Are You Really The Problem, Or Is He Manipulating You Into Thinking You Are?

If you’re unhappy in your relationship and you feel strangely guilty even though you didn’t do anything wrong, you might have a manipulative partner. They’re masters of making you feel like the problem when you’re not and you should stay away from them at all costs. Here are some ways to spot a manipulator before you get in over your head:

  1. He seems too good to be true. Usually, when a guy seems too perfect, there’s a reason for it. He’s not being his true self — he’s presenting himself a certain way so that you’ll fall for him. Once you’re in his clutches, he’ll start messing with your head. If he seems to have no apparent flaws and glosses over certain topics, pay attention. If you have a sneaking suspicion he’s not being honest, he probably isn’t.
  2. He says everything you want to hear. It’s as if you built yourself a robot boyfriend — he always says and does exactly the right thing. He’s a perfect gentleman… for now. He seems to know everything you want to hear, and that’s not a good thing. He’s conforming to what you want so that he can lure you in and convince you to stick with him. Later, when he begins playing games, you’ll be emotionally involved and it’ll be much harder to recognize.
  3. He makes you feel silly or foolish. A man who truly cares for you will never shame you or tease you endlessly until you feel bad about yourself. He wants to lift you up, not drag you down. A manipulator, though, will absolutely milk any self-doubts or insecurities you have in order to control you. If he makes you feel crappy, get away fast.
  4. He blames his fluctuating emotions on you. You never know he’s going to feel or behave, so you’re a constant bundle of nerves. You have to be alert so you can anticipate what he’ll do next and modify your own behavior accordingly. It’s exhausting. You shouldn’t have to live that way. You deserve someone consistent and caring who’s stable and doesn’t give you anxiety.
  5. He tries to guilt you into things. He knows you aren’t okay with something but he tries to make you do it anyway. This is one of the most disrespectful behaviors in the world and absolutely unacceptable in a partner. The last thing that someone who cares for you wants is for you to feel obligated to do something that upsets you. Don’t put up with that kind of treatment.
  6. He’s always keeping score. He holds grudges, and any time the two of you have a conflict, he brings up little stuff from way back. You always feel as if you owe him something; in time, you even grow to dread any nice gesture he makes because you know there’s a price attached. This isn’t love — it’s dysfunctional as hell. Real love doesn’t keep score.
  7. He uses your vulnerabilities against you. He knows your weaknesses and uses them to manipulate you to get what he wants. He takes the time to get to know you, but only because he wants to see what makes you tick so he can undercut you later. It’s truly messed up. This is how he traps you in an unhappy relationship and then convinces you that you can’t have anything better.
  8. He plays your friends and family. Manipulators are master charmers, and this guy knows exactly what to say and do to make everyone else fall in love with him. If you finally try to stand up for yourself, they’ll all be so deep in his pocket that they won’t believe you. They simply can’t imagine he would be capable of treating you badly. That’s how good he is at the game. If you suspect that he’s trying a bit too hard to butter up everyone in your life, watch out.
  9. He seems to be in a good mood when you’re unhappy. It should be the opposite, but this guy thrives on making you miserable. He hates it when you’re feeling good about yourself because that means he’s in danger of losing control. By keeping you down, he maintains his power in the relationship. No wonder he’s smug whenever you’re sad — he has you exactly where he wants you. Get away!
  10. He can’t stand it when you behave independently. Again, your independence is a warning signal that he’s losing his hold on you. He can’t stand the idea of you getting away because then he doesn’t have any way to feel dominant. He’s incredibly insecure, which is why he manipulates. You need to be careful when you start disengaging. It makes him feel threatened and that’s when things could get really nasty.
  11. He tries to make you doubt yourself. You will never feel this way in a healthy relationship. A good partner will always be proud of you and support you in everything you want to achieve. A manipulator wants nothing more than to have the upper hand. He’ll play on your emotions and sow tiny seeds of worry in your brain until you feel like you’re going crazy. The scariest part is that he can do all that and make it feel like it’s entirely your fault. Don’t put up with someone who keeps you under his thumb.
A former actress who has always loved the art of the written word, Amy is excited to be here sharing her stories! She just completed her first novel, and is also a contributor for Elite Daily, Dirty & Thirty, and Thought Catalog. Amy is the founder of What If Journey and can be found on Twitter @amyhorton18. You can also visit her website at