Sanctuary for the Abused

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Spotting The Emotional Manipulator

Written by Fiona McColl

Emotional manipulators get extra marks for subtlety. A patronizing, mind-f*cker can bend and twist and warp but somehow after a period of time they set off the ol’ bullsh*t meter. An emotional manipulator is smoother. You’ll have to adjust the sensitivity of your bullsh*t meter to escape unscathed.

What is emotional manipulation?
Well, emotional manipulation is a method of using words, body language and behavior for the purposes of provoking a particular reaction, getting a desired response or to just plain ol’ screw you over. If the emotional blackmailer is any good, he’ll having you offering to bend over and be f*cked one more time, "anything you want dear." Lets talk about how an emotional manipulator works and how to recognize the game (because it very much IS a game) so you can reset that bullsh*t meter and safeguard against possible attack.

There is no use in trying to be honest with an emotional manipulator. You make a statement and it will be turned around. Example: I am really angry that you forgot my birthday. Response - "It makes me feel sad that you would think I would forget your birthday, I should have told you of the great personal stress I am facing at the moment - but you see I didn’t want to trouble you. You are right I should have put all this pain (don’t be surprised to see real tears at this point) aside and focused on your birthday. Sorry." Even as you are hearing the words you get the creeped out sensation that they really do NOT mean they are sorry at all - but since they’ve said the words you’re pretty much left with nothing more to say. Either that or you suddenly find yourself babysitting their angst!! Under all circumstances if you feel this angle is being played - don’t capitulate! Do not care take - do not accept an apology that feels like bullshit. If it feels like bullshit - it probably is. Rule number one - if dealing with an emotional blackmailer TRUST your gut. TRUST your senses. Once an emotional manipulator finds a successful maneuver - it’s added to their hit list and you’ll be fed a steady diet of this shit.

An emotional manipulator is the picture of a willing helper. If you ask them to do something they will almost always agree - that is IF they didn’t volunteer to do it first. Then when you say, "ok thanks" - they make a bunch of heavy sighs, or other non verbal signs that let you know they don’t really want to do whatever said thing happens to be. When you tell them it doesn’t seem like they want to do whatever - they will turn it around and try to make it seem like OF COURSE they wanted to and how unreasonable you are. This is a form of crazy making - which is something emotional manipulators are very good at.

Rule number two - If an emotional manipulator said YES - make them accountable for it. Do NOT buy into the sighs and subtleties - if they don’t want to do it - make them tell you it up front - or just put on the walk-man headphones and run a bath and leave them to their theater.

Crazy making.
Saying one thing and later assuring you they did not say it. If you find yourself in a relationship where you figure you should start keeping a log of what’s been said because you are beginning to question your own sanity --You are experiencing emotional manipulation. An emotional manipulator is an expert in turning things around, rationalizing, justifying and explaining things away. They can lie so smoothly that you can sit looking at black and they’ll call it white - and argue so persuasively that you begin to doubt your very senses.Over a period of time this is so insidious and eroding it can literally alter your sense of reality.

: Emotional Manipulation is VERY Dangerous! It is very disconcerting for an emotional manipulator if you begin carrying a pad of paper and a pen and making notations during conversations. Feel free to let them know you just are feeling so "forgetful" these days that you want to record their words for posterity’s sake. The damndest thing about this is that having to do such a thing is a clear example for why you should be seriously thinking about removing yourself from range in the first place. If you’re toting a notebook to safeguard yourself - that ol’ bullsh*t meter should be flashing steady by now!

Emotional manipulators are excellent guilt mongers. They can make you feel guilty for speaking up or not speaking up, for being emotional or not being emotional enough, for giving and caring, or for not giving and caring enough. Any thing is fair game and open to guilt with an emotional manipulator. Emotional manipulators seldom express their needs or desires openly - they get what they want through emotional manipulation. Guilt is not the only form of this but it is a potent one. Most of us are pretty conditioned to do whatever is necessary to reduce our feelings of guilt.

Another powerful emotion that is used is sympathy
An emotional manipulator is a great victim.
They inspire a profound sense of needing to support, care for and nurture. Emotional Manipulators seldom fight their own fights or do their own dirty work. The crazy thing is that when you do it for them (which they will never ask directly for), they may just turn around and say they certainly didn’t want or expect you to do anything! Try to make a point of not fighting other people’s battles, or doing their dirty work for them. A great line is "I have every confidence in your ability to work this out on your own" - check out the response and note the bullshit meter once again.

