5 Most Common Manipulation Techniques In Relationships

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If you have ever wondered what manipulation techniques are in relationships, this article is for you.

Influencing people has different facets and, depending on the goal, can take the character of light persuasion and complex manipulation.

No matter how much this isn’t in our way, we must remember that we all manipulate to a greater or lesser degree. Or at least most of us are. NO?

So remember that you never forced anything to cry in your childhood, for example by simulating pain or danger of any kind.

However, while kids’s manipulation is somewhat easy to detect, adult dirty play is less so. The joke (tragedy?) is that knowing how to manipulate people doesn’t protect us from the influence of the manipulator.

I believe that the examples that I write later in this article are well known or at least largely known to you.

At the same time, I realize that many of you, despite your knowledge, are still every now and then victims of manipulation, whether by spouses, employers, or simply random people on the street.

Manipulation techniques in relationships – examples

1. Feeling guilty

Guilt is probably the most common, easy and, therefore, more powerful ways to subdue others. This is as a result of the easy indisputable fact that we all need to feel appreciated, but for numerous reasons that does not work.

A low (in addition to too high) sense of value obscures the rational (not necessarily objective, but absolutely balanced) horizon of evaluating the true state of affairs in relation to other people, because it imposes an emotional filter on reality.

If we cannot or even worse do not want to see ourselves from a distance, then we will easily take someone else’s standpoint. And not at all times going to be the one thinking of our good.

For example, a manipulator’s goal might be to show that their partner has a lot to do in terms of love.

This way he does not must give anything of himself, intensifying the other person’s need to prove his worth by giving more than he has to.


“Very good soup, dear. It’s not as good as yesterday’s, but if you salt it, it will be delicious. But no, let it go, I’ll eat it because I’m hungry. I don’t want you to fix it especially for me.

“My ex knew my needs all too well. But don’t worry bear, you know I love you and that’s all that matters.”

2. Shifting your own boundaries to others

Going against our own limitations is not a fun game, so many of us prefer to pass it on to others.

On the one hand, it was more reckless in the group because we felt not only were we weak, but on the other hand – in the group it was easier to bear that we had nothing to do with this fact. After all, other people did not do anything either, right?

This is how blurred responsibility looks in practice. It’s nearly like homeopathy, but no placebo effect.

Suppose the manipulator is afraid of betrayal or has an inferiority complex. In such cases, to reduce the strain related to the weight of its own limits, the manipulator may apply one of the following scenarios:

“Why are you talking to Julie? You know I’m afraid of being betrayed and when I see you looking at yourself I want to cry. I prefer you do not talk to other women without me.

“Honey, I feel bad because you earn more than me. It took away my confidence and sense of masculinity. I’d rather you stay home and take care of other things.”

The idea behind this is that if a partner really loves you (or is belittled enough), he or she should make concessions and completely let go of their own aspirations.

The manipulator will strengthen his position in the relationship and his partner will find him worthy. Everyone “gets”! Or at least temporarily.

3. Emotional blackmail

We all have our own needs and try to meet them. But manipulators most often resort to cunning and morally dubious methods for these purposes. One of them is emotional blackmail (1) aimed at the object of attack abandons aspirations to satisfy its own needs.

The message is simple: if I am happy, you will be happy too. But to be effective, he dresses her in conflicting emotions.

Often it is strong anger and the subsequent “emotional loosening”. The object of the attack, initially frightened by an outburst of anger, will be relieved by this and agree to make partial or full concessions.

Other examples of emotional blackmail include the following sentences:

“At your age, you definitely won’t achieve anything [so rely on me].

“At your age, you will definitely never meet anyone again [so stay with me].

“Don’t leave me, I can not handle it without you”.

“Don’t you care about me?

“Easy for you to say, because you didn’t experience what I did.

But not always the use of similar tricks is a sign of calculation.

Very often, under the influence of emotions, we unwittingly resort to emotional blackmail, because our brain is built in such a way as to explain the reality around us in the most favorable (read. stress-free) way for ourselves.

Literature provides a wide variety of cognitive errors that tell us a lot about our perception of reality, and egocentric thinking is one of them.

4. Raising doubts

Doubt is part and parcel of thinking. As a standard, each extremity produces problems, so excess and lack of hesitation is bad. It can be said that whoever does not hesitate, does not seem to think what he is thinking. Or he doesn’t think.

So if we all have doubts, or at least it is a natural fact that we have them, it is not surprising that artificially persuading them by others can serve nefarious ends.

The manipulator takes great care to keep its victim in limbo, and the only form of contact with reality is a tiny signal sent by the manipulator himself.

Keeping the victim emotionally trapped can lead to the development of an attitude called learned helplessness. Partners who depend on their partner’s judgment will not be able to take any rational action without external approval.


“You did it wrong. Show me, I’ll do it for you, because you do not do well.”

“Think about whether you really want to go to this job. You may not be able to handle it, and I don’t want to correct your mistake again.

Here you have to separate doubts, for example in the area of ​​evaluating information or world views, from doubts in your own abilities. Information or opinion validity can be judged on the basis of facts, logic or widely available literature.

However, doubts about self-confidence are highly subjective and there is no pattern that allows us to get to the source of the problem without deep introspection.

5. Create distance

This method of influencing people is almost exclusive to relationships based on emotional ties. In its most common form today, for example, not answering the phone or not answering text messages.

Less obvious ways are limiting interaction with the people you live with, withdrawing from verbal and non-verbal communication (or one of them), avoiding being in the same room, etc.

To be clear, there are situations where creating distance, for example as a result of injury, is justified (which is not a good thing).

However, here we are talking about deliberately creating distance in situations where there is no clear basis for such behavior, in order to suppress the other person, soften him, and be emotionally unstable.

It is known that for love the biggest test is distance, so if we are faced with a different intensity of feelings, it can happen that someone who is less “in love” or not necessarily empathetic tries to force certain behavior, either calculating or ordinary. selfish.

Personally, I believe that this is one of the most brutal ways to manipulate people in a relationship, because the victim is usually an emotionally dependent person whose reactions are almost exactly the same as those experiencing withdrawal syndrome – neuroses, paranoia, total thoughts of unreality , self-destructive tendencies (2).

So, I do not recommend it.

Self-esteem is a really high ladder, where the distance between the rungs decreases only at the top. The lower we are, the more strength and self-denial we need to reach the next rung of the ladder.

Manipulators, consciously or unconsciously, out of fear of heights avoid climbing, trying to keep everybody as low as possible below them, so that, despite their objective lowness, they feel superior.

Remember, however, that the world is not black and white and there’s no point in being paranoid, because everything I have written above can occur in conscious, calculated and unconscious variants, without any ill intent.

Much emotional loss, trauma or depression can give rise to a situation that gives the impression of manipulation or toxicity, but in reality it is going to be a cry for help from a wounded soul.

Thank you for reading this article on manipulation techniques in relationships and I actually hope you take action on my advice.

I wish you good luck and that I hope that its content has been a good help to you.