December 29, 2022

Are You the Victim of Emotional Manipulation?

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Medicially Reviewed By:
Dr. Priya Chaudhri
credentials here

If someone has ever whipsawed you emotionally, you know just how upsetting and painful it can be. These types often use guilt trips and gaslighting to get their desired effect, which is to control you. Read on to learn if you are the victim of emotional manipulation.

What is Emotional Manipulation?

Emotional manipulation is a type of psychological abuse that features one person trying to control the thoughts, choices, or behaviors of another person. This dysfunctional dynamic can exist between romantic partners, family members, friends, or coworkers. This type of abuse occurs when one person uses deceptive or cruel tactics to persuade another person’s actions or opinions.

Emotional manipulation takes place in the office with a boss or coworker, or at home with a spouse or family member. Emotional manipulation is most common within romantic relationships.

Common Signs of Emotional Manipulation

There are many methods used for this type of manipulation. The type of relationship, such as whether it’s intimate or professional, determines the method used to manipulate the victim. Some of the signs you are being manipulated include:

  • The person makes you feel guilty. They use guilt as a weapon to control and manipulate your thoughts and actions. When the victim is a people pleaser, this is an effective tactic.
  • They gaslight you. They keep you off balance by making you question yourself and your own beliefs through gaslighting.
  • They bully you into submission. It is exhausting to be constantly trying to appease the abuser and adhere to their wishes.
  • They exploit a weakness. This is common in a professional relationship where emotional manipulation is going on. The abuser constantly reminds you, your colleagues, and the boss of your area of weakness.
  • They violate your boundaries. They disregard your boundaries and intrude into your personal space to continue their abusive tactics.
  • They love bomb you. In a new romantic relationship, the person may love bomb you to gain control over you. You begin to believe you owe them for their love and attention and will do anything to keep them.
  • They ignore you. The ice treatment is very hurtful and can be effective in manipulating the victim into submission.
  • They embarrass you. This is another common form of manipulation in the workplace. A coworker will purposely try to embarrass you in the presence of colleagues to gain the upper hand.

The Effects of Emotional Manipulation

This type of emotional abuse can take a terrible toll on your mental health. The manipulator is skilled at causing you to have feelings of self-doubt and low self-esteem. This causes you to second guess just about everything and can be demoralizing. It can also lead to a serious mental health crisis, like depression or suicide ideation.

When the emotional manipulation is occurring at work, such as between you and a coworker, it can have adverse effects on your mental state at work. The abuser may cause you to begin questioning yourself or your abilities. They may make you feel insecure about your future at the company. They may use these tactics to gain the upper hand with the boss.

How To Respond to Emotional Manipulation

Once you start seeing how you are being played, you can begin to assert yourself in the relationship. Here are some tips for a healthy response to emotional manipulation:

  1. Stop being a people pleaser, and set some firm boundaries. Whether the abuse is occurring between a couple or coworker, it is time to stop trying to please everyone. They will quickly lose their power over you if you refuse to play along. For couples, this becomes a test of the relationship, as far as whether the abuser is willing to respect your boundaries.
  2. Create some healthy distance between you and the abuser. When the manipulator is causing you major distress, it is time to take a break from them. This also becomes a test, where you can see things more clearly and decide whether to make the break permanent.
  3. Develop a support system. The victims of the manipulator often hide the situation from others, mostly out of shame or embarrassment. It is hard to admit you have succumbed to this kind of abuse. But do yourself a favor and find a trusted confidant to talk to about it. Better yet, look into talking with a therapist.

Get Help for the Effects of Emotional Abuse or Manipulation

Like other forms of abuse within a relationship, emotional manipulation can cause some serious pain. In a similar way to being in a relationship with a narcissist, you may lose your self-confidence and question yourself. This can take a heavy toll on your mental health and your quality of life.

When the effects of the emotional abuse cause you to feel insecure and weak, it is time to consult with a mental health expert. A therapist can help you identify the ways you have played right into their game, and then help you change. Having someone with an unbiased objective view can often be much more helpful than a friend or family member.

If your state of mind is very troubled and you have even contemplated suicide, a much more intensive treatment approach is warranted. Consider spending a month or two in a residential treatment program where you can truly focus on your mental health.

The residential programs offer a more comprehensive treatment approach than you’d get at a weekly therapy session. They are designed to treat the whole person, so the interventions are a mix of evidence-based and holistic activities.

Elevation Behavioral Health Residential Mental Health Treatment

Elevation Behavioral Health offers mental health treatment in a private residential setting. Our serene setting provides the perfect space for healing if you are the victim of emotional manipulation. To learn more about our treatment center, please reach out to our team today at (888) 561-0868.

Our team of experts is here to help you.