Emotional manipulators fight dirty. They don’t deal with things directly. They will talk around behind your back and eventually put others in the position of telling you what they would not say themselves. They are passive aggressive, meaning they find subtle ways of letting you know they are not happy little campers. They’ll tell you what they think you want to hear and then do a bunch of jerk off shit to undermine it. Example: "Of course I want you to go back to school honey and you know I’ll support you." Then exam night you are sitting at the table and poker buddies show up, the kids are crying the t.v. blasting and the dog needs walking - all the while "Sweetie" is sitting on their ass looking at you blankly.

Dare you call them on such behavior you are likely to hear, "
well you can’t expect life to just stop because you have an exam can you honey?" Cry, scream or choke ‘em - only the last will have any long-term benefits and it’ll probably wind your butt in jail.

If you have a headache an emotional manipulator will have a brain tumor! No matter what your situation is the emotional manipulator has probably been there or is there now - but only ten times worse. It’s hard after a period of time to feel emotionally connected to an emotional manipulator because they have a way of de-railing conversations and putting the spotlight back on themselves. If you call them on this behavior they will likely become deeply wounded or very petulant and call you selfish - or claim that it is you who are always in the spotlight. The thing is that even tho you know this is not the case you are left with the impossible task of proving it. Don’t bother - TRUST your gut and walk away!

Emotional manipulators somehow have the ability to impact the emotional climate of those around them. When an emotional manipulator is sad or angry the very room thrums with it - it brings a deep instinctual response to find someway to equalize the emotional climate and the quickest route is by making the emotional manipulator feel better - fixing whatever is broken for them. Stick with this type of loser for too long and you will be so enmeshed and co-dependent you will forget you even have needs - let alone that you have just as much right to have your needs met.

Emotional manipulators have no sense of accountability. They take no responsibility for themselves or their behavior - it is always about what everyone else has "done to them". One of the easiest ways to spot an emotional manipulator is that they often attempt to establish intimacy through the early sharing of deeply personal information that is generally of the "hook-you-in-and-make-you-sorry-for-me" variety. Initially you may perceive this type of person as very sensitive, emotionally open and maybe a little vulnerable. Believe me when I say that an emotional manipulator is about as vulnerable as a rabid pit bull, and there will always be a problem or a crisis to overcome.

Some would say it is possible with time, a great deal of honesty and communication to work through emotional manipulation. Personally I think life is short and precious - the only worthwhile thing to do when confronted with an emotionally manipulative person is to BROOM THEIR ASS TO THE CURB! A Relationship with emotionally manipulative person is similar to re-exposing yourself over and over and over to a highly toxic and potentially fatal virus. Each brush with it reduces your immunity and weakens your defenses.

It can take more time for someone that has been in an emotionally manipulative relationship (READ: ABUSE) to recover than it does for someone that leaves a physically abusive one

At least you can name that punch that hit you. Emotional abuse is subtle. It is insidious. It is dangerous. If you are in it - walk away and never look back. Make it a rule!

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shared by Barbara at 12:02 AM



I was in a verbally abusive marriage for 26 yrs. I am wanting to tell my story, speak, do whatever I can to help other women escape the hell on earth. Is there something I can do to assist you here? You can reach me at or

9:29 AM  

I left my abuser for good in 2006. He is still making my life a living hell and is hurting our children now. I started reading your blog and all the frustration and pain I have felt over the last several years came to the surface again. Your writing is wonderful and explains things so well. So many people just don't understand how this happens.
I finally started my own blog. My abuser's batterers counselor has warned me that I may be putting myself in harms way by telling my story, but his manipulations and abuse nearly cost my daughter her life this year. I can't continue to sit back and allow him to continue his abuse of us.
Thank you so much for your reminder of what it was like to be married to him. This has helped me to remember how much better my life is away from him. Every once in a while I think to myself, "If I had stayed with him I would have been able to protect the kids better." Your site reminded me of how much my children had already witnessed and learned from our dysfunctional marriage. I do not want my daughter to learn how to be abused. I want her to learn how to be a strong woman. I don't want my boys to think it's okay to be abusive.
Thank you so much!

12:54 PM  

John 8:44 "...for there is no truth in him..." This article gives many examples of the fact that there is no truth in anything an emotional abuser/person with the brain functioning of a psychopath, says. And, as another article pointed out, it is all about the GAME. Controlling, manipulating, being top-dog or just pulling one over on another. The games, like the truth in a psychopaths mind, are malleable. Nothing means more than the other to a psychopath. They know, cognitively, that other people place more value on some things such as life or money, than on other things but to a psychopath, nothing means any more than the other except how it concerns themselves in the moment.

