10 Traits Of Manipulative People To Look Out For

Manipulative people put a drain on your energy and cramp your style. Here are 10 traits of manipulative people to watch out for, so you can stay far away.

By Jenna
10 Traits Of Manipulative People To Look Out For

Your Guide to Manipulative People

Manipulative people are the kinds of people who use mental and emotional abuse to one-up you, usually to serve their desires for power or control. Although it can be hard to tell if someone is manipulative when you first meet them, there are several traits that manipulative people often show, which can help tip you off early to this kind of behavior. It's important to look out for manipulation in a relationship, friendship, or with a family member because if you fall prey to a manipulator, it can become difficult to cut yourself loose once you've gotten super involved in their life. Although manipulators are ultimately selfish, they use several schemes and methods to cover this up, which is why it is so hard to identify a manipulative person before it's too late. This list will give you a good understanding of what to look out for in a manipulative person. If you see one or more of these traits in your so-called friends, you better run for the hills. So, without further ado, here are ten bona-fide traits of manipulative people that you should look out for.

1. Manipulative People Play the Victim

Manipulative people are famous for always playing the role of victim and making themselves out to be more innocent than they are. Often, they exaggerate or even make up personal issues so that others feel sorry for them and sympathize with them. In a relationship, this trait of a manipulative person often comes out as dependency or co-dependency. The manipulator may pretend to be weak or frail or in need of constant help to suck the unknowing victim deep into their life. They do this to draw nice people to them like a magnet so that they can later exploit and use them to fulfill their own selfish needs and desires. By playing the victim, the manipulator can seek out and exploit the goodwill, guilty conscience, or protective and nurturing instinct of the target. Have you ever had a friend or family member who constantly asked you to lend them money or asked you to buy things for them, the whole time making you feel guilty for not having done so in the first place? Most likely, you were dealing with a manipulative person, and hopefully, you found your way out of the trap without too much suffering.

2. Manipulative People Tell Distorted or Half Truths

Another horrible personality trait that manipulative people have is lying or distorting the truth so that they always come out right. Great examples of this behavior include excuse making, withholding key information, understatements, exaggeration, or being two-faced. Manipulative people know how to bend the truth to their advantage. They will often omit or hide information that will expose them as being a liar. Manipulators treat all interactions as if they may eventually go to trial and everything they say could be held against them. As a result, they often skirt around the issue or make vague statements so that when confronted, they can claim they "never said that" or that it is "not exactly what they said".

3. Manipulative People Are Passive-Aggressive

An equally annoying personality trait of a manipulative person is that they are more often than not passive-aggressive. A manipulative person may use this sort of behavior to get out of something or to get their way. They may even do this to make you mad without outright doing something insulting towards you. A family member or friend who often forgets something important you have told them or forgets to do something for you that you asked them to may be acting passive-aggressive to manipulate you. It may seem harmless, but it is, in fact, a form of anger, and it is not healthy for their well-being or your sanity.

4. Manipulative People Will Pressure You

Manipulative people, just like salespeople, will often put pressure on another person in hopes of getting you to make a decision before you are really ready to. The manipulator believes that by applying tension and control to you, you will easily crack and give in to their wishes. Just like those real-estate schemes that pressure you to act fast with the promise of huge profits that don't really exist, manipulative people will do anything to get you to buy into their game or gain some sort of edge over you. So, be wary of anyone who pressures you to give an answer before you are ready, especially if money is involved.

5. Manipulative People Will Guilt Trip You

A manipulative friend or family member will often guilt trip you into doing something that you don't want to do, or vice versa, out of something that you do want to do. The underlying reason for this is their ultimately selfish personality. Guilt trips include unreasonable blaming from the manipulator, along with targeting your soft spot and holding you responsible for their happiness, success, or failures. The manipulator works to target your vulnerabilities and emotional weaknesses so that they can coerce you into doing just what they want you to do. A manipulative person will often make a person whom they are in close relationship with feel guilty if that person is not always available for them. They expect everyone else to help them deal with their problems, but do nothing in return. Anyone who always expects you to be the shoulder that they cry on, but who is never there for you when you need the same, is most likely a manipulative person.

6. Manipulative People Give The Silent Treatment

Have you ever been given the silent treatment from a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend or family member? Chances are you were dealing with a manipulative person. Manipulative people are bullies. One of the ways they bully others is by alienation. Behaviors like ignoring one person in a group, not allowing them to voice their opinions, or leaving them out completely are immature techniques used by manipulative adults to assert their dominance. By exhibiting these behaviors, the manipulative person believes they are coming off as self-confident and powerful. In reality, however, they have low self-esteem and are extremely self-conscious. The only way they know how to make themselves feel better is by hurting others. The next time someone gives you the silent treatment, don't feel bad about writing them off completely. It is a sure sign of a manipulator and should not be taken lightly.

7. Manipulative People Don't Work To Resolve Problems

Manipulators will never take the blame for anything. This also means that they will never contribute to resolving a problem in fear that one day they will be held responsible for their actions. A manipulator's goal is to skate through life without having to step up and take responsibility for anything. When confronted with something by a friend or family member, they will either flat out lie and say they never did anything wrong or will make all sorts of justifications for their behavior that get them off the hook. You will often have a lot of unresolved arguments with a manipulative person, and this is very unhealthy. A key sign of this is that a manipulator will often end an argument or conversation that is not going their way, without you even realizing it. It is important to know how to deal with conflict properly, but the manipulator cannot do that because they are so focused on themselves and always being in the right. Any good relationship will be one in which both people genuinely want to help each other. If you are dealing with someone who can never work through a problem with you, there is a good chance that they are not the right person for you.

8. Manipulative People Prefer To Play On Their Homeground

As we've already established, the personality of a manipulative person is very controlling. A manipulative person will usually insist on meeting or interacting with you in a place where they feel more powerful and in control of the situation. This could be their office, car, home, or any other place where the manipulator feels familiarity and ownership. The manipulator ultimately does this for two reasons. One, they want to retain the upper hand by being in their comfort zone. And two, they want to weaken you by taking you out of yours. This does not have to be just physically, either. A manipulator will try to take you out of your comfort zone emotionally and financially as well. Be cautious of anyone who is never willing to come out of their comfort zone for you or meet you halfway. It is never a good sign.

9. Manipulative People Rationalize Their Behavior

If ever approached about their manipulative words and deeds, a manipulator will make it seem as if it is not a big deal or will shift the blame onto someone else, somehow making you feel bad for them. Usually, though, it is the manipulator who makes a big deal out of things. Until you say something to them about it, and then they fire every cannon they have back at you to distract you from the main topic at hand. Manipulators also have no empathy for the people who have helped them and will even go so far as to attack those people, should they feel defensive or need to cover up one of their actions or deeds. The manipulative person usually knows that they have a problem, but make it out to seem like it is the world who is against them, rather than the other way around. To the manipulative person, nothing they do is ever wrong. Instead, it is always someone else's fault, and there is always an excuse to rationalize why the manipulative person said or did what they did.

10. Manipulative People Shake Your Confidence

Manipulators often go overboard messing around with other people by using low blow jabs and insults. True friends should feel comfortable poking fun at each other harmlessly, but manipulative people always take it a step too far. They do this especially in groups or social situations to undermine others and establish their dominance. If you have a friend that always leaves you feeling less than great about yourself, they could be a manipulator, and you should end your friendship with them immediately.

Manipulative People: The Bottom Line

Manipulative people suck, but if you keep these ten traits of manipulative people in mind when forming new relationships, you should be able to steer clear of the pain and drama of dealing with one.