If someone displays these 18 behaviors, they have a manipulative personality

There’s this person who seems nice and makes you feel special. But at the same time, you can’t help but get a strange feeling about them.

Well, there’s a chance that you’re dealing with someone who has a manipulative personality.

Want to know for sure?

Here are 18 things manipulative people like to do so keep an eye out for them.

1) They act like your personal hero

They take every opportunity they can to show you about the many acts of self-sacrifice they make for your sake, and then rescue you from misery even if you didn’t exactly ask for it.

That’s probably because they want you to feel indebted to them. And this feeling is something they’re all too happy to exploit at their convenience.

To a manipulative person, there’s no such thing as “free lunch” no matter how they insist that helping you is “not a big deal” to them.

2) They make you feel like YOU’RE their hero

They would praise you way too much for every little thing to do, and spend an inordinate amount of time talking about how you’ve changed their life for the better.

This might make you feel good about yourself, but be careful—they might be trying to get you emotionally invested in them. 

They want you to keep trying to do things to please them. And if you stop, they’d make a big deal about how you’ve “changed”, hoping you’ll get back to licking their boots.

3) They make grand promises

They would fly you to the moon, buy you all the Versace you want, and take you on a date in Paris. Or at the very least, they promise to do that, eventually.

They don’t actually have to follow through on these promises. What matters is that they made you feel good about yourself and won your heart in the process.

This isn’t that different from what salesmen do when trying to convince you to buy their products. The thing here is that what they want from you is your loyalty and attention.

4) They get easily offended and hurt

Or, rather, they act like they are. And they’ll exaggerate their pain to an almost unreasonable degree.

If you accidentally forgot to credit them for helping you, they’ll cry and say you’re ungrateful. That’s their way of making you feel bad for “mistreating” them, and so they’ll get sympathy from others.

They’re doing this so you’ll feel so guilty you’d be willing to give them favors to make up for the mistake you did.

5) They always say “It’s for your own good”

They would do things for you without consulting you about them first, as well as force you to do things against your will.

Every time they would use the excuse that it’s “for your own good.”

And it’s not even like they’re confiscating your cigarettes, limiting you to one bottle of vodka a day, or making sure you’re getting all the rest you need. These are things that are actually helpful.

No—they instead meddle with the clothes you wear, the places you can hang out with, and even the activities you’re involved in.

6) They make you feel like it’s you and them against the world

Manipulative people know that misery loves company. They also know that having the same goal can form the deepest bonds.

So they’ll try to make you feel like you’re both in the same team, that you’re both miserable and downtrodden, and that your ultimate goal is to prove yourselves against the world.

This is one great trick to make you do whatever they want. If you feel like you’re part of a team, then of course you’d want your team to win, right?

7) They get excessively affectionate…and then pull away

They would lovebomb you, only to back away and leave you dry. Playing hot and cold like this overwhelms you and makes you easier to manipulate.

This is a technique that abusers use when someone is resisting them and they want to re-assert their control over that person.

They want you to know what good times with them feel like, and then keep you compliant by denying you if you ever dare disobey.

8) They make people feel they owe them something

They would do things like insisting that you accept their charity and making sure they’re always opening the door or doing chores for you.

Through this, they will slowly make you feel like you owe them something for all the good they’ve done.

And they take advantage of this feeling of debt to exert their power over you. They would make you work hard to “regain their respect” for example.

9) They’re always the victim

Whenever they speak, they always make it seem like they’re always the one who’s being kind, loving, or mature. And everyone else? Oh, they’re the evil abusers.

Their ex kept trying to restrict their freedoms, and that’s why they left. They failed to pass their exams because their friends kept on getting them drunk. The list goes on and on.

They do this to earn your sympathy and pity, and it’s generally effective. But of course, if it always smells like poop wherever they went, they’re probably the reason why.

10) They make their family feel guilty for “not acting like family”

They take offense when their family does something that they don’t personally like.

They would get extremely butthurt if their aunt didn’t allow them to crash at their place for a few days, for example.

They won’t even care if that person had a perfectly valid reason. Manipulators are more focused on how others are not willing to sacrifice for them. 

11) They make their partner feel guilty for “not being a good partner”

They expect VIP treatment not just from their family, but also their partner.

They want to make most of the decisions. And if they don’t get to have their way, they’d accuse their partner of being unloving and selfish.

Because, to them, love is their partner making them feel special 24/7.

12) They make their workmates feel guilty for “not helping enough”

Their idea of a motivational speech is one where they use every trick in the book to guilt trip everyone else into working harder.

Rather than communicate clearly with their colleagues, they’ll instead just whine about how their workmates are barely getting anything done at all.

But, of course, in the end, their workmates often end up having done a lot more work than they have. And that’s how they probably like it.

13) They expect you to lick their wounds

When something goes remotely wrong, one of their first reactions is to start sulking and pouting, expecting you to step up and do something about what had got them upset.

And when people aren’t exactly aware of just how manipulative they are, this happens almost every time.

Manipulators use this technique often because it makes them seem cute, harmless, and deserving of comfort.

14) They make you feel bad for being independent

Manipulative people like it when you depend on them—be it financially, emotionally, or something else.

So when you try taking steps to become a bit more independent, they get really, really pissed. 

How dare you forsake them after everything they’ve done for you!

The messaging is clear enough if you step back and think. They want you to simply do what they do, and that it’s wrong to think and act all by yourself.

15) They say bad things about your friends and family

For one reason or another, they always have something negative to say about even the kindest and nicest people you know.

This can be as plain and obvious as them telling you that your favorite cousin is actually a known cheater. And it can be as subtle as them making fun about how your best friend doesn’t reply fast enough to your messages.

Manipulators want someone who is completely under their control, and one of the ways they can do this is by slowly eroding the trust between you and your loved ones.

16) They gossip to gain sympathy

…and to ruin people, of course.

They would talk about their heart-melting and totally relatable stories with other people.

You can be sure that they’ve “shared” their heartaches and frustrations towards you to other people. They won’t even see this as gossip but just a way to “confide”.

17) They make veiled threats

Once they feel they can’t control you anymore, they’ll start to get desperate. And that desperation usually comes with boldness.

You’ll know that you’ve crossed a manipulative person when they start being excessive, for example.

They’ll make it as subtle as possible at first. They’ll say things like “Don’t forget that I’m funding this project.” 

And if they see it’s not effective, they’ll make their message very clear with direct threats.

18) They want to know everything about you (or else)

Manipulative people always want to know what you’re up to. 

They’re not comfortable that you’re not sharing everything about your life with them—it’s as if you’re hiding a secret, and they don’t like secrets.

They want to know what’s exactly going on in your life so they would know where they stand and how they can manipulate you even more.

Last words

There are many behaviors that give away people who are naturally manipulative. But the problem is that many of these traits aren’t exactly exclusive to them.

That’s why it’s important to really take a close eye and understand how often they do all of these things, as well as exactly what they’re doing and how. Context is everything, after all.

And if it turns out that someone close to you is indeed manipulative—as in, they check most of the boxes in this list—then run. Don’t think you can change them somehow, because only they can do something about that.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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