Personality Cafe banner

1 - 20 of 44 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,656 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Eight Ways to Spot Emotional Manipulation

Emotional Manipulation is Also "Covert Aggression." See: "Psychopaths: Wolves in Sheep's Clothing" Here is a list adapted from an article by Fiona McColl

1) There is no use in trying to be honest with an emotional manipulator. You make a statement and it will be turned around. Example: I am really angry that you forgot my birthday. Response - "It makes me feel sad that you would think I would forget your birthday, I should have told you of the great personal stress I am facing at the moment - but you see I didn’t want to trouble you. You are right I should have put all this pain (don’t be surprised to see real tears at this point) aside and focused on your birthday. Sorry." Even as you are hearing the words you get the creeped out sensation that they really do NOT mean they are sorry at all - but since they’ve said the words you’re pretty much left with nothing more to say. Either that or you suddenly find yourself babysitting their angst!! Under all circumstances if you feel this angle is being played - don’t capitulate! Do not care take - do not accept an apology that feels like bullshit. If it feels like bullshit - it probably is. Rule number one - if dealing with an emotional blackmailer TRUST your gut. TRUST your senses. Once an emotional manipulator finds a successful maneuver - it’s added to their hit list and you’ll be fed a steady diet of this shit.

2) An emotional manipulator is the picture of a willing helper. If you ask them to do something they will almost always agree - that is IF they didn’t volunteer to do it first. Then when you say, "ok thanks" - they make a bunch of heavy sighs, or other non verbal signs that let you know they don’t really want to do whatever said thing happens to be. When you tell them it doesn’t seem like they want to do whatever - they will turn it around and try to make it seem like OF COURSE they wanted to and how unreasonable you are. This is a form of crazy making - which is something emotional manipulators are very good at. Rule number two - If an emotional manipulator said YES - make them accountable for it. Do NOT buy into the sighs and subtleties - if they don’t want to do it - make them tell you it up front - or just put on the walk-man headphones and run a bath and leave them to their theater.

3) Crazy making - saying one thing and later assuring you they did not say it. If you find yourself in a relationship where you figure you should start keeping a log of what’s been said because you are beginning to question your own sanity --You are experiencing emotional manipulation. An emotional manipulator is an expert in turning things around, rationalizing, justifying and explaining things away. They can lie so smoothly that you can sit looking at black and they’ll call it white - and argue so persuasively that you begin to doubt your very senses. Over a period of time this is so insidious and eroding it can literally alter your sense of reality. WARNING: Emotional Manipulation is VERY Dangerous! It is very disconcerting for an emotional manipulator if you begin carrying a pad of paper and a pen and making notations during conversations. Feel free to let them know you just are feeling so "forgetful" these days that you want to record their words for posterity’s sake. The damndest thing about this is that having to do such a thing is a clear example for why you should be seriously thinking about removing yourself from range in the first place. If you’re toting a notebook to safeguard yourself - that ol’ bullshit meter should be flashing steady by now!

4) Guilt. Emotional manipulators are excellent guilt mongers. They can make you feel guilty for speaking up or not speaking up, for being emotional or not being emotional enough, for giving and caring, or for not giving and caring enough. Any thing is fair game and open to guilt with an emotional manipulator. Emotional manipulators seldom express their needs or desires openly - they get what they want through emotional manipulation. Guilt is not the only form of this but it is a potent one. Most of us are pretty conditioned to do whatever is necessary to reduce our feelings of guilt. Another powerful emotion that is used is sympathy. An emotional manipulator is a great victim. They inspire a profound sense of needing to support, care for and nurture. Emotional Manipulators seldom fight their own fights or do their own dirty work. The crazy thing is that when you do it for them (which they will never ask directly for), they may just turn around and say they certainly didn’t want or expect you to do anything! Try to make a point of not fighting other people’s battles, or doing their dirty work for them. A great line is "I have every confidence in your ability to work this out on your own" - check out the response and note the bullshit meter once again.

