13 Mind Games You’ll Deal With When Dating A Manipulator

The worst thing about master manipulators is that they’re often so skilled with their techniques that you don’t even realize what’s happening, other than perhaps feeling like something’s not quite right. If you notice your guy playing any of these mind games, chances are he’s manipulating you:

  1. He uses charm to get his own way. You know that charm is sometimes used by manipulators as a way to get what they want, but it can also be a tactic they turn to when they want to distract you from something. The classic example: buying you flowers or planning an exciting holiday when they’ve upset you so you forget all about their bad behavior.
  2. Whenever you call him out, he plays the victim card. Ugh, it’s so annoying dealing with a guy who loves to play the “poor me” role in the relationship. A manipulator will often play this role when he wants to make you out to be the bad guy so you can feel guilty instead of him. For example, if you’re angry at how he didn’t text you back about something important, he’ll go to town with an excuse about how terrible his day was so you can feel sorry for him.
  3. He preys on your good side. Sadly, a manipulator will see your kindness as weakness and your ability to give the benefit of the doubt as something that makes you an easy target. For example, when you confront him about how his flirtatious comments to other women aren’t right, he’ll say, “How can you doubt that I love you?” He knows how to lay it on thick to get back into your good books.
  4. He regularly backtracks on his words. It’s enough to make you crazy when your manipulator tells you something and then later pretends that he never said it. WTF? You might think you’re the one who’s losing the plot. It’s a clever way to keep you on your toes and make you doubt yourself.
  5. He’s passive-aggressive. A manipulator will get others to tell you what you’re doing wrong because he’s too much of a coward to face up to you. He’s also the type of guy who’ll pretend to be A-okay with everything, only to seethe on the inside — you never know what he’s really like because he’s so false.
  6. He says what you want to hear in order to shut you up. The manipulator will promise to be there for you when you need him just to tell you what you want to hear, but then he’ll totally disappoint you by not being there when the day comes. His actions and words are worlds apart.
  7. He uses your insecurities against you. First, the manipulator will point out your weaknesses, like how you’re too much of a nice person that your loved ones take advantage of it. Then, he’ll use it to manipulate and control you, perhaps by saying that you should stay away from them because they don’t appreciate you. You think he’s doing something good for you, but he’s just getting to control you more.
  8. He hurts you so he doesn’t have to explain himself. You ask your boyfriend why he didn’t text you all weekend and he’ll say something hurtful. He might say that you’re the one who’s crazy and clingy, for instance. It’s a clever way to make you feel like crap and gives him a chance not to have to explain himself.
  9. He gives you the silent treatment. This is one of the most childish ones. The manipulator won’t engage in conversation with you when he’s upset, and he might not even make eye contact. He’s hoping that during the silence you’ll feel bad about how hurt he is. It’s a form of punishing you. It’s total BS!
  10. He always seems like he’s buying time during an argument. It might seem like the gentlemanly thing to do when your BF makes you speak first during an argument, but if he’s a manipulator, it could be a clever tactic for him to listen to what you say so he can pick out any weaknesses to use against you. He’s also probably using the time to come up with a convincing lie.
  11. He bullies you intellectuallyDuring a conversation or argument, the manipulator might try to use statistics and facts (they might not even be legit) to win, make himself seem more powerful and shut you up.
  12. He makes you feel outnumbered. A manipulator will try to make it seem like you’re being silly or crazy by telling you that other people agree with him about you being wrong. This is also a clever tactic to isolate you from your loved ones and giving the manipulator control over you.
  13. He fools you into thinking you’re contributing to a healthy relationship. The manipulator will be needy and if you’re the type of person who believes compromise and support are important, then you might find yourself trying to fulfill all their needs and wants. The manipulator will make you feel that this makes for a healthy relationship. The minute you try to pull back and save some resources for yourself, you’ll be labeled selfish and unfair. Really, the issue for the manipulator is that he’s not getting what he wants anymore. He doesn’t actually care about you or the relationship — he only cares about himself.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.