How to Pick Up on Manipulative Behavior
8:35:55 2024-05-19 198

1- Notice if the person always wants you to speak first. Manipulative people want to listen to what you have to say so they can find out your strengths and weaknesses. They will ask you probing questions so that you will talk about your personal opinions and feelings. These questions usually begin with "What," "Why," or "How." Their responses and actions are based on the information you have given them.

  • Always wanting you to speak first should not be considered manipulation on its own. Take into consideration the other things the person does as well.
  • The manipulative person will not reveal much personal information during these conversations but focus on you instead.
  • If this behavior happens in the majority of the conversations you have with them, it may be a sign of manipulation.
  • Although it may feel like genuine interest, keep in mind that there may be a hidden agenda behind all this questioning. If you try to get to know the person, and or they refuse to answer questions or quickly changes the subject, it may be not be genuine interest.

2- Notice if the person uses charm as a tool to accomplish things. Some people are naturally charming, but a manipulator uses charm to get something. This person may compliment someone before making a request. They may give a small gift or card before asking or say they will do a favor to get the other person to do something.

  • For example, someone may cook a nice dinner and be very sweet before asking the other person for money or help with a project.
  • Be aware that while this sort of behavior is often quite harmless, you are not under any obligation to do something just because someone did something nice for you.


3- Look out for coercive behavior. Manipulators will persuade people to do something using force or threats. They may yell at a person, criticize a person, or threaten a person to get him to do something. The person might begin by saying, "If you do not do this, I will ___" or "I won't ___, until you ____." A manipulator will use this tactic to not only get a person to do something, but also to get them to stop doing a certain behavior.

4- Be aware of how the person handles facts. If a person manipulates facts or tries to overwhelm you with facts and information, they could be trying to manipulate you. Facts may be manipulated by lying, withholding information, exaggerating, or making excuses. Someone may also act like an expert on a subject and bombard you with facts and statistics. The person does this to feel more powerful than you.

5- Notice if a person is always a martyr or victim. This person may do things that you did not ask them to, and then hold it over your head. They want to make you feel indebted to them so they can pressure you into doing things for them.[6] If you ask for their help or try to set a boundary, they will twist it to play the victim or act like they can't give you what you need.

  • If a person talks about having a real-life issue like mental illness, notice when they bring it up. Are they doing this because they want to confide in you? Or does this tend to come up the minute you ask for a favor or say something they don't approve of?
  • Most struggling people will try to improve their lives. A manipulative person is unlikely to do so because they like having a convenient excuse.
  • A manipulator may also complain and say, "I'm so unloved/sick/victimized, etc." in an effort to gain your sympathy and to get you to do things for them.


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