Signs You’re Being Manipulated in a Relationship

Signs You’re Being Manipulated in a Relationship

Signs You’re Being Manipulated in a Relationship signs you’re being manipulated in a relationship
Photo by Shane Devlin on Unsplash

Are you always feeling guilty and confused, but you don’t know why? Chances are you’re being manipulated. Emotional manipulation can be hard to spot in a relationship as it happens so subtly. Simply put, manipulation is when someone attempts to use your emotions to get what they want.

Manipulators influence you to act against your wishes. Manipulation happens in all kinds of relationships, from the workplace and romantic relationships to family. When you’re constantly manipulated, it leads to insecurities, self-doubt, isolation, and low self-esteem. The key sign to spot manipulation is when someone acts in a way that leaves you very confused as they seek to control you.

10 Common Signs of Manipulation:

  1. You doubt your own reality.

If you’re starting to doubt what you’re seeing or questioning your own sanity, thinking you’re crazy, then you’re being manipulated. You may have evidence or seen it with your own eyes, but you’re still not sure if it was real. A manipulator will try to override what you deem to be real and persuade you to believe what they say instead. You even start believing other people’s opinions and thoughts as you don’t trust your own. That’s a sign you’re being manipulated, and you’re, in fact, a victim of gaslighting.

2. Your insecurities are used against you.

When someone constantly brings up something you dread or your weaknesses when they want something from you, you’re being manipulated. A manipulator will use your vulnerabilities and weaknesses to control and exert power over you. You may have, of course, shared your deep insecurities with them earlier because you trusted them, but now they turn the tables and use them against you.

3. You are becoming more and more dependent on them.

You’re being manipulated if someone convinces you to give up on important things so they can provide an alternative. A manipulator may sneakily convince you to leave your family, job, or some of your friends for a seemingly ‘genuine’ reason. They isolate you physically, socially, and financially from aspects of your life before the relationship, making you dependent on them. This way, they can easily control you without anywhere for you to run.

4. Your boundaries are being violated.

When someone constantly crosses your boundaries without caring about how you feel, chances are you’re being manipulated. A manipulator will constantly pressure you or disregard the things you’re not comfortable with, even after you’ve said no repeatedly. They just won’t accept a “No” for an answer and will keep pushing until you give in.

5. You get blamed for everything.

When someone always deflects their actions or behaviors onto something you did, you’re being manipulated. They constantly blame you for their behaviors and actions, even when those things are beyond your control. A manipulator will escape responsibility by shifting the blame to something else or to you. You end up feeling responsible and apologizing even when you did nothing wrong.

6. You’re being given the silent treatment.

You’re being manipulated if they go silent on you without any reason at all. A manipulator will go quiet when you upset them or when they want you to do something for them. The silent treatment makes you feel guilty for what you’ve done or not done. You might end up doing something against your will as you try to make them talk to you. The silence is so awkward and uncomfortable that you compromise just to win them back.

7. Cruel humor and harsh jokes.

This is where someone constantly makes hurtful and critical comments about you or something you do and then uses the excuse of “I was just joking” or “Don’t you understand sarcasm?” when you get upset. You ask them to stop because you feel hurt, but they continue without taking responsibility or changing their behavior. This is very insidious because constant ridicule can make you leave something to save yourself from embarrassment or their harsh jokes. You end up doing something you had no intention of doing.

8. You’re experiencing triangulation.

Another sign of manipulation is when someone always brings up an outside party (ex-lover, family, or friends) to the relationship to make you feel threatened. A manipulator will suggest they’re in high demand and that others are competing for their attention. This makes you compromise on your values as you try to ‘win’ them back and fend off the perceived competition. It keeps you on edge, and you might even change your appearance to ‘win’ that top ‘prize.’

9. You walk on eggshells.

You’re constantly on high alert, watching your every step so you don’t upset them. You avoid conflict or anything that might trigger their anger. You monitor your behavior and actions because you’re afraid of your partner’s reaction or unsure of how they’ll respond. That’s a sign of manipulation because you change your behavior to avoid triggering your inconsistent partner.

10. You’ve lost your sense of self.

Another common sign of manipulation is when you’ve lost the sense of who you are. You feel that your opinions and thoughts don’t matter. You’ve lost your assertiveness and agree with whatever the other person says. You’ve almost completely embraced your partner’s life, dropping who you were before the relationship — your confidence, hobbies, friends, beliefs.

You found yourself doing this because your partner seemed displeased when you maintained your independence. It’s as if you’re fully living in your partner’s life but they never integrated into yours. You’ve lost your autonomy and can’t express yourself without seeking approval or an opinion from them. When you’re constantly manipulated, your sense of self and autonomy erode.


There are many signs of manipulation, but the key is to be mindful of what triggers you to do something against your will. Manipulation can occur in all aspects of life, and what keeps you safe is understanding your boundaries and what’s within your control.

With a deep understanding of your boundaries, manipulators can’t catch you off guard because you know what you won’t tolerate. Also, remember that someone might engage in manipulative behavior unknowingly. Correcting them is helpful; if they accept their mistake and change, that’s great.

But if someone constantly manipulates you and sees nothing wrong, consider cutting them out of your life or limiting communication. Work on yourself to become someone who won’t fall for manipulative techniques due to insecurities. Instead, focus on becoming someone who takes no nonsense and is deeply secure within themselves.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns (in less than 2 months) , then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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