7 Signs Your Partner Is Emotionally Manipulating You

January 6, 2022

Sure, every couple will fall out and have arguments from time to time. It’s the nature of relationships, but there is a line that can be crossed when things become a little more severe in this department. When does it become emotional manipulation, a type of emotional abuse with dangerous ramifications?

Emotional abuse can very seriously be just as destructive as physical violence, according to a 2013 study, as both can lead to low self-esteem and depression. Unfortunately, it’s also widespread.

According to a 2011 CDC poll, 47.1 percent of women and 46.5 percent of men in relationships have experienced psychological aggressiveness. It’s so important to take the time needed to recognize the indicators of emotional manipulation and abuse so you can recognize when your relationship is deteriorating and potentially harmful.

To help with this process, here is a list of just some of the ways this can happen within modern relationships.

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Taking advantage of your insecurities

Emotional manipulators may take advantage of your vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and worries to drag you down. They could also bring up insecurities while you're already depressed or call out your weaknesses in front of others, for example.

For example, you may receive a backhanded compliment. "If your partner says, 'Oh, I like your look today,' take it as a compliment. If someone said to you, "You don't appear as big as usual," you're hardly inclined to consider it as a real compliment. 


Gaslighting is a deception technique that causes you to doubt the reality of the abuse you're experiencing in your relationship. It's a way for an abuser to make their victim doubt their own sanity or judgment.

Gaslighting would be if your partner says or does something to upset you purposefully and you confront them later, and they respond, 'That never occurred' or 'Oh my gosh, you're insane!' The reaction is meant not just to deny but also make you wonder if the scenario actually occurred.

In this, or in any case, where you feel like emotional manipulation is affected you, it can always be a good idea to get in contact with sexual assault trial attorneys who can help identify the problems, especially in the more severe situations you may find yourself in.

Making You Feel Guilty Constantly

To get what they desire, manipulators may use guilt against you. For example, they could remind you of prior wrongdoings you've committed or pleasant things they've done for you in the past to make you feel obligated to them.

Your partner may do this by reminding you of times when you've canceled plans with them in the past, guilting you into canceling current plans with friends so you can spend more time with them. Not only does this instill a sense of obligation in their partner, but it also serves to isolate them from others.

Being Passive Aggressive

When someone is passive-aggressive, they are expressing their unpleasant ideas or feelings obliquely. Your partner might, for example, employ caustic humour, give you the silent treatment, or refuse to have a constructive talk about your disagreement.


When you raise an issue in your relationship, you can employ smoke screening as a strategy. In this situation, you may try to speak up for yourself and express a problem, but your partner will shift the attention away from them.

For example, if you tell your partner, 'I feel insulted when you yell at me,' and they respond, 'Really?' "You're the one that is constantly chatting to other people on social media and being quite rude. In this example, they transfer the blame to you by bringing up a completely unrelated situation to divert the conversation.

This demonstrates your partner's lack of accountability since the blame is passed to you, allowing your partner to get away with what they've done. 


Emotional manipulation should be handled seriously, and these warning indicators should not be overlooked.

It's also worth noting that emotional abuse isn't your responsibility, and you're under no obligation to stay in an abusive relationship. If you believe you are being manipulated, tell someone you trust or get professional help.

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