5 signs a manipulative person is plotting to double cross you

Have you ever had a feeling that someone in your life—whether a “friend” or an acquaintance, or perhaps a distant relative—was plotting to double cross you?

They may seem overly interested in you—your job, your family, your friends. They might try hard—probably too hard to befriend or date you. 

In the words of one Quora user: “Even when you’re not interested and have communicated this, they never give up trying to infiltrate your life.”

They might be very nosy and ask questions that are none of their business. “They are always around, or privy to the drama or conflict in your life.” 

Negative or strange things seem to happen whenever they’re around. 

That bad feeling you’re getting isn’t just in your head. 

Here are five signs there is a manipulative person in your midst—and that they’re plotting to double cross you. 

1) They pump you for information so that they can use it to deflate you 

A person who is about to double cross you will do their due diligence before the deed in a number of ways. 

We mentioned above how one of these strategies is to get you to let your guard down so that you open up. 

“They push you to be vulnerable [in order] to find your weaknesses,” says Barrie Davenport from Live Bold and Bloom.

“They might couch their predatory instinct in language that makes them seem genuinely eager to know you better. What they really want to know is what they can use against you.”

A master manipulator is patient. They’ll invite you out for coffee and make a ritual out of it. They’ll take you out to dinner and insist on paying. They’ll pop over with food because “you sounded stressed on the phone”. 

Bit by bit, they’ll disarm you.

Then, once they have their “foundation” in place, they’ll begin to undermine you, says Jayadeva De Silva from Heart and Mind Learning

“To undermine someone means to plant seeds of self-doubt in their minds in an attempt to make you dependent on them, weaken you, control you, and to gain power over you.”

They might use negging as one strategy. This means they’ll undermine your confidence so that you work harder for their approval. 

They’ll also focus on your flaws more than on your strengths, says De Silva. This also gives them the upper hand. 

They might also purposely misunderstand you, so that you’re forced to over-explain yourself. 

Distorting the truth allows them to “spread the hate and blame.”

If you cave to their tactics, then they’ll see you as easy prey. 

2) They’re a “BFF” to your face but badmouth you behind your back

If you’ve heard through the grapevine that someone is saying negative things about you behind your back, they could very well be setting the stage for people to turn on you. 

Their attempt to set others against you makes it easier for them to double cross you.

Bad-mouthing can only endure if it’s effective, says Glenn Geher, PhD. It leads to beneficial social outcomes for the person doing the bad-mouthing.

“And, for better or worse, a great deal of research has shown that Machiavellian behavior such as bad-mouthing often does lead to success in various domains.”

Geher says that this is because bad-mouthing can be an effective route to social power. 

“By gaining a reputation as someone who will throw his or her own mother under the bus, a bad-mouther can gain social power by creating a fearful environment. It’s socially risky to mess with bad-mouthers and they capitalize on this fact.”

Bad-mouthers are not faint of heart. They have a lot of confidence—and arrogance—that gives them the ability to easily bad-mouth others for their own advantage. 

They’re confident that their tactics will work, and sadly they’re often right. 

pic2084 5 signs a manipulative person is plotting to double cross you

3) They incessantly infect your life with drama

Drama and chaos are a manipulator’s playground. 

Manipulators are experts at altering reality with lies and “misstatements” in order to confuse you, says Timothy J. Legg, PhD

“They might exaggerate events to make themselves feel more vulnerable.”

They might tell you that they were “up all night crying” over a certain issue. 

They do this because they are on a mission to create the “right” emotional environment to double-cross you. 

They’re ready to pull out all the stops if things don’t go their way: cry, deny, deflect, dodge, blame, become indignant—you name it. 

They’ll also engage in intellectual bullying, says Legg. They’ll overwhelm you with “facts” and say that they “don’t expect you to understand.”

4) They don’t bother respecting your boundaries 

Unless you set and enforce clear personal limits, a manipulator will keep on pushing for more control, says Davenport. 

“They’ll expect you to give them a pass on soft boundaries (i.e. those you don’t usually have to enforce with others) because, ‘Hey…it’s me!’”

A manipulator doesn’t think the rules apply to them because they’re your only “true” friend who is “genuinely” looking out for you and “has your back”.

People who are manipulative, narcissistic, and have a poor sense of self have a habit of repeatedly violating boundaries, says Sharon Martin, LCSW

5) You get a bad feeling whenever you’re around them 

If you get a bad feeling whenever you’re around a manipulator, it’s very likely because your intuition is trying to tell you that you can’t trust them. 

That uneasy feeling you get every time you’re around them is your body trying to keep you safe. 

Many times, a gut reaction is the first thing you will think and feel in a situation, says psychologist Mert Şeker

“You should pay attention to this because it might be your mind’s way of protecting you from getting hurt by generating a bad gut feeling.”

Şeker says that if your gut senses that something is wrong in a particular relationship, you could very well be better off listening to it even if you logically think that things are going well.

“There is evidence that a gut feeling is a good assistant when deciding on particular situations,” he says. 

Our intuition is like our inner compass. “It’s that instinctive sense you get deep inside when you face a decision or situation,” says Şeker.

“Your gut is your body’s way of processing information and making quick judgements based on your experiences and intuition.”

That nagging feeling is what guides you, even when you can’t explain it rationally. Şeker says that trusting our gut means we’re listening to our inner wisdom and that we have confidence in our own judgment. 

Remember: you don’t have to have someone prove you right. By then you will have been “burned”.

If you get a bad feeling about someone and feel like they don’t have your best interests at heart, and are out to hurt you—remove yourself from the situation. 

No explanations are necessary. 

You get to be the one who decides on a different outcome

The best thing to prevent a manipulator from double crossing you is to detach yourself from the outcome. 

“Stop responding in the same old ways,” says Martin. 

“Some people intentionally violate boundaries to hurt you, get a reaction out of you, and to exert control.”

Don’t engage with them and distance yourself from them. 

Cut them out of your life and take back your power. 

You don’t owe them anything. 




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Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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