11 Signs You Are Being Manipulated

Hey Optimist Minds!

Have you ever felt like someone was taking unfair advantage of you? Maybe this person made you feel wrongly guilty. Perhaps they tricked you into complying with their demands. They might have even criticised, mocked, or threatened you to make you feel small.

When a person manipulates you, they use situations, relationships, and information as weapons to control your behaviour. Enduring this kind of manipulation for a considerable duration can have long-term consequences.

You might end up making life decisions that cost you your health and wellbeing. Apart from acting in ways you wouldn’t have otherwise, manipulation can also lower your self-esteem and cause mental health issues.

In this video, we’re going to describe eleven signs you are being manipulated. Recognising it is the first step towards making it stop. We also recommend consulting a mental health professional to assess how the manipulation has impacted you.

Now, let’s begin.


You have a gut feeling.

If you pay attention to your body, you might notice an intuitive feeling telling you that you’re being played. You might automatically become more vigilant when the manipulator is around you. Your breaths become shorter, your heart beats faster, and your muscles tighten.


You feel influenced.

Is there anything that you’ve done or continue to do simply because someone steered you to do it? Manipulation is the strategic influencing of the choices of others. Question every action you make and reflect on why you do it. If you can only come up with somebody else’s reasons, you might have been manipulated into doing it.


You’re being made to compromise your values.

We all have our own set of values that we use to guide our behaviour. A few examples of values are honesty, loyalty, kindness, courage, and self respect. Manipulation can make you act in contradiction with a value you hold close to your heart.


Your vulnerabilities are being used against you.

Sometimes people might try to manipulate you using some sensitive information you have revealed to them. If they’re openly exploitative, they could threaten to expose you if you don’t comply. 

But a more subtle tactic is to evoke any guilt or shame you feel regarding the secret. Then, you might comply willingly.


You’re being emotionally blackmailed.

Emotional blackmail describes a style of manipulation where a person uses your feelings as a way to control your behavior or persuade you to see things their way. Typically, the feelings used here are fear, obligation, and guilt. Acting out of these feelings indicate the possibility of manipulation.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.


Your boundaries are getting violated.

Much like values, each individual also has a set of personal boundaries. These are limits and rules we set for ourselves within relationships. If your or someone else’s behaviour is violating any of your boundaries, it’s a good idea to reflect on why. You might have been influenced into letting it happen.


The other person is being overly dramatic.

Manipulators tend to sensationalise the situation or exaggerate their emotions in order to control you. They might drop crocodile tears at the right moment to appeal strongly to your sentimental side. For example, an unfaithful, manipulative ex-partner may cry to convince you that they never cheated.


You’re asked to prove yourself.

Often, people get manipulated into doing something unlike them just to prove a point. Has anyone ever doubted your love, loyalty, ability, or something else important to you and used it to rile you up into action? They might have tricked you into doing what they wanted.


Your niceness is taken for granted.

People known for their compassion and generosity can get manipulated because of their inherent niceness. A person you’re in a conflict with might suddenly present themselves in need of your help. 

For example, faking an illness or injury. They’ll expect you to play nice even though you were furious at first.


Your concerns are not heard.

The best way to confirm whether you’re being manipulated is to address it using constructive communication. If you voice your concerns to the perpetrator and they dismiss you, they’re probably manipulating you. They might deny your problem, minimise it, or shift the blame back to you.


The other person is always the victim.

The more frequently you try to have open conversations about the issue, the more consistently will the manipulator portray themselves as a victim. It’s unlikely that they’ll take accountability for their actions. Instead, they’ll try to make you look like the bad guy.

Were you able to resonate with any of the scenarios we described? Do you think someone might be manipulating you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

A link for further reading and the studies & references used in the making of this video are mentioned in the description below.

Thanks for visiting optimist minds, take care. Until next time.