Written & Reviewed by
Gaston Molina
Published on
July 5, 2023

What is Manipulation?

Manipulation is a tactic used by someone to control or influence another person’s behavior or actions for their own benefit. It can be a subtle or overt process and can happen in any type of relationship, including romantic relationships, friendships, and family relationships.

Manipulators can be anyone from a partner to a boss to a friend. The key to manipulation is that the manipulator is using the other person for their own gain, often without any regard for their feelings or mental health.

The Signs of Manipulation in Relationships

One of the first signs of manipulation is when one partner is always trying to control the other. This can take many forms, from telling the other person what to do to making decisions without their input, to limiting their access to friends and family.

Another common sign of manipulation is when one partner is constantly putting the other down or making them feel inferior. This can be done through verbal abuse or by belittling their accomplishments.

Manipulators will often use guilt to get their way. They may make the other person feel guilty for not doing what they want or for not being there for them when they need it.

They may also use fear, threatening consequences if the other person does not comply with their demands. For example, a manipulative partner may threaten to leave if the other person doesn’t do what they want or may threaten to harm themselves if the other person doesn’t stay with them.

Common Tactics Used By Manipulators

Manipulators use many different tactics to get what they want. One of the most common is gaslighting, where the manipulator makes the other person doubt their own thoughts and feelings.

For example, they may deny that something happened that the other person clearly remembers, making the other person question their own perception of reality.

Another tactic is love-bombing, where the manipulator showers the other person with attention and affection to make them feel special and then withdraws it when they don’t get what they want.

Manipulators may also use triangulation, where they bring a third person into the relationship to create tension and jealousy. They may use silent treatment, withholding communication or affection until the other person complies with their demands. And they may use projection, accusing the other person of doing something that they are actually doing themselves.

The Effects of Manipulation on the Victim

Being in a manipulative relationship can have a profound impact on the victim. They may experience anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. They may begin to doubt their own perceptions and feel like they are going crazy. They may feel isolated from friends and family and may even begin to question their own worth as a person. In severe cases, manipulation can lead to physical violence or even death.

How to Deal with Manipulation in a Relationship

If you suspect that you are in a manipulative relationship, it’s important to take action.

The first step is to recognize the signs of manipulation, as described above. Once you’ve identified that you are being manipulated, it’s important to set boundaries with the manipulator. This may mean telling them that their behavior is unacceptable and refusing to engage with them until they change their behavior.

It’s also important to seek support from friends, family, or a therapist. Talking to someone you trust can help you gain perspective on the situation and give you the strength to make changes. If the manipulator is unwilling to change their behavior, it may be necessary to end the relationship.

Seeking Help for Manipulation in Relationships

If you are in a manipulative relationship and feel like you can’t get out, there is help available. You can seek support from a therapist who can help you identify the signs of manipulation and provide you with tools to deal with it.

Preventing Manipulation in Future Relationships

Once you’ve been in a manipulative relationship, it’s important to take steps to prevent it from happening again. One of the most important things you can do is to trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. You should also set clear boundaries with your partner and be willing to enforce them. And finally, make sure to take care of yourself and prioritize your own mental and physical health.


Manipulation in relationships is a serious problem that can have devastating consequences. It’s important to recognize the signs of manipulation and take action if you suspect that you are being manipulated.

Remember, you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity in your relationships. If you are struggling with manipulation, there is help available. Take the first step today and reach out for support.

If you or someone you know is experiencing manipulation in a relationship, reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist for support. Remember, you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity in your relationships.

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