The following examples of manipulation in relationships are in no particular order. If you want to know about the different phases of an abusive relationship you can read about the stages of an abusive relationship here.
Let's get straight into it...
Are you criticized or ridiculed on a regular basis and when you get upset, you are told by your partner that they were joking and that you take things too seriously?
Are there frequent comments about your hair, clothes etc so that you feel that you want to change them to please your partner?
Are you teased and made fun of, or personal information about you is shared in public?
Do you get the silent treatment on a regular basis? Or does your partner disappear, sometimes for days on end, often without telling you where they are?
Are you made to feel that everything that goes wrong is your fault? Even things that are blatantly not your responsibility?
Does you partner not apologize when they do something upsetting but rather they blame you for having to engage in their bad behavior?
Are you kept in the dark about the finances in the relationship? Do you have to explain where your money goes but your partner can spend as they wish?
Have you caught your partner out in lies a lot? Do you suspect that they may be lying to you but it drives you crazy trying to figure out what's actually going on?
Are they gaslighting you? This is where they claim that something happened but you think it did not, or vice versa, they claim something never happened but you know for sure that it did? Do you doubt yourself in such situations, wondering if they might be right because they seem so sure of themselves?
Do you wonder sometimes how this person who supposedly cares for you, or even loves you, can treat you so coldly and cruelly?
Do they criticize you a lot but not offer solutions? Do they criticize other people a lot, too? Do they hate when anyone criticizes them?
Are you afraid of your partner? (Be honest!)
Are you made to feel guilty about a range of things? Your body, your weight, your family, your friends, your job, your hobbies, your likes and dislikes, your past and so on...
Do they threaten to leave the relationship when you go against them so that you just give in and give them what they want? (because you are afraid that you will lose them...)
If you are not sure, find out! It's very important!
Does your partner have few real friends of their own? Do they make your friends theirs as well? Or do they criticize your friends so that you end up spending less and less time with your friends?
Were the initial stages of the relationship fantastic but now you hardly recognize the person you fell in love with?
Do your friends and family tell you that they don't recognize you anymore? Do you feel that you don't know who you are any more, that you have lost yourself in the relationship?
Does your partner usually complain that they are the ones who are suffering, they play the victim role quite well?
Are you told that nobody else wants you, that you are lucky to be in a relationship at all?
Are you made to feel stupid, inferior or "less than"?
Were there lots of nice moments at the start of the relationship but now these nice moments are few and far between?
Does your partner promise to change but the changes last a few days or even a few hours before they are doing the same horrible things again?
Do you have arguments about the same things over and over? Does it seem like your partner just doesn't seem to get what you are talking about? They can't seem to understand your point of view? Or you think that you are unable to communicate well with them? (The thing is that they know exactly what you want, they are just not giving it to you!)
What about flirting with others and then calling you jealous? Or doing things that make you angry and then claiming that you have anger issues? Or starting arguments and calling you argumentative?
Did they call and text a lot at the start of the relationship but now the contact when you are not together is minimal?
Are you treated like an object at times?
Do you spend most of your time making sure they won't be upset by anything you say or do?
Do they expect their needs and wants to be catered for before yours? Every time?
When they are not with you and you want to do something, do you ask yourself what they will think if you do it? If you consider that they would be annoyed, do you not do it?
Does your partner turn up late for events, and you think it's on purpose? Do they promise to do things and when they don't actually do them, they claim they forgot? Or do they give you bad information wasting your time and money?
Do they tell you how to solve issues and when things don't work out, they blame you, saying it's because you didn't follow their advice (orders!) properly?
Do you feel that there is something off in the relationship but you can't quite put your finger on it? Do they blame you for this but you secretly suspect it's them?
There are lots of double standards. They criticize others for various reasons but they do all the same things and always have justifications why it's ok for them to do so.
They can make you feel fantastic but they can also make you feel miserable, humiliated and miserable. There is more of the latter as the relationship proceeds.
You feel rushed a lot of the time. Your life is full of deadlines, emergencies and crises. You don't have a minute for yourself to reflect on your life.
Repeated physical abuse usually indicates that there is psychological abuse keeping you in the relationship. Physical abuse includes not only putting their hands on you but also punching walls or doors near you, throwing things at you, smashing stuff around you and so on.
If you recognize many of these examples of manipulation in relationships, then you really do need to do something about it. Your partner is not going to stop. Their relationships are based on exploitation and domination. You have to put a stop to it by leaving the situation.
If you want a more detailed explanation of how manipulation works, read more examples of coercion in relationships.
You can read more about the power dynamics in abusive relationships in these articles 2 about narcissistic boyfriends and narcissistic husbands. There are important ideas, too, about how they make you dependent on them, more signs of a manipulative boyfriend, controlling wives, how to leave an abusive relationship, and recovering from a psychopathic relationship.
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