Lying manipulative behavior

7 Signs to Look For

Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 19, 2020

In this Article

  • What Is Manipulation?
  • Signs of Manipulation
  • Treating Manipulation
  • Support and Resources

It’s natural for people in relationships to experience problems as the relationship grows. Sometimes these problems stem from emotions or greed. One type of problem that can surface in any type of relationship is manipulation. This is a problem that can lead to others along the way. Learn the signs of manipulation and what to do about it if it surfaces in your relationships with others.

What Is Manipulation?

Manipulation is the exercise of harmful influence over others. People who manipulate others attack their mental and emotional sides to get what they want. The person manipulating — called the manipulator — seeks to create an imbalance of power, and take advantage of a victim to get power, control, benefits, and/or privileges at the expense of the victim.  

Manipulation can happen in close or casual relationships, but they are more common in closely formed relationships. In a way, everyone can manipulate others to get what they want. But manipulation is defined as any attempt to sway someone’s emotions to get them to act or feel a certain way.

Manipulators have common tricks they’ll use to make you feel irrational and more likely to give in to their requests. A few common examples include: 

● Guilt

● Complaining

● Comparing

● Lying

● Denying

● Feigning ignorance or innocence

● Blame 

● Mind games  

Signs of Manipulation

Manipulation can happen in many forms. In fact, sometimes kindness can be a form of manipulation depending on the intent. Then the question is raised, is any form of influence considered manipulation?

Whether manipulation has good or bad intentions, it is still an attempt to undermine your rational thinking.

People who manipulate others have common traits that you can look for. They include: 

  • They know your weaknesses and how to exploit them
  • They use your insecurities against you
  • They convince you to give up something important to you, to make you more dependent on them
  • If they are successful in their manipulation, they will continue to do so until you are able to get out of the situation

Other signs of manipulation include: 

Location Advantage

A manipulator will try to bring you out of your comfort zone and places that you are familiar with to have an advantage over you. This can be in any place that the manipulator feels ownership of or in control.

Manipulation of Facts

A manipulator will actively lie to you, make excuses, blame you, or strategically share facts about them and withhold other truths. In doing this, they feel they are gaining power over you and gaining intellectual superiority. 

Exaggeration and Generalization

Manipulators are experts in exaggeration and generalization. They may say things like, “No one has ever loved me.” They use vague accusations to make it harder to see the holes in their arguments.

Cruel Humor

This tactic used by manipulators is meant to poke at your weaknesses and make you feel insecure. By making you look bad, they have a sense of psychological superiority. 


This tactic is used by the manipulator to confuse you and make you question your own reality. The manipulation happens when you confront the abuse or lies and the manipulator tells you that it never happened.

Passive- A ggression

People can be passive-aggressive for many reasons that aren’t always intended to manipulate. But chronic (long-term) manipulators will use this tactic to make you feel guilty, and give backhanded compliments. They are doing this to show anger without directly being angry, making you feel confused.

Constant Judging

The manipulator does not hide their manipulation behind humor or “good fun. ” In this case, they are openly judging, ridiculing, and dismissing you. They want to make you feel like you’re doing something wrong, and that no matter what you do you will be inadequate to them. They only focus on negative aspects and do not offer constructive solutions. 

Treating Manipulation

Manipulation can be hard to identify or admit to when it’s happening to you. You are not at fault for having manipulation happen to you. There is no way to prevent manipulation, because it’s an issue of the manipulator. It’s up to the manipulator to find help.

However, there are ways to reduce the emotional impact of manipulation. Here are ways to set strong boundaries in a relationship: 

  • Communicate in clear, direct, and specific ways.
  • Understand when manipulation is not normal and needs to be addressed.
  • Set boundaries around manipulation and find a way to let the person know that you understand they are manipulating you, and that you don’t want to be a part of that conversation.
  • Seek out a trusted individual, who is not under the influence of the manipulator, and ask their advice about your situation. 

Being able to identify manipulation is a large part of putting an end to it. If manipulation is coming from a loved one, it can be very difficult to seek help. However, manipulation can take a toll on your own emotional well-being. Therefore, it’s important that you are able to find a safe way out of the situation.

Support and Resources

If you feel like you may be getting manipulated by a loved one, friend, or coworker it is important to reach out to a trusted resource to find help. Resources to consider include:

  • Relationship counselor
  • Therapist
  • Friends
  • Trusted family members
  • National abuse hotlines

How to tell if someone's lying to manipulate you

If you prefer to listen, here’s the podcast version of this post on Soundcloud and iTunes.

