Is Your Friend Emotionally Manipulating You?
Emotional Manipulation in Friendships
Everyone at some point may have encountered a manipulation friend. people who are extremely manipulative may have the personality trait Machiavellianism. This personality trait is characterized by a manipulative interpersonal style, emotional detachment and a lack of concern with morality (Christie & Geis, 1970). You friend may manipulate you because they might want something from you like financial benefits (for example, you pay for them whenever you hangout) or just by being associated to you gives me them access to certain social benefits (for example, getting to know certain people who can further provide them with benefits). Some people engage in manipulation tactics just so they can get a sense of power and boost their self-esteem.
Signs of Manipulation
In the beginning, it may be hard to tell and you may be completely unaware that they may be manipulating you. Please know that a healthy relationship is based on love, trust, and honesty. However, if you see the following signs, your friend might be manipulating you:
1. They make you feel guilty.
Rather than accepting their own mistakes and/or shortcomings, they may pin them on you and make you feel like you were the cause of their bad behaviour. You might feel confused, helpless, and not know what to do.
They assume you agree with everything they say. They will probably ignore what you have to say about something and voice thoughts that seem to be analysing your intentions. They make it seem like you are agreeing with them while completely ignoring your input.
2. They rush you into making big decisions.
Your friend may call you and ask you to lend them a big amount of money. They don’t give you time to think through important decisions but rather put you in a rush so you will end up agreeing with them.
3. They make you feel less than.
You are at your most vulnerable when you are feeling low and incompetent. Your feelings of doubt and lack of confidence makes you easier to manipulate for a manipulative friend; so, they make you feel like you lack traits that make you desirable.
4. They make you feel like your problems are not problems.
A manipulative friend will make you feel like what they are going through is much worse than you are. They don’t give weightage to your problems but rather make you feel bad for complaining since their problems require your attention.
5. Their mean comments are just jokes.
Whenever a manipulative friend says something mean to you, they play it down by saying that they were just kidding and that you shouldn’t take things so seriously. This is one tactic they use to instil feelings of low self-worth in you.
Please note that these are some of the signs you may have a manipulative friend. Further, doing these things once or twice or accidently does not make your friend a manipulative person. It is important to have open communication in your relationships. Also, a manipulative friend may just simply deny these factors once you do bring them up and act like you’re making a mountain out of a mole and being dramatic. However, your feelings are valid and must be heard. If you think you have someone like this in your life and you are experiencing distress or anxiety, and would like to speak to a professional, you can book an appointment or an online session with Hero Health Care.
Christie, R., & Geis, F. L. (1970). Studies in Machiavellianism. London, England: Academic Press.
Holland, H. (2018, February 13). How to recognize the signs of emotional manipulation and what to do. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-manipulation#joking
Steber, C. (2016, May 25). Signs someone is manipulative. Retrieved from https://www.bustle.com/articles/161803-11-signs-someone-is-manipulative-to-watch-for-in-any-type-of-relationship