5 Ways to deal with a manipulative partner suggested by the experts
Experts reveal 5 ways to deal with a manipulative partner and how to identify one. Find out more.
When you’re in a relationship it can be really challenging to identify when you’re being manipulated by your partner. It can be so confusing because the core concept of manipulation is to gain control, power, or leverage over someone in deceptive ways and it is hard to actually believe that someone you love is doing this to you. You could equate this with gaslighting, which is a form of emotional abuse where in this case, your partner is using certain methods or techniques to have you question your thoughts, emotions, feelings, and decisions about your life and the relationship in ways that are very deceiving.
A manipulative relationship can be really destructive and can be overlooked so easily. It is a gradual process regarding a change in the dynamics of a relationship. There are ways to work on this, but both partners need to be invested in creating a more mutually respectful and understanding relationship.
Ways to identify if you are being manipulated by your partner:
1. If you are questioning your partner’s behaviour and intentions regarding possible manipulation - listen to your inner voice. Do not ignore that voice inside of you. That voice is telling you to lean in, pay attention, and be aware. Too often we are ignoring that warning sign that is trying to speak to us so trust your judgment.
2. If you feel like your partner is trying to control your every move, such as distancing you from your close friends and family, making decisions for you or making you question your decisions, it is time to really pay attention to your partner’s patterns of behaviour. When someone tries to distance you from your personal network of family and friends, you might want to evaluate their motives and question their intentions.
3. If you see that your partner is taking away your power of choice, this is a huge red flag. When your partner starts making all of the decisions about the relationship, such as where you can go, who to hang out with or talk to, what you can and cannot do, it is time to reclaim your power of choice. If you are allowing someone to take your personal power to choose away from you, it’s important to reclaim that power. You shouldn’t ever feel that you need to seek or ask for permission.
4. Another big red flag is when your partner is trying to emotionally manipulate you. For instance, if your partner is trying to convince you to do something that does not align with your values or is attempting to make you feel bad by becoming overly emotional or bullying you, pause to evaluate your own values and determine if the relationship is in alignment with how you want to live your life.
Ways to deal with a manipulative partner:
1. It is critical to listen to that inner voice. If you feel uncomfortable about your partner’s behaviour, such that it is intrusive, passive, or aggressive, it is time to really pay attention and assess whether this is the right relationship for you.
2. When you notice that your partner is trying to take your power of choice away, begin getting really clear about the choices you want to make for yourself. Set clear boundaries about retaining your voice and your decision-making authority in the relationship.
3. When you notice that your partner is trying to emotionally manipulate you, it is your opportunity to model what being more concrete versus emotional looks like. You do not have to buy what your partner is selling; meaning, don’t be drawn in by the emotion. By being clear in your response to your partner, minimizes the chance of getting wrapped up in their cyclone of emotion.
4. If your partner is imposing their values and beliefs onto you and they do not align with your own values, this is the time to communicate your discomfort about this. When you compromise your values, it will impact your personal emotional wellness as well as the emotional health of the relationship.
5. If you are still invested in the relationship and the manipulation continues after you have tried communicating your concerns with your partner, setting boundaries, regaining your power of choice, and not engaging in an emotional storm with your significant other, it may be time to seek professional support.
Remember, it is never okay to stay in a relationship when you are being manipulated and physically or emotionally abused. Seeking help is the right thing for you to do and strongly advised. You deserve to be treated with respect, you should have the right to express your feelings and emotions. It’s okay to say no without having to feel guilty for doing so and finally know that you are worthy of a healthy and happy life.
About the author: Summer Watson is a doctor of psychology and Jen Fontanilla, former financial advisor.