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Do you feel your partner is manipulating you? This is is how to know

Emotional Manipulation

“People who are drawn to manipulative individuals are often those who seek to bring happiness to others. These “people pleasers” are in search of happiness themselves, but may struggle with low self-esteem, making them prime targets. If you find that you have placed too much trust too frequently, and if your relationship has become something that makes your stomach churn, you may notice several warning signs that your partner is manipulating you.”

“It’s not me, it’s you.”

Do you often hear that you’re exaggerating your partner’s mistakes or behaviours, making things out to be bigger than they are? A manipulator would want you to think so. Once your partner identifies a weak spot in your defences, they will exploit it repeatedly to gain the upper hand, damaging your self-esteem or seizing opportunities to embarrass you with what hurts the most. On the same note…

Humiliation tactics

This involves a manipulator embarrassing you in front of others and then either acting like they didn’t realize it would hurt your feelings or acting like they don’t care. This undermines your self-esteem and can make the manipulator feel better about themselves, even if they don’t realize that’s why they’re doing it.

Blaming others

Your partner is unwilling to take responsibility for their poor behaviour and may resort to emotional blackmail such as intimidation, shaming, guilt-tripping, or threats. This could involve statements like “I’ll die if you leave me” or “How could you do this after what you did the other day?” Some manipulators may even use rage to control others.

“Foot-in-the-door” technique

Your partner makes a small request that is easy to agree to and then follows it up with his real request. This makes it hard for you to say no. If you do, your partner acts hurt or upset, making you out to be the bad guy. Now you’re on the defensive and your partner has won the round.

Guilt and shaming

Has your partner ever started a conversation that turned into, “You don’t love me enough,” or, “Why are you always on your butt watching TV or playing games?” A manipulator will try to make you feel like you never do enough, causing you to feel like her emotional problems are somehow your fault. Again, this brings down your self-esteem, making you a pliable, easy target.

Playing the innocent

Whenever there’s a conflict, your partner somehow makes himself out to be the injured party — every time. He ends up making you feel for him, and you sympathize with his bad experiences. You may even end up comforting him, apologizing for something (or everything), and telling him you’ll do better next time. How is it that he becomes the innocent party every time?

The Joker

A manipulative partner will make you feel intimidated, ashamed, and embarrassed when you’re together and when you’re out with friends. If this happens and a friend confronts your partner about being rude or insulting, your partner will often try to pass off offensive comments as “jokes.” However, those who are paying attention will hear the insulting undertones that are present beneath the “humour.”


Are you experiencing situations where your partner makes you feel like you are overreacting and then denies it? You are not alone. This behaviour is called gaslighting. In gaslighting, your partner distorts the truth or withholds information to make you question your own thoughts and sanity. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse and can be very disorienting.


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