Signs He’s Manipulating You (And You Need To Bail!)
One of the most common indicators that your relationship isn’t a healthy one can be seen in manipulation. Any time you notice these signs he’s manipulating you, you need to run — FAST.
By RILEY REESE
I’ve seen a lot of relationships that started out nice, and then turned into a total mindfuck later on — both first and secondhand. Without fail, one of the key signs a relationship will turn into a draining, toxic, and potentially abusive disaster, has to be manipulation.
More specifically, I’ve noticed that it’s malignant manipulation that tends to signal the beginning of an unhealthy relationship. Though I’ve put up with it in the past, it’s now an instant dealbreaker.
The problem with manipulation is that it’s often extremely difficult to actually see the signs he’s manipulating you without being told what to watch out for.
While hindsight’s always crystal-clear, if you notice these issues in your relationship, it’s time to call it quits with the manipulative bastard — even if it means ghosting him.
He backpedals frequently, covers up jokes by saying “just kidding,” and writes off things you bring up as “ridiculous.”
To start this list, I’m going to talk about the “Toxic Trio” of manipulation. These behaviors involve some of the most damning signs he’s manipulating you, and is getting emotionally abusive with you.
Normal, decent human beings do not have to backpedal, because they don’t say things that would hurt their partners. Good, healthy relationships don’t involve constant backpedaling as a way to keep partners around.
Also, healthy partnerships definitely don’t have someone’s concerns written off as “ridiculous,” “crazy,” “over-sensitive,” or “selfish.” If you find him using these kinds of phrases around you, ghosting him is totally acceptable — since there’s a chance he’ll try to manipulate you into staying with you otherwise.
You are doubting yourself more and more.
One of the more subtle (and harmful) signs he’s manipulating you is if you find yourself asking if you really are being reasonable when you expect certain things of him, or if you regularly question what you see.
This is actually a sign of gaslighting, a form of emotional and mental abuse that involves a person manipulating you into thinking you’re crazy. If you used to be totally confident in yourself before you dated him, you’re almost certainly being gaslit.
At this point, your best bet is to leave him without warning, and block him from all social media. Once you dump him, you’ll probably realize that you’re not actually crazy — he was just driving you nuts.
He’s bullied you into stuff you didn’t want to do.
This is one of the signs he’s manipulating you that’s easier to spot, but harder to acknowledge. We all know what bullying looks like. The reason why it’s so hard to acknowledge is that no one wants to admit that they were bullied by a partner they’re in a relationship with.
Bullying in a relationship may include things like:
- Demanding to have threesomes or he’ll leave you
- Whining and constantly moaning when he doesn’t get his way, despite you saying it doesn’t make you comfortable
- Pouting and glaring when he’s out at parties with you, which in turn alienates you from the crowd
- Publicly humiliating you or making a scene knowing you won’t react
- Poking at your insecurities after you told him it hurts you
Bullies do not make good partners. Bullies do not change. The only way to better your relationship is to end it with the bully and never speak to him again
He threatens suicide, self-harm, or other issus that’d make you feel guilty if he doesn’t get his way.
This is NOT okay; and this isn’t just a sign that he’s manipulating you. This is a sign that he’s abusing you and emotionally blackmailing you into staying with him. This kind of guilt-tripping behavior is never acceptable, and is a surefire sign that you’re in a horrifyingly toxic relationship.
If he’s claiming to be suicidal, call 911 and report it. This way, he will be able to get the help he needs — or just learn that there are consequences to his behavior. After he gets released, drop him like the waste of a psych ward bed he is.
You’re scared to say ‘no’ to him, and find yourself tiptoeing around him.
Yeah, this is a sign he’s manipulating you — and a sign that the relationship will never be healthy. If you can’t say “no” to a partner, then you can’t be open with him.
If you can’t be open with your boyfriend, well, there’s usually a reason you feel that way. Even if the reason is on you, it says volumes about how you feel about the relationship, and how badly it’s affecting you.