This is also known as gas-lighting – based on a Hitchcock film where Ingrid Bergman was made to feel crazy by her husband.  What I am going to talk about is what to do and how to recognize when someone is intentionally keeping you feel off-balance or pushing your buttons to make you into the bad guy. It’s a control tactic, and it’s extremely cruel – not to mention, when done overtime it can make you believe you can’t trust your own instincts. You will start to lose a connection to your own gut instincts because someone is making you believe that they might be wrong, consistently over time. It can stall you from actually reaching the solution to an issue, and even blind you to real and dangerous truths happening right in front of you – on a greater and greater scale. Because over a long period of time – no matter how rational and confident you start out, eventually you catch “the sickness” of the manipulative behavior. Long story short – it’s DANGEROUS and NOT COOL and you shouldn’t be tolerating it or be around it – at all. This is an episode to give you a starting point for helping yourself out of this situation.

Three parts – what why and how, the tools.

Part 1: The What

People who intentionally use belittling, inconsistency, rationalizations, mixed signals and redirection tactics to make you feel less-than, mistrusting of yourself, or lost and unsure about the real issue at hand. These tactics usually employ inconsistency in reactions, in emotions, in verbiage – and point to something else. This might start when you raise an issue you have – something that doesn’t feel right to you – and suddenly the other person is pointing at something entirely different: telling you that you have a serious problem, or you look like crap, or some really diagonal reaction that you’re not expecting.  Immediately you are taken aback: I was thoughtfully trying to raise a concern, I thought about this thing for a very long time – and now suddenly this person is saying this totally shocking OTHER thing. The result is similar to feeling stunned, guilty and unable to get OUT of the conflict. You might soon wish you never brought anything up – suddenly this issue is so much worse than it was potentially going to be in your mind. And you can’t seem to figure out HOW it is you got to this point. Are they right? DID I do something wrong? I don’t believe I did that…This is stage 1 of the dirty tactic affect. Confusion. Backing off. NOT fully addressing your need. Making you feel more tentative about your needs and whether or not you can even present them. You ended up somewhere so much farther away than where you started.

Stage 2 is what happens when this dynamic occurs over time. You end up building a history of these types of conversations and they begin to wear you down – the circles exhaust you, because you’re chasing the truth and can’t ever catch up. When they point to something new, you almost believe the validity in what they are saying because you’ve been here before. What they might say will also play upon your fears and insecurities, they will also have sunk in and made you doubt yourself. Even if you rationally KNOW that you are being manipulated and that this person is spewing negativity at you to make you less confident, what they say will still hurt. It will still affect you – because this is a person you know and care about. They can make you feel unloved which when you endure it, makes you feel unlovable. You internalize the hurt.

Stage 3 of the affect of the behavior is you have forgotten your gut and your instincts are valid. You have mistrusted yourself so many times – been so confused – that now you feel like you’re going crazy. “None of this makes any sense – I MUST be wrong.” They might even throw out theories to justify the possibility that this is all in your head. They might tell you things you have said to them before that you have no memory of – “I said that?” “Yes and we both decided to do xyz.” “I don’t remember that…” And logically, you see no other solution – because this person loves you. The motive is missing. Why would someone who cares about you, who you have chosen to trust – manipulate you and make you feel like you’re losing your mind? There’s no reason they’d do that – and the reasoning they have created might feel somewhat feasible. “I have been really stressed out, and we did have that fight last time when they said I did this same thing…”  Now you are NOT trusting yourself. Maybe you are bringing old baggage to this conflict and you should do what they are suggesting: be more tolerant. Get more rest. Stop being so accusatory. Etc. Maybe you were wrong all along. Suddenly you are backing off, staring into space trying to retrace your past experiences – to see if you can see what they are saying. How did I forget that?

This tactic might not show up as a finger pointing – another way it shows up is completely inconsistent behavior. When you believe you are on the same page and someone has just done something that SHOULD be a big deal. You should be having a certain conversation – in fact, every bone in your body is telling you that you are valid and right in your position. But then their reaction might be the opposite of what you’re expecting. Or what they normally do. Or they might not even acknowledge the issue. Which leaves you reevaluating what you were originally feeling. Was this something I should be worried about? Is it a big deal? And if you’re in a relationship with this person – the instinct is to want it to be okay. To want the problem to not be a big deal, and so you talk yourself out of it. “Yeah it’s okay, if they’re okay I’m okay..”

