Manipulation in a Relationship

At some point or another, everyone will feel that they have been manipulated by someone. Manipulation is quite common in relationships and at times may be difficult to identify. One of the reasons for this is because manipulation can take place through subtle communication, which may leave negative impacts.

Why does manipulation take place?

A common reason why one partner within the relationship would want to manipulate the other is for the purpose of control or to achieve a particularly desirable outcome. This may be achieved by the manipulator, by changing the narrative of a sequence of events to benefit his or her side of the argument. Manipulators analyse the different variables that can be tweaked or changed to promote their message or side of the story. This is done with very little regard for others who may be hurt along the way.

Studies in the field of psychology find that manipulation is a tactic commonly adopted by narcissists. They typically do whatever it takes to get their way and display no or little empathy even with their loved ones. Maintaining or developing a relationship with a manipulative narcissist can be psychologically detrimental. 

In the worst cases, manipulation may spearhead acts of aggression and violence. Although manipulation can bring about harmful consequences, it is likely that such tactics have been adopted by most at some point or another. The drive to acquire something from someone else will tempt people to utilise mental and emotional tactics to get their way.

Manipulation can take place in an indirect manner. A way how to do this is by attracting empathy from the person one would want attention from. In these circumstances, the manipulators would want to associate themselves with being victims, simply to gather attention and have their own way. Acquiring what they want makes narcissists feel in control and empowered.

Dealing with manipulation

In the context of manipulation, you would need to trust yourself. If something does not feel in order and you suspect manipulation, trust your gut, it is likely to be the case. If you think that you are being manipulated by your partner, investigate any occurrences of inauthenticity. Anything which does not correspond with your version of the truth should be treated as a red flag. 

Accepting that one is a victim of manipulation may not be straightforward, especially in the context of a relationship. It might be tempting to forgive or turn a blind eye. When dealing with a manipulator, such approaches are unsustainable.

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