Many individuals at one time experience a relationship based on manipulation or abuse. These types of relationships add stress to a person’s life. You feel pressured, controlled, and lose your self-confidence the longer you’re in the relationship.

But a recent psychological report explains various psychology tricks you can perform to help cope with these harmful relationships. Use these tricks to protect your body and mind, but also free yourself of the painful relationship.

But First, What’s Manipulation?

A manipulative relationship is more complex than simply “guilting someone into doing something they don’t want to do.” According to Sharie Stines, a California-based therapist who specializes in abusive and toxic relationships, manipulation has many different facets.

“Manipulation is an emotionally unhealthy psychological strategy used by people who are incapable of asking for what they want and need in a direct way,” Stines commented. “People who are trying to manipulate others are trying to control others.”

Manipulators are often aware of their actions. They like to control their significant other, friend, coworker, child, etc., and they use different strategies to convince them that “their way is the right way.” Manipulators can be anyone from an emotionally abusive partner to an arrogant coworker.

The Warning Signs

Here might be the big question on your mind: Am I being manipulated? Sometimes, you might not recognize the signs that you’re in a manipulative relationship.

But according to Stines, if you’re in a manipulative relationship, you feel fear, obligation, and guilt on a daily basis. You feel obligated to do something, even if you don’t want to do it, out of fear of being abused or mistreated. The manipulator often acts as a “bully,” but can also act as a “victim”—suggesting your refusal to listen is hurting them, thus guilting their partners into obliging to their requests.

Other Signs Of Manipulation

You could also be in a manipulative relationship if you find that you regularly question yourself. Also known as “gaslighting,” manipulators get their victims to question themselves, their reality, memory, and thoughts. They might twist your answers and put words in your mouth.

But if you confront the manipulator about this, they won’t acknowledge their action. As Stines commented, “Manipulators blame you. They don’t take responsibility.”

One other large sign of manipulation is when you ask your manipulator for a favor, but a string is always attached. They might buy you something, but then request something else in return. An exception is always involved.

What To Do If You’re In A Manipulative Relationship

No one should be in a manipulative relationship. But there are ways to help. According to Stines, there are various psychological tricks you can bounce back to your manipulator that they will least expect.

For example, establish boundaries. Surprise your manipulator by not agreeing to a demand right away. Avoid making major relationship decisions the first time they’re mentioned. Sleep on the decision, and if the manipulator gets angry, stand your ground.

After all, you have an intelligent mind. You can make your own decisions. Demonstrate this to your partner and show that time is up; you’re not going to be manipulated anymore.