Someone else made a good point about psychopaths/emotional abusers. They make mountains out of molehills and molehills out of mountains. They will focus on one seemingly horrible attribute of yours (or their current target) and thereby justify the abuse heaped on you. Whereas they will be stealing the companies money, raping the bosses children, and while the targets will be destroyed for life in many cases, the psychopath feels no guilt, thinks it's his RIGHT to do all these things and that others are stupid and weak and deserve this treatment as they should have seen it coming.

Again, this is "nothing more" than a birth effect. They were born with this brain functioning. But we as a society need to be educated and trained and have the ability to stay away from these evil ones and laws set up to protect us from them. It's genetic and since we are not even screening for this, it is growing exponentially!

Denying that psychopathy exists, is genetic, is prevalent and incurable has not made it go away, but rather has fostered it's growth and destroyed many beautiful peoples lives. Lives that could have nurtured and blessed many.

9:56 AM  

Thank you so much for this blog. I grew up with an emotionally manipulative father and then this summer I lived with an emotionally abusive roommate. Your blog is the only thing I can find online that truly describes how this particular sort of abuse feels. When I told people that I had been in an abusive relationship, they always ask did he hit you? When I reply with no, it seems that I have lost them completely. I have yet to find another person that can put it into words the way that you did. The only example of this type of abuse I can find in a movie is in "Little Miss Sunshine." The father has a similar problem with putting down his family in a way that cannot be pinned back on him. I am in the process of trying to pull together a documentary showing the how it feels to be in a relationship like this. Just wanted to thank you for laying out some of the criteria in my male character. Sometimes it is hard to pin point exactly what the problem is or exactly what makes you hate them but this article really helped me focus to see what the problem really is. Thank you!

3:35 PM  

Re: Anonymous 3:35....I have LOADS AND loads of Real raw documentation for your documentary. ....let's discuss further...If u r interested and collaborative to shed light FOR THE WORLD to see&understand what goes on behind closed doors.

3:59 AM  

I too am planning to make a documentary. I would really like to get ahold of the person that said they have loads of raw footage. I am not comfortable putting my contact info here, how can we connect? I will check back and hopefully get a response, so that we can proceed from there. Thank you!

10:13 PM  

I'm leaving this week after 15 yrs of psychological, financial, emotional, spiritual ++, sexual and minimal physical abuse. He doesn't know. 2
boys with him that side with him cause they don't know any better. I will make it. I WILL. A few yrs back
my health started failing (im in my
30s with no disease), and it was all
the classic from domestic abuse
(gynecological, gastrointestinal,
immune). I'm going to make it. Despite his manipulation to my friends, congregation, family, kids -- this will bite him in the ass later. I will do something with my experience when I'm feeling better..advocation ? Looking forward, I'm going to recover.

9:02 AM  

There is no fixing this sort of person. I spent 10 years with one and if I was successful in extinguishing one of his methods, another would erupt. It never ended until I had enough and left him. One tactic that worked, temporarily of course, but quick - was to laugh at him.

2:15 AM  

I have been married for 14 years and i have known my wife for about 20 years now. I only discovered that my wife, the every woman i love with my life was cheating on me with her boss. This broke my heart in pieces. I knew form the very beginning that her boss was going to bring about the end of my happiness there was something about him that gives him an upper hand when i came to women. He always got what he wanted from any beauty that capture his eye. What wowed me was that my wife, fell for him and decided to put at stake everything we have fought and worked for all those 14 years. I trusted her though i can’t say that our sex life was epic but i can say we were doing alright. I discovered messages in her computer about 8 months ago. I was mad and at the same time sad but i was going to find out how true they where before i ask her or rather before i was going confront her about what i know about sexual relationship with her boss. Unfortunately i was so unlucky and could not dig up any dirt. The affair was perfectly carried out and by all means no trail was left to trace. I could not pay for a private investigator so i decided to confront her myself and ask her about the messages on her computer and like instantly she came out clean but i wished i never asked her because it was like she needed me to see those messages in the first place. My discovery about her affair was like her ticket or rather her way of telling me she no longer was in love with me after 14 years of marriage. She basically left me for her boss. I wished i knew where we went wrong and got bad. Am just gonna go straight to the point because i was not just going let her go like that. She was the first and only girl i had sex with i was not a popular guy in high school she was all i had and loved i was not even in my dreams, let her go without a fight in what ever form. I found a SPELL CASTER DR IHUNDE Online during a 4 months period she was living with her boss. He is a real and legit spell caster and all his spell actually works just the way they ought to work. If not for DR IHUNDE i would probably be a wasted human by now. He helped me cast a spell that was going to make the woman i promised my life time to on the day of our wedding come back to me. It might seem selfish of me to some of you but others who understand what i was in, can tell that just letting her do would be foolish because never again will i find someone like her. All DR IHUNDE asked from me was just materials and nothing else and it was for not reason compulsory for me to give him the money for the materials because, i had options he gave me to get the spell done. I could get the materials myself and mail it to him via ups or come down to his holy temple or send down the cost of the materials to him which is less expensive that all other options. And i did just that and it worked will for me. He helped me cast the spell and via ups he sent me a package containing harmless materials and instructions on how i was going make the spell active. I did all he asked me to do in the instructions and everything happened just how i wanted. I got my wife to love just the way i wanted and i loved her just how she wanted. I can literally say my life is perfect because all i need in my life was my family and i had it back with a stronger love bound. DR IHUNDE can be reached with his email address {} note: when contacting him use this email in its right format where all words and character are packed together.

