What Are Emotional Manipulations In Relationships

What Are Emotional Manipulations In Relationships

While in a relationship, look out for signs of emotional manipulations. Emotional manipulations in a relationship can come in many ways, but they are all aimed at controlling or influencing the other partner emotionally for their advantage.

Emotional manipulation in relationships refers to tactics or behaviors employed by one person to control or manipulate their partner’s emotions, thoughts, or actions.

These manipulations can be subtle and gradual, making it challenging for the victim to recognize them as manipulative tactics. Here are some common signs of emotional manipulations.

Forms of Emotional Manipulations in Relationship

  • Gaslighting: This manipulative tactic involves distorting or denying the truth to make the victimized partner question their perception, memory, or sanity. The manipulator may say things like, “You’re overreacting,” or “That never happened; you’re imagining things.”
  • Guilt-tripping: One of the forms of emotional manipulation in a relationship is when one of the partners often uses guilt to make their partner feel responsible or guilty for something they haven’t done. They may say things like, “If you loved me, you would do this for me,” or “I sacrificed so much for you, and this is how you repay me?”
  • Silent treatment: This involves deliberately ignoring or refusing to communicate with the partner as a form of punishment or control. The manipulative partner may give the cold shoulder, refusing to respond to messages or withdraw affection and attention without any explanation.
  • Excessive control: Control is okay, but when it becomes excessive, it becomes manipulating. The partner may exhibit a need for excessive control over your thoughts, actions, and decisions. They may try to dictate what you wear, who you can spend time with, or what you can say.
  • Constant criticism: Partners who are emotional manipulators often use criticism as a tool to undermine your self-esteem and make you doubt yourself. They may criticize your appearance, abilities, or choices, constantly belittling you. For example, “You are too fat; nobody will love you like I do.”
  • Blame-shifting: Blame-shifting is another form of emotional manipulation in relationships where one partner avoids taking responsibility for their actions by shifting blame onto you. They may make you feel guilty for things that are not your fault, using phrases like “It’s all your fault” or “You made me do this.”
  • Blackmail: A manipulative partner may use emotional blackmail to get what they want. They might threaten to leave, harm themselves, or use your vulnerabilities against you to manipulate your behavior or decisions.
  • Isolation: An emotionally manipulative partner may isolate you from friends, family, or support networks, making you dependent on them for validation and approval. They may discourage you from spending time with loved ones or engaging in activities outside the relationship.
  • Withholding affection: One partner may withhold affection, intimacy, or love as punishment or control. They may use silent treatment, withdraw affection, or threaten to leave if you don’t comply with their demands.
  • Feeling constantly on edge: If you constantly feel anxious, fearful, or on edge in your relationship, it may be a sign of emotional manipulation. Your gut instincts are often a good indicator that something is not right.

Effects of Emotional Manipulations on Relationships

Emotional manipulations in relationships can significantly affect your well-being, affecting the other areas of your life. Here are some of the effects of emotional manipulations in relationships.

  • Low self-esteem
  • Increased anxiety and stress
  • Isolation
  • Loss of personal identity
  • Distrust and confusion
  • Codependency

How To Address Emotional Manipulations In Relationships

Addressing emotional manipulations in relationships can be challenging, but it is crucial for your emotional well-being and the relationship’s health. Here are some steps you can take:

Step 1: Recognize the manipulation: Educate yourself about emotional manipulation tactics and patterns to identify them when they occur. This self-awareness is essential in understanding the dynamics of the relationship.

Step 2: Trust your instincts: If something feels off or you suspect manipulation, trust your instincts. Your feelings are valid, and acknowledging them is essential in addressing the issue.

Step 3: Set boundaries: Establish clear and healthy boundaries within the relationship. Communicate your needs, expectations, and limits to your partner. Be firm in enforcing these boundaries and assertive in expressing yourself.

Step 4: Communicate openly: Initiate open and honest conversations with your partner about your concerns. Express how their behaviors make you feel and discuss their impact on the relationship. Use “I” statements to avoid sounding accusatory.

Step 5: Seek support: Reach out to trusted friends, family, or a therapist who can provide support and guidance. Having someone to confide in and offer an outside perspective can be invaluable in navigating emotional manipulation.

Step 6: Practice self-care: Prioritize self-care and focus on nurturing your emotional well-being. Engage in activities that bring you joy, practice self-reflection, and take care of your physical and mental health. Building your resilience and self-esteem can help you navigate the challenges of addressing manipulation.

Step 7: Consider professional help: If the emotional manipulation continues or escalates despite your efforts, it may be necessary to seek professional help. A therapist can help you gain clarity, develop coping strategies, and guide you through addressing the manipulation in a safe and supportive environment.


Remember, addressing emotional manipulation requires strength and courage. It may involve making difficult decisions, such as setting boundaries, seeking distance, or even ending the relationship if necessary. Your emotional well-being and happiness should be a priority.

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