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10 Sure Signs That Your Partner Is Manipulating You In The Relationship

Avoid Manipulations and Manipulative Behavior

manipulations in relationships

In this article, you can read about how you and your partner can become aware of manipulations, which is necessary before you can do anything about the problems.

Manipulations occur in many contexts and on many levels, such as fault-finding, negativity, humiliations, crying, comparisons, anger, avoidance, and much more.

It will become clear to you whether you have a love relationship or a dependency relationship with each other.

Also, how you can use both reward or punishment in an appropriate way to change inappropriate behavior.

Finally, you will be introduced to a concrete communication tool that will help you create understanding and balance in your relationship.

Read more at www.parforhold-parterapi.dk/english


There is a Difference Between Influence and Manipulation

Manipulation is self-serving and often harmful to others. It’s like a chess game where you think several moves ahead solely for your own gain, regardless of how it affects others.
Manipulation can provide a temporary advantage, but it harms integrity and erodes trust.

In contrast, positive influence is about creating a scenario where everyone’s needs are considered and respected.

Influence has more to do with effective communication from the heart.

It’s important not just to send out your message and hope that it’s sufficient for others to pick up and understand.

With understanding, empathy, and mutual inspiration, you can engage others in meaningful dialogue.

You will win with influence, but not at the expense of others. Not even your partner. Everyone wins.

Why Manipulations

If you feel that your partner is manipulating you, it is likely because he/she either consciously or unconsciously feels insecure or unsure about you – or has learned it in childhood and uses it automatically.

In a way, you are also getting a response to your behavior, and it can feel quite uncomfortable.

Many choose to go to couples coaching because it is easier and faster to have an “outside” perspective see the patterns and provide good professional advice on what can be done effectively to improve the situation.

Three Things You Can Do Yourself

What you can personally do to avoid your partner’s manipulations, can be summed up in three things:

  1. You need to create security – so that it feels secure.
    It is not enough that you believe and think your actions and behavior are creating security. Your partner needs to be able to feel it.
  2. You also need to communicate clearly.
    It is not enough that you believe you are clear and understandable.
    Your partner needs to be able to understand you in your speech and facial expressions, so it feels comprehensible.
  3. Furthermore, you need to set healthy natural boundaries so that your partner does not overrun you.
    First, you need to build trust, security, and respect, and you need to be able to forgive each other.

HOW these three things can be done will be discussed later in this article.

It may be that your partner or you yourself manipulate – but what if both of you had better strategies and habits so you did not need to manipulate each other to get your wishes fulfilled and your needs met – or to make something unpleasant go away?

Learning better communication strategies and gaining a greater understanding of your differences can be relatively quick and easy to learn in couples coaching.


Awareness of the Challenges

manipulationsMost of us have learned to manipulate from childhood.
Back then, it could prevent or stop an unsafe and dangerous situation, or it could help cover some needs we had.

However, some people continue to use the few strategies they learned and know, even though they no longer work in their adult lives.

Awareness is essential in any change and development, simply because you cannot solve a problem you are not aware of.
In connection with couple sessions with me, unconscious manipulations can become conscious for both of you, so you can choose whether to do something about them or not.

I will describe some of the ways you or your partner might use to manipulate each other – to the detriment of both your relationship, love, and your children.

What is Wrong

    1. Your partner is a fault-finder. This can be a way to try to get you to do or be something specific, or perhaps to stop doing or being something.
    2. Your partner calls you names and humiliates you in a disrespectful way, possibly even in front of others.
    3. Your partner cries. There is nothing wrong with being sad and in sorrow. Women usually cry easily, and men should also be able to cry when they are sad, but if your partner cries to achieve something, it is manipulation.
    4. Your partner compares you to others. Especially if it is with ex-partners, you need to be very careful.
    5. Your partner is angry and yells and scolds. He/she is overwhelmed by emotions and can be completely out of reach in their emotional destructive behavior.
    6. Your partner avoids you and does not want to talk. All people have both masculine and feminine sides within them.
      Most men have more of the masculine, and most women have more of the feminine.
      Your partner’s masculine side will normally need to retreat into their cave from time to time, but it is quite inappropriate to just shut down and remain silent.
      Your partner’s feminine side, on the other hand, uses silence as manipulation.
    7. Your partner snaps at you instead of saying things directly in an honest, kind, appropriate, and direct manner.
    8. Your partner plays the victim. “Oh, poor me!”
      Your helper and savior instincts will eventually bring you into trouble if you are not careful.
    9. Your partner punishes you or threatens you, for example with divorce or something else unpleasant.
      Threats and punishment in the relationship are a very unwise and destructive way to get one’s way – and it is manipulation that is not good for love in the long run.
    10. Your partner suddenly becomes very friendly and warm towards you.
      Women want to be seen, understood, and loved, so they will appreciate the attention.
      Men love to be praised, recognized, and appreciated, so they can appreciate positive words.
      However, too much sweetness can seem overwhelming and fake.

