7 mind games a manipulator will play to control and deceive you

Tina Fey by Tina Fey | April 10, 2024, 11:39 am

We all want to be treated fairly, right?

I mean, who doesn’t?

Yet, we’ve all been there – dealing with that one person who seems to have a knack for manipulation. They twist words, create confusion, and before you know it, you’re left questioning your own sanity.

Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

Manipulation tactics are common, and sadly, they’re often so subtle you may not even realize you are being controlled or deceived.

But that’s about to change.

Today, we’re going to delve into six mind games a manipulator will play to control and deceive you. Some of it might be tough to swallow.

And listen, I’m not here to make you paranoid or distrustful of everyone around you. Far from it.

What I want is to arm you with knowledge that could potentially save you a lot of heartache.

Let’s dive in.

1) Playing the victim card

Playing the victim card is something I’ve seen manipulators do often. It’s when someone always acts like they’re the one being wronged, no matter what’s really happening.

I’ve noticed that when someone does this, they’re trying to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions. They make it seem like everything is always someone else’s fault.

In relationships, this can be really tough to deal with. I remember a friend who was always told by their partner that their own controlling behavior was because of past bad experiences.

It put my friend in a tough spot, making them feel guilty all the time, even when they hadn’t done anything wrong.

What’s tricky is how subtle this can be. You might notice someone always blaming others for their problems, never admitting when they mess up, or acting like the world is always against them.

I’ve learned that dealing with this means staying clear-headed and not letting yourself get pulled into feeling guilty for things you shouldn’t.

2) Gaslighting

This manipulative trick is another one I’ve experienced myself. And let me tell you, it’s absolutely unpleasant.

I still remember the time when my colleague, Lisa, accused me of not completing a project on time.

I was certain I had submitted it a day before the deadline, but she insisted I hadn’t. She even showed me an ‘edited’ email thread as proof.

I ended up apologizing and doubting my own memory.

It was only later that I discovered what Lisa had done – she’d manipulated the email thread.

That’s gaslighting for you – making you doubt your own reality to gain control or hide their wrongdoings. It’s a dangerous game that can leave you feeling confused and insecure.

Never let anyone make you question your truth.

3) Triangulation

Did you know that manipulators often use third parties to validate their actions or statements?

They do this to make you feel like you’re the odd one out, and their viewpoint is the ‘correct’ one. It’s called triangulation.

Suppose you’re in a disagreement with a manipulator.

They might bring a third person into the conversation who agrees with them, making you feel outnumbered and more likely to question your perspective.

This subtle tactic is often used to control and confuse, leaving you feeling isolated and unsure of your own judgment.

4) Love bombing

There’s a fine line between genuine affection and manipulation. Love bombing blurs this line. Which is why it’s rather sneaky and tricky to detect.

Love bombing is when someone showers you with excessive affection and attention to win your trust and affection. They make you feel special, loved, and cherished.

But here’s the catch – it’s not about you.

It’s about them gaining control over you. Once they have that, the affection often disappears as quickly as it arrived.

It’s a heartbreaking game because it abuses the very thing that makes us human – our capacity to love and be loved.

It’s crucial to remember that real love is consistent, respectful and doesn’t come with strings attached.

5) Projecting

Projecting is a tactic where the manipulator accuses you of their shortcomings or mistakes. They do this to shift the blame and make you feel guilty, while they escape taking responsibility.

I’ll never forget this one encounter with my cousin, Mark.

We were discussing a family issue when suddenly he accused me of being insensitive and judgemental.

I was taken aback because I didn’t know where he was coming from. I’ve always tried my best to be understanding and empathetic.

But then I realized, it wasn’t about me at all. Mark was actually describing himself — he was projecting his own insecurities onto me.

It’s a tricky mind game, but once you recognize it, it becomes easier to deal with.

6) Stonewalling

Ever been in a conversation where you’re trying to express your thoughts or feelings, but the other person just shuts you out?

That’s what we call stonewalling.

It’s a manipulative tactic where the person refuses to communicate or cooperate, essentially blocking any attempt at resolving the issue.

Stonewalling can leave you feeling frustrated and helpless, often questioning your own ability to communicate effectively.

It’s important to remember – it’s not about your communication skills, it’s about their unwillingness to engage in a healthy conversation.

7) The silent treatment

Now, let’s talk about the silent treatment. It’s something we’ve all experienced at some point, and boy, is it frustrating.

For instance, my sister and I once had a disagreement over something trivial.

Instead of sorting it out like adults, she decided to give me the silent treatment. No texts, calls, or even acknowledgments when we crossed paths at home.

It was as if I didn’t exist.

The silent treatment is a manipulator’s way of punishing you and gaining control over you. They want you to feel guilty and apologetic so that they can have the upper hand.

It’s a cruel game that toys with your emotions and leaves you feeling powerless.

Final thoughts

Manipulation is a complex beast – it comes in many forms and can leave you feeling confused and hurt.

But by recognizing these mind games, you can protect yourself and maintain control over your own actions and emotions.

Remember, nobody has the right to manipulate or control you.

Stand tall, trust your instincts, and don’t be afraid to seek help if needed.

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