Posts Tagged: emotional manipulation

10 Strategies Emotional Manipulators Use to Get Their Way

Do you love an emotionally manipulative person? Someone who has a history of broken relationships, anger problems, and self-centered habits? Emotionally Manipulative people are geniuses at getting you to look past their faults so they can get their own way. If you have dealt with this kind of personality, you know how crazy-making and frustrating life can be.

Being in a relationship with an emotional manipulator can seem great at first. They use Attraction Strategies (listed below) in order to look appealing and get you hooked. Once you are hooked (paying for him, sleeping with him, feeling sorry for him, or making him look good), he/she shifts to Control Strategies (listed below) where you become the commodity to be exploited, used and controlled.

Attraction Strategies

  1. Love bombs. If you fell for an emotional manipulator, you probably have said to yourself, “Well, he wasn’t that way in the beginning.” And you’re right. In the beginning, he probably inundated you with compliments, gifts, promises, desire and affection. He called, texted, stopped by all the time and never wanted you to leave his side. He bombed you with so much attention, the smoke hid his true character.
  2. Show Off. Like a peacock in mating season, he worked very hard in getting you to like him in the beginning of your relationship. He showed you only the positive traits, hiding anything that would make him seem less appealing. People with negative traits to hide put on a show so you will only see what they want you to see.
  3. Over Talking. In the beginning you may not be able to get a word in edgewise, as he tells you about his life, his accomplishments, and other things that make you feel amazed, sympathetic, admiration and even attraction. Maybe you even wonder why he, such an important person is paying attention to little-ole-you.
  4. Sob Story. Emotional Manipulators look for empathic people to listen, care, and even feel sorry for them. An emotional manipulator may legitimately have a tragic background, however, he uses his tragedy to manipulate your good nature. If he can get you to see him as the victim, then you will have a more difficult time holding him accountable for his bad behavior.

Control Strategies

  1. Silence treatment. Emotional Manipulators use silence to punish, control, and slowly breakdown your will. Silence “seems” benign in nature, but it is actually one of the cruelest forms of psychological manipulation. Being with someone who actively ignores you can be excruciating. You may start to internalize this feeling to the point of feeling invisible.
  2. Public humiliation. An emotionally manipulative person does not hesitate in making you look bad in front of others so he can look good. If embarrassing you in public means that he’ll impress someone, he will do it. If cutting someone down makes him one-up, that is what he will do.
  3. Threat of harm. Emotional Manipulators may use all kinds of threats against you in order to control and intimidate you into doing what he wants. Many things can be used to threaten you, like withholding finances, turning your kids against you, or tarnishing your reputation with your family or friends. He may even become physically threatening or abusive.
  4. Threat of self-harm. Sometimes, the emotional manipulator will even threaten to harm himself in order to get you to back down, stay put or stop wanting things to change.
  5. Badgering. Have you heard the saying, “death by a thousand paper cuts?” An Emotional Manipulator will badger, harass, and pester his partner relentlessly until she is worn down enough to give in. You may especially experience this tactic as a response to setting a boundary with him. You may feel like you are up against a high pressure salesmen who won’t take “no” for an answer.
  6. Limitation of your Power: An Emotional Manipulator will try to control you by limiting your access to resources, friends, and family. You may feel shut out of the finances, forbidden to seek counseling, or cut off from your friends and family. The Emotional Manipulator is threatened by your power, and will try  to minimize it as much as possible to keep you in his control.


Dealing with emotionally manipulative personalities can be exhausting. You may start to feel hopeless, and maybe even worthless. It takes courage to seek professional help when feeling overwhelmed, but each small step toward health and healing is a step in the right direction. Seeking professional help can help you create a plan to deal this this manipulative behavior and put you on the path toward recovery.

In the following weeks, I will take each strategy and offer solutions to help you deal with the Emotional Manipulator in your life. My goal is to help you reclaim the power in your life so you can live happily and freely again.

Need Help Now? You can order my book to help solving your relationships today.

THe Bachelorette: How to Spot a Psychological Manipulator

I’m hooked on this season’s Bachelorette. Don’t judge.

Honestly, I’m a sap for the kind of television that bores most people, like documentaries and CSpan. My television selections are G rated to the point of tears. But the Bachelorette got my attention this season- and not only for the reasons you might imagine!

This season is a great opportunity to explore how you can spot an abuser. How does an average Jo (or JoJo in this case) conduct due diligence research in her husband hunting expedition? She’s got 25 guys to meet, interview, and yes- kiss (oh my gosh, there’s so much kissing. Seriously, aren’t her lips tired?) in hopes of finding her one true love. 

There are Psychological Manipulators all over the world- in office buildings, luxury car sales lots, church pulpits, public office, construction sites, in families- and on this seasons’ Bachelorette. You’ve probably met several in your lifetime. It’s rare that we get to see both sides of the same coin, at the same time, the way the Bachelorette let’s us see. And if you run into an abusive ego-maniac, how can you know it before he gets abusive and maniacal- with you?

Listen to Your Gut.

If you pay attention to what your gut is telling you, you will see the truth he so desperately is trying to hide. To help you in this process, this is what it feels like to be around a narcissistic psychological manipulator:

1.      Confusing- you want to believe and trust him but something doesn’t quite add up.

2.      Undeniable Chemistry– your body can’t deny the animal attraction you have for him.

3.      Compulsion to Make Excuses: You want to believe the best about him, to the point you may even make excuses for his bad behavior.

4.      Swept Along– You feel persuaded by his directness and his convincing charm, even against your intuition.

5.      Inner Conflict– you can’t put your finger on it, but you don’t have peace about this guy.


Tactics that Psychological Manipulators Use to Get What They Want:

1.      Mysteriousness– there is a shroud of mystery that surrounds them because they feel more powerful when no one knows the real them.

2.      Specialness– they want you to think they are special, superior and that regular rules don’t apply to them. You may hear them say things like, “You’ve never met anyone like me before…” 

3.      Sob Story– Every Psychological Manipulator has a sob story. They use this so you’ll feel sorry for them and excuse their bad behavior.

4.      Truth Filters– Like the best camera apps, Psychological Manipulators have a selection of filters to distort the truth in any way that benefits them most.

5.      Blame Shifting– they shift responsibility for their bad behavior onto others.

6.      Victim Swapping– Painting others in a bad light so that they look like the victims who are being bullied.

7.      Put Downs and Threats of Retaliation– If you’ve watched the Bachelorette (if you haven’t and you need an excuse to watch it, just say you are doing psychological research like me) you know that Put Downs and Threats of Violence leave toxic waste in their wake.

How it feels to be with A Psychological Manipulator after a while (God forbid JoJo ever finds out!)

1.      The strength that impressed you in the beginning, is now used against you.

2.      The violence that was used against doors, walls and other people is now implied or directed toward you.

3.      The put downs that were reserved for others in order for him to look good in your eyes are now used against you.

4.      You wonder if he’s over you, and on to his next prospects.

5.      You feel controlled on everything from your time and money to your friends and family.

Yes, I’m watching the Bachelorette with my teenage daughters. We have this cool opportunity to see some psychological manipulation behind the scenes. Alerting my girls to how they work is the first step in helping them steer clear. Plus, they don’t mind the eye candy.

There are Users and Abusers in the world, and the people they prey on are often the last to see the truth. My prayer is that if you have an emotional, psychological or physical abuser in your life, that you will see the truth of your own value- that you will reach out for help- and that you will start the process of getting free.

When you feel the time is right, you can call 1.800.33.HAVEN (1.800.334.2836)  or go to for support and information.


My “Relationship Savvy” blog gives you tips, advice, and flippin’ fantastic feel-goods to help with your most difficult relationship challenges.

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