how to spot manipulation in a relationship
People who are manipulative will blame you for their actions. They will hold you accountable for how THEY feel.
Manipulation is a way for individuals spiritually wanting (choosing) to stay stuck in their wounds, to feel better.
They use you as a scapegoat for their pain.
I am all too familiar with manipulation. Having been around it for decades, I can tell you that when you’re IN it and aren’t taught about it, it can be hard to spot it. It’s like being color blind all your life and then suddenly you can see color – someone will have to teach you what each color looks like. It’s the same for this type of behavior…you literally do not know until you are shown and taught what is healthy and what isn’t.
You take the blame because you always think it’s your fault. You punish yourself for other people’s behavior and hold yourself accountable for their thoughts, feelings, words and actions.
Manipulation can be tricky because well…that’s kind of the entire purpose behind it, to trick you, control you and claim power over you.
But in the simplest terms, (spiritually of course) it’s people handing you all their potatoes (wounds) and you taking them because you feel you have no other choice.
You feel powerless.
You feel controlled.
You feel like there’s no way out.
It feels heavy and gross and yes the manipulator will convince you how wrong you are if you resist taking on what they’re tossing your way.
They demand that you hold yourself responsible for their bad days and making sure they’re happy.
They demand that in an argument you hold yourself at fault even when you are clearly not at fault.
They will convince you and oh so well mind you, that you are wrong, regardless of what actually happened.
An “I’m sorry” will start with an underhanded dig. “You were mean too, but I forgive you and I’m sorry.”
“We were both wrong.”
“Well you did _________ and you said _________, but I’m sorry.”
These are just some examples that can easily be construed the wrong way. You see how they attack and blame and then apologize – that’s a clear sign of psychological abuse.
A genuine “I’m sorry” takes full accountability for the actions you, the apologizer, did/said/thought/felt and validates how the other must be feeling due to it.
An inauthentic “I’m sorry” blames and attacks, tosses in a “sorry” and invalidates that you should be hurt or upset by anything that happened. This type of apology can even play out as the inauthentic apologizer blaming you for what they said and did and then telling you how much you hurt them. Twisting and manipulating the role of “victim” towards themself.
See the truth is that you are only responsible for YOUR feelings and YOUR actions.
They were your free will choices. But a manipulator will have you thinking you’re to blame for their actions and your actions even if you took no action at all. Your non-action will be blamed.
I used to say that these types of individuals made me feel “crazy”. And in fact they did. They convinced me using their title/label/power/authority that I wasn’t good, was always wrong and was always to blame. And that even when I worked to prove I was sorry, it was never good enough. Or worse….when I wasn’t even around, I was to blame. When I was obviously in the right, I was still to blame.
They will make your head spin. They will have you thinking the entire situation never happened how you know it did.
And the thing is that when you’re a child and you grow up around this type of manipulation and psychological abuse, you then create behavior patterns in all areas of your life matching it. Because as a child we don’t know what is right or wrong. We rely on parental figures to show us and lead by example.
But what if your example was backwards?
What if your example was abusive?
What if your example was manipulative?
And what if they don’t want to change? What if they feel they’re right no matter how much proof you have they aren’t? Then what…
You set boundaries.
And if they break them you reset boundaries.
And if they break those you set firmer boundaries. You are responsible for what you allow into your life and as children we feel powerless to that idea but as an aware adult you can reclaim your power and know you do not HAVE to do anything you do not feel comfortable doing.
And you set those boundaries until YOU feel safe, secure, loved, supported and free.
It’s not wrong. It’s not bad. It’s healthy.
The problem I notice come up with clients when I begin working spiritually with them is they get confused about when it’s ok to stop speaking to someone or block/delete/ignore and when it’s not.
The answer is simple: When your healthy and reasonable boundaries keep getting broken, disregarded and disrespected, and you set more and IF those aren’t honored…you shut the door.
If you would like to find out more on boundary setting, I recently did a webinar on how to set and maintain boundaries which you can check out right here.
If you think you’ve been tolerating emotional and mental abuse for far too long and it’s time to rid yourself of the negativity and attract in the relationships you deserve then head on over and book a one-on-one session with me so I can walk you individually through reclaiming your power in life and love.