emotional wellbeing Mandy Kloppers

How to manage manipulative people

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Manipulative people are very skilled at figuring out other people’s strengths and weaknesses. This is what allows them to manipulate. They will play on your insecurities, use emotional blackmail and/or guilt and will often manipulate you without you even being aware of it. They often lack empathy, but are skilled at knowing what to say or do to push your buttons. They enjoy being in control and see manipulating others as the ‘thrill of the chase’. manipulation confirms to them that they are clever, canny and better than you – that’s what they believe at least.

A few types of manipulative behaviour:

Once they have figured out what your insecurities are, they will use this to their advantage. They have an uncanny ability to be able to use information against you in order to further their aims.
There is something quite ruthless about these types of people. Often they do not have any empathy and many display narcissistiic tendencies. It’s all about achieving their aims at the expense of others. They don’t tend to care if you are worse off due to their manipulations. Instead, they will blame you for being foolish and falling for their ploys.

At times, they will shower you with praise, gifts and attention. They will get you hooked to the point where you begin to need them. This is when the manipulation will increase.

Once you are emotionally hooked – things will change

Don’t be fooled by people you have known for a long while either – paedophiles can groom their victims for years to gain trust before abusing this position they have created and nurtured.
We all like to see the best in others and I would like to think that there are more good people in the world than manipulators, but always be aware of possible hidden agendas. The best way to counteract manipulation is to hold strong values and rigid boundaries.

Emotional Blackmail is another common tactic. “If you were a good parent/partner/child you would do this for me”. This can result in the victim feeling unsure, anxious and submissive.

Minimisation is another form of manipulation. “Oh, stop making a big deal out of it. You are such a drama queen” or “I was only joking. Where’s your sense of humour?”

Manipulators are deceitful as they don’t ask you upfront. They are not assertive and instead will use sly tactics to get you to do what they want. They are often very charming and others can be easily led by them. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

ALWAYS ask yourself – Is this really what I want to do? Make sure that you are doing something because you are in agreement rather than doing it to please someone else.

Live your life impressing yourself, not everyone else. This will give you greater control over your life, more confidence and you will be less likely to end up being manipulated by the unscrupulous.

Be aware of what your personal boundaries are – will you accept someone criticising you or putting you down? if you have high, healthy self-esteem you won’t accept someone treating you negatively. Trust your gut instinct. if it feels wrong, it probably is. Please don’t believe that the manipulative person will change. If they engage in manipulative behaviours on a regular basis – you will witness a pattern. Patterns tend to persist as opposed to one-off events. We all have manipulative tendencies at times but most of us don’t spend our time and focus on getting others to do as we please. We care about others and look for win-win compromises rather than a win-lose outcome.

Manipulative people often lack assertivesness. They aren’t good at being straightforward and use passive-aggressive behaviour to move closer to their goals. They might want money from you, or they want you to do something that you don’t desire – a sexual relationship for example.

Trust your inner wisdom. we all have an inner compass that guides us but we tend to lose touch with it when we people-please and don’t trust ourselves. When in doubt, say “No” if you feel you are being manipulated. Stand firm, know what works for you and what doesn’t. If someone is a manipulator, it won’t be a huge loss if they leave your life. Be thankful and find people who give and take instead of always taking.


Mandy X


Mandy Kloppers
Author: Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.