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How to Know a Manipulator

Learn from someone who is one, or knows how to be one. Learn how to spot a manipulator.

You walk past them one day and they smile at you and suddenly you are walking the same way every day, just to see that smile again. They slowly approach moving closer to you and giving you a little more insight each day about who they are. They have an air of confidence but a shy demeanor. Finally they say hi and you practically drop to your knees with excitement.

This is how a manipulator starts. They usually come into your lives slowly as they read you and figure out your body language, likes and dislikes and even your wardrobe. I was told once that the wisest person in the room was the one who wasn’t saying anything, they were listening to everything that was going on. I realized when I became that quiet person, it wasn’t just the listening that they were doing. We study you and capture every moment until you become the target. We follow and know every move you make. Then we move in for the kill, get what we want and leave.

So how do you know who we are? Here is a not-so-simple list of things that you can watch for.

  1. Attitude

    Not so simple to see if you are already hooked, but you can spot it in people. Most of the time you know when people are giving you attitude but that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about how they carry themselves and it isn’t an attitude that makes you step back and decide to get defensive. They have perfected what they need to send off as their attitude to make you think you should approach them or allow them to approach you. If you look closely though there is a fine line between who they really are and who they have perfected for you. Trust your first instinct because your subconscious mind may be seeing more than you do. Keep your guard up and watch for theirs to fall occasionally.

  2. Too Good To Be True

    Like everyone says, “if it’s too good to be true.” They are right. If they have too much in common with you be very leery, they have probably studied enough to know about things you may like and can bullshit their way through it. We, I mean they, are really good at that. The perfect sales people. Some of them can read you in a split second.

  3. Saving the World

    If someone swoops in when they see you are down, they could be a good friend, or they may have just been waiting for the opportunity to sweep you off your feet and save the world. I have a lot of friends that swoop in when I need them, but I can always tell when someone is trying to take advantage of a situation. I guess it is intuition again and hard to explain. But they want to make your world perfect and be your savior. They will constantly be a shoulder to cry on and when the time is right they will pull you in.

  4. Overly Reasonable

    When they seem perfect and want to be over reasonable about things, like you spending time with your friends, usually there is a hook later. Once you think that they are perfect and you are hooked, they will start cutting you off from the people who love you. It may be a slow process of one friend at a time or one place, like your favorite bar, at a time. Know who your real friends are before you start relying on a new person who says you shouldn’t listen to them. Stay on your toes and be watchful of someone who slowly tells you that other people are taking advantage of you.

I have a daughter that doesn’t quit seem to get it when people tell her to pay attention to things. She doesn’t seem to catch on when people try to tell her what other people might be doing to her. I have to sit down and give her a list and then point things out after they happen. That is not uncommon because she is still kind of young but I worry about what is going to happen when I am not there? Who is going to tell her that she is being manipulated? If I could just teach her to be on her toes and watch for these signs then maybe she will learn. Having a watchful eye and knowing what to look for helps, but some manipulators are very good and they know what you will be looking for. Also, some people who act like this may truly be good people and you don’t want to let them go. How do you know which they are? You have to watch and trust your own judgment two things that are very hard to do when someone is flattering you and saving your world.

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User Comments
  1. Lamda

    On August 14, 2008 at 7:35 am


    i didnt get this phrase…\”They will constantly be a shoulder to cry on and when the time is right they will pull you in\”
    if any reader gets it please explain it to me …
    Lamda.

  2. Heidi

    On August 14, 2008 at 10:30 am


    What I meant by that was that they will always be there when you are in need. A good example would be if a women is in a relationship and another man is constantly there for her when she has problems with the relationship. He is constantly listening to her about any problems that may be occuring and letting her vent. What he is actually doing is waiting for the relationship to go bad so he can step in and save her.

  3. Karen N

    On August 18, 2008 at 8:35 am


    Very interesting, sometimes it takes a while for people to catch on but I’m sure that your daughter will learn from your example.

  4. R J Evans

    On August 29, 2008 at 4:40 pm


    Yup! Good stuff!

  5. HM Weimar

    On September 11, 2008 at 2:02 pm


    Thanks to all of you for your comments. It is wonderful to get feedback and questions.

  6. Kevin Miller

    On April 23, 2012 at 6:31 am


    Not entirely true. My mother always told me women love a guy whom listens.

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