A person who plays dirty will also bring things up in ways that alter the intention of what they’re saying. When they tell you what’s wrong with you they say it in a way that implies they are coming from love. They’re trying their hardest. Or – they will react to your feelings in ways that make you feel like you’re acting completely irrational. Like for example, you are extremely upset and they react to you with laughter and softness, like you were a child. Or you are believing you can trust this person and yet they do something totally inappropriate – so you call them on it, and they act as if nothing happened. Or they suddenly out of nowhere begin telling you things that are wrong with you – as though they are coming from a valid and concerned place.

Manipulators will also tend to isolate you. The acts are all to get you “contained” and keep you disempowered – so they might tell you they hate your friends, or your family is annoying, or they might immediately express hatred for someone as soon as you talk about how much you like them. This is all to keep you under their control.

They will also believe themselves passionately – they’ll rationalize their side with such authenticity that you might feel guilty and believe it’s your fault for a lack of trust. They might create irrational rules for “who they are” and “how they do things” – including what you are allowed to ask of them and what they will and will not do. They make these rules into “their thing” and although they would never be acceptable under any circumstances in any other situation – you feel powerless to argue. You feel you have no leverage. So suddenly you’re not allowed to ask about where this person is, where they’re going. You are too afraid to bring things up because of the disproportionate behavior. It can make you feel afraid to set them off- because they’ll punish you for it or you’ll end up in an endless discussion.  So you take the easier route.

They’ll also as a rule not show how they’re feeling or what they’re thinking about: you won’t know how to read them, their body language will be confusing and what they say and do will send different messages. So when they are saying something nice, they might be acting physically cold. Or when they are saying something that implies they are feeling a lot of emotion, they might enact the actions of a person who is feeling nothing at all. Things just don’t line up – and so it FEELS like it’s all your bad. It’s because of you, it’s that they don’t love you or even like you, or you’re not enough, or you’re losing your mind. You can’t tell up from down.

Summary – end result of all of their behavior is you not trusting yourself. Something doesn’t feel right, but it doesn’t make sense. Huh? What just happened?  Why can’t I reach resolution? Maybe I’m wrong. This is all in my head. I must be totally crazy.

Part 2: The Why

It’s not about you – it’s because of how they feel inside and whether or not they are capable of dealing with that in a healthy way. There are some different motives behind the dirty tactics but all of them revolve around a desire for power and control: someone feeling powerless and resentful of your power next to them, OR someone wanting to stay hidden and illusive so they can control you, or someone wanting to keep you off-balance because they don’t want to be attacked and they want to retain a power-position so they keep you looking in the wrong place. The motive at play is what you want to try to discern because it will show you whether or not this person is very dangerous and sociopathic aka whether or not they feel guilt and empathy for you. I will talk about some of the kinds of dynamics so you can start to make sense of your own situation.

Childhood Damage:A common cause of this is a person’s damage from childhood. They have suppressed a part of themselves and or they hate a part of themselves – the part of them that feels needy and vulnerable. This suppression must be defended fiercely – like a bully that’s saying, “get away! Get away!” but using smarter tactics – ones they might employ from a place of denial. Because the feelings are so intolerable to them, they want to believe their own lies – almost like they have an alter ego who’s sooo right and just and confident.

The damage can be caused by an early traumatic experience, or the way they were parented: if their parent gave them the tools and support to feel their painful feelings, or if they were forced to stuff them away from view. If the parent was abusive, or they were neglected, a child might adopt ways of getting love and care – trying everything possible: manipulating using their body, charm, sadness, pain – whatever it takes. How they feel becomes a tool for survival, not a weakness that makes them feel vulnerable. It is when a person becomes versed at manipulation, that they practice a state of invisibility: when they are at their resting state, you might have no idea what they are thinking – where they are mentally, or what their motives are. That is a skill learned over a lifetime. They are in truth, calculating: they are deciding what they need to do to get the most out of a situation. How to get others to give them more power and adoration.

When the damage of childhood is foundational – and occurs in the first 5 years of life, this is a much more dangerous person because they lack empathy and guilt. This is when a person is capable of much more harm – I’m talking about narcissists and sociopaths.  When a person cannot see how you feel, and it doesn’t hurt them when you cry or when you’re in pain – and they seem to encourage you to feel bad for them, or they don’t seem to understand that what they say is extremely hurtful to you – there’s a strong likelihood that they have one of these personality disorders. And they can’t be cured. The damage was at a developmental stage.

Parent Mirroring: If they had a parent who was manipulative – they might be now unconsciously borrowing the methods of the parent. No matter who we are, we tend to resort to the tools we have seen used before – many of them by our parents because it’s who shows us our original framework for how to behave. So in a couple, you’ve seen a parent employ a behavior when they fight with a spouse, you’re much more likely to enact the same thing in your own adult life.