Sadly, if you feel this way, it’s often past the point of no return.
You find yourself jumping through hoops just to keep him, knowing he doesn’t do the same for you.
A lot of men will use a “carrot” to manipulate women into doing what they want. Most often, it’s marriage or a baby. Speaking as someone who’s had that happen to her, I’ll be very frank with you: they’ll never give you the carrot.
One of the more telling signs he’s manipulating you is if he regularly dangles something over your head, such as commitment, a ring, or kids — in order to get you to put up with him or do things for him.
In this game, he’s playing (and yes, for him, it’s a game), he knows he has what you want. He just wants to see how far he can push you before you say enough is enough. He doesn’t care about you, otherwise, he wouldn’t have reduced the relationship to something so transactional.
Should you realize you’re being “carroted,” you need to leave. Don’t let him draw you back in. Even if you do get that carrot, is it really worth staying with a guy who would hurt you that badly just because he could?
If you raise any concern whatsoever, you’re sure your partner will somehow find a way to make it your fault.
Manipulators do not allow themselves to be in the wrong, which is why heavy manipulation is a sign you’re dating a narcissist, too. If you actually find yourself apologizing after you were the one voicing concern for behavior that he did, stop what you’re doing and break up with him.
There’s no way to work with someone who refuses to admit wrongdoing. If the only time he ever admits he’s wrong is when you are walking out the door, that’s a sign he’s manipulating you.
The only person whose behavior you’re responsible for is your own — and the same can be said for mistakes. If he’s trying to pin his bad behavior on you, you need to end things. It will not get better. He’ll always play the victim, so don’t try to save him.
The truth was, he was never a victim to begin with; just a villain.
He’s conveniently sick and needy when things don’t go his way.
One of the more obvious signs he’s manipulating you is him being needy, sick, or otherwise falling on bad times at unusually convenient moments. If you recently told him you’re going out for a party without him, and he suddenly calls claiming he’s sick, you have to wonder what’s up.
If this happens regularly, you’re being manipulated and you need to bail on him. Don’t feel guilty about it, either. People who would stoop that low deserve to be alone.
They’re super nice to you…but always expect payback.
Here’s the thing that you should learn about kindness: it’s not really kind or nice if you expect payback. This kind of behavior is why girls don’t like Nice Guys, and why Nice Guys make terrible boyfriends. It’s manipulative, straight up.
He’s constantly cool, calm, and collected — even when he should be annoyed or worried.
Sadly, that overly stoic to almost stony demeanor you might have found charming may actually be one of the more dangerous signs he’s manipulating you. You can thank The Red Pill and blackhat PUAs for this idea. It’s something manipulators call framing, and tends to be used in conjunction with gaslighting.
Basically, the idea is that you’ll give up trying to bring up points or that you’ll feel like you’re wrong for throwing a fit when he’s being emotionally abusive or neglectful. Don’t fall for it.
You’ve caught him talking smack about you to your friends, or spying on conversations as a way to alienate you from your crew.
Once again, this is a pretty dangerous sign that you’re being abused — and one of the more obvious signs he’s manipulating you. If he’s trying to turn people against you, or turn you against people who have always been there around you, it’s time to leave.
He’s manipulating you into isolation, and when you’re isolated, you can be controlled and abused more easily. If he makes a point of smearing your name to others, cutting off contact in full and setting the record straight with friends is advisable.
Finally, one of the biggest signs he’s manipulating you is if he stonewalls you or gives you the cold shoulder.
This is not okay, ever. It’s toxic, and often is a sign that your relationship is dead on arrival. In fact, stonewalling is considered to be one of the Four Horsemen of Relationships. So, if you’re seeing him give you the silent treatment you to “punish” you for slights, it’s time to call it quits.
Talking things out with him will never work, because of his need for control — and yes, if he’s manipulating you, it is about control. Moreover, do you really want to be with someone who punishes you with silence and cold shouldering? Probably not.