How to Avoid Emotional Manipulation: 51+ Proven Ways

Unlike healthy relationships which include love, compassion, support, etc, being in a manipulative relationship is all about taking control over the other person, criticizing them, and acting like a victim to the partner. A person might use manipulative tactics to get into a higher authority but that shouldn’t be the case when it comes to personal life. 

Though, one cannot completely escape this sort of behavior as it gives an innate amount of peace when it comes to controlling the lives of others. If this kind of behavior is seen in any of your close ones, one must immediately talk to that person.

Here are some tips to avoid emotional manipulation.

Passive aggression. This trait of passive aggression is seen mostly when the manipulator does not directly show his/her aggression. It is mostly done in indirect ways like intentionally making mistakes, procrastinating, or complaining about being cheated or unappreciated.

Social and Emotional bullying. Bullying not only involves anything physical but it can also be intellectual and bureaucratic. It is more of mental torture like constant criticism, threats raised voices.  Any sort of bullying can be red tape to avoid emotional manipulation.

Distortion. Here, the manipulator might make a person question their own identity or his ability to work. They make statements that might not be true and pretend to ignore relative situations or other information. 

Guilt and sympathy. Manipulators prey on people who are vulnerable. People might feel guilty for doing something for themselves at the expense of other people. Emotional manipulators might act like a victim or would make you remember past favors, their famous treatment is to be silent. 

Withdrawal. Here the manipulator would punish you through silent treatment or not responding to your emotions. If you want a certain intimacy they might make you feel ignorant and would likely play with your feelings.  

Comparison. The manipulator might compare a person with other people or they might hire someone to make the person feel the same by pressuring into a certain action. They would try to make that person insecure in order to provoke.

Manipulation of circumstances. There are certain places where the manipulator feels comfortable like when they are at their office or home, so it is advisable to avoid such behavior. They might insist on having negotiations in their office or home or places where they feel comfortable.

Overwhelming and Unearned Closeness. This trait is often seen in cults as they try to impress people with their overwhelming attitude by praising or showing affection. This type of person might manipulate you by getting into an artificial relationship.

A willing helper. An emotional manipulator would first offer you their help in order to make a good connection. Later when you would thank them for doing the work they would make lists of why they didn’t want to do it in the first place.

So, when you do not delve into them so much as they would always come up with some situation or the other, just make them do the work and ignore.

Crazy making. Tolerating an emotional manipulator can take a toll on a person and that person would lose track of being in her/his senses. So, if a person finds this is happening to him/her in a relationship, then he/she should definitely talk with the other half and deal with it like a mature adult.

Apparently, it might seem that things would turn upside down, but that is the indication that one must leave that relationship as soon as possible.

Trust your gut feeling. Emotional manipulators always try to be in the spotlight and if you call them on this behavior then they would say that it is you who is in the spotlight and would act like they are hurt and would also call you selfish. Even though you know that this is not the case, it is impossible to prove them as they won’t agree with any of your points. 

Fight dirty. They are famous for their dirty fights as they always try to play the victim where the other person would sit back and start doubting their own character. They lie so smoothly and would make things turn around. They would talk behind your back and later they would assure you that they won’t say themselves.

No sense of accountability. The only concept that they understand is that everything that happens to them, happens because of some other person, and they would often create an image of a ‘cry baby’ or a ‘make you sorry for me’ look. They would not take any responsibility for their own behavior. They are quite vulnerable and very emotional when it comes to any sort of personal information.

Victimhood. Emotional manipulators love to play the role of a victim. They would make situations so that they could blame the other person on their behalf. They love to exaggerate a problem and keep on nagging about a certain situation and might bore you to death. 

Gaslighting. This manipulation can take a heavy toll on one’s social life and mental health. It can make a person confused, lack self-validating one’s own self, often having a forgetful memory. One might gaslight by showing a fake concern towards a person, or by making promises and not showing up when it comes to proving it. 

Withholding affection. When affection comes with a condition then it is a red flag indication, as the other person would show kindness and affection only if you desire to fulfill the wants that the other person wants.

Also, when you do something wrong or make a mistake they wouldn’t think twice to criticize you and would speak ill about you not knowing what you would feel, they would also blame you for situations where you were completely naive and innocent.

Guilt-tripping. Having a guilt feeling isn’t wrong when it comes to you who have made the wrong decision, but taking the responsibility of guilt where you are completely innocent then you should deal maturely and don’t let your feelings down, speak for yourself and tell them where they are wrong and also make them understand that they should take the responsibility of making wrong decisions in life.

Emotional Blackmail. By emotional blackmailing, one would know your weakness so that they can further blackmail until a huge crisis happens. This blackmailing can be dangerous when continued.

As you would be treated as an easily convincing person which can later be a red flag as they might not validate your emotions or would likely be treated as granted.

Invalidation of feelings. One should not invalidate the other person’s feelings as that person might tend to be more manipulated in the near future. By not validating a person’s feelings the other person might think that their feelings are not that important, that lack of support, not having any chances of expressing their feelings all lead to emotional manipulation.

Family members should look upon their children so that they don’t face these situations in childhood.

Personal attacks. By this process the manipulator would gain control of the other person’s behavior rather by shaming, criticizing, mocking, making fun of others, also by giving threats, abusing verbally, and what not to satisfy their ego and their feeling of superiority.     

Shifting the goalposts. At first, they might agree with a certain deal, and then slowly you would be fulfilling or succeeding they would shift their goal to something more. They would also set up demanding criteria that needed to be fulfilled as they would criticize you for your tiny mistakes and at last when you would overcome all the struggles they would shift into some other criteria that weren’t discussed in the first place.