Powerlessness: Another cause is painful feelings of powerlessness. Usually this is brought out by intimacy – a relationship that grows closer, whether with time, or a milestone – like moving in together or getting married, and suddenly they feel overwhelming vulnerability. The tactics are desperate attempts at grabbing for power. Like a cornered animal – they are threatened, full of unbearable feelings of weakness and insecurity – and they cannot look at those feelings or deal with them like normal people. Why? Because the feelings were intolerable to them at an earlier age – because they threatened their survival. When we stuff pain away and choose to block it, it’s because we’re at an age when we need to be able to function, and having this weakness is impossible: we abandon this part of ourselves and suppress it, believing that it doesn’t exist anymore. It’s not who we are. And yet it lives there, deep below the surface, and we compensate for this feeling by adopting an opposite personality trait: if you stuff feelings of emotion and vulnerability, you portray a rational and authoritarian persona. But you look for others who embody the part of yourself that you cut off. It’s what they want to provoke in others to more reaffirm their current self.

Triggered Baggage:There are some major baggage triggers: Marriage, Kids, Intimacy, Achievement (tied to parents and self-worth) and Health or Independence of a partner. If this wasn’t a problem before and you’re feeling like you suddenly met a new person – and you can’t understand what happened, at certain life milestones this kind of behavior might suddenly come out. The particular trigger will tie back to the original source of their feelings of powerlessness. For example, when you get married – early family issues come out. You might begin to act like your parent, or conversely – attempt to act opposite the dysfunction of your parent. In that process the negative acts that are coming out are actually directed at the parent – but they are acting them out onto you. It’s like a way for a person to come to terms with their original problem – like they unconsciously try to recreate the conditions so that they can make them right – and the behavior will be manipulating you into assuming the role that’s opposite their self-perception. 

If you guys have an uneven relationship and you start to get stronger or more confident, manipulation is a tactic to return you to a submissive state – and reset the previous balance of the relationship aka Keep the old bond safe.

Unconsciousness: Sometimes people are just unconscious and living in a state of ego. They are disconnected from the depth of what is happening because they’re afraid to look or slow down, so instead they keep busy. They’re afraid to feel. So they’re hiding from reality by staying wrapped up in their own idealized version of their identity and rationalizing everything they do with that. Like they perceive themselves as a go-getter, a power-player –  they know how to keep their image cool and their life awesome. They know what’s best and they don’t allow themselves to entertain any other version of life so they are going about whatever they need to to stay on top, including telling you why you’re just crazy and they’re sooo right. 

Low Self-Confidence: Another super common source is low-self-confidence. Sometimes people have a lot of self-loathing and they are hurting you as an expression of their own internal hate for themselves, and anyone who loves them. A good way to think of low-self-worth is like a pair of goggles: how people treat others is a direct translation of how they feel inside. So self-hating people treat everyone around them with hate, especially those who highlight how low they feel – like the happy or confident. You might find this comes out when you are successful or happy – it’s like the inner demons are lashing out and pushing you down.   This person hates that they feel this way, so they might try to ignore their feelings – yet they eek out sideways in passive aggressive ways.

Intolerable to Emotion: They might also be acting out because they simply don’t want to feel the way they do and they are so jealous you’re happy and confident. They don’t want to feel what they feel, it makes them scared and very uncomfortable – so a way to make it more tolerable is to put it onto you. To say it’s YOUR fault that they are feeling this badness – it’s because YOU are bad and should be punished. You’re the one doing something wrong to make me feel this way. This dynamic is called projective identification – and it will make a person actually believe you are at fault. Like a self-induced hallucination. It’s a logic born out of desperate denial of something that makes them feel worthless.

Regardless of which category your sich falls into, it’s NOT COOL. You don’t deserve it, and you can’t continue to tolerate it. Which brings me to ways I want to empower you. Part 3 – the tools!

Part 3: The How, The Tools!

Tool 1: Know Thyself    

Your intentions and your values can be a grounding element for you when someone is trying to talk you into their view of you. Whatever they are, record your own truths on a small piece of paper (to put in your wallet) and on your phone. For example: the truth that you are trying to be honest. You are coming from love. You want to do what’s best for both of you, you are committed to the outcome of health. You are always trying your best. All of those pure traits that you have – let them be grounding for you. Know they exist, no matter what someone says to make you believe otherwise. Let go of whether or not they accuse you of something crazy. Detach with love. Stick to your guns: remind yourself of your own intentions and that you are coming from love. THAT IS YOUR TRUTH and no one can take that away from you or make it less true.

