Manipulators can be hard to spot because they’re smart and skilled at their game. However, there are characteristics most of them have that can’t be hidden. If you notice any of these signs, get out while you can.
He controls how you feel about yourself. He controls the way you feel about everything, including yourself. If he treats you with respect and showers you with praises one day, you feel amazing. However, he dismisses you and barely shows interest in you the next day and you feel horrible. Your opinion of yourself is dependent on him, which means it’s constantly changing.
He bullies you. He doesn’t call you names but there’s something about his demeanor that makes you feel small. His stare and facial expressions are so intimidating that you can’t say no. So instead, you go along with everything he says—even when you don’t want to.
He brings out your insecurities. Manipulators are very intelligent. It’s like they have this ability to figure out your deepest insecurities and play with them for their own entertainment. He doesn’t straight up call you ugly or fat but he makes sly remarks that really hit home. If you’re dating someone who doesn’t make you feel amazing and confident, there’s a reason and whatever it is, it’s BS.
He’s always joking around. Everything is a joke to him—he even laughs through important conversations. Don’t confuse this behavior for shyness because that’s not it. He’s simply manipulating you. He doesn’t want you to know how he feels because he likes to keep you guessing. He doesn’t want there to be clarity—that’s a part of his game.
He doesn’t believe in simple favors. He never just does something out of the kindness of his own heart. If he takes out the trash, there are strings attached. Either he wants to throw that favor in your face or use it to prove how helpless you are without him. Regardless of his reasoning, you need to get out.
He threatens you. Does he use threats to persuade you to do something? If you don’t want to go to Jack in the Box for dinner, does he say, “Whatever, I’ll just go to the bar with my friends instead”? He puts you in situations where you lose either way. You don’t want Jack in the Box but you also don’t want him to “accidentally” cheat on you at the bar. Being threatened by someone you’re dating, no matter how small the threat is, isn’t OK and it’s a clear sign he’s a manipulator.
He gaslights you. He does shady things just for the hell of it. He lies and makes things up so that you feel like you’re losing your damn mind. You want to know whether or not he’s manipulating you? If you’re consistently questioning your own sanity, that’s a pretty clear sign that he is.
He gives you the silent treatment. He never tells you why he’s mad, he just goes quiet. He doesn’t respond to texts. He pretends he doesn’t get your calls. Most adults talk their frustrations out or at least try to but he doesn’t. He wants you to stress out and wonder what he’s thinking. He’s a manipulator. Fact.
He forces you out of your element. It’s one thing to date someone who welcomes you into their world, but it’s another thing entirely to date someone who forces you out of your comfort zone because they’re selfish. Do you feel like you’re adopting everything he’s interested in? That’s because he’s pushing you to do so.
He lets you know you’re an option. Manipulators are great at doing messed up crap in a low key manner. He might not flirt with other girls in front of you but he subtly lets you know he has options. Maybe he tells you stories about his female co-workers or constantly calls your best friend hot. The point is, he says things to make you feel insecure. He wants you to know just how lucky you are to be with him.
He makes you work for him. You’re always trying to impress him but does he try to impress you? Of course not. A relationship should consist of two people putting in the same amount of work to keep things afloat. If he never compromises or goes out of his way to make you happy, it’s because he doesn’t think or want to. He’s a selfish manipulator who only wants control, not love.
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