Not all manipulation comes from evil, narcissist people who don’t care about anything else except themselves. Sometimes, emotional manipulation comes from the ones we love and who are decent people. This is the one of the reasons why it takes so much out of us to recognize and admit that we’re being manipulated.
We care about these people and they care about us. How could we suspect them of such a ugly thing as manipulation?
If you are in a long and seemingly loving relationship and you feel angry or depressed for no apparent reason, you might begin to question your own sanity. Everything seems normal and healthy, so why aren’t you happy? Why are you experiencing all these negative emotions? What’s wrong with you?
Well, before running to get the antidepressants bottle, you’d better assure yourself that your intuition that something is wrong is not actually right. When we care about someone, we cannot bring ourselves to believe that they might harm us, even unconsciously. We prefer to think that the problem lies with us rather than believe they want to manipulate us.
Here are 3 behavioral patterns that show that you are not a bad partner, you are emotionally manipulated into believing you are.
1. The blame is always yours
If your partner somehow manages to end all conflicts by convincing you that the problem is your way of thinking, feeling, doing things and they are innocent, then they are a blame shifter. This is usually accomplished by taking a good quality you have – tolerance, a trusting nature, sensibility to other people needs, empathy etc. – and turning it into a character fault. So, every argument ends with you apologizing for the way you are and for daring to suggest that the error was your partner’s.
2. You don’t feel worthy of love
We all should be grateful for the love we have in our lives. No matter how small, every act of affection and generosity should be celebrated. Things become toxic when your partner undermines your confidence and makes you believe that them being in your life is the greatest thing that could happen to you. When they undermine your self-esteem and make you believe that nobody will ever love you again and therefore you shouldn’t criticize them, no matter how great the offense.
3. You would do anything to avoid conflict
If any argument you have with your partner ends up with you apologizing and feeling bad about yourself, it’s no wonder that you would do basically anything not to argue anymore. You start saying yes to the things you really don’t feel like doing, because no seems to be the kind of word that triggers your partner’s rage. You don’t even know what you want anymore, what needs and desires are yours and which ones you adopted so that you wouldn’t seem unreasonable.
The ways of the manipulator are complex and various. These are just 3 of them. But the end result is always the same: your self-esteem and sense of reality are so corroded that you don’t know what’s real anymore. You cannot trust yourself to make any decision. So the circle of manipulation and control tightens and you feel trapped.
Setting yourself free from emotional manipulation is not easy, but it’s essential to your mental health. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from a friend, your family and even better, a therapist. Please, share this!