Tool 2: Detach with love

This is a great one from many other books and the 12-step program, but quite simply: you can always be kind and loving and cut off contact from the person who is hurting you– with love. It’s not uncaring or selfish for you to protect yourself from their dysfunctional behavior. It’s loving and healthy – and it’s a way for you to start to grow healthier. All you have to do is tell the person you love them but you cannot be around them because it’s hurting you, and let go of their reaction. You are always allowed to protect yourself. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.

Tool 3: Draw a Straight Line

The truth is simple. If the dots don’t connect, there’s a reason. Do not allow yourself to will yourself into believing something said – only base your judgments on the truth of what you know.

In those moments when this other person is making you feel confused or conflicted or frustrated – and you’re unable to see WHY something doesn’t add up, there’s a REASON. When people mean something – it’s not hard to see. It’s not confusing to understand motivations, everything is pretty basic and evident. You will be able to see the cause of something. So if things aren’t making sense or you find yourself trying desperately to understand the reason behind something – or maybe someone has told you a story that you can’t relate to – like you’re trying to solve a puzzle that is their motivation, stop: don’t continue to get tangled in the web. There’s a reason this doesn’t add up.

In those moments – remind yourself to step back and draw a straight line from the actions you have perceived – and only those actions. If those actions and behaviors don’t point to a person who truly aligns with what they are saying, or if things don’t seamlessly connect – there’s a reason for that: something’s not true. It shouldn’t be complicated. It shouldn’t be confusing. It shouldn’t be HARD to understand why someone does something. Step back – detach with love: don’t get tipped into the game of mirrors. It’s being played to keep you confused and looking away from the truth.

Tool 4: Smile and Step Away

In the serious cases if you’re dealing with someone who you know gets to you and makes you feel off-balance, in the moment of their tactics – do not engage or show you are aware of their misalignments. This is how you invite more of it – so instead play along and keep a safe distance from your own thoughts and their awareness. You want to give them nothing to use against you – they will try more and more tactics to keep you under their control. In the face of that – the best thing to do is cut off access to what you’re thinking without cluing them in. Smile and point in another direction – continue to cut off access to your thoughts. Redirect and distance – continue to keep them at bay until you can get a little bit more of your balance and sanity back.

In closing…

I want to thank ALL of my monthly sponsors for sticking with me, I appreciate you so so much – you areamazing! And thank you to my newest sponsors – Steve and Kelsey!!  You guys are sooo awesome!!!!

If you’re in a relationship like this, I want you to listen to this – hard. It’s not enough that you love someone if they are incapable of loving you. It’s not enough that they love you – they must demonstrate that they are capable of being loving to you. If you’re dating this person, I want you to look at how this behavior feels to you. Whether or not it hurts – makes you feel desperate and alone, powerless – like you have no way out.

You don’t deserve this and you shouldn’t tolerate this or rationalize it away. It cannot continue – and you DO HAVE POWER in this moment. You are just unable to use it, because you have been manipulated into a position of powerlessness. You think you can’t go there, or you shouldn’t – because it’s not that bad. Not that serious. Or you might say to yourself, “They wouldn’t listen.” Or “They’ll just say no.” You always have a say – and it’s your job to USE YOUR POWER and begin to OBEY YOUR GUT if it’s telling you this is wrong. Whatever you feel, is valid. Whatever you want, is valid and NO ONE no matter how much you love them is allowed to talk you out of that. Nor do you have to concede. When things are difficult, you just need some better help and support. Just because you can’t see a solution from where you are now doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist: it means you have to look harder. Grab for MORE outside help. And try something new – a new source of help.

You can change everything in your life just by changing yourself – including your relationship. If this person is doing this, you get to wield the power of your body, mind and soul. You get to set the boundaries for how YOU are treated. You can and SHOULD remove access to yourself if you are not being treated appropriately. Once you really mean it, and you really align your actions with someone who means it and take the appropriate actions – BIG and PAINFUL change happens. But you need to accept that you cannot control the outcome, you cannot control what this person will do, and that’s just the way life works. They are the only one who can change themselves – that’s not your job. Your job is to take care of yourself and your relationship, by doing whatever it takes to get there – even when it seems impossible, or that you’re walking away from something. You’ve got to build a wall to FORCE the impossible change to happen. You have to mean it that much. Which is a very profound and powerful confrontation for the wrong actions to be seen – for the first time – in the light of day. When you draw a line and point to this issue, and what needs to happen – there becomes no other alternative for the other person – and this is when you can really see who they are, and what they’re capable of. Just like a teenager acts out to get their parents to create a firm boundary so that they can feel safe, these actions are pushing you to create any kind of boundary. They are validating their self-hate, which is really an opportunity for you to FORCE the change they deep-down want, but are too afraid to look at. This forcing of change is the only time they might actually change because there’s no other option. Just like it might be hard to work on something unless you’re paid to do it, it’s hard to change unless your life is a stake. This is the come-to-Jesus moment when they can actually accept their own powerlessness and do the work they need to do: because they cannot talk you out of it. They have no other choice.

