Is He Manipulating You? Here Are The Signs

Emotional manipulators know how to twist your mind and feelings to benefit their own agenda, and the worst part of their little game is that half the time, you don’t even know it’s happening. If you notice any of these warning signs from a guy you’re dating, watch out — he’s trying to exploit you.

  1. Somehow everything ends up being your fault, even when it’s not. You go to his place feeling angry with him and then you end up being the one to apologize. He can’t accept responsibility for his actions, so instead he lets you take the blame. In the end, your guilt is his victory.
  2. He diminishes your feelings. Do your feelings have any worth? Does your hurt and anger even resonate with him? If every time you try to express yourself, he shuts you down, then he’s manipulating your feelings. He wants you to feel as if you’re constantly dramatic and overreacting. In reality, it’s just another excuse for him to not give a crap about how you feel.
  3. Your happiness depends on his. When he’s happy with you, you’re happy. But when he’s hurt, angry, or dismissive, then you’re miserable. Your happiness can’t depend on the state of your relationship. He’s controlling your every emotion, and the sad part is, you’re letting him.
  4. You’re afraid to say no to him. Do you dare defy him? It may sound dramatic, but if you can’t easily say “no” to the man in your life, then it’s pretty damn clear he’s in charge. Why do you let him be your keeper? You’re not a dog disobeying its owner, you’re a human being — so stop letting him treat you like anything less.
  5. He takes back his words. You make plans and he doesn’t show up. When you’re rightfully angry about it, he denies ever agreeing to said plans. It’s not poor memory. It’s just an excuse. He doesn’t have to stand by his word, because his word means nothing to him, and neither do you.
  6. He justifies his control with insecurity. His last girlfriend really hurt him, so he holds out on committing to you. He’s been cheated on before, so he always has to know where you are and what you’re doing. It’s not you, it’s him, and he uses that logic to control your every move.
  7. You start to hate yourself. Everything is your fault and you are nothing without him — or so he’d like you to believe. He’s in constant control of your self-esteem. You only feel good when he makes you feel good about yourself, but if you’re not in his favor, you’re nothing.
  8. He plays you hot and cold. When you do something good, his love is unconditional, but when you step out of line, he’s never afraid to hold the fear of a breakup over your head. You’re always in his debt. He sticks around and he’s there for you, so you owe him —or at least that’s how he makes you feel.
  9. He reminds you that he has options. He wants you to feel like the lucky one in the relationship. He could have any woman he wants and he chose you. Wow, aren’t you special? Instead of building you up, he tears you down with the reminder that you could easily be replaced.
  10. He makes you feel small. Little by little, he breaks apart your self-worth until there is nothing left. You’re not as intelligent as he is, not as good looking. There’s nothing special about you. It’s emotional bullying and you don’t even realize it. That’s the beauty of his manipulation — it’s practically invisible.
Kelsey Dykstra is a freelance writer based in Huntington Beach, CA. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from Grand Valley State University and been writing professionally since graduating in 2013. In addition to writing about love and relationships for Bolde and lifestyle topics for Love to Know, she also writes about payment security and small business solutions for PaymentCloud.

Originally from Michigan, this warm weather seeker relocated to the OC just last summer. Kelsey enjoys writing her own fictional pieces, reading a variety of young adult novels, binging on Netflix, and of course soaking up the sun.

You can find more about Kelsey on her LinkedIn profile or on Twitter @dykstrakelsey.