If someone displays these 8 behaviors, they have a manipulative personality

Here’s the scenario:

You’ve crossed paths with someone, maybe even hold a deep affection for them, but their actions often leave you feeling uneasy.

You’ve tried to understand, you’ve given your all to see the best in them, but something still doesn’t sit right.

And it’s not always overtly alarming.

You just have this nagging suspicion that their behavior is manipulative, even when your heart, mind, or instincts may argue otherwise.

You’re in the right place.

In this article, I’ll be discussing 8 behaviors that indicate someone has a manipulative personality, and at the end, I’ll be sharing some tips on how to deal with these types of relationships. 

Let’s dive in:

1) They consistently play the victim card

Manipulation often starts subtly, and one of the most common tactics is playing the victim.

This person might always seem to have a sob story or an excuse for their behavior – they might frequently talk about how they’ve been wronged or how life is unfair to them.

Don’t be fooled:

This tactic serves to elicit sympathy and guilt from you, allowing them to control your feelings and actions.

So, if you constantly find yourself feeling sorry for someone, only to later realize they used your empathy to their advantage, this could be a telling sign of a manipulative personality.

Now, we’ve mentioned guilt, and it’s a pretty powerful emotion, so you’ll see it crop up a few times in this article. Mainly because manipulators use it as the following:

2) They use guilt as a weapon

Manipulative personalities are experts at weaponizing guilt.

They may often make you feel like you’re the one in the wrong, even when you’re not. They skillfully twist situations to make you feel guilty for actions, decisions, or feelings that are completely reasonable.

The purpose?

To keep you in a state of self-doubt and to make you more susceptible to their influence.

If you find that someone consistently makes you feel guilty and uses your remorse as a means to control or influence your decisions, it’s a clear sign of manipulative behavior.

Stay clear of people like this, they’ll do nothing but make you feel miserable. 

3) They discredit your feelings

I once had a friend who had the knack of discrediting my feelings every time I tried to express them.

Every time I shared concern or discomfort about her actions, she’d brush it off, often telling me that I was being “too sensitive” or “overreacting”.

Oh, how I hate those two words now. 

Essentially, she made me second-guess my own feelings, making me feel like I was the problem, not her actions.

This is a classic manipulation tactic called gaslighting.

It’s when someone makes you question your own reality, your own judgment, and even your own sanity.

And if you’ve experienced this, there’s no doubt you were in the company of a manipulative person. Someone who is genuine would never make you feel bad for having normal emotions. 

4) They are experts in flattery

Manipulative individuals often have a knack for flattery, making you feel special and valued.

But here’s something to mull over – Psychologists have found that manipulative people use compliments as a strategic tool to win over their victims.

They shower you with praise, making you feel good about yourself, and in the process, lower your defenses.

So, if someone is excessively flattering without any genuine reason or if their compliments always seem to come at a time when they need something from you, it’s time to take a step back and reassess.

Their flattery could very well be a smokescreen for manipulation. Ultimately, compliments should come from a place of sincerity, not as a means to an end.

high conflict person If someone displays these 8 behaviors, they have a manipulative personality

5) They often change the narrative

One thing I’ve noticed about manipulative people is their ability to be exceptional storytellers. They can twist and turn facts, changing the narrative to suit their needs.

One moment they are the hero, and in the next, they are the victim.

The truth is, they do this to keep you off balance, ensuring that you’re never quite sure what’s going on.

And by constantly altering the narrative, they maintain control, keeping you in a state of confusion and uncertainty.

So, if you find yourself constantly puzzled by someone’s version of events or if their stories often don’t add up, it’s a clear sign of manipulative behavior.

6) They make you feel indebted

Making you feel indebted is a clever tactic used by manipulators to control and influence your behavior.

Because when you feel indebted to someone, you’re more likely to go out of your way to please them or agree to their demands.

They might do something nice for you and then hold it over your head. Or they might constantly remind you of a favor they did in the past, making you feel like you’re forever in their debt.

In healthy relationships, it’s all about give and take. Not keeping score and holding people hostage. 

7) They are evasive and avoid responsibility

Another significant trait of a manipulative personality is evasiveness.

When confronted or questioned, they may often dodge the issue, change the topic, or find a way to shift the blame onto someone else.

Put simply, they’re experts at avoiding responsibility for their actions.

Instead of owning up to their mistakes, they find ways to make it seem like it’s someone else’s fault. This allows them to avoid facing the consequences of their actions and maintain control over the situation.

It’s important to remember that mature people own up to their mistakes and take responsibility for their actions. Evasiveness and blame-shifting are clear indicators of manipulation.

8) They isolate you from your support system

And finally, perhaps the most worrying sign of a manipulative personality is their attempt to isolate you from your friends and family.

They might subtly discourage you from spending time with your loved ones, make negative comments about them, or create situations that cause conflict.

The goal is to weaken your support system and make you more dependent on them, giving them more control over you.

And let’s be honest, isolation can make you feel alone and vulnerable, making it easier for the manipulator to influence your thoughts and actions.

If you notice that someone is trying to cut you off from your support network, it’s critical to recognize this as a sign of manipulative behavior.

Don’t try to change them. Don’t try to please them. Focus on protecting yourself and finding genuine people who you can create healthy relationships with. 

Final thoughts

If you’ve noticed these signs in someone you know, it’s crucial to acknowledge them for what they are.

But remember, recognizing manipulation doesn’t mean you have to confront the person or sever ties immediately. You’ve simply got to understand their behaviors and safeguard yourself.

Start with self-awareness.

Reflect on their actions and your reactions. Notice when you feel controlled or coerced. Pay attention to moments when your feelings or needs are dismissed.

These observations are your first line of defense. They enable you to set boundaries and protect your emotional well-being.

Next, consider seeking support from trusted friends, family, or a professional counselor. They can provide a fresh perspective and offer valuable advice on dealing with manipulative behaviors.

It’s okay to prioritize your mental health and emotional well-being. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for standing up for yourself.

And finally, remind yourself that you have the strength to handle this situation. You may not be able to change the manipulator’s behavior, but you can control how you respond to it.

Picture of Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.

0:00
0:00