How To Spot A Manipulative Partner Early And Avoid Incompatible Relationships?
Manipulative people are masters at making you feel like the bad guy. They’ll play mind games with you to get what they want. You don’t always know immediately that you have a relationship with a manipulative partner, but don’t worry. There are ways to spot a manipulative partner early on and avoid these incompatible relationships.
Once, I dated a 26-year-old boy who one day, in the middle of our disagreement, exclaimed, “Can’t you be just like my mother? She is such a good wife and mother”, directing at my feminine quality and female role.
Although livid at the remark, I kept my composure.
Me: Is your father a good husband?
Boy: I suppose so, but how would I know? I know she is a good mother.
Me: How do you know that your mother is a good wife?
Boy: My father praises her before others regularly, that she is a good wife to him and an excellent mother to her children.
Me: Since that is the assessment and source of your information, have you heard your mother say the same thing about your father?
Boy: (Pauses for a few seconds) She often tells us he is a good father.
Me: Now I am curious about your mother. Tell me, was your mother a quirky, unconventional-thinking young woman before marrying your father?
Boy: I don’t believe so, she was a sweet and quiet young woman, so I heard.
Me: So, why did you pursue me, the quirky and unconventional-thinking woman?
Boy: You were refreshingly exciting and different from other girls I know.
Me: Yet, you think the exciting and uniquely different woman will eventually become the submissive wife and enduring mother?
Boy: You can change, can’t you?
Me: Also, you want to be just like your father, to get a good wife for yourself and a good mother for your children?
Boy: Of course!
Me: I assume you see that your father is a happy husband and you, a happy child?
Boy: Yes, because my mother is a good wife and a good mother; that brings us to our initial argument that you should be like my mother.
Me: Exactly why do I want to become just like your mother? I want to become a happy wife and a happy mother if I choose to become one. I am not applying for a job to merely serve and make people happy.
We often assume that a person is automatically happy when they have fulfilled the gender roles that society defines for them. Growing up, I never wanted to be like my mother, most Asian mothers of her generation, or any given generation that belittles women’s happiness. I respect some gender differences but resist and resent prescribed gender roles that I did not agree to accept.
My mother has been a good wife and a good mother, and I have heard people say that about her. They admired that my mother spent every single second playing those roles; she never went out with friends or had any “me-time.” What has been lacking is the question if she was a happy woman. If it takes unconditional self-sacrifices and never-ending hardships to earn the title of “good wife” and “good mother,” I don’t want it. I firmly believe in serving people; I am part of the “people.”
What Are Manipulative Partners Like?
The line between a controlling and abusive partner is often blurred when we enter a manipulative relationship. However, we need to establish some grounds to identify a manipulative partner. Below is a list of telltale signs that might indicate that your significant other is manipulative:
They make you question your sanity
Is this really happening? Is it just me? Am I being paranoid, or are they actually doing these things?
You may ask yourself these questions over and over again when dealing with a manipulative person. It is not uncommon for people involved in a manipulative relationship to become confused about what’s real and what isn’t, which causes them to doubt their sanity rather than question their partner’s behavior.
They have trouble taking responsibility for their actions
In his book “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” Dr. Robert Glover suggests that people who manipulate others tend to have difficulty taking responsibility for their actions and blaming other people, situations, or circumstances for their problems.
It’s not uncommon for a manipulative partner to blame you for their problems: they’ll say something like “If only you were more loving” or “I don’t know why I always get so angry at you, but it must be your fault because you’re such a selfish person.”
Manipulative people often have trouble making decisions and may avoid doing so by putting you in charge of making choices they don’t want to make. They may ask you for advice when they don’t want it but expect you to make all the decisions anyway. Manipulative partners often try to control every aspect of their lives, including yours; this is especially true if they don’t have many friends or hobbies outside their relationship. Controlling partners expect you to change but make little changes themselves.
You’re always apologizing to them
If you constantly apologize to them, it’s a sign that something isn’t right. Manipulative partners often make their victims feel guilty for things that aren’t their fault and make them feel like the problem is with them rather than the manipulator. This can lead to feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem in the long run, which makes it even harder to leave a manipulative partner because you don’t believe in yourself or your abilities.
The person manipulating you may not take responsibility for their actions but instead blame others or circumstances outside their control. If this happens more than once, then it’s a good indication that this person doesn’t have empathy toward others—and most likely won’t have any compassion toward you, either!
They don’t take “no” for an answer
If your partner doesn’t take “no” for an answer, it’s time to look at the bigger picture. A manipulative person won’t let go of an argument and will use guilt and emotional blackmail to get what they want. They may try to turn your friends and family against you or manipulate you into doing things against your values, beliefs, or personality.
Now that we’ve discussed the four signs of a manipulative partner let’s talk about why people become manipulative in relationships.
They’re the only one who truly understands you
If a partner is making you feel like they are the only person who can understand what’s going on in your life, it could be a manipulation tactic. It’s also common for controlling partners to present themselves as the most understanding and supportive person in your life. They may tell you that no one else will ever understand how special their relationship is and that any other friend or family member would be jealous of their bond—and therefore not worth talking to about it. This can make it hard for victims to seek help from others, leaving them more dependent on their abuser.
