Home  >  My Life  >  Relationships

Manipulative People: How to Spot them and Stop Playing the Victim

Manipulative people are toxic, but only if you let them be. You can only be manipulated if you allow it. Try these 10 tricks to break free from abuse.

Manipulative People

We all manipulate things in our world. In fact, that is the only way that we can survive our environment. There are good ways and reasons for manipulation, and then there are ways that manipulative people twist emotions and circumstances around them to take advantage or to control them.

Manipulative people can be both your best friend and your worst nightmare. Being able to get what they want, when you are their friend, you can gain some of the same advantages that they do. Being their foe, or worse yet, the person who they manipulate can lead to feeling used, empty, and lost.

10 tricks to deflect manipulative people

If you are in a relationship with a manipulative person, it isn’t doing you any favors. Unable to care for others, manipulative people are devoid of empathy and have no conscience that guides their behavior. [Read: Emotional manipulation – 14 ways people mess with your mind]

Since you can’t trust them, or what they do and say, they can rob you of your security, happiness, and sense of who you are. Stop letting people manipulate you into being, doing, or saying things that you don’t mean by using these 10 tricks to deflect their manipulation.

#1 Ignore what they tell you about yourself. One of the best ways to manipulate and control someone is to convince them that they aren’t worthy of love or attention. So, manipulative people go to great lengths to make sure to gain control over those they use. If you want to combat manipulative people in your life, you have to stop listening to what they tell you.

You know what the truth is. Look at your other relationships. You have to decide for yourself what reality is and stop letting someone create it for you.

As hard as it is, if you have someone who is manipulative in your life, the only way to stop the abuse is just to stop listening to what they have to say and what they tell you. Listen to your inner voice, not the voices they put in your head. [Read: 17 relationship red flags that most people ignore completely]

#2 Don’t get sucked in. Yup, manipulative people know exactly the right buttons to push to go from zero to crazy. If you notice that you are suddenly behaving in ways that you haven’t before, or finding yourself losing your temper, there is a likelihood that they are intentionally setting off the crazy in you.

No matter what buttons they use, the only way to deal with manipulative people is not to get sucked in. No matter how hard it is, those things that hurt the most have to be the glue that bounces off of you and gets stuck to them. [Read: Gaslighting – 16 signs your lover is messing with your mind]

#3 Find out what makes them tick. Manipulative people are especially good at one thing… finding your Kryptonite. The best way to save yourself from the manipulative people in your life is to find out that thing that makes them powerless. You have to fight fire with fire when you are dealing with a manipulative person.

Once you find out what makes them tick, you can use it against them to get them to stop abusing you. Holding things out as a reward, using things that hurt them, or withholding things they desire, you can turn the manipulation right back on them and take the pain and hurt off you.

#4 Boost your own self-esteem. Typically, manipulative people find others who are easy to manipulate. They target people who are in crisis or have low self-esteem because they make it easy to manipulate. The best way to deal with manipulative people is by boosting yourself up and remembering all the wonderful things you possess.

No matter how hard they try to put you down and tell you who you are, if you believe in you, then they can’t touch you. Instead of trying to convince them you are awesome, which you never will, convince yourself. [Read: How to stop selfish people from hurting you]

#5 Be unpredictable. People use predictable behaviors to manipulate others. If they know that you will always react in a specific way, show up at a particular time, or give in under certain circumstances, they use that predictability to control you.

Make sure to mix it up all the time to try to divert their abuse. Don’t feed into the predictable nature of your abusive relationship. Always keep them guessing about your comings and your goings, don’t be there when you are supposed to like clockwork, and don’t be their punching bag when they think you will.

#6 Stop giving in. Another one of the things that manipulative people are very, very, good at is guilt. By making you feel guilty about what you do, they can control you. Like that bad sitcom where someone saves someone else’s life only to be indebted to them forever, a manipulative person will use guilt to make you do what they want.

The worst part about this is that it is a cycle. They push your buttons so that you behave in a way that you aren’t proud of, then make you feel guilty to control you.

Once you are finally over the guilt, they push your buttons again to get the circle back in the circuit. Masters of their trade, guilt is something that mothers use for good not evil. But manipulative people only use their powers for evil. [Read: 10 guilt-free ways to handle guilt trippers in your life]

#7 Stop waiting for their permission. Manipulative people will make you feel like you can’t do anything without asking. If you do, there is hell to pay. The problem is that you are stuck no matter what it is that you want. Always waiting for the approval of someone else can make you feel bottomed out and alone.

Soon enough, you feel like you can’t breathe without them saying it is okay. A vicious cycle, it is much better to deal with the repercussions of doing something wrong than being paralyzed by not ever being able to make a decision for yourself. Make your own decisions.

What you will find is that no matter what choices you make, they won’t be happy with it. That is the whole idea behind manipulating people. But, you won’t be sitting around waiting and being controlled to find misery anyway. [Read: How to handle controlling behavior in a relationship]

#8 Realize there’s no free lunch. When a manipulative person does something for you, there is always payback. Just like the “free cat” that ends up costing you a fortune in vet bills to make it well again, if you allow a manipulative person to do a “favor” for you, then they have you, and they own you.

If they do something, realize that there will always be payback and decide if it is worth it, or if you should just do it on your own.

#9 Know what you want in life. The way that manipulative people work is by convincing you that they are the goal. If you have a goal, something to believe in, and a faith in what you are working toward, then you won’t worry so much about what they do and how they respond or react to you.

Believing in something greater than just your relationship with them or their conditional love will help you find your freedom from them. Having a goal and working toward it will help you see a pathway away from the chains of a manipulative person. [Read: 15 questions to reveal a controlling personality instantly]

#10 Take responsibility for yourself. Manipulative people can only manipulate you if you let them. If you let them, then that is on you. Many people get stuck in abusive relationships feeling less than they want, making stupid moves, and being people they don’t want to be because they don’t take responsibility for their actions.

Sure, a manipulative person knows how to push your buttons, make you feel guilty, and take your self-esteem. But, the problem is that they can only do that if you let them. [Read: Manipulative behavior – The devious signs you should never ignore]

If you take responsibility and start walking away instead of chasing them, making your own decisions instead of waiting for their approval, and not freaking out and showing your crazy eyes that always leads to guilt, then you will break free from their control.

[Read: How to stop being manipulated in any of your relationships]

Manipulative people are some of the most toxic people you can be in a relationship with. In the end, however, the only one who can let you be manipulated is you. The key is stop being the victim.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life.

Julie Keating
A writer isn’t born, but created out of experiences. No lack of subject matter, my life reads more like fiction than anything that could have been imagined in...
Follow Julie on