If your partner displays these 8 behaviors, you’re likely in a manipulative relationship

by Pearl Nash | March 18, 2024, 7:10 pm

Relationships are meant to be sources of love and support.

But what if the dynamics in your relationship leave you feeling confused, drained, or even manipulated?

It’s not always easy to spot, but sometimes, the signs are right there in front of us.

In this article, I’ll be discussing 8 specific behaviors that might indicate you’re in a manipulative relationship.

Whether you’re just curious or seriously concerned about your relationship, these insights are here to help guide you. Let’s dive in:

1) They frequently play the victim

One of the sneakiest forms of manipulation is playing the victim.

In a relationship, your partner should be able to take responsibility for their actions.

But here’s the catch:

A manipulative partner will often twist the narrative to make themselves appear as the victim.

This can be particularly puzzling, especially when you know you’ve done nothing wrong.

But don’t let it confuse you.

This is a classic tactic manipulators use to gain sympathy and avoid accountability.

Pay attention, and you’ll notice how it’s never their fault, and that somehow, they’re always the person being wronged. 

2) They use guilt as a weapon

Manipulative individuals often use guilt as a tool to get what they want.

I remember in my past relationship, my partner would often make me feel guilty for wanting to spend time with my friends.

He’d say things like, “I thought you loved me, why would you want to leave me alone?”

At first, I felt bad and started canceling plans.

It took me a while to realize that it was a manipulative tactic. 

Essentially, he was using guilt to control my actions and isolate me from my support system.

If your partner frequently uses guilt to influence your decisions, it’s a clear sign of manipulation.

In a healthy relationship, your partner should respect your autonomy and encourage your individual interests, not make you feel guilty for them.

3) They gaslight you

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation where the manipulator tries to make you doubt your own perceptions, memory, or sanity. 

If your partner consistently denies your experiences, dismisses your feelings, or twists the truth to fit their narrative, they may be gaslighting you.

Let’s say you catch your partner in a lie. When you confront them, they say:

“What are you even talking about? Do you realize how crazy you sound right now?”

This can leave you feeling disoriented and questioning your own judgment. And that’s what the manipulator wants

But here’s the real problem with it:

Recognizing gaslighting can be difficult because it’s designed to make you doubt yourself.

That’s why it’s important to trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

4) They control through jealousy

A manipulative partner often uses jealousy as a means to control you.

They might constantly accuse you of flirting or cheating without any basis.

Or they may try to make you jealous by talking about their exes or how attractive they find other people.

While it’s natural to experience some level of jealousy in a relationship, using it as a tool for control is a clear sign of manipulation.

My ex would constantly accuse me of looking at other men, even though I firmly kept my eyes downwards out of fear. 

The truth is, when someone tries to dictate what you wear, how you look or speak to other people, or even who you can hang out with, it’s a major sign of manipulation.

No one deserves to live like this. YOU don’t deserve to live like this. 

5) They diminish your feelings

A key sign of a manipulative relationship is when your partner consistently dismisses or belittles your feelings.

Stop and reflect for a minute…

How does your partner make you feel when you express your feelings or try to be vulnerable? 

If you relate to the following, it’s not a good sign. 

You see, a manipulator will often tell you that you’re being too sensitive or overreacting.

They might even laugh it off or change the subject to avoid addressing the issue.

And while it’s normal to have disagreements in a relationship, your feelings should always be respected.

6) They isolate you from loved ones

Feeling a sense of isolation in a relationship can be incredibly painful.

My ex tried desperately to stop me from seeing friends and family. It worked for a while, so I know how horrible isolation can feel. 

A manipulator will usually criticize your friends and family, or create situations that make it difficult for you to spend time with them.

This isolation can make you feel like your partner is the only one you can depend on, which gives them more control over your life.

Let me make one thing clear:

No one should ever make you choose between them and your loved ones. A loving partner would encourage you to have healthy relationships and social circles. 

7) They make unreasonable demands

If your partner is making unrealistic demands on your time, energy, or resources, it could indicate a manipulative dynamic.

Let’s say you agree to do the cooking every evening while your partner is at work. That’s fine, it’s doable.

But suddenly, it’s not just the food you’re expected to take care of. They also want you to have the house immaculate, their mother seen to, errands run, and all sorts of other demands.

You simply can’t keep up, and when you miss something on the long list of expectations, they react harshly. 

This isn’t a fair situation, nor a healthy relationship. 

8) They frequently threaten or intimidate you

Another alarming sign of a manipulative relationship is if your partner frequently uses threats or intimidation.

This could be anything from subtle threats to leave you if you don’t comply with their wishes, to more overt forms of intimidation like raising their voice, smashing things, or even physical aggression.

Such behavior is not only manipulative but also abusive.

It’s important to remember that everyone deserves to feel safe in their relationship.

If you find yourself constantly afraid or on edge around your partner, it’s a serious red flag and it’s time to seek help.

Final thoughts: 

If you recognize any of these behaviors in your relationship, know that you deserve better.

Seek support from trusted friends, family, or professional counselors.

That’s what I did, and I’m now in a wonderful relationship with a man who respects me. 

Remember, you are worthy of love and respect. Trust in that truth, and let it guide you towards healthier relationships.

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