Here are 3 signs someone is trying to manipulate you.
1. Rather Than Accepting Your “No,” a Manipulator Will Try to Wear You Down to Say, “Yes”
One of the defining characteristics of a manipulator is that they will not stop trying to get their way even when you clearly tell them you don’t want what they want. They may say they accept your answer, but a manipulator will still work to wear you down and change your mind.
This is not what God wants for relationships, for as Philippians 2:3-4 teaches us, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
A manipulator does the opposite of this Bible passage. Rather than consider others more important, they will always consider their needs more important than everyone else’s needs. Certainly there are times to compromise and do things for someone else that you really don’t want to do. However, if it is always one sided and you are on the losing end, this means you are in a relationship with a manipulator.
2. A Manipulator Will Use Guilt and Shame as a Weapon to Control You
Manipulators have a powerful ability to sniff out your weaknesses to then try and use them to gain control over you. Manipulators purposely gravitate towards people who are struggling with shame or low self-esteem because they know they can easily manipulate a person who struggles in this area.
For example, in 2 Timothy 3:6 (NIV) Paul is describing a group of men who have bad intentions. He states, “They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires.” Notice these evil men didn’t just go after any woman to manipulate. Rather, they chose only gullible women who were already loaded down with sins.
These men chose women who had poor self-esteem and were struggling with the guilt of their sins because they knew they could worm their way in and do whatever they wanted to them.
So if a man or woman is using shame and guilt to control you, this is a classic sign of a manipulator.
3. A Manipulator Refuses to Let You Have Other Healthy Relationships in Your Life
A manipulator knows they need to keep your head spinning with all kinds of lies and fears. They want to keep your perspective of reality totally skewed so you will always view them as the final authority on truth. Since they know how ridiculous this is, they will try to keep you away from other people because from the outside looking in, it will be very clear to other people what is happening.
When you are dealing with a manipulator but then you finally break free, you will look back at this unhealthy relationship and wonder how you could have been so naive for so long. It’s easy to see how obvious the manipulation was when you take a step back, but when you are right in the middle of the manipulation it is very hard to see through the lies.
Because of this a manipulator will be overly protective of who you spend time with. They will forbid you to talk to anyone whom they deem as a threat to their ultimate control over you. People from the outside will be able to see the manipulation more clearly, so the manipulator will try to keep you away from people who will warn you about the abuse they are seeing. The Bible says we need each other so we can correct one another when we are not seeing things accurately. For example,
The value of having a healthy, loving Christian community surrounding you is immeasurable. A manipulator will hate that other people are giving you warnings about this unhealthy relationship you are in. So if someone is trying to prevent you from spending time with other people who love you and want the best for you, this is a sign that you are dealing with a manipulator.