This might surprise you, but many people trapped in abusive and manipulative relationships often don't realize that they're being abused––at least, not at first. Abusers thrive on asymmetrical power dynamics and they find ways to distance their victims from potential support systems. Anyone with the capacity to identify the problem and lift the victim out of the situation is a threat to the abuser's carefully crafted world. And in this world, they reign supreme. The other person––whoever they are––is to remain under their thumb. That's why leaving an abusive person can often be very dangerous.

After Redditor cthes asked the online community, "What are some signs that you are being manipulated?" people shared their observations.

"When you catch them in a lie..."

Everything is always your fault. When you catch them in a lie and you KNOW they've lied, but they still don't admit they've lied.


Definitely been there.

I knew someone who did this on a regular basis. It became very difficult to be around them and I eventually stopped. Thankfully. Who knows what else would have gone on?

Let's continue.

"Pay attention..."

Manipulators often induce uncomfortable, "negative" feelings such as fear, guilt, or shame to get you to do what they want. Pay attention to the feelings you get around other people.


They DO.

Trust those feelings.

A few years ago, a friend of mine confided that she always felt terrible around her then-boyfriend. She said she couldn't put her finger on why, but the thought of breaking up with him did not even cross her mind. It took some time for her to see the light and identify him as the source of her problems. I can tell you that she's a different, happier person now.

Let's continue.

"When other people start telling you..."

Usually, you don't really realize it. When other people start telling you there's a problem that's when you finally realize. That's what it took for me. When you look back later you can finally see what everyone else saw.


"When you do..."

When you do what people want you to do, but they won't do what you want them to do.


This is a big one.

Does this happen to you more often than you might be willing to admit? It's worth a look. Establishing boundaries is important.

Let's continue.

"A manipulative person might twist..."

You're questioning yourself. The term "gaslighting" is often used to identify manipulation that gets people to question themselves, their reality, memory, or thoughts. A manipulative person might twist what you say and make it about them, hijack the conversation or make you feel like you've done something wrong when you're not quite sure you have.


"If someone is discouraging you..."

If someone is discouraging you from talking to or hanging out with your friends and family.


"If they do something..."

If they do something that hurt you and you end up apologizing instead. Or, if you tell a person that you're uncomfortable with, say, certain types of jokes, but they keep telling you that you're just too sensitive.

Basically, if they make you feel bad for their actions.


"Simple version..."

Being accused of behavior that was originally exhibited by