Signs of Emotional Manipulation : 5 Ways to Stop Emotional Manipulation

Last Update on November 7, 2021 : Published on June 28, 2021
Recognizing & Protecting Yourself From Emotional Manipulation

Emotions are vital to us all – whether they are good or bad, negative or positive – they make us feel and connect us with our minds and hearts. Emotional manipulation, on the other hand, can leave us feeling invalidated, guilty, and embarrassed.

This kind of behavior can be hard to escape and can make people feel less of themselves.

You must have heard people saying; “A person wears their heart on their sleeves” This sentence fits people who get emotionally attached to others too quickly. These people are more prone to emotional manipulation by others than some.

Also Read: How To Deal With A Child Emotional Behavior?

Emotional manipulators usually bring into play mind games to control the other person. A healthy emotional relationship is built on trust, understanding, and respect. If any of these is missing or emotions are manipulated, a relationship can turn toxic.

Below are the Signs of Emotional Manipulation you can identify when happening to you.

12 Signs of Emotional Manipulation:

The signs of emotional manipulation can be subtle but there:

1. They Get Close Too Quickly

Emotional manipulators are people who normally skip the ‘get to know you’ stage and are more likely to share their deepest vulnerabilities with you pretty early in a relationship. In truth, this behavior is to entice you to share your vulnerabilities with them and they will likely use your insecurities against you in the future.

2. They Exaggerate Events

Emotional manipulators are masters of exaggerating and lies. They exaggerate events to make them sound vulnerable to gain your sympathy.

3. They Are An Emotional Bully

If someone overwhelms you with too many emotions and feelings, it can also be one of the types of emotional manipulation. Emotional manipulators make you believe that they know better and you don’t.

4. They Make You Feel Sorry

An emotional manipulator is more likely to respond to your concerns aggressively than address your concerns assertively. Emotional manipulators will try to engage in an argument that will, eventually, allow them to influence your choices. This behavior is more likely to make you feel sorry or guilty for voicing your concerns.

5. They Play Down Your Problems

An emotional manipulator always tries to play down your problems and highlight their own. Even if you had a bad day, they will likely twist your words and focus on their problem and issues they faced that day. They aim to downplay your issues and bring the focus to theirs.

6. They Act Like A Victim

No matter what you do, emotional manipulators will always make themselves look like a victim even if they had agreed to do something in the first place. They will more likely act as what they are doing is a burden and are likely to use your emotions to get their way and out of the situation.

7. They Don’t Take Responsibility For Their Actions

Please keep in mind that emotional manipulators never take responsibility for their actions. They will try to find ways to make you feel bad for their failure. Even if it’s their fault, they will not take accountability for their actions and you may end up saying sorry even if it’s not your fault.

8. They Always Criticize You

Emotional manipulators are masters at making you feel less than. At every available opportunity, an emotional manipulator may disregard you and your feelings. They’re usually sarcastic, rude, and cruel with their words but if confronted, they will say that “It was a joke” or “I’m just kidding”.

Their actions and words are meant to hurt, mock, and marginalize you.

9. They Use Your Insecurities Against You

As I mentioned in one of the previous points, emotional manipulators know about your insecurities and vulnerabilities. They might use those weak spots and insecurities against you and your emotions when the time comes. They may say or do something that will more likely upset or traumatize you.

10. They Are Passive-Aggressive

The passive-aggressive communication style is the go-to for emotional manipulators. A passive-aggressive communicator will avoid confrontations but will use people who’re close to you to communicate their displeasure. They might also talk behind your back to others.

11. They Give You The “Silent Treatment”

One of the most common tactics an emotional manipulator uses is “Silent Treatment”. They will refuse to take your call, reply to your messages, or may simply stop talking to you. They use this silent treatment to control you and is an indirect way of making you feel accountable for their behavior.

There are other similar situations where an emotional manipulator can use your emotions against you to control you and bend you to their will.

Effects of emotional manipulation are not only physical but can be mental, emotional, social, and can affect your daily life and relationships with others.

How To Stop Emotional Manipulation

Here’s what you need to do to protect yourself from emotional manipulation:

1. Don’t Accept an Easy Apology

An emotional manipulator will always be ready with an automatic apology on their lips. To avoid emotional manipulation, don’t accept their apology immediately. Confront them with your feelings on the matter and ask questions.

2. Listen to Your Gut

Your gut is almost never wrong. Understanding and being aware of your surroundings is important. Trust your feelings and yourself first. If you’re doubting yourself, a manipulator will use that against you. Pay attention to what the other person is saying and how they are acting.

3. Actions Speak Louder than Words

The phrase “actions speak louder than words” is very important in this scenario. Don’t believe when someone says something unless they act upon it. Base your feelings on what someone does rather than what someone says.

4. Learn to say NO

You are NOT the problem. Learn to be assertive and say no when you don’t want to do something a manipulative person asks you to do. You have to remember to set your priorities and say NO without feeling guilty.

Also Read: Explore the Power of saying a No | Time to Set Boundaries

5. Take back your power

When an emotional manipulator insists on breaking your set boundaries – stand up, speak up, and take back your power. A manipulative person is just like a bully. You need to be smart and strong and stand up against them. When you refuse to bend to their will and show your emotional strength, they will have no choice but to back down.

Final Words

Emotional manipulation can leave long-lasting marks on your mental and emotional health. It is NOT healthy. An emotional manipulator will use your emotions and feelings against you and will make you feel guilty for actions you don’t need to feel guilty about.

Keep a lookout for an emotional manipulator and remember that you are your own person. No one should hold power over you.

If you or someone you know are a victim of emotional manipulation, consult a professional healthcare provider. No one deserves to be emotionally manipulated. It’s okay to seek treatment and help from someone professional.

“Half of the people lie with their lips; the other half with their tears” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Stay happy, stay healthy!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.


  1. Kerin Malloy
    Kerin Malloy

    I have been there many a times. It took me a lot time to realise the manipulation tactics and fight against.

  2. Janny

    I have seen this in daily life. But didn't know how to deal with emotional manipulation. Your blog helped me a lot to understand this. Thank you!

  3. Ahana

    Amazing blog... yes don't give the right anyone to manipulate you

  4. Akshita

    Listen to your gut! Worth sharing

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