The Mating Grounds

7 Sneaky Signs of Manipulation and What to Do About It

Manipulation is a negative behavior that we all want to avoid at all costs. It can be hard to spot, and sometimes it can be even harder to admit to ourselves that we are being manipulated.

So, let’s start by defining what manipulation really is.

Definition of Manipulation

Manipulation is a form of deception or negative behavior where someone tries to influence or control others for personal gain. It is usually done in a way that is subtle and hard to detect, but it can also be aggressive and obvious.

Signs of Manipulation

One of the first signs of manipulation is guilt-tripping, where the manipulator uses guilt to get their way. They may say things like “If you really loved me, you would do this for me” or “If you don’t do this, I will be very hurt.” By using guilt, the manipulator puts pressure on the other person to do what they want.

Gaslighting is another tactic used by manipulators. It involves making the other person doubt their own memory or perception of reality.

The manipulator may deny things that happened, or say that the other person is imagining things. This can make the victim doubt their own sanity, which makes them more vulnerable to manipulation.

Secrecy is also a sign of manipulation. The manipulator may keep things from the other person to control the situation.

They may hide things or keep secrets, which gives them an advantage over the other person. Finally, victim-playing is a common tactic used by manipulators.

They may try to make themselves seem like the victim, and get the other person to feel sorry for them. This makes the other person more likely to give in to their demands.

Identifying Manipulative Behavior

Now that we know what manipulation is and what the signs are, let’s look at some common tactics used by manipulators.

Deceptive Tactics

Manipulators often use deception to get what they want. They may lie or withhold information to control the situation.

They may also use fake kindness or feign concern, which makes the other person more likely to trust them.

Emotional Manipulation

Emotional manipulation is another tactic used by manipulators. They may use guilt-tripping, playing the victim, blaming others, or passive-aggressiveness to control the situation.

This can be very damaging, as it can make the victim feel like they are the problem.

Aggressive Behavior

Aggressive behavior is another tactic used by manipulators. They may start fights, raise their voice, or talk down to the other person.

They may also insist that they are always right, which makes it hard for the other person to express their own opinions.


Identifying manipulation can be hard, but by knowing the signs and tactics used by manipulators, we can protect ourselves from their negative behavior. By paying attention to our own feelings and perceptions, we can avoid falling into the trap of manipulation.

Remember, never let anyone manipulate you into doing something you don’t want to do. Stay strong, and don’t let anyone control your life.

Consequences of Manipulative Behavior

Manipulative behavior can have negative consequences on both the manipulator and the victim. Let’s explore some of the consequences that come with manipulative behavior.

Negative Impact on Relationships

Manipulation can cause relationships to become strained and trust to be lost between the parties involved. The victim may feel emotionally distressed, and the manipulator may feel isolated and alone as their behavior distances them from others.

This negative dynamic can cause long-term damage to relationships.

Outcomes of Manipulative Behavior

When manipulative behavior goes unchecked, it can result in the manipulator pushing away the people in their life. With their behavior driving people away, a manipulator may end up alone and without friends.

This isolation can lead to a lack of accountability and self-reflection, whereby the manipulator cannot recognize their actions as negative or harmful to themselves and others.

Examples of Manipulative Behaviors

Withholding Information or Lying

Manipulators often use lying or withholding information proactively to influence people and control the situation. For example, a manipulator may choose to keep important details from another person to get their way or trick them into doing something they would otherwise never do.

Playing the Victim

In some cases, manipulative individuals may even invent stories to gain unwarranted sympathy or coerce others into doing things for them. They may use supposed victimhood to guilt people into complying with their demands.

This kind of manipulation plays on the natural human impulse to help those in need and, thus, can be exceptionally effective.

Blaming Others for Actions

Manipulative individuals may lack accountability and choose to place the blame on someone else, rather than taking responsibility for their actions. This behavior can be harmful and can cause emotional distress for the individual who is being blamed for something they did not do.


Manipulators may use passive-aggressiveness when faced with situations that need an immediate response. Instead of being direct, a manipulator uses wordplay and misconstrues the other party’s words by interpreting them in a manner that is convenient and suits their situation.

This can lead to confusion and conflicts between the people involved.

Sabotaging Relationships

In some cases, manipulators may try to pit people against one another to manipulate situations to their advantage. They may use underhanded tactics to drive people away from each other, leaving them isolated and easier to control.

Raising Voice and Acting Hostile

Another tactic used by manipulators is aggressive behavior. When people are aggressive, it’s hard to say no or take a stand, which is what manipulators try to do.

By consistently being aggressive, a manipulator can influence people’s decisions and behavior.

Making Situations About Oneself

Manipulative individuals may have a self-centered mindset, which means that they only focus on how things affect them. They do not care about how their actions may impact others and are only concerned with fulfilling their desires.

Talking Down to People

Manipulators may use condescending language when communicating with others. This can cause the other person to doubt their ability to understand, causing the manipulator to get what they want.

Preying on Kindness of Others

Lastly, manipulative individuals may target those they believe can be manipulated for personal gain. They may create connections with people through false pretenses, which they can take advantage of later on.

In conclusion, manipulative behavior is harmful and can lead to significant consequences for both the manipulator and the victim. It is essential to recognize manipulative tactics so that we can safeguard ourselves from their negative effects.

By being aware of these behaviors, we can hopefully avoid manipulative individuals or, at the very least, protect ourselves from their actions. In conclusion, manipulative behavior is a negative influence on relationships and can have severe consequences for both the manipulator and the victim.

By understanding the signs and tactics used by manipulative individuals, we can protect ourselves and hopefully avoid being manipulated. Confronting the issue of manipulation is essential to maintain and preserve healthy relationships, as well as to ensure the safety of ourselves and those around us.

Recognizing manipulative behavior and taking action is the first step towards creating a more positive, honest, and transparent environment for us all.

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