It's never easy to realize that someone you care about might be manipulating you. However, understanding the signs of a master manipulator can help you identify the behavior before it causes serious damage. Manipulation can come in many different forms, and it's often subtle enough that you don't even realize what's happening.
Signs of a Master Manipulator
At first, master manipulators come off as sincere, compassionate, and charming. They may appear kind, gentle, and calm. This is just a tactic to lure you closer and get you to trust them early on.
Once they have you in a relationship and in a vulnerable position, they will start to utilize their tactics of deception that they have become experts at.
Learn the signs of manipulation and how to overcome people manipulating you. Remember, many of the signs and characteristics of manipulation are subtle and can come off as general concern.
Keep these in mind:
1. They often lack insight into their behaviors and actions.
They will believe wholeheartedly that their way is the only way to deal with things because it ensures their needs are met and as long as it is beneficial to them, that’s all that matters in a manipulator’s mind.
2. They avoid taking responsibility and accountability for any of their actions or behaviors.
Oftentimes, you will hear a manipulator say "If so and so didn’t approach me that way, I wouldn’t have had to act that way" or something similar to that. They do know the meaning of responsibility but they will not hold themselves accountable nor will they listen to anyone who tries to hold them accountable.
Manipulators place the responsibility of their needs in your hands and as a result, you ignore your own needs.
3. They often criticize and judge you.
They tear you down to little bits and pieces. While they will talk down to you and judge your actions, behavior, and character, they provide no solutions or alternatives in order for it to be constructive.
4. They will isolate you from what you cherish most.
This includes friends, family, school, or work. They may threaten to ruin things in your life as a scare tactic.
5. They will distort the truth or facts.
This often depends on how beneficial something is to them.
6. They bombard victims with statistics and data.
Often, they do this for subjects or topics you may not know a lot about.
7. They give you little to no time to make a choice or decision.
This is to put pressure on victims to make a quick and possibly irrational decision that benefits the manipulator.
8. They pretend they don't understand you.
By pretending that they don't understand what another person is saying, manipulators feel that they shouldn't be held accountable or responsible because they will justify their actions and behaviors by saying they didn't get what the other was saying.