You may not see the signs early in a relationship. But if you notice the cute threats turning into bigger requests, or if your partner starts nagging you or trying to abuse you each time you try to decline their request, chances are, you’re playing helplessly into the hands of a manipulative partner.
Recognizing a manipulative lover
How does your partner react to you when you decline them for something? Do they accept your decision respectfully when they realize you’re being serious?
Or do they keep quiet for a while only to bring up the request again a few hours later? Or do they try to force you to do as they say by threatening you or abusing you? Or do they withhold something *be it sex, affection or by giving you the silent treatment* until you give in?
If your partner can’t accept your decision to decline something *even after you explain your reasons clearly*, and try to force you to do something against your will, in all probability, you’re being manipulated in your relationship, in some small or big measure. [Read: 12 signs you’re in love with a selfish partner!]
Giving in is different from getting pushed into a corner
Your partner’s manipulative behavior doesn’t start overnight. It starts small, and with each passing day, their demands get bigger and bigger, and their tolerance for your refusals too start to get smaller and smaller.
And you may find yourself giving in all the time, helplessly, whether you want to or otherwise.
You may think giving in is a sign of true love, or you may assume that’s what lovers do when they love their partner unconditionally. But really, is saying ‘no’ against the principle of true love? [Read: 12 signs of true love in a relationship]
You’re unable to say ‘no’ to your partner, not because of your true love for them, but because of the fear that they may think less of you if you turn down a request of theirs. Truth be told, it’s not love that’s forcing you into a corner, it’s your people pleasing behavior and your low self esteem that makes you do things against your will every single time! [Read: 20 signs you have a people pleaser in you and don’t know it!]
When you’re confident about yourself and don’t feel the need to bend over backwards just to please someone, it means you’re at peace with who you are. You believe in yourself and you’re confident that you’re not wronging your partner in any way.
But when you constantly feel the need to do everything your partner asks of you, even if it means doing something you dislike or something that would affect you negatively, it only means that you think small of yourself and constantly feel the need to please your lover just to be accepted.
12 signs you’re being manipulated by your lover
It’s not easy to reflect within and ask yourself if you’re a victim of manipulation in your relationship. But everything starts with self realization. If you can accept the fact that you’re a victim of manipulation and emotional abuse, only then can you try to work your way out of the web of manipulation your partner has built around you. [Read: 16 reasons why you’re so easily manipulated and taken for granted by people around you]
Use these 14 signs, and ask yourself if you feel any of these symptoms around your partner, or in your relationship. And if you do see these 12 signs in your life, it’s time for you to take a stand and believe in yourself for who you are, or you’ll just get walked over all the time and there won’t be a thing you can do to stop your partner from using you or manipulating you.
#1 Anxiety. You feel anxious each time your partner wants to ask for a favor. You fear they may ask you something that you can’t do, and yet, you know you can’t deny them their request.
#2 You hate yourself. You hate yourself for being so weak. You realize your partner is using you or taking advantage of your niceness and your generosity, but you’re too timid to say it to their face.
#3 You can’t say no. You just can’t say no to them. Just the thought of turning them down or saying no seems like a crazy idea, and you feel helpless and weak each time you even try to say it. You know the right thing to do is say ‘no’ but you can’t bring yourself to say it. [Read: Your self respect and how it affects your relationship with others]
#4 You justify your actions. You try to reason with yourself and justify that you aren’t being manipulated. Instead, you try to convince yourself that it is you who wants to do the favor for your partner.
#5 You’re bad. You feel like a bad partner for turning your partner down, no matter what they ask of you.
#6 Expectations grow. Your partner always expects more from you. No matter what you do, or how much you do, they behave like they’re happy and pleased with your giving ways, but they always ask for more.
#7 You can’t shut up. You just can’t say a simple ‘no’ and shut up. You have a deep need to explain yourself and your actions every time, to everyone. You want your partner to understand your mind and your reasons clearly. While your partner, on the other hand, is always vague or doesn’t justify the things they do. [Read: Am I being abused in love? – 17 questions to ask yourself]
#8 You hate awkward pauses. When your partner asks you to do something for them, you may be able to muster your courage and say ‘no’. But as they pause and stare at you for a few seconds, you can’t help but feel your stomach churn, and you give them an opportunity to use you.
#9 It’s your fault. You blame yourself for not being a good partner. You feel guilty for being idle and relaxed when you could be doing something to please your partner or make them happy.
#11 You can’t lie. You just can’t lie to your partner or anyone else that’s manipulating you, even if you know you’ll never get caught. You can’t tell your partner you’re busy or you’re too occupied to do something for them.
#12 Are you selfish? You think you’ll seem like a selfish person for not helping them in their troubles. You feel really guilty each time you turn their request down. You feel so bad that you can’t even look them in their eyes because of all the guilt you’re carrying. It just seems so much easier to just hate yourself and do what they ask of you!
Do you see any of these 12 signs you’re being manipulated by your lover in your own life? You may not realize it, but your partner may be using you and emotionally abusing you to get what they want, all because you don’t have the nerve to say ‘no’!
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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...