A healthy relationship is one in that partners understand that different situations require additional help and support that only other people outside the relationship can provide. For example, maternal advice from other mothers is more helpful to a new mother; or a talk with colleagues is more practical about work-related conflicts.
You feel sorry for them
Manipulators often make their victims feel sorry for them by playing on their sympathies and making themselves out to be the victim of life’s circumstances. They want you to believe they are the real victim when they are the perpetrator in these situations. This makes it difficult for you to leave them because you keep thinking about all they have been through and how much worse things could be if it weren’t for your relationship with them.
While it is true that people have had bad luck or bad experiences in life, most people don’t blame others or try to manipulate others into supporting them emotionally (and sometimes financially) because of those experiences – which is precisely what manipulative partners do! Suppose someone feels sorry about themselves because they think they have been mistreated. In that case, this person may need therapy rather than a romantic relationship with someone else who can do little to change the situation.
They use your success against you
If your partner is a manipulator, they will use your success against you. They will make you feel guilty for achieving success and try to make you feel like you have to give up your goals and dreams to please them. This is because manipulating partners want the best of both worlds; they want the credit for all of their partner’s accomplishments but don’t want to do anything themselves.
A manipulative partner might also try to get close to people with more power than their significant other so that they can use those connections against them later. For example, the manipulative partner may become best friends with their partner’s boss to control their partner at work through the boss.
They pull the victim card when it suits them
You might think what your partner has been through in the past are valid reasons to justify their behaviors now. But while they may be a victim of something, they aren’t a victim of you! And even if they have been hurt by someone else, there’s no reason to think that means they can hurt you too.
If your partner is emotionally manipulative, then chances are good that someone has taken advantage of them or mistreated them at some point in their life—and it could have happened years ago! These events may have made them feel like no one cares about what happens to them—or worse still, that people will always take advantage of them if given half a chance (let’s face it: sometimes people are plain mean). But this doesn’t mean that being mistreated makes it okay to exploit and abuse people who care for and love them.
You can be empathetic with their adversity in the past and be sensitive towards a specific issue, but don’t let that be the weapon used against your kindness and affection for them.
They make you think adulthood is about pleasing others and not yourself
You should be able to make your own decisions. You should be able to choose who you spend time with, what you do with your time, and how you spend your money. Your partner should not feel entitled to any of these things to make themselves happy or feel they have a right to dictate how the relationship works. They won’t let go of the reins quickly; if they do, it’s only because their manipulation has worked and not because they’ve suddenly changed their minds about wanting control over every aspect of your life.
If you’re not careful, you could end up with a manipulative partner and an incompatible relationship
We often date people that do not match our final expectations. For example, men date women who are unconventional and fun and exactly the opposite of their mothers; women date the “bad boys” who are flirtatious, adopt the “no strings attached” policy, and are nothing like their fathers. Eventually, the relationship will lead to the next phase in life, and they find their girlfriends and boyfriends unfitting as wives and mothers, husbands and fathers.
Like any other relationship, a manipulative one is likely incompatible. For example, if your partner has a history of cheating on their past partners and you’re not okay with that behavior, then there’s a good chance they’ll try (and likely succeed) at manipulating you into doing what they want. In this case, your partner will most likely cheat on you too!
Another area where manipulative relationships tend to fail is communication. If you have someone who lies often or doesn’t tell the truth even when asked directly, then it’s doubtful that they’ll ever be able to communicate openly and honestly with their partner. This kind of dishonesty can also lead them to a toxic relationship because abusers rarely think about how their actions affect others emotionally – only how those actions benefit them personally (or make them feel better about themselves).
When to Re-evaluate Toxic Relationships?
A need for control is different from wanting to hurt someone. We must inspect the objective and intention of the person before labeling someone as abusive. However, manipulative relationships can be hazardous, so giving them extra thought is vital. If your partner displays these signs of manipulation, then it is time to re-evaluate your relationship and its potential for long-term success. You deserve happiness and a partner who wants to create and share joy instead of expecting you to be solely responsible for the relationship to work.
When seeking a life partner, we often ask, “Is she going to be a good wife and mother?” “Is he going to be a good husband and father?”. Perhaps we should ask, “Are we going to make one another happy?”. We have been asking the wrong questions, leading us to repeat the pattern of undesired outcomes.
We must understand that people transition in stages within the relationships; people don’t transform unless met with a life-changing crisis. When we date someone, we must envision the trajectory of the relationship procession. For example, I would like to end up with a loving, committed, and dependable person in a conventional union, such as a marriage, or unconventional companionship, such as a de facto relationship. I should probably date someone who lines up along the same category and is more likely to transition from a caring and responsible date to a loving and dependable life partner. While there are exceptions that people would change radically but are not necessarily natural, the probability of meeting these people is less significant.
(This article contains partial AI-generated content as an informal experiment. Key points are being discussed in the next post, Use of ChatGPT AI Generated Content Is Trending, Should We Be Fearful?)
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