Examples of Manipulations

A couple had a really good day together, and at one point, the woman asked what music the man would like to listen to.

He mentioned an album he liked, to which the woman replied, “Do you know we have this other album? It’s really good music. Would you like to listen to it?

The man became confused because he had just answered her question and said what he wanted to hear. He became irritated and asked to go to the Wishing Well (see more about this at the end of this article).

There, he found out that he had previously been used to stating what he wanted, but many times he did not get it.

Afterwards, the woman went to the Wishing Well and found out that in her childhood, she had learned not to ask for anything directly, because then you were told you were selfish. You always had to put others before yourself. She had learned to suppress her feelings and needs, and only through manipulations had she gotten what she wanted.

In this case with the music, she wanted to listen to a specific music, but she also wanted her husband to want the same thing so she wouldn’t risk wanting something and being rejected.

Therefore, it’s no wonder the man was confused and irritated. But they found out the underlying reason for the manipulation.

Love Relationship or Dependency Relationship

Many mistakenly believe that if they just press their partner sufficiently with, for example, sulking, anger, small hints, and similar things as described above, the partner will comply, or come crawling back and apologize, and then they can have a good relationship.
But that’s not how a love relationship works. It’s a dependency relationship, where love slowly disappears.

Be aware that your partner is neither evil nor stupid.
They use manipulation techniques solely because they were learned from childhood, and because your partner is either insecure or feels uncertain about you.
They are overwhelmed by their emotions and cannot think rationally and logically in a constructive way.

Especially many women believe that if they criticize and blame their man, he will change – because criticism works on her.
But the man just wants his woman to be happy and satisfied, so he jumps and bends over backward to make her not change – because it works on him.

Reward and Punishment

reward and punishmentIt is unwise to reward or punish inappropriate behavior, by, for example, just letting it be, or bowing your head and enduring the abuse.
In the long run, it will not give you or your relationship what you want, because it can have some unpleasant or destructive consequences for your relationship.
Understanding, trust, security, and respect can disappear.

Anyone who experiences that a certain behavior works well will continue this behavior.

If the manipulations have a quick and visible effect, your partner will naturally continue to do what WORKS.

If you consciously or unconsciously have acquired some habits that involve manipulations, you should change these habits as quickly as possible, both for your own sake and for the sake of the relationship.

It is also important that you are good role models for your children.
Remember, they copy everything you do (just as you have copied everything your parents did – including the manipulation methods).

Warning About Feelings in Manipulations

If you feel insecure or threatened, your feelings can deceive you into thinking that everything is a threat – and manipulations.
Our feelings have helped humanity for about a million years, and we descend from those who were skilled.
Those who were not skilled enough to survive are not our ancestors.

Your feelings can, for example, make you blame your partner for being dishonest, a liar, a psychopath, or worse.
Therefore, it is important that you ensure you are in balance to have the life you want.
Our brain with its thoughts and our body with its feelings constantly try to protect us.
You are not your thoughts and feelings, but they are your friends.
This protection is called psychological defense mechanisms.
However, a good relationship is built on, among other things, understanding, trust, security, mutual respect, and forgiveness.
If the psychological defense mechanisms have turned into attack weapons, we need a different type of solution than those we have used so far to solve the problems in the relationship.

The Wishing Well

Through my many years of experience as a couples coach, I have “invented” a foolproof communication tool that in a relatively easy, safe, and quick way will make it significantly easier for both of you to feel and express your emotions and to understand each other on a deeper level in the relationship.

Once you have learned this tool, it is not so difficult to use, but it must be used correctly.
Therefore, it is not enough to just follow it partially.
It must also be practiced many times – that is, BEFORE it becomes really necessary in tense situations.

Couples coach Mikael Hoffmann

Read more about couples counseling, couple therapy and couples therapy Copenhagen at www.parforhold-parterapi.dk/english

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