Sunday, May 1, 2011

7 Signs You're In A Manipulative Relationship

I was looking through some of my old/rejected proposals and came across one that grabbed my attention. The heroine's backstory had her involved in a relationship where her ex-fiancé manipulated and controlled her without her realizing it at the time. And that, of course, made her go overboard on being totally independent and not needing anyone in her life which presented a major roadblock to any future relationship with the hero.

While thinking about whether or not to revive the shelved project, I came across an article that listed seven signs that indicate someone might be in a manipulative relationship that certainly tied into my partially completed synopsis from years gone by. Coincidence or the universe talking to me? :)

My blog topics have been in a lighter vein for the most part, but this time I decided on this more serious topic.

According to Dr. Mary Casey, author of How To Deal With Master Manipulators, "Manipulators aim to control their partners by pressing the buttons that get them emotional, whether it be making them feel afraid, unworthy, stupid, insecure, angry or frustrated."

Manipulators are usually passive-aggressive in their dealings which differentiates them from domestic abusers who use violence. If you're sad more often than happy in your relationship and feel that something is wrong but you can't figure out what, that could point to a manipulative relationship.

1) You're always falling short of your partners expectations.
In an argument, the person being manipulated is often made to feel that they are at fault all the time. What's happening is that the manipulator is shifting blame to them in subtle ways by saying things like, "So we're going to have the big interrogation are we?" Or perhaps, "Are you going to get all emotional again?"

2) You often feel guilty in your relationship and are always looking to repair the 'damage.'
This is a skill used by manipulators who says things like, "You have trust issues—why don't you trust me?"

3) You don't often know where you stand with your partner.
A manipulator often uses threats, both concealed and open, to keep a partner anxious and holding onto the relationship. It could be something like, "I don't even know why I'm here anymore. This isn't working for me."

4) You often feel like you're walking on eggshells around him or her.
Sometimes you're given lots of love and affection then at other times you're given the cold shoulder for no apparent reason.

5) You feel confused in the relationship and keep questioning or blaming yourself for making your partner angry or frustrated.
Manipulators excel at never being to blame for any problem in a relationship.

6) You're unhappy in your relationship at least 90 percent of the time.
Bottom line—if this is the case, then it's time to reevaluate why you're with that person, whether your partner is a manipulator or not.

7) You're anxious (as in anxiety rather than excited) about telling your partner your plans or about something you bought.
If this is the case, there's a good chance you're being manipulated or controlled.

If a few (or several) of these statements define the relationship of someone you know, that person is most likely involved with a manipulator and a manipulator is unlikely to change. That person is better off getting out of the relationship immediately and not allow herself to be coerced back into it with promises of changed behavior patterns.


Tess MacKall said...

My oldest was in a manipulative relationship for nine months. I kept telling her---begging her to break up with the guy. But somehow she just couldn't. Her self esteem went so far down the tubes it was ridiculous. In just nine months, too.

When she did finally walk away and found someone nice and sweet, the nutcase actually had the nerve to send her an email telling her that she would not be happy if it weren't for him and his conditioning of her. That she should thank him for setting her right. HUH?

OMG...and this guy is only 20. How will he be by the time he is forty? I feel sorry for anyone who ends up with him. Last I heard? He had snagged himself a sixteen-year-old. Easier prey I guess.

Samantha Gentry said...

Tess: So glad your daughter was finally able to walk away from this jerk. As you said, if he was that proficient at manipulation at the age of 20, what will he be at 40. And she should thank him for "conditioning her?" But I guess such arrogance goes along with being a manipulator.

Thanks for your comment.

Cherie Le Clare said...

I've felt for many years that I'm stuck in this situation. Just can't seem to find the courage to walk away and start all over again. I think what holds me back is fear of censure from family, and also guilt - I'm not perfect either, unconditional love, till death do us part, etc.
Anyone out there who has experienced this and successfully let go then please share your story.

Cherie Le Clare said...

By the way, Samantha, you always post such great stuff on this blog - really amusing and informative at the same time. Thanks!

And I think using the theme of manipulative behavior in a relationship would make a fantastic story. Go for it!

Samantha Gentry said...

Cherie: Remember...guilt is something you do to yourself, not what someone else does to you. To leave a bad relationship is nothing to feel guilty about. You have to do what's best for you so you can get on with your life.

Thanks for your comments.

Harlie Reader said...

My first "adult" relationship was very much like all of the 7 signs. It was horrible. I got out when he decided that he wanted to hit me. I didn't let him and I turned away and never looked back. I was 20/21 at the time and never again have I been in that kind of situation again...

Great post.

Harlie Reader said...

I'm following you now......great blog.

Samantha Gentry said...

Harlie: Glad you were able to get out of that controlling relationship before it turned physically abusive.

Thanks for leaving a comment and the follow.

Cherie Le Clare said...

Sensible woman, Harlie. I should have left him the first time he hit me, but I covered it up and accepted his apology. More fool me. However, in my own defense I had two very young kids - one only 4 months old at the time - and was financially dependent, and couldn't face the shame of being a solo mother, I guess. That was back in the 70's. It's more acceptable now. But if he'd ever hit the children then that would have been my catalyst to leave.

Samantha Gentry said...

this is a test re: posting a comment

Molly Daniels said...

Trying this again....

This describes my relationship with The Idiot to a T:) Thankfully, I was able to get out of that 'relationship' within six months of hitting the bottom. I plan to show this to my daughter; she's 16 and he's 18...and schitzophrenic. She's broken up with him at least 3 times, only to have him guilt her into taking him back.

My worst moment? Sitting in the ER with her (she'd broken up with him; he turned and broke a large glass window, slicing his knee to the bone) and hearing her say, 'It was my fault...'

I said,'No, it was NOT your fault; he had a CHOICE.'

'Well, this shows he'd rather hurt himself than me.'

'What happens the next time, when the only thing to hit is YOU?'

'That won't happen.'

Snort. Yeah, right....

Samantha Gentry said...

Molly: Good luck with helping your daughter see the light. Hearing her say that it was obvious he would rather hurt himself than hurt her while she's in the ER with her leg sliced open in very scary. Sixteen is that difficult age when they truly believe they are adults when in reality they aren't. I hope you can get through to her.

Molly Daniels said...

Oh I know!! I was soooo hoping this relationship would 'burn out' after a few months, but her father threw a fit at New Years, and she nearly ran away. I've tried to get him to see the more he shows contempt for him, the more 'appealing' the b/f becomes.

I'd rather have them at my house, where I can keep an eye on them, but now they spend the majority of their time at his mom's, who smokes pot.

I did get her into counseling, but not seeing much progress. I've refused to let her get her driver's license until they break up for good, and taken away her phone. I've also restricted her visits to 3x's a week. Just trying to keep the lines of communication open, and hope he moves out of state with him mom P.D.Q.!

Sylvie said...

Great blog, Samantha, as always! and informative. Write the story, it'll be a hit!

Samantha Gentry said...

Molly: You've got a difficult and troubling situation on your hands. Good luck. I hope everything turns out well.

Samantha Gentry said...

Thanks, Sylvie. I plan to, as soon as I get more of a storyline together. Right now it's mostly backstory.