7:43 PM  

I have been suffering from emotional manipulation by my husband for the last 3 years; I have been held mentally hostage. I am just escaping from him, finally. After years of torture. I have been in a visous cycle of up and down and back and fourth. I am so grateful to find this site and see that it is real and other women who have suffered similar situations. For the longest time I always thought it was me, I wasn't skinny enough, pretty enough, smart enough, a terrible housekeeper, I can go on and on and on. I had no idea the evil a person could be capable of. I met him at 18, escaped him once by Gods grace, I had a good life. I moved to San Francisco and was very successful in my line of work at a young age. I am a recovering alcoholic, I got sober in San Francisco when I was 25 years old. Life was good, I was happy. I met a very decent man and was with him for 11 years, I moved to Bakersfield to be close to my family. This man, my current husband found me on Facebook, he painted a picture of how wonderful he was, how he had this great job and was a Dad now. I left the man I was with to be with my current husband, I left a thriving business, 3 dogs and a 6 bedroom house to go live with him in a studio apartment in not such a nice neighborhood. I lost myself quickly and fell back into my addiction, the only source of pain relief I knew. I had all of my belongings in storage and they are now all gone, I had collected nice things over the years and have nothing left. I saw who he really is about 3 weeks ago, all of a sudden I woke up. I had to get out. I went to get my things from our place and he told the Sheriff I did not love there, that I had no things there. I asked the Sheriff to enter and go look at the closet, nothing was there....I had a hunch and asked the officer we could look in the dumpster, and sure enough there were most of my clothes. A good friends husband dug them out of the trash and salvaged what we could. From all the stress, I have been losing my hair, an in July he pulled abput a quarter of it straight out of my head from the root, I have peach fuzz there now, but I am very self conscious about it and he knows this. So I have hair extensions, he got rid of my hair too. I put up with him sleeping with prostitutes, finding a used condom on our bed, to physical and emotional beatings. All the material things have been stripped away, and I don';t even care about them anymore. I just want peace in my life and to feel safe. He has committed so many crimes he is in the process of being deported back to El Salvador, he's going back, almost guaranteed. He is in the 9th Circuit of Appeals, the last stop and I have filed for Divorce. The records of abuse and sheriff calls to our house will not work in his favor if he is granted a new trial. He is also an expert hacker, which I never knew until recently and he pays people to spy on and terrorize me through electronics. I have had to leave my employment and am constantly running just to survive. I want my life back, me back. I don't want my parents constantly worrying because he is also a member of the gang MS13, a dangerous El Salvadorian gang if you've never heard of them. He has people follow me all the time and I am terrified everyday. I was put on anxiety medication so I don't hyperventalate when I leave the house. I am considering leaving the state to live with my father to escape his grip and start a new life. He has stolen everything from me, money material possessions and a one time thriving career, actually I gave it to him. e prayed on me because he knew he could, Now I am taking back my life, or at least want to be able to try to. Any comments from women who have suffered similar situations would be so greatly appreciated. I am hurting and scared...

11:17 PM  

I want to add my story to this situation. I have noticed that all these stories are about abusive men. Which in alot of cases it's usually a man. But my manipulator was my wife. And she was better at it than any man I have ever seen. She is so good that I'm still in a relationship with her. I didn't know about this type of manipulation untill now but I have known for the last 17 years that my wife is a manipulator. Idk why I stay with her. I mean I love her with my whole heart and I forgive her of her ways but you would think I would eventually be done with it. Right now we are separated but I have let her back in my life by talking to her the first day we were separated. Am I weak? I have no mam I can talk to about this. What do I do? How do I get out? Or how do I stop loving someone just because they are mentally ill? If anyone could give me any advice I would greatly appreciate it.

2:54 PM  

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