10 under-the-radar behaviors of a master manipulator

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Master manipulators don’t do grand manipulative moves like the ones we see on TV.

They’re very discreet and careful with the things they say and do to make sure you won’t suspect a thing!

Do you have a gut feeling that someone is manipulating you and yet, you can’t tell exactly why?

Well, maybe they’re not just your average manipulator. 

Find out if your suspicion is right by observing if they display these 10 under-the-radar behaviors of master manipulators.

1) They put you on a pedestal

Do they sing praises to you? Do they kiss the ground you walk on? Do they often tell you you’re the best and the greatest at everything?

Watch out. A master manipulator might be grooming you.

Flattery has been used by manipulators since the beginning of time because it always works.

After all, don’t we want to hear good things about ourselves, especially if we’re a bit insecure?

An obvious tell is when they ask favors from you often or if they always give you “advice”. 

If it’s obvious that they’re gaining more than they put in and they’re influencing your decisions, then they’ve probably been using flattery to manipulate you.

2) They share sob stories often

The first time you met them, they revealed how miserable they are. They talked about their traumas and misfortunes—and boy, there’s a lot of them! 

In fact, everytime you see them, you’re quite sure they’re in great distress.

 And since they’re your friend, you’re gentle towards them. You don’t want to add to their burden. In fact, you just want to comfort them and see them happy.

How to tell if they’re using their “misery” as a manipulative tactic?

Well, if they’ve tried guilt-tripping you to get their way, to ask for favors, and to excuse their bad behavior, they’re probably not as innocent as you think they are.

3) They make you feel like you’re their hero

Usually, when master manipulators use sob stories to win your heart, they’d double it down by making you feel like you’re their hero.

They’d say things like “Oh, what would my life be like without you.” or “You’re the gift god has given me.”

Of course, this would make us feel good for a while. All of us have this innate need to help others.

What makes this an obvious manipulative move is when they do it often. Once or twice? Maybe they just genuinely need help. Twenty times? They’re definitely using you.

And an even more obvious tell is when they start sulking you once you stop acting like their hero.

4) They try hard to find things you have in common

Manipulators know that one of the best ways to create instant connection is to find the things you have in common.

And they’d desperately try to look for that so that they have an excuse to get a little bit closer to you. After all, it’s less creepy when there’s a “reason” (aka excuse).

If they know you’re into cooking, for example, they’d gush and tell you “OMG, me too. I love making a mess in the kitchen”.  It’s a lie because in reality, it’s not one of their top 10 things to do in their free time.

They’re a master manipulator if they’re obviously faking a connection to get something from you—whether it’s to close a sale, to influence you, or to simply win your loyalty.

You can only tell this through time.

If you realize that they’re extra passionate about something when you met them, and now they’ve changed completely, then they probably have manipulative tendencies.

5) They act shy and polite

Master manipulators act like they can’t hurt a fly—kind, always nice, polite—in fact, too polite.

They’d show that they care about boundaries, for example. And they’d exaggerate it to have an effect.

So when they visit your apartment, they’d say “Is it okay if I stay for a bit? Just half an hour. I promise I won’t stay long. I know how privacy is so important for you.”

Of course, they say this so you’d feel bad and say “Oh no, please stay as long as you want!”

What makes this an obvious manipulative move is when they’d willingly take your offer. They’d indeed stay as long as you want. After all, those words came out of your mouth!

6) They spoil you and give you free stuff

Master manipulators know there’s no such thing as free.

“Free” always has some strings attached. It has been used by companies and salesmen all over the world to make us feel indebted, and thus give them favors in return.

After all, we naturally feel like every relationship should be give and take.

Master manipulators use this to their advantage.

They’d give you free stuff, they’d help you even if you didn’t ask…and that’s because they’ll use this as a ticket to ask for things later on.

Of course, to make it discreet, they won’t ask for favors right away. They’d do it next time.

7) They SAY that they have your best interests at heart

They do things on your behalf without your consent, and they’d even make decisions for you.

And when you confront them about it, they’d say “Well, I only did it because I care for you!” or “Well, it’s for your own good. I thought that’s what you wanted.”

The master manipulator wants you to believe they’re concerned about you. 

And when you tell them to stop, they’d guilt-trip you by saying “Okay, this won’t ever happen again. I’ll stop caring so much.”

Don’t feel bad. Only YOU can decide for yourself. Period.

8) They tell you how they hate people who “betray” them

Manipulative people are cunning, but the most cunning of all are the “silent but deadly” master manipulators.

Of course they’re not just telling you about how vindictive they are merely to share stories.

They’re doing this to warn you that if you “betray” them in any way—and by this, it could just mean that you don’t allow them to manipulate you—then you’d suffer the same fate.

So for example, they’d talk about their best friend (now ex friend) who they cut off completely because they insulted them. 

Doing this will make you not do things that could potentially make them feel insulted. 

You might not even be aware you have this fear because they’ve planted it deep in your subconscious.

9) They use reverse psychology

Master manipulators are highly skilled at reverse psychology.

It’s basically manipulating someone to do what you want by telling them what you DON’T want them to do.

It works because it makes people feel like they have something to prove!

So if they want to get a job done, they say “Let’s just rest now. We deserve it. After all, we don’t have to win this contest.”

When people hear this, they’d want to say “No! We’ll do it. We already worked hard for it.”

Or they’d say “Don’t ask me about it” so you’d get curious.

Master manipulators are like magicians—they know which strings to pull just to get people to do what they want.

10) They are as cool as cucumber

Master manipulators know that being calm is power. They know that people generally think that: being angry=bad and being calm=good.

So no matter how furious they are inside, they hide their emotions.

If they remain calm no matter what, it gives the impression that they’re mature, kind, and totally not crazy unlike people who lash out and throw tantrums.

In fact, it can even give the illusion that you’re definitely NOT a manipulator.

So be careful and keep your eyes open, because the calm, “nice”, and “innocent” ones are the deadliest of all.

Last words

So, while reading this article, did you go “A-ha! Yes, they’re exactly like this!”? 

Well then, it’s time to ask yourself this: Why do you think they’re doing this?

Why do they have to skillfully influence you to do things instead of just telling you outright what they want?

Then, once you have an idea of their intentions (and they’re not all that good), ask yourself if this is the kind of person you want in your life.

If not, remove the strings they’ve tied around your hands. You’re nobody’s puppet.

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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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