Psychological manipulation is a “hidden” behavior of a person’s indirect actions or words predetermined to influence another person. It is a person’s way of asserting control on another without directly addressing the root cause, whatever the issue may be. Manipulation is disrespectful and sabotages communication in all relationships. Manipulation is sometimes hard to detect. Many people with trusting hearts believe that people have good intentions and they take their words at face value. In some cases, manipulators may not even recognize their own behavior as being manipulative. They tend to blame, brag, play the victim, condescend others and make you feel guilty. Manipulators lie to take advantage of others and do not care of the consequences for their actions.

One type of manipulative maneuver that causes a person to doubt their sense of reality or their interpretation of events is called gaslighting. This is a destructive pattern of emotional abuse that can have negative effects on an individual’s self-esteem and well-being. The tactic is often used to assert power over a significant other, employee or friend. The effects of this type of manipulation often lead to depression, defensiveness, self-doubt, isolation and anxiety. It is important to note that gaslighting refers to a long-term pattern of behavior in a relationship. So, what does gaslighting look like in a couple? When one spouse tells the other they are being too sensitive when he or she is trying to express their emotions during a heated argument. The manipulative spouse may also withhold or refuse to engage. If this type of behavior happens repeatedly over time, it could be considered as gaslighting.

Do you feel you are being manipulated? Are you constantly second guessing yourself or apologizing to others even when apologies may not be justified? Do you have to make excuses for your partner’s behavior to your family and friends? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you may be a victim of psychological manipulation. Breaking the cycle of psychological manipulation is possible. You do not deserve to be intimidated or controlled. We all have right to be safe and make our own choices. TCP Marriage & Family Services is here to help you gain the respect and support you deserve. For more information on our services, please call our office at (210) 516-2607 or visit our website at: