Some people possess a unique skill in concealing their genuine selves and hidden agendas. Among them are experts in emotional manipulation, skillfully using others to meet their own needs. The concerning part is that you might not recognize this until it's too late.
However, there are certain signs you should stay alert to. Mary Beth Somich, a licensed professional counseling associate, explains that emotional manipulators often have deep insecurities and try to undermine our emotional well-being.
These manipulators employ specific strategies to trap their targets even before their true motives come to light. For instance, they frequently turn to flattery. Dr. Cali Estes, a psychologist and cognitive behavioral therapist, points out that they project sweetness, love, attentiveness, and affection, making it seem like the ideal person has entered your life.
Nonetheless, once they've lured you in, their genuine nature starts to surface. A number of familiar phrases are employed by experts in emotional manipulation to exercise control over others.
7 Lines That People May Use To Manipulate You Emotionally
1. "If You Do This For Me, I'll Know You Really Care"
This cunning remark preys on the target's yearning to express affection and loyalty, fabricating a feeling of duty and remorse should they reject the manipulator's appeal. It applies emotional strain to coerce the individual into meeting the manipulator's desires, falsely giving them a sense of authority in the relationship. In actuality, it's a ploy to capitalize on the target's compassionate traits, steering them into actions they might be hesitant about or that aren't good for them. This serves as a warning sign of emotional manipulation.
2. "Are You Sure You Want To Do That?"
Under the pretense of innocence, this question is wielded strategically to sow seeds of doubt and ambiguity within the target's thoughts. The manipulator's objective is to chip away at their self-assurance and independence by interrogating the individual's decisions or selections. They fabricate an environment of uncertainty and self-doubt, rendering the person more open to the manipulator's proposals. As time passes, this maneuver can guide the target towards depending more on the manipulator's advice and seeking their endorsement prior to any choices, thereby amplifying the manipulator's hold over their life.
3. "You're Just Being Irrational"
When faced with contrasting viewpoints, emotions, or worries, the manipulator readily disregards the target's sentiments and ideas as illogical or impractical. This maneuver strives to weaken the person's self-assurance and their trust in their own understanding. By branding their emotions as irrational, the manipulator seek to discredit the target's encounters and sow seeds of uncertainty regarding their perceptions.
Consequently, the individual might begin to doubt their own emotions and convictions, progressively leaning towards the manipulator's point of view. This maneuver grants the manipulator the ability to guide discussions or circumstances to their advantage, thus securing dominance in the relationship. Gradually, the target might feel more exposed and compliant to the manipulator's sway, ultimately resulting in an uneven power dynamic within the relationship.
4. "I Never Said/Did That"
This strategy entails the act of refuting or gaslighting the target's memories or experiences. When confronted with their statements or actions, the emotional manipulator denies ever uttering or engaging in the alleged actions, even if they indeed did so. Through gaslighting, the manipulator sows doubt within the individual, causing them to question their recollections, perceptions, and even their sanity.
Resultantly, this fosters bewilderment and self-questioning in the target, leading them to wonder whether their memories are accurate or if their reactions are exaggerated. Consequently, the manipulator gains increased control over the narrative and evades accountability for their hurtful conduct. With time, the target might begin to lose confidence in their own perceptions and increasingly rely on the manipulator's rendition of events. This deepens the manipulator's hold and influence in the relationship.
5. "I Thought You Of All People Would Understand"
This phrase is crafted to lay on guilt and push the target into agreement. By tapping into the individual's feelings of trust, compassion, or camaraderie, the manipulator endeavors to create a sense of duty within the target to meet their appeal or uphold their perspective.
This phrase implies that the target's rejection or difference of opinion is surprising and upsetting, given that the manipulator thought there was a unique bond or connection. This places the target in a defensive position, increasing the likelihood of them reevaluating their position or disregarding their own emotions to preserve the presumed special rapport.
In truth, this maneuver capitalizes on the target's emotional susceptibility, leveraging their reliance and bond to advance the manipulator's objectives. By employing this statement, the manipulator endeavors to sway the target's emotions and allegiance, potentially deepening their emotional reliance on the manipulator and amplifying control within the relationship.
6. "This Always Happens To Me"
By uttering this line, the manipulator positions themselves as sufferers of situations or the actions of others. Their aim is to elicit compassion and understanding from the target, inducing a sense of accountability in them for the manipulator's alleged hardships or predicaments.
The manipulator deploys this line to foster a feeling of guilt or duty within the target. The implicit message conveys that the target should intervene to aid or back the manipulator due to their perpetual hardships. This could lead the target to assume responsibility for the manipulator's welfare or offer emotional assistance even at their own cost.
Emotional manipulators might employ this expression to draw attention, secure authority, or take advantage of the target's compassionate disposition. Gradually, the manipulator could establish a trend of leaning on the target's assistance while reciprocating minimally or not at all. This establishes a lopsided and unhealthy dynamic in the relationship.
7. "I Told You My Secrets, It's Only Fair To Tell Me Yours"
When spoken, this phrase aims to foster a feeling of duty and mutuality within the target. The manipulator insinuates that divulging personal details is a measure of trust and allegiance. Consequently, if the target doesn't conform, they could be perceived as unreliable or lacking in concern.
This strategy takes advantage of the target's wish to appear dependable and compassionate, coercing them into disclosing personal information even if it makes them uneasy. The manipulator can then wield this information to their benefit, either by capitalizing on vulnerabilities or leveraging it against the target down the line.
In truth, emotional manipulators frequently employ this phrase to amass influence over the target and gather data that can subsequently be wielded for manipulation or control. It's crucial for individuals to establish healthy limits and only disclose personal information when they feel secure and at ease, instead of yielding to pressure from manipulative strategies.
Recognizing manipulation and controlling behavior can be challenging, but being vigilant about potential red flags is crucial. Here are some key points to consider:
1. Observe Patterns
Seek out enduring patterns in the individual's conduct, particularly if they frequently resort to guilt, pressure, or emotional methods to achieve their objectives.
2. Trust Your Instincts
Trust your instincts. Give weight to any feelings of unease or discomfort you experience if something doesn't seem right.
3. Set Boundaries
Set explicit boundaries and express them confidently. A manipulator might attempt to test those boundaries, so maintaining unwavering resolve is crucial.
4. Seek Support
Discuss your concerns with friends, family, or a licensed counselor. Sharing your encounters can offer valuable insights.
5. Maintain Independence
Steer clear of excessive reliance on the manipulator. Keep your own interests, hobbies, and support networks intact outside of the relationship.
6. Validate Your Feelings
Don't brush off or minimize your emotions. Your feelings are legitimate, and recognizing them is crucial to safeguarding your well-being.
7. Choose Safety
If you sense any danger or feel threatened, make your safety the top priority and seek a swift exit from the situation.
8. Educate Yourself
Gain deeper insights into emotional manipulation and tactics of control. Acquiring awareness can empower you to skillfully identify and tackle such behavior.
Keep in mind that prioritizing your own needs and safeguarding your mental and emotional health is perfectly fine. If you have a hunch that you're being manipulated or controlled, reaching out for assistance and support can play a substantial role in taking back control over your life.