In relationships, manipulation is a serious problem because it’s sneaky. Some people don’t even know they are being manipulated, they assume their partners are just acting up or doing things to protect their interests.
The sad thing about being with a manipulative partner is their ability to turn things against you in a flash. They can easily twist your words and actions so that it seems like every mistake you ever made was your idea. They switch from aggressors to victims quickly that their partners start doubting themselves and their sanity.
They can make you feel crazy, like you are not in control of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. And it can go on forever before you realize what is actually happening. They say or do one thing today, deny it the next day and make it look as if you are lying if you state what they said or did to you. If you are not careful with such people, you will lose yourself.
Many women don’t know they are being manipulated by the men they love and can do anything for. These women who sometimes give up their families, careers and friends for manipulative men don’t know that they are digging their graves. A man who truly loves a woman won’t isolate her from the people who have been her source of strength and support. That’s a huge red flag that many Nigerian women overlook while dating. They call it love but it’s manipulation and control and it’s unhealthy.
You are supposed to receive love, care, and support in your relationship, but if you end up being controlled like a puppet by your partner, you are with a manipulative person. If you want to look out for yourself while showing your partner how much you love them, you should know some of the most common manipulation tricks available and simple ways to resist them.
In manipulative relationships, you are always the guilty one. Manipulators are excellent at making you feel guilty. Have you ever asked your partner for help and received an answer along the lines of “Don’t you think I might be busy? I have told you before I have lots of things to do! Why do you always think only about yourself?” And here you are, guilty just for asking for help.
You should realize that your partner is trying to control you. Stay calm because if you get angry, they will turn things against you and the world will believe their lies. Remind them that as an adult, they are supposed to be responsible for their own behaviour.
Manipulative partners are always victims being treated badly. Who wouldn’t feel pity for a poor, maltreated person? That’s how manipulators want you to see them. They want the world to always see them as victims and you as a bad partner.
They make you believe that their life is so extremely difficult and full of misery that you should definitely feel compassionate about their misfortunes even when they don’t give a hoot about your own life and problems
Manipulators use this trick to ask for favours or when they are trying to avoid responsibility. If you notice that your partner often feeds you tons of emotional stories about the misfortunes of their life, this might be the case.
However, don’t confuse this with your partner sharing their feelings with you, which they do to get support as it should be in healthy relationships. A manipulator tries to get benefits or dodge responsibilities.
If a manipulator is out of arguments, they might try to provoke you as a last resort. They might say things that would make a normal person question a manipulator’s sanity or do anything to trigger negative emotions and make you angry.
The purpose of this is to involve you in a pointless quarrel and make you say something that the manipulator can use in their defence. Tell them that what they are saying makes no sense and you are guaranteed to see a display of hidden madness.
I know a man who wakes his wife in the middle of the night to insult her and when she retaliates, he tells her that she is disgracing herself as their neighbours can hear her insulting him. He has been doing this for years and the woman is tired of him provoking her and blaming her afterwards for reacting.
If you spot this behaviour, it’s essential that you stay calm and don’t give in to provocations. Just try to bring the conversation back to the topic. But if your partner goes on behaving this way, it’s better to end the conversation politely.
Another thing manipulators have in common is that they don’t really care about you. If you want to talk about your problems and share your feelings, a manipulative partner is very likely to avoid the conversation and pretend they are busy. They can also turn the conversation toward their problems.
You can protect yourself from this behaviour by refusing to allow them change the topic to their own problems. Maintain your stand and let them know that you are sharing your problems because you are both in a relationship.
If you always hear I will die without you, you are dealing with a manipulative partner. This manipulative technique is commonly called emotional blackmail and is arguably selfish. The manipulator plays on your feeling of fear and guilt, imposing responsibility for their life and health on you.
To avoid being manipulated this way, you have to remember that it’s only a threat your partner uses to ensure their own well-being. You also need to remind your partner that you are not responsible for their decisions.
Another nasty technique manipulators use against their partners is called gaslighting. It’s based on distorting the past and twisting facts to put the manipulator in the most comfortable position and confuse you.
If you constantly hear these sentences, “No, I most definitely didn’t call you that. What? I would remember if you asked for help. Something is wrong with you today”, your partner is manipulating you.
Some manipulators use this trick so skillfully that you begin to question your memory or state of mind. They try to make it look as if you are going crazy by denying the horrible and hurtful things they told you or did to you. But it’s easy not to fall into this game.
If you are dealing with someone who is used to manipulating you, you need to constantly rely on your memory. Be sure you remember things as they were.
You can also record your conversations with them on the phone without their knowledge and play it when they start denying what they said. Insist that you remember perfectly what you said, but don’t quarrel with them.
Manipulators are like a broken record. They don’t want to discuss your common problems. They sneakily lead you to believe that your discussion is over before it actually is. That’s why you start your old arguments over and over again.
It’s actually easier to get walls talking than to make a manipulator change their standpoint, but you shouldn’t play their games by always keeping in mind the topic of discussion. You should also remember what caused the problem and why you started the conversation in the first place but don’t deviate.
Manipulators use tricks to get what they want from you. They exaggerate a request to an enormous extent and then follow it up with their real, seemingly smaller request.
When they do this, you are more likely to choose the one that’s easier to fulfil. But the trick here is that you don’t have to choose because they love to be in control. It’s easy to avoid this trick when you refuse to allow them to have their way all the time.
Manipulators are good at playing dumb just to frustrate you. Pretending you don’t understand something is doubtlessly a childish trick, but it’s not a problem for manipulators. They use everything they have to keep themselves in a comfortable position.
Manipulation is a trait of character, so remember that you can’t make a manipulator a better person. They don’t see anything wrong with their behaviour and always blame you for their actions.
As you date and get married, don’t let someone make you feel like making the best choice for you makes you a bad person. Don’t tolerate a manipulative person in your life, it will end in premium tears. Be wise!
Re: Things you shouldn’t post online about your relationship
Kate, thanks for shedding light on this social aspect of our life people feel unconcerned about and yet it’s causing untold hardship in many relationship. I suggest you post this write-up on your social media platform to reach wider audience.
Pstr. Stephen, Abuja
I’m glad I’m not a fan of posting about my relationships online. Thanks for your article, it reinforced my belief that my relationship doesn’t have to be online. I laugh when some women tell me that I don’t love my man enough to continuously post pictures of us on social media. Women should stop deceiving themselves by posting about their relationships all the time. They should stop trying to impress people who don’t matter. Keep your relationship off social media if you want it to be successful.
-Angela Onyema, Awka
Kate, many thanks for this timely article. Every spouse must run away from public attraction and attention by doing away with online marital affairs exhibition.
Couples should be careful when talking with people online. They should be careful when talking about their spouses and kids and even uploading their pictures online. People should avoid moral and psychological wear down by shunning online relationship extravaganza. Couples can be socially up-to-date and disciplined at the same time.