Learn to Recognize Emotional Manipulation by Family Members

Learn to Recognize Emotional Manipulation by Family Members

Emotional manipulation is how others try to change your behavior, thoughts, and feelings through misleading practices. These practices can be harmful to everyone involved.

Unfortunately, it´s not just strangers who try to manipulate. Family members may try to use emotional manipulation to control you.

And, of course, none of us likes to be controlled!

Take a moment and learn to reconize the signs that a family member may be trying to manipulate you:

By Denying The Truth

One of the most common ways a family member can use emotional manipulation is to deny the truth. This is a key sign.

  • When this happens, someone who is trying to manipulate you often makes a promise or a statement only to deny it later. They may even pretend that the truth doesn’t exist, then turn around and accuse you of having a bad memory on top of things. 
  • It’s difficult to prove the truth without a recording, email, or other physical evidence. In some cases, the manipulator will try to fight the evidence by saying it’s fabricated.
  • An emotional manipulator can make you feel as if it’s your fault that you are unable to remember the previous conversation in the same way. They may even make you feel guilty and ashamed, so that you feel uncomfortable about pursuing the subject any further. 

By Using Guilt

Emotional manipulators frequently use guilt to control their family.

  • Family members can use passive-aggressive tactics to manipulate you. They also know your weak spots and this makes it that much easier for them to make you feel guilty.
  • Manipulators often pretend to be victims, so you feel sorry for them. If you refuse to go along with the charade, they may accuse you of being insensitive and mean. They use guilt in order to get sympathy. This is another important sign for you to recognize.

By Using Others

Emotional manipulators will use your friends and other family members to hurt you.

  • They can use others as messengers or mediators to control you. Emotional manipulators will use these people to send you hurtful messages or to blame you for their issues. By involving another person, they’re able to blame someone else for the message being misinterpreted.

Through Threats & Anger

Family members can use anger and threats to manipulate you as well.

  • An emotional manipulator uses anger to frighten and coerce people. Threats and angry outbursts are used to you - and others - feel uncomfortable and upset.
  • Emotional manipulators often use anger to interrupt or stop a conversation they don’t like. For example, a member of your family who does not want to discuss a topic may use angry outbursts and threats to end the conversation, or they may just storm out of the room.
  • Be careful. Anger can escalate into physical violence, so it’s important to pay close attention to the situation and seek help as needed.

By Using Belittling Tactics

Family members may try to belittle you, so they can manipulate you more easily.

  • Emotional manipulators often criticize and they love to point out your flaws. The goal here is to make you feel inferior. When you feel inferior you are easier to control. 

By Focusing On Your Vulnerability

Manipulators seek out sensitive people because it’s easier to influence them. They deliberately look for people who are vulnerable and insecure. They are very good at spotting insecurities and using them.

  • In the beginning, emotional manipulators may even seem kind and concerned as they gather information about you. However, this can quickly change to control.
  • Sensitive people are more likely to become victims of family members who want to control them. They’re less likely to stand up for themselves or speak out against the manipulators. It’s important to spot these signs in a relationship.

You Don´t Deserve To Suffer

Use the insight you´ve gained through reading this article to help you recognize any emotional manipulation that may be going on in your life. Refuse to let any member of your family take control over you or your actions. These kinds of relationships are unhealthy and toxic. If you feel you need extra support, seeking professional help may be the answer. If this is something you are struggling with in your life, it´s important to make positive changes to that relationship or let the relationship go.

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About the Author Jan Marie Mueller

Jan Marie Mueller is founder of the inspirational blog ThinkBrilliantly and The Brilliance Community, a free Facebook group dedicated to empowering women to let their inner brilliance shine! Her mission is to help women everywhere shift the way they think about themselves, their world and those around them so they have the confidence to do, be and have what they want most in life!

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