5) Emotional manipulators fight dirty. They don’t deal with things directly. They will talk around behind your back and eventually put others in the position of telling you what they would not say themselves. They are passive aggressive, meaning they find subtle ways of letting you know they are not happy little campers. They’ll tell you what they think you want to hear and then do a bunch of jerk off shit to undermine it. Example: "Of course I want you to go back to school honey and you know I’ll support you." Then exam night you are sitting at the table and poker buddies show up, the kids are crying the t.v. blasting and the dog needs walking - all the while "Sweetie" is sitting on their ass looking at you blankly. Dare you call them on such behavior you are likely to hear, "well you can’t expect life to just stop because you have an exam can you honey?" Cry, scream or choke ‘em - only the last will have any long-term benefits and it’ll probably wind your butt in jail.

6) If you have a headache an emotional manipulator will have a brain tumor! No matter what your situation is the emotional manipulator has probably been there or is there now - but only ten times worse. It’s hard after a period of time to feel emotionally connected to an emotional manipulator because they have a way of de-railing conversations and putting the spotlight back on themselves. If you call them on this behavior they will likely become deeply wounded or very petulant and call you selfish - or claim that it is you who are always in the spotlight. The thing is that even tho you know this is not the case you are left with the impossible task of proving it. Don’t bother - TRUST your gut and walk away!

7) Emotional manipulators somehow have the ability to impact the emotional climate of those around them. When an emotional manipulator is sad or angry the very room thrums with it - it brings a deep instinctual response to find someway to equalize the emotional climate and the quickest route is by making the emotional manipulator feel better - fixing whatever is broken for them. Stick with this type of loser for too long and you will be so enmeshed and co-dependent you will forget you even have needs - let alone that you have just as much right to have your needs met.

8) Emotional manipulators have no sense of accountability. They take no responsibility for themselves or their behavior - it is always about what everyone else has "done to them". One of the easiest ways to spot an emotional manipulator is that they often attempt to establish intimacy through the early sharing of deeply personal information that is generally of the "hook-you-in-and-make-you-sorry-for-me" variety. Initially you may perceive this type of person as very sensitive, emotionally open and maybe a little vulnerable. Believe me when I say that an emotional manipulator is about as vulnerable as a rabid pit bull, and there will always be a problem or a crisis to overcome.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
955 Posts
Wow. To come across this again. Reading this, reading point 3, that was the very first time I began to suspect that my relationship might not have been what it seemed to be.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,145 Posts
one of the best (in terms of what I find informative & useful) threads in this subforum in a long while...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
492 Posts
Been through this with someone; it's not an enjoyable experience. Especially when you begin questioning your own integrity. The first post seems pretty spot on with it... if you spot the signs I suggest staying far away, no good will come of trying to help the person (in my own experience).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,893 Posts
#2 seems pretty normal to be, it can be used in a manipulative way. But sighing and when they offer to do it instead refusing them, and doing it yourself, seems more like politeness than manipulation. in my mind a sigh is a a lot better than whining like a child and being up front and saying "But I don't want to do the dishes!"

Sometime people just suck it up and express a slightly bit of distaste for an activity without making a scene out of it. Though a manipulator will make a scene either way, if it's just a sigh or grunt that pretty standard. Especially if you know they don't like that activity. Some people are just subtle about these things.


Sometimes a sigh is just a sigh, and not a penis.


8# seems a bit off too, I know plenty of people are just open with people on their first meeting who aren't "emotional manipulators" there just open. Granted I'm sure some are just manipulators, but I think a lot of the people who are very sensitive, emotionally open and maybe a little vulnerable, are just that (and most likely NF's).

The rest are fine, though I think "How to spot a Sociopath" would have been a better title.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
499 Posts
First of all, I want to thank you for this great post. Upon reading the list, I noticed that the girl I'm currently with right now hits so many of these points it's uncanny. She's an ENFJ by the way.