Recruiting others to help with manipulation. The manipulators might recruit some other people to make the person who has been manipulated suffer more. An abusive family member might say to another member of the family to make the child remind of the struggles that a mother faces while upbringing a child.

This would make the child feel guilty and they could do whatever they want with the child and also the social pressure would make the child suppress from speaking out his/her emotions.

Fear. Emotional manipulators often use fear as a key to manipulate the other person. They might give threats or even indulge themselves in physical violence so that the other person couldn’t even think of getting out of that abusive relationship. They might also blackmail their partner to keep them in that relationship.

Social inequities. This happens mainly if the manipulator suffers from any sort of neurological disease as they might adopt intellectual disabilities to criticize the other person. They might also have some different experiences than what is seen often.

Changing the subject. Manipulators when they are in a heated argument they often tend to be a critic and would try to change the subject by making the situation all towards the other person.

They also try to be a center of attraction in that heated argument so that they could make a great impression and also try to manipulate everyone present in the room.

Lying and denial. Manipulators are very good at lying, you won’t even understand how well they lie, and when they get caught they might again lie to cover things up.

Intense emotional connection. Emotional manipulation can take advantage of emotions by going into a romantic relationship. They would try to woo their partner and make them feel that they are the only ones who can make their life like a fairy tale.

Playing on a person’s insecurities. Many advisers or nowadays so-called influencers use this tactic of manipulating people through their products by showing some unattractive content where it makes people doubt themselves. Also, it can be in a personal relationship where the partner makes their other half think they are the only person on earth who can love their partner so well.

Hyperbole and generalization. Every person has their own life cycle and their own time of being succeeded entirely in life not only from the professional perspective but also from their personal life. So, having generalized statements is one of the main objectives of an emotional manipulator.

They would always make generalized statements to demean or demotivate the other person. Although certain points could be debated with logic, there are also some bleak accusations that lead to harder disputes. 

Poor communication skills. As a manipulator lacks communication skills so they use their own method of controlling the lives of other people. There might be a possibility of growing up in a manipulative environment. As a bad person doesn’t happen overnight, it does take a lot of pain and experience.

Avoid social contact. People with narcissistic personalities are often manipulative in nature and they try to control other people. They don’t value other people and treat them as a tool only to get on with their own needs.

Defensiveness. Manipulators manipulate others as they themselves face some sort of social problem which they don’t have the courage to face. They fear their shortcomings, of being judged by others, and their low self-esteem.

Social norms. Some manipulations can be a friendly, cheerful one, as in professional life one has to maintain a good image in front of their colleagues. So, they tend to have very cordial behavior with others in order to be in a higher position in their professional life compared to others.

Advertising, political incentives. Being in a marketing industry the entire work is to manipulate people’s minds so that they can buy a certain product. They try to change the minds of the people and try to convince them in order to buy. By doing so they can be at a better place as an industry.

This is totally done on the aspect of the growth of the industry. We people are treated like guinea pigs and they use them as experimentation. 

Communicate clearly and directly. If you communicate directly and frankly then that is what you expect in return and if one sees whether the limits are being crossed then one must speak for themselves without any sort of guilt. This would also help you understand whether your relationship is a manipulative one or not.

Setting boundaries. This is a very healthy way of avoiding manipulation. By creating boundaries you won’t let the manipulator affect you in any way. If boundaries are crossed then there have to be some consequences. One must increase emotional and physical distance when it comes to being manipulated.

Insights. Seek help from a third person if you find yourself to be in a confused state of mind. Being in a confused state of mind is pretty obvious as the manipulator might give you mixed signals about their emotions.

Though, it might be risky as the manipulators also recruit outsiders to make the other person more manipulated. So, it is better to seek help from your loved ones and those who genuinely care about you, or it can be anyone from your family, who supports you tremendously.

Be aware and open-minded. There is a slight difference between encouraging someone and manipulation. Learn to recognize the difference and then choose wisely. Encouraging someone is out of pure love and respect that the other person truly wants from the bottom of their heart, whereas manipulation is something that doesn’t have anything to do with your own benefit.

It is always the manipulator who benefits as they only try to misuse the other person and always look at their own benefits.

Ask yourself. During these situations always trust your gut. In these sorts of scenarios trust your gut feeling and always hear your inner voice. There is always a battle between the mind and the heart, it is necessary to listen to the mind when it comes to being manipulated. Try to indicate the red flags and also have some self-respect and speak up for yourself when things go wrong.

Power imbalance. Manipulators seem to be a bit dominant as well as attention seekers, as they want to be the center of attraction. They would constantly try to make others prove that they are so important and also they might put the other person in danger.

They always look for an opportunity to get hold of the situation, by constantly reminding the other people of their importance and power.

Exaggeration. Manipulators tend to use this tactic a lot. As if exaggerating and spending a lot of time on a certain subject would make them go on the hard road as they won’t be using the direct approach of insisting on people. Manipulators can be good in the field of marketing, sales as exaggerating their products are the only job they do.

Monologues. They might talk long monologues when it comes to their own life. Their arguments are mostly illogical, shaky with half-truths and half-lies. They are often deceptive as they try to mask their own personality and would try to make an image of being an expert in every field of study.

Speak “NO” for yourself. The manipulators might stop if they hear a big no from the other person’s side. Apparently, the word no might shock them but they wouldn’t believe you at first and try to manipulate you by saying soft words but all you need to do is to stick to your opinions. If you once deviate from your said opinion then there is no coming back.

We live amidst people who are hurt and broken. As long as we want to survive in the community we need to deal with these people at our workplace, home, neighbors, etc. All you need is to be wise enough to distinguish between the serpents and the doves. If one couldn’t get out of a manipulative relationship they should consult someone immediately. Do seek help before it is too late.

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