The following signs of a manipulative man are listed in no particular order.
I have included a section about the signs to watch out for in the early phase of intimate relationships because these signs are often very different from later on in the relationship.
Very often the victim is the last one to realize that they are in an abusive situation. This is the nature of mind control. If after reading the list here, you are still not sure, then go through the list again with a trusted friend (not the suspected manipulator!). It's often easier for outsiders to see what is going on because their thinking has not been affected in the same way as that of the victim.
Towards the end I make some suggestion about what to do, with links to other articles with more details, so that you can begin to make informed decisions about what is the best course of action for you to take.
He talks a lot.
He has lots of stories about how successful he has been.
He tells lots of lies.
He is always right. You are always wrong.
He has no problem pointing out other people's faults and mistakes but refuses to acknowledge his own.
If anything goes wrong around him, it's always your fault!
He knows an awful lot about you and you realize you don't actually know that much about him.
In fact, you may learn unpleasant things about him only after you are fully committed in a relationship.
He doesn't seem to have any real friends. He may have various people that he hangs out with every now and then but there is no true loyalty to anybody.
He gives the impression of knowing a lot about everything. However, when you question him in detail you realize his knowledge is actually quite superficial.
He decides what you need to know and when.
He does not forgive. He will bring up your past mistakes and errors over and over again to make you feel bad.
You are expected to forgive him every little thing.
He plays the victim role very well.
Many things are black-and-white for him. He is superior. He does things the right way. Your opinions never count.
He steals other people's ideas and claims them as his own.
He tricks people into doing his work for him.
He has a series of reasons and justifications for anything he does.
He doesn't apologise. If he does, it's a lie because he's doing the same bad behaviour again five minutes later.
He calls you names.
He puts you down frequently.
He swears at you a lot.
He may go days without talking to you.
He refuses to talk about certain subjects.
He may disappear for days on end without an explanation.
He makes you feel special, unique.
You feel like you've met your soulmate and you only know him a few hours.
There are lots of compliments, even flattery.
He has loads of time for you. (That's because he has no real friends!)
He makes you feel that he gets you, he understands you like nobody ever has before.
You feel like he's the perfect partner for you.
He seems flawless.
Your friends and family warn you about him but you dismiss it, thinking that they don't know him like you do.
He makes you feel safe, confident that you can trust him completely. (Later, you become aware that the safety and security has to do with him. He doesn't make you feel good about yourself for the sake of making you feel good about yourself, it's all tied to him, it's all conditional on him being around.)
He makes you feel great, like all this is never going to end.
He asks you what your wildest dreams and desires are and offers to go on that journey with you. Of course, that never happens.
He seems too good to be true (that's because he is!)
He keeps trying to blame you for everything while you have a sneaky suspicion that it's actually him, but you can't work it out.
You have thought about leaving the relationship on many occasions, you even know you should, but the idea of being without him is terrifying.
There's lots of chaos and drama. Your life is basically careening around from one crisis to the next.
You are on an emotional rollercoaster and you're so used to it you don't even recognize it anymore.
You may not realize how much guilt you are living with. He makes you feel guilty about your thoughts, emotions, behaviours, your past, your job, your family, not being good enough, being better than him, your clothes, your hair, your weight, your body and on and on and on…
You also quite afraid of him but may not think of it in those terms. You constantly think about what you are doing to make sure he doesn't get upset.
When he does get upset you know that life is going to be miserable for you. He may have a vicious temper.
This kind, caring creature at the start of the relationship has now turned into this grumpy, demanding monster. You hardly recognise the demon that comes through the front door in the evening.
He has threatened physical violence or actually used violence against you and you still can't get out.
If you recognize many of these signs of a manipulative man in your own life then this is simply not acceptable. I know it's not easy to just walk out. Because of the nature of mind control you have been made dependent on the abuser.
Understanding what exactly is being done to you is fundamental in terms of being able to make decisions and act on them. You need to learn about mind control to understand how you are being manipulated. You need to understand the nature of the person you're dealing with. Is he a psychopath, sociopath or narcissist?
Having this information is vital in order to know how to proceed.
Some people need to understand what they're dealing with to recognize that they're in a bad situation and they need to leave. Others need to undo some of the control in order to be able to make the decision and actually leave. And others are in such a bad situation that they simply need to run and deal with the situation from a safe environment away from the manipulator.
Read more about whether a controlling person can change or not, the symptoms of antisocial personality disorder, how to detect a sociopath, the stages of an abusive relationship, things manipulative people say, how to forget a sociopath and healing from emotional abuse.
Would you like to talk to someone about your situation?
If you think you are or have been in a cult or a destructive relationship, or a friend or family member might be in a cult and you want to talk to someone, send me a message on the Contact page and we can arrange to talk. All communication will be treated in the strictest confidence.
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