1) There is no use in trying to be honest with an emotional manipulator. You make a statement and it will be turned around. Example: I am really angry that you forgot my birthday. Response - "It makes me feel sad that you would think I would forget your birthday
Me: I really don't like how you completely changed the plan the last minute... I feel screwed over having prepared for this evening for a week.
Her: Well, my friends cancelled on me too, so you're not the only one who got screwed. You make me feel like I'm a bad person.

2) An emotional manipulator is the picture of a willing helper. If you ask them to do something they will almost always agree - that is IF they didn’t volunteer to do it first. Then when you say, "ok thanks" - they make a bunch of heavy sighs, or other non verbal signs that let you know they don’t really want to do whatever said thing happens to be.
Me: Since I made dinner, could you do the dishes?
Her: *sigh* why did you have to ask? I was going to do it anyway.

Me (some point during sex): Can I get a BJ?
Her: Why do you have to ask? Can't you let it happen naturally? I actually love pleasuring my partner.

Btw, she has never initiated a BJ during sex if I do not ask.

3) Crazy making - saying one thing and later assuring you they did not say it. If you find yourself in a relationship where you figure you should start keeping a log of what’s been said because you are beginning to question your own sanity
She either swears I remembered wrong, or that her tone is different.

8) Emotional manipulators have no sense of accountability. They take no responsibility for themselves or their behavior - it is always about what everyone else has "done to them". One of the easiest ways to spot an emotional manipulator is that they often attempt to establish intimacy through the early sharing of deeply personal information that is generally of the "hook-you-in-and-make-you-sorry-for-me" variety. Initially you may perceive this type of person as very sensitive, emotionally open and maybe a little vulnerable. Believe me when I say that an emotional manipulator is about as vulnerable as a rabid pit bull, and there will always be a problem or a crisis to overcome.
She tells me about all these stories about how people in her life abused her and used her. Including how one ex 'made her' eat healthy in order to help her lose weight, and how she had a friend who would only hang out with her when she pays for gas.

This all sounded normal unless one day, I heard her talk to her roommate about how I 'made her' watch CNN... Basically, what happens is, whenever I'm alone, I would on my computer with CNN on tv muted. Whenever she comes over, CNN is always on, and we would change the channel to something else if she wanted to watch tv. Somehow that was me making her watch the news.

Also, she's quite a bit poorer than I am, and she rarely has money to go out and eat. She expressly told me I had to 'feed her' when she's over. Therefore, I almost always buy her dinner when we go out, or when we stay in, I order in for her. When she told me the story about her buying gas for her friend, I couldn't help but wonder why she never noticed the irony.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
492 Posts
Another to add to the list, to bump it up to 9:

If he/she makes you finally *snap* - and you catch a creepy little smile on his/her face. They've gotcha. Now they're the victim and you will always be in the wrong.

*shiver*
Definitely. That's their whole game. They continually spurt how they're the victim of everything and everyone and they want you to slip up just once so they can hold that over/against you. Fortunately, when my relationship with a person like this came to an end, they had nothing to hold over me, so they couldn't use it in further manipulation or in making me feel guilty. I still felt guilty, but it was over leaving someone behind that needed a lot of help (in regards to these very issues) and over my own views of loyalty and commitment (but I shortly came to the conclusion that I had done everything possible to make things work out, which I had - and then some).

First of all, I want to thank you for this great post. Upon reading the list, I noticed that the girl I'm currently with right now hits so many of these points it's uncanny. She's an ENFJ by the way.

Me: I really don't like how you completely changed the plan the last minute... I feel screwed over having prepared for this evening for a week.
Her: Well, my friends cancelled on me too, so you're not the only one who got screwed. You make me feel like I'm a bad person.

Me: Since I made dinner, could you do the dishes?
Her: *sigh* why did you have to ask? I was going to do it anyway.

