Emotional Manipulation in Relationships

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Dictionary defines psychological manipulations as it’s a type of social influence that aims to change the perception or behavior of others through underhanded, deceptive or even abusive tactics. Emotional manipulations also mean that someone is using your emotions against you to take some advantage. Emotional manipulation can be both good as well as bad; for example: a doctor manipulating a person to quit smoking or else he may suffer cancer soon. This can be bad when people are strongly attached, for example a boy manipulating his girl friend to get physical with him.

We all are vulnerable to being manipulated in relationships, whether it is in between friends, neighbors, coworkers, romantic partners, etc. It is when we are allowing their desire to control our motives, feelings and even our thoughts through deceptive, unfair or exploitative means. A manipulator intentionally or non-intentionally tries to gain advantage.


Skilled manipulators know the vulnerability of their opponents and they very well know the way the other person would react. Emotional manipulation can be seen very often in couples , where the male dominates the female and her wills, as women are said to be highly emotional by nature and hence it becomes very easy for men to manipulate them.

‘Calm down! Stop overreacting! I was just kidding, I love you the most’ sounds familiar? If you are a woman, then of course yes. Women are sensitive, even a word ‘sorry’ can melt their heart. A manipulative relationship is not said to be good one as it becomes one sided relationship, and hence it is imbalanced relationship and are not likely to stay for a long time. It is observed that than one out of four women suffer from domestic violence. Most of the women are afraid to report and rest is blindly forgiven by the woman due to gas lighting of her man. Domestic violence is chronically one of the most unreported crimes, some get a divorce in initial stage while some lead a miserable life yet don’t get divorced. These relationships do not last for much time, just after fey years troubles occur.


I have a friend whose boyfriend usually makes random comment on her weight in front of his friends and every time when she gets upset or angry at him, he explains her ‘I was just kidding! You are that beautiful doll who has turned into a soft teddy bear but I still love you’. This is how he manipulates every time and she believes it to be true.

Manipulation is not similar to the term influence. Influence is a positive term which means the capacity to have an effect which leads to development and achievement of goals. Influence leads to healthy social functioning.  Manipulation on the other hand is a negative term which means converting the agendas of the other person and attempting to coerce the other person to giving in. it is a sign of unhealthy personality functioning.

You come to know that you are vulnerable to manipulators when: you start pleasing the other person at the expense of your own well being. Like, you buy something very expensive for your partner, but you would never spend that much money on yourself. It becomes impossible to tell them NO. You start to take acceptance and approval of the other people. You start fearing to express negative emotions. You start lacking a firm sense of own self and start depending on the other person.

Manipulation is intuitive and you can never change the behavior of the manipulator, but you may change yourself and restrict yourself from emotional manipulations, having a good command of mind over heart may be the best escape. Hearing the truth, knowing the truth but still believing on lie can be disastrous soon.


Manipulation in relationships usually progresses with the time. They are excellent quilt mongers, even if it was completely their mistake, still they would make you feel guilty. They say something and later on disagree to that thing. With the passage of time the other person comes to know about the strength and weaknesses. Manipulator comes to know about the vulnerability of the other person and eventually learn ways to exploit them.


One can stay safe or deal with emotional manipulators by focusing on changing themselves not the manipulator, he/she must work one dealing with weak points and imperfections of own self. Try to avoid dependency on others and become self reliant instead. You should never accept someone who doesn’t respect you, no matter what the person is for you, never feel yourself intimidated. Don’t accept everything as they say, try using your intellect. Some compromises are good in relationship but access of anything can be harmful. You may try finding out some ways to control manipulation but if all ways get fail, you must better walk out of that relation before it gets worse. You must confront your fears and understand the fact that man and woman both stand equal in a relationship. Domination of one over another is the loop hole in relationship.

Above all life is short and precious, and nothing is better than living a relationship with dignity.


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