you into submission! [Read: 21 signs of emotional abuse your partner may be using on you right now!]
The things manipulators do to manipulate and use you
Manipulators use different ways make you feel insecure and guilty, and make you give in to their demands. They may withhold information from you to make you seem unimportant, they may blatantly lie to you because they know you don’t have the courage to question them back, they may play the victim’s card by talking about how sad and pitiful their life or workplace is, or they may force you to take sides by bitching about someone you trust or picking flaws in them, and eventually convincing you that they’re the only person you can trust in this cruel world.
The tricks manipulators use could be many. But it’s all done to bring just one effect. They want to break your morale, make you completely dependent on them, and convince you that you need them more than they need you.
It’s very easy to know how to stop being manipulated in a relationship. But it’s extremely hard to bring yourself to make the change.
It all starts with acceptance. You need to realize that you’re a victim, and you need to realize that you need to change forever because you don’t stand to gain anything by being used by everyone around you.
Each time you accept to do something when your mind silently screams ‘no’, you’re giving another person an opportunity to use you and manipulate you. And over the years, you’d only lose your self esteem and feel smaller and weaker each time you find yourself getting used and manipulated. [Read: 15 types of toxic relationships to stay away from!]
14 ways to stop getting manipulated in a relationship
If you truly want to stop being manipulated in your relationship, you need to learn to take a stand and believe you’re worthy of your partner. Use these 14 ways to change for the better and stop getting manipulated by your lover.
#1 You’re the victim. Realize that you are a victim. Use the frustrations, the anger and the resentment you feel each time you feel manipulated and try to convince yourself to act on your partner’s behavior. Tell yourself that you deserve a better life that’s full of happiness and not deceit and trickery. Believe in the strength you have, and realize that you do have the power to say ‘no’ if you choose to. [Read: 16 ways to deal with your partner’s controlling and manipulative behavior]
#2 Communicate with your partner. Talk to your partner and explain how you feel each time you feel manipulated in the relationship. Remember, sometimes your partner may not realize themselves that they’re manipulating you to get what they want. Confronting them will give you the courage to decline them *because you’ve explained your need to decline their requests when you feel manipulated*.
#3 Recognize their emotional blackmails. Keep an eye on the way your partner tries to manipulate you. Do they try bullying you, intimidating you, or do they say something that makes you feel weak and want to give in? Try to pinpoint the signs that make you feel vulnerable and used in the relationship.
#4 Take a stand. You may not be ready to say ‘no’ just yet. But you could at least take a stand when you don’t feel like doing something, right? If your partner asks you for something you don’t wish to do, explain yourself calmly and tell them why you don’t wish to do it. You may feel really awkward the first few times, but your confidence will grow and you’ll regain your strength each time you say ‘no’. [Read: How your self respect affects the way you see your relationship]
#5 Principles in life. Sit down by yourself and ask yourself what you’re willing to accept and where you want to draw the line. By setting boundaries and having clear principles in life and knowing when to stop doing favors for someone, it’ll help you recreate a whole new ‘you’ who’s more confident and clear about what’s right and what’s wrong.
#6 Learn to be assertive. Learn to say ‘no’, read self help books that can motivate you and help you take a stand. Remind yourself that you’re an adult and no one has the right to manipulate you or bully you into doing something you don’t want to do.
#7 Get your independence. Most lovers who get bullied in a relationship allow it to happen only because they believe they are dependent on their partner. So learn to be independent in all ways *social, emotional and financial* so you can have the strength to stand on your own feet again and reclaim your life.
#8 Respect and love yourself. If you don’t love yourself and believe you’re awesome, there’s no way you can ever stand up for yourself. You need to realize that you’re not a pushover. Stop giving people the opportunity to use you by being firm and following your principles. [Read: 11 steps to fall more in love with yourself with every new day]
#9 Don’t give up. It’s very hard to make such a big change in your life, but it’s not impossible. Don’t give up and don’t stop hoping for a better life. You’re the only person who can stop you from a better life. So even if you fail and fall prey to emotional manipulation now and then, don’t give up. Just try harder the next time around.
#10 Build a support system. If you’re being manipulated by your lover, build a small support system with your family or your close friends. Meet them often, stay busy in your own life, and when you have a hard time confronting the manipulation, use the help of your support system.
#11 Get stronger. Each time you find the strength to say ‘no’ to someone, be it a salesperson, a coworker, or even your partner, take a moment to experience the high and control over your life you feel right then. And use this strength to feel stronger and more in control of your own life.
#12 Don’t let it get to you. Don’t let your partner’s bitter remarks, their expectations and the mean things they say get to you. Doubting yourself is the easiest way to lose control of your own life. Turn a deaf ear to anything that you perceive as negativity, and just believe in yourself.
#13 Don’t fall prey. Don’t fall prey to their pleas, false excuses or lavish gifts. When a manipulator feels like you’re slipping out of control, they may try really hard to please you or win your affection back, just before they ask you for something. But this is when you need to avoid falling into their trap. As convincing as they may seem, be strong and don’t give in to their demands, even if you feel obligated because they’re being so nice to you. [Read: 16 signs why you’re so easily taken for granted by everyone]
#14 Don’t let them beat around the bush. Most manipulators never get straight to the point. They always talk about all the things they’ve done for you, or they promise you something special, and just when you seem really happy, they try to get something out of you.
Remember, they want to put you in an awkward spot so they can trick you into doing something. Don’t let that happen. If you sense a request coming, ask them to be direct and tell you what they want.
#15 Walk away. Living with a manipulative partner is like walking on a minefield. You can’t relax, you can’t just love them for who they are, and you’ll always have to be on guard. And that’s not really the recipe of a happy relationship, is it? If you can’t feel carefree and happy in your lover’s arms, is it worth staying in the relationship?
If your partner doesn’t try to change even after you’ve given them enough chances, walk away for good. Chances are, their manipulative behavior is too deeply ingrained in their mind to ever change. And you’re better off leaving the relationship, than letting this person break your spine and your morale, which would only lead to you getting used and manipulated by everyone else in your life.
Use these 15 steps on how to stop being manipulated in a relationship to change your partner and reclaim your life. After all, how can you ever be happy if you don’t even have control over your own life?
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Alison Ricard loves sunshine, good books and contagious laughter. And when she isn’t writing, you’ll find her sitting in a café, people watching and commun...