Me (some point during sex): Can I get a BJ?
Her: Why do you have to ask? Can't you let it happen naturally? I actually love pleasuring my partner.

Btw, she has never initiated a BJ during sex if I do not ask.

She either swears I remembered wrong, or that her tone is different.

She tells me about all these stories about how people in her life abused her and used her. Including how one ex 'made her' eat healthy in order to help her lose weight, and how she had a friend who would only hang out with her when she pays for gas.

This all sounded normal unless one day, I heard her talk to her roommate about how I 'made her' watch CNN... Basically, what happens is, whenever I'm alone, I would on my computer with CNN on tv muted. Whenever she comes over, CNN is always on, and we would change the channel to something else if she wanted to watch tv. Somehow that was me making her watch the news.

Also, she's quite a bit poorer than I am, and she rarely has money to go out and eat. She expressly told me I had to 'feed her' when she's over. Therefore, I almost always buy her dinner when we go out, or when we stay in, I order in for her. When she told me the story about her buying gas for her friend, I couldn't help but wonder why she never noticed the irony.
Unfortunately, that does sound concerning. I can draw a number of comparisons between what you've posted and what happened in my previous situation with someone like this. The most concerning to me is the part I bolded; I heard endless stories of how awfully she'd been treated and abused on occasions by family, friends and ex-boyfriends alike. I've no doubt that some of them were probably true, but I'm equally sure that a lot were greatly exaggerated and it became clear to me that she was really traumatising herself from these things; it wasn't other people traumatising her. To me, it was like she was living in her own separate reality in her mind at times. I'd suggest from that post you do be cautious of what's going on with your partner.

I might add to the thread also, I did quite a bit of research into narcissistic personality disorder months ago, and it seems synonymous with emotionally abusive behaviour.

EDIT: One more bit, the person I'm referring to was also an ENFJ - I'm thinking that behaviour like this may just be typical of a poorly-adjusted ENFJ.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
499 Posts
lol'd. You literally ask?
Ya, not the best moment in my sex life. I go down on her every single time (since that's the only way she can climax), but she just hasn't been reciprocating. So I asked.... Anyway, I realized that when I ask, I sometime get it, when I don't ask, she never does it. So, might as well.

Btw, she did tell me before we ever had sex that 1. she's good at it, and 2. she loves pleasuring people.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
146 Posts
Ya, not the best moment in my sex life. I go down on her every single time (since that's the only way she can climax), but she just hasn't been reciprocating. So I asked.... Anyway, I realized that when I ask, I sometime get it, when I don't ask, she never does it. So, might as well.
Weird, man.

Just try putting it in her mouth. If she says no, slap her. Girls like that. (srs)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Regardless of how much all of this behavior is abusive and dysfunctional, I just want to say that some people have a lot of emotional issues that they need to deal with in order to improve their relationships. I think it's important to have compassion for others, even when some may have the habit of being more hypocritical. I'm not saying put up with someone's bullshit if they are sincerely making you miserable, by all means, get that person out of your life if they don't make you happy. However, I don't think it's fair to pretend that we all don't have these habits and dysfunctional behaviors sometimes. .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,893 Posts
She's an ENFJ by the way.
I was actually comparing this to my male ENFJ friend and found similar results, Not bashing on ENFJ's I just I think these might be signs for a very unhealthy ENFJ.

Granted I'm sure everyone has some of these traits no matter how noble of a person, regardless of type. I know I have a few of these traits, hell everyone I've ever meet does. When you break them down to the basic behaviors these are some basic human interactions that people use day to day, just some people do it more consciously then other and more often. The people who push the limit on it are the manipulation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,249 Posts
Btw, she did tell me before we ever had sex that 1. she's good at it, and 2. she loves pleasuring people.
I cry foul on this one. If #2 was true she'd BJ without you asking, once she knew that you like it.

When words and actions do not match = lies, and gets my BS meter switched on to see what other BS is there. :-/
 
1 - 20 of 44 Posts
Top