9 Signs You’re Being Manipulated By Your Partner

It can be especially hard to see manipulation when it’s coming from the person you’re in love with, and being treated this way by the person you’re supposed to be able to feel safe with is highly damaging The sad fact is that it often goes under the radar because it’s easy to hide, hard to spot and even more difficult to prove. Here are some signs you’re being manipulated by your partner so that you can stop this behavior in its tracks and get out.

  1. They blame you for everything. Maybe they had a rough day at the office, didn’t get enough sleep, or the dog woke them up way too early. No matter what, it’s your fault. They blame you for things that have nothing to do with you to make you feel like somehow you did something wrong. That guilt builds in you so that you try to remedy a mistake you didn’t even make.
  2. They’re master secret keepers. People who manipulate their partners are often up to no good. They play at this air of mystery card when in reality they’re just doing horrible things behind your back. If you feel they’re hiding something and confront them on it, you’re the paranoid one. It’s all a big ruse to get you to feel as though you can’t trust yourself.
  3. You’re constantly taken advantage of. You don’t want to say no when your partner needs help with something or can’t figure out how to do something… and they know that. They know that your kindness knows no bounds and they use that to their advantage every single time.
  4. They joke about your insecurities on purpose. People who are manipulative need to get their partners to a certain level of self-esteem so they can really lay on the heavy stuff. They do this by picking down at you over time. That joke they told about your love handles? Yeah, they meant it to hurt even though they disguised it as playful banter. They want you to start picking yourself apart so they can get away with things easier.
  5. They’re passive-aggressive. You come home from work and your partner is clearly in a bad mood. They won’t tell you what’s wrong and are treating you as if you’re the reason they’re upset. They do this so that you’ll get into your head about it and start to wonder what you did wrong, when you messed up, and what you can do to fix this mystery mistake you made. This manipulation 101 tactic is designed to have you questioning yourself.
  6. They deny things to mess with your head. This one is tricky because it really plays on your version of reality. Even if it’s something ridiculous like them explaining the plot of a TV show and then reneging on it a while later when you’re watching it together, they’ll go to great lengths to deny things they said or did to make you feel as though you can’t trust your own memory.
  7. You feel trapped. If you feel as though you can’t make plans with your friends or family or have no say in the big stuff when it comes to your relationship, it’s bound to make you feel trapped and out of control. They want you to feel that way so that you feel as if you have no way out.
  8. You feel obligated to do things so they don’t get upset. Maybe they’ve never flat out verbally attacked you for not making dinner but if you’re exhausted from work and feel scared to tell your partner that you don’t want to make dinner out of fear that they’ll be short with you—because they’ve often been short with you when you don’t do things for them—it’s a sign you’re being manipulated. You shouldn’t have to do anything for fear of repercussions in a relationship.
  9. They push all your buttons and then treat you like you’re overreacting. This is one of the more obvious signs of manipulation when you take a few steps back and really look at it. Maybe your partner is being overly annoying on purpose. They’re pushing all your buttons in their fun and playful way knowing full well you’re going to get actually irritated. When you do finally get upset, they act like you’re the one with the problem. They do this so that you feel as though you can’t react to situations that bother you so if they do end up doing something horrible, you’ll feel less inclined to speak up for yourself. Don’t let them get away with it.
Angelica Bottaro has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Trent University and an Advanced Diploma in Journalism from Centennial College. She began her career as a freelance writer in 2014, racking up bylines in The Good Men Project, MakeWell, LymeTime, YouQueen, and more. She eventually shifted her focus and began writing about mental health, nutrition, and chronic disease for VeryWell Health.

You can follow her on Facebook or check out her website at AngelicaBottaro.ca. She also posts on Instagram @a.ct._b and Twitter @angiiebee.