Could You Master The Master Manipulator?

Name: NERDgirl  |  | Location: Atlanta , GA |Question: First I’ll start with background info: over the past 2 years a male friend and I have gotten closer, hanging out, spending time at each other’s apartments, going on “dates” etc…We already expressed that we “liked” each other and clearly enjoyed spending time with one another. Perfect. One night via text message he asked if I wanted him to be honest, of course I said yes. He said that he had been “considering taking things more seriously” with me which I assumed meant that he was trying to gauge whether he wanted me to be his girlfriend. Fine. But in the same message he says he’s not ready to be serious with someone….ok?? I asked if he felt like I was pressuring him in any way and he said “I don’t feel any pressure from you and I love that about you”…ok?? He later goes on to say that he’s scared and doesn’t know if he’s mature enough to handle a relationship with me which is completely okay with me since I NEVER even brought up the boyfriend/girlfriend thing with him. My question is why would he even bring all of this up if I never talked about it or hinted at it and he claimed that he never felt any subliminal pressure from me about it? Was I supposed to say that I wanted to be his girlfriend? Was this some strange kind of “test”? I’m so confused. If you can help please do.  |Age: 21

I want to say right off the bat that I think my response is going to be heavily influenced by personal experience. I’m going to say what jumped out at me and what I think, but I really want you to pay just as if not more attention to the people leaving comments. I think they are more objective.

He said that he had been “considering taking things more seriously” with me which I assumed meant that he was trying to gauge whether he wanted me to be his girlfriend. Fine. But in the same message he says he’s not ready to be serious with someone….ok??

There. Right there.  This line tripped my trigger. There’s something very, very manipulative about this sentence. As if he’s dangling a carrot on a string in front of you in order to make you jump. It reminds me of this, something a man in the recent past said to me while we were in the midst of an argument. .

and if this conversation had gone differently, we’d be happily exchanging emails over the weekend until seeing each other again next week.

This is an example of someone trying to make you feel guilty for questioning their intentions or standing up to them. Of course, context is key, but I’m not going to publish the whole exchange. Statements like this are used – depending on the context – to keep the other person in line and make them unsteady. The point is to keep you in the place where you’re so twisted up you don’t know what’s real and you begin to question your own judgment to the point where you become reliant and dependent on the manipulator’s opinion and approval.

“I don’t feel any pressure from you and I love that about you”…

Translation: Don’t pressure me. Even if I say things that imply I want more from you or that there’s an intimacy between us, don’t push. I’ll come around in my own time. Maybe. I think. If you’re lucky. You don’t actually have to bring anything up or express your feelings. He obviously knows how you feel. Maybe he even feels the same way. I don’t know. But don’t think that, because you’re not acting clingy or needy or because you think you’re playing it cool, that he isn’t picking up on anything. The fact is…it’s not really okay with you that he’s expressing possible interest and at the same time expressing uncertainty. If it were okay, you wouldn’t be writing in to us.

Now, since you told me via email that this guy is 22, this might not be a situation where you’re being manipulated. He could just be young and/or inexperienced. But behavior like this starts somewhere. It continues if said behavior achieves the person the desired results. Which is why you need to take control of the situation.

But let’s forget about him for a minute. I’ll get back to how you take control in a second.

Let’s talk about you. You’re devoting time trying to figure out him. But..what about you? What do you want from this situation? You’re allowing this guy to monopolize your thoughts about a situation that equally involves you. That’s the other thing that jumps out at me, as it’s common in dynamics where someone is being manipulated. One person has all the control, using it over the other, leaving that person confused and unsure of themselves.

I may be a big advocate of texting to ask people out and for preliminary/simple conversations. But this is not an example of that. Sure, he could be afraid of you rejecting him. He is young, after all.  But why would he be afraid if you two had already been spending time together going on “dates” (whatever that means.) See, this feels controlling to me, too. You’re not getting to see his reactions. After all this time “growing closer” (your perception, btw) why wouldn’t he feel comfortable enough having this conversation in person?

The test to see what this guy’s deal is is to take control. You need to ask him why he would bring this up if, as he said, you’ve never sent him any messages. You need to ask him what he wants or expects from you. DO NOT start this conversation off by complimenting him or telling him how you feel. DO NOT allow him to be privy to what you’re thinking JUST YET. LET HIM REVEAL FIRST. I know to some this might sound like a game, and I admit that it is to some degree. But it’s more about self-preservation. If you let a Manipulator in to your head, he’ll rummage around and find any and everything he can to use against you.

The way to tell if you’re dealing with a Manipulator is to call them out, challenge them. If they try to turn the tables, place blame, deflect or threaten to walk in either an overt or passive aggressive way, there’s a really good chance this person is a Manipulator. By challenging them you’re putting their ego in question. And they won’t stand for that. Which brings me to a great article I read yesterday. I read this article yesterday morning and found myself nodding along with every point. I recognized almost every sign.

The type of guy Christine was dealing with is all too common, but there’s nothing “normal” about it, says Dr. Mary Casey, author of “How to Deal With Master Manipulators”. “Manipulators aim to control their partners by pressing the buttons that get them emotional, whether it be making them feel afraid, unworthy, stupid, insecure, angry or frustrated,” she says. But because manipulators are typically passive-aggressive in their tactics, unlike domestic abuse, it can be difficult to tell when you’re in a manipulative relationship. “While abuse is obvious, victims of manipulation don’t even realize they are being manipulated because the manipulator masks their behavior as positive, caring and nurturing,” she says.  Read The Full Article Here

These type of people – and both men and women can be Master Manipulators – hone in on your buttons and triggers and then use them to their advantage. I’ve seen and heard of stories where men and women have encountered these types of people. The thing to remember is that these people rarely change. No amount of confrontation or even gentle hints will get them to adjust their behavior. They do not – or can not – believe they aren’t the person they believe themselves to be. Trying to one up them, telling them off or getting revenge is pointless. They will get off on it.

Again, I fully admit I might be projecting out the wazoo here. But people don’t just become Manipulators overnight or out of the blue. There are enough signs here that make me think this guy might be manipulating her. I do not in any way know if he is. This was a topic I wanted to cover when I read the article I included above.

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