Everyone thinks that they are never manipulated. Without even realizing it, you might have bought a shirt just because you were influence by advertisement or went to a place for lunch just to keep up with the crowd. When in a relationship it is even harder to admit that you can be manipulated. When someone has done it to you it is very hard to accept even if inside you know it is happening. There is a defence mechanism in the brain that manipulators use against you, it is your desire to not believe you are being manipulated but doing things because you want to do them. There is a difference between doing something because you chose to do it and because you are coerced into doing it, but it is at times very subtle and hard to tell them apart.
Most people are not liars, they might not lie to others, but you might be surprised how much people lie to themselves. The dangerous slope gets more slippery when we are in a relationship and we start lying to others about how things are going. Manipulative people will destroy your support structure first, then slowly they will make themselves the only source of positive reinforcement. At first their negativity will show up only once in a while and it will be excused as something the person is trying to change. Slowly but surely a manipulator will start to show more and more negative behaviour and eventually the positive reinforcement only appears when the other person is ready to leave… eventually not even then, but our self esteem is so low at that point that it is almost impossible to leave.
Manipulators truly make you believe that they are not aware of their behaviour. Everyone has issues, and I am sure that we can all be unbalanced at times. Guilt and fear are great motivators, we all fall weak to them some times; manipulators are motivated by greed and jealousy. Most manipulators want to take up all of your time to serve their every need, and it is not about money, it is mostly emotional. The manipulator knows that their behaviour is eventually going to kill any good feeling that you have for them, so they start working on other feelings like guilt, which by the way it is something they do not feel.
So how did I end up with a manipulator?
Most manipulators are very good people for a while. Most look for people that have just ended a serious relationship and feel vulnerable. It is very hard not to get into a relationship after a divorce or ending a long term relationship. You are used to companionship and routine and you want to recapture that. Do not start a relationship unless you already know how to survive on your own. A person that is codependent to a manipulator is like a limping gazelle to a lion.
So how do you spot a manipulator?
If the person you are with displays jealousy towars your family, your friend, kids or pets it is a great indicator that they have a warped sense of ownership. If at any point the person turns something that they said as a compliment in the beginning of the relationship into something they see as a flaw. Any kind of emotional blackmail is a clear sing that someone is trying to manipulate you.
So how do you stop a manipulator?
I personally feel that people that are involved in relationships with manipulators are enablers. Some people can coexist in these kind of relationships, but I believe that the price you pay is too high. I think that a relationship with a manipulator cannot survive unless the person is willing to get professional help. The issue is that most manipulators are never going to admit they have a problem and will try to blame all the problems on someone else, their family, their environment, their partner. I believe the best step to take is to put distance between you and the manipulator and inform as many people as you can about the situation. Please tell your friends and family if you ever feel like you are in an abusive relationship. Get out of the situation as fast as you can and do not look back, because most manipulators keep on abusing the same person because they establish a pattern with that person. They feel if the person really cares, they should take the abuse and accept them for who they are.
* This post is for a good friend, who I believe is going through some tough times but is feeling like (he/she) is alone. I am here, you know how to get a hold of me.
** I am not currently in an abusive relationship, but I do speak most of the points from personal experience. I got out, so you can too!