If you live with sickness, eventually you get sick. Even if you’re outside this behavior now, the longer you subject yourself to it without getting tools to help yourself – and outside support, the sicker you get. Remember the airplane card: put your mask on before you help someone else. You need to be grounded to help another person – so take care of yourself and your sanity, first and foremost.

Whatever you do moving forward– let it come from love and truth and not from fear. Let go of what is out of your control, speak from a kind and loving place – and take care of yourself. Respect yourself and respect your needs. Do not tolerate behavior that is less-than, do not allow another person to hurt you, and in those moments when you can witness their pain and hate – detach with love. Walk away while stating your needs and who you are. Let go of what they believe or tell you to believe. No one else is allowed to make you feel anything you don’t decide to feel. You can and will take care of yourself and you can and will learn to hear your own voice again, loud and clear. Rebuild that bond one day at a time – and never mistrust it again. Your gut is always speaking your truth – and that truth is always valid. It’s the most valuable and important voice you have in this life. Honor it, honor yourself – and come from love.

I send you my love – and if this helped you, please share it! Don’t forget to smile. xo!

Manipulation of a partner in a marital relationship

Author : Geifman Alexandra Albertovna

Rubric : Psychology

Posted by in young scientist #18 (256) May 2019G.

Publication date : 05. 05.2019 2019-05-05

Article viewed: 3331 times

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Geifman, A. A. Manipulation of a partner in marital relations / A. A. Geifman. - Text: direct // Young scientist. — 2019. - No. 18 (256). — P. 5-7. — URL: (date of access: 01/03/2023).

This article discusses manipulation between spouses, manipulation in such relationships for their own benefit. Manipulation in married couples is a fairly common problem in relationships, so this topic is relevant today.

Keywords: manipulation, attitude, manipulator, influence mechanism, expected reaction.

Throughout history, society has been the basis of human survival. In order for a society to exist as an integral entity, mechanisms of influence on its individual participants had to arise.

Therefore, almost every person is endowed with such a mechanism of influence that makes him vulnerable to the positive or negative state of another person and society. nine0005

In an effort to get rid of the negative impact, some people get used to acting reactively, succumbing to manipulation without hesitation. Thus, a person deprives himself of the opportunity to reconsider the situation and act differently. People who are close to the manipulator also get used to the fact that they can be forced to act through a certain feeling, and begin to manipulate themselves.

It is no secret that any communication is, first of all, management. Interaction with other people is based on the fact that we always want something from each other and manage each other to achieve the goal. The same thing happens in marital relations, because the desires of close people are not always the same, and if it is not possible to agree or ask, they begin to influence each other through manipulation. nine0005

Manipulation is understood as a psychological impact, the execution of which leads to a hidden excitation in another person of intentions that do not coincide with his actually existing plans and desires. [one]

The manipulation is based on a slight cognitive dissonance that arises from mixing truth and lies. The slightest misrepresentation of facts is enough to create an uncomfortable feeling of inconsistency in the data.

Relationships in married couples are often built on manipulative actions, carried out consciously or unconsciously. Manipulation in marital relations is aimed at satisfying personal needs at the expense of another person, while bypassing direct and open interaction with him. In other words, in such a relationship, one of the partners seeks to satisfy his needs in a distorted way and may not even think about the needs of the other. nine0005

The manipulating spouse shows conscious cruelty, by all means, forcing the other person to completely submit to his will. As a rule, the manipulating spouse finds a weak spot in his partner and acts on these weaknesses.

The manipulator is characterized by a selfish nature, a desire for power in personal relationships, and an inability to truly love and compassion. The subordinate, on the contrary, has a soft character, sensitivity, emotional dependence. nine0005

Manipulation in marital relations can be of three types:

- Negative - against the interests of the partner.

- Positive - within the framework of mutual interests. It can be entertainment, and a game, and care.

- Neutral - from the point of view of the partner's interests.

In the hands of a skilled manipulator, the spouse imperceptibly makes unusual decisions, agrees to undesirable actions. Over time, such relationships become the norm of the family, and the achievement of the personal goals of the manipulator turns into a selfish one-sided game. [2, p. 109]

Manipulation in marital relations has its own characteristics for spouses of different sexes and with different lengths of marriage. This fact is specified in the following assumptions:

  1. Spouses who have been married for more than 10 years are more prone to manipulation than spouses who have been married for less than 5 years.
  2. Men are more prone to manipulation in marital relations than women.
  3. There are differences in the manipulation techniques that men and women use in marital communication. nine0080

In marital relationships, there are several basic manipulation methods used by the manipulator to achieve their personal goals:

  1. Love manipulation. Very often, one of the spouses at least once, but said to his husband or wife - "if you love, you will do it." This is the weakest side of the emotionally dependent. After all, the fear of being rejected or losing a loved one is one of the strongest. Therefore, the manipulator can achieve the fulfillment of his goals from the spouse through pressure on feelings. nine0080
  2. Anger manipulation. The manipulator, when he sees that his requests are not fulfilled, can break out on his spouse, will scream and stomp his feet, force him to surrender and submit to manipulation. If you follow his lead once, it means that screams and scandals will become an integral part of married life.
  3. Guilt manipulation. The emotionally addicted manipulator will try to manipulate his partner with the words "it's because of you that I became like this" because he deliberately makes himself a victim. nine0080
  4. Blackmail manipulation. The promise of the manipulator to stop influencing the will of the spouse hides a desire for reward. If this method does not work, blackmail is used by the manipulator. If he threatens suicide, you can't trust him. These people love themselves too much to do that. [2, p. 111]

In fact, manipulation in marital relations is a quite common phenomenon. Moreover, any relationship is inherently manipulative. Everyone has a goal and everyone wants to achieve it. But everything should be in moderation. If marital relations are completely built on various kinds of manipulations, when there is no place for simple easy communication and the joy of being together, then you need to think about how not to succumb to manipulation. nine0005

Being inside a marital relationship, being a spouse, it is difficult to even admit to yourself that the spouse is manipulating. But one thing is natural and obligatory - manipulations must be stopped, it doesn’t matter - you are consciously controlled or the manipulator himself is subject to psychological problems. Living with a manipulator, trying to understand him, and even protecting yourself from his manipulations is a very difficult task.

It should be understood that the fight against manipulation only makes you tense, increases anxiety, and most importantly, destroys the basis of relationships: there is no opportunity to be open, a free decision to be near, to be yourself. nine0005

Some people are accustomed to being the victim, and they can confidently hold on to either side of the opposition - they themselves are manipulated or succumbed to manipulation.

Manipulation during family conflict is potentially dangerous, even if used for good. Therefore, it is important to know how to behave with a manipulator in a marital relationship. Depending on the situation, it is necessary to choose the most appropriate behavior model: [3]

  1. End contact.
  2. nine0085

    If the manipulator does not want to back down, you need to move away from him, do not prove anything and do not make excuses. You should offer to end the conversation to calm emotions.

    1. Pay attention to whether the manipulator has the moral right to say what he says.
    2. No expected response.

    This technique of protection against a manipulator in a marital relationship is extremely useful when the manipulator knows in advance how the spouse will behave: he will cry, leave, start making excuses, etc. Or when he tries to bring to conflict. The essence of the technique of the absence of the expected reaction in response to the manipulation of consent. nine0005

    1. Thank you for caring.

    The appeasement technique works when the partner begins to manipulate to get attention. However, you can resist by giving positive emotions instead of those caused (feelings of guilt, resentment, etc.).

    1. Ignoring the subtext, answering the manipulator only to what was said.
    2. constructive response.

    Analysis of manipulation into 2 parts: the real fact and the emotional load. You should only answer the fact with evidence. Most constructive. nine0005

    1. Ask specific clarifying questions.

    They will help stop the pressure of the manipulator and reduce the ardor. Their essence is to translate the conversation from an emotional into a constructive direction.

    1. Ask a direct question about the purpose of the manipulation.

    The meaning of this method is to let the manipulator know that you understand his motives and will not succumb to them. The question should be as open as possible, uttered without pretensions and emotions.

    Therefore, in order to resist manipulation in marital relations and prevent conflict from developing on this basis, it is important not to enter into the game that has been started. At the first hint of her - aggressive, hidden, friendly - you need to make it clear to the manipulator that you are aware of his intentions. [3] nine0005

    Thus, manipulations in marital relations speak of inconsistency and a lack of readiness to take full responsibility for one's life. A person who manipulates another makes the second one dependent on himself and is himself dependent, primarily on this way of building relationships. In such families, there is no ability to create open and pure interactions for the sake of general happiness, and both spouses will suffer.


    1. Dotsenko EL Psychology of manipulation: phenomena, mechanisms and protection. M.: CheRo, 1997. 344 p.
    2. Sotnikova T. Yu. Manipulations in co-dependent relationships // Strategic directions of development of science, education, technologies. - 2017. - S. 108-112.
    3. Tanasov G.G. Manipulative behavior in relations between women and men with a partner of the opposite sex / G.G. Tanasov, O.A. Sysoev. Krasnodar: Scientific journal of KubGAU, No. 69 (05), 2011.

    Basic terms (automatically generated) : manipulation, attitude, manipulator, mechanism of influence, expected reaction, spouse.


    manipulation, manipulator, attitude, influence mechanism, expected response

    manipulation, attitude, manipulator, mechanism of influence, expected reaction

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    • nine0421 "Good or evil?" | Nikita Nepryakhin

      Many believe that the use of manipulation to achieve a goal is sometimes simply necessary. But does the end justify the means?

      To my great regret, many people justify manipulation and consider it a completely correct form of influence. Of course, there are cases when the hidden control of other people can be attributed to good and creative actions. For example, parents imperceptibly from the child encourage him to useful actions: study hard, behave well, read a lot, have an interesting hobby. Teachers also go to tricks to improve the performance of their students. Or, for example, a wife, using female charms and tricks, secretly helps her husband get rid of bad habits. Or the narcologist intimidates his patient with deadly consequences by sewing him a “torpedo”, which is actually a dummy. These are all socially approved goals. nine0005

      I want to immediately exclude these situations and not classify them as classical manipulations. Of course, there is a hidden character here. But on the other hand, there is no factor of violence, which is committed not only against the conscious will of a person, but also contrary to his interests. So let's talk about the classics of manipulative behavior.

      Definitely evil

      Can it be considered the correct form of influence? Is it good or evil? Is it moral or immoral? I have a strong position on this issue. For me, manipulation is a definite evil. And that's why. nine0005

      Let's separate the different cases. It's one thing - a single game with one goal in order to achieve your goals. Another thing is a whole life scenario, a philosophy of existence, a standard form of interaction with the outside world, with people, with the environment. It is the second case that I am talking about when I talk about professional manipulators. They cannot exist without their victims. They basically do not respect others. Rights and freedoms, needs and desires, demands and refusals of those around them, to put it mildly, are insignificant and secondary. They consider people as pawns in their game on the way to what they want. Manipulators are characterized by a deep deficit of conscience. They are characterized by cynicism and unbelief. Deep down they don't trust human nature at all. For them, there are only two categories of people: those whom they already manage, and those whom they do not manage yet. nine0005

      The end justifies the means

      Conscious manipulators constantly justify themselves. “The end justifies the means,” they say. This statement is attributed to Niccolo Machiavelli, but in fact these words do not belong to the great Italian thinker. Nevertheless, the thoughts set forth in his famous book " Sovereign " are close to this postulate. Even in psychology there is such a term - Machiavellianism, which means adherence to manipulative behavior, concern only for one's own interests, deceit and unscrupulousness, calculation and deceit. nine0005

      The term was first used in a psychological context in the 1970s. Richard Christie and Florence Geis. They even developed a special test and "Machiavellian scale". They described that Machiavellians are more likely than others to consciously resort to cruel manipulation, ignoring social morality, while treating people emotionally alienated as a means to achieve their goals. For them, their own interests and interests are paramount. Machiavellians sincerely believe that all people are inherently deceitful and vicious, thereby, perhaps, justifying their own behavior. Notice how close the descriptions of the manipulators we are talking about are to those of the Machiavellians. nine0005

      Blocking of emotions

      Venerable manipulators have big problems with their own emotions. If an ordinary person is hurt, he will immediately show a psychological emotion: resentment, anger, fear. Professional manipulators tend to partially or completely block their emotions, because they can “save” them in reserve, taking advantage of the situation at the right time:

      “You offended me a lot last week, and I still feel pain and discomfort.

      For a whole week the person did not show anything, but did he remember today? Of course, the manipulator's own internal deformation of the emotions speaks of the falsity and insincerity of such a person, of his duplicity. Own motives and selfish goals are at the very top in the picture of the world of the manipulator.

      No one will argue that the victims of the manipulator suffer. Now let's talk about the manipulator itself. If for him manipulation is the norm of life and standard communicative behavior, can such a person be called happy? Unexpected question, right? nine0005

      Victim of his own behavior

      I am convinced that by winning small, the manipulator loses big. After all, the surroundings of the manipulator will eventually figure out their aggressor, understand what scenarios he uses, what targets he hits, and as a result turn away from him. I had dozens, maybe hundreds of meetings with various manipulators, and talked a lot with clinical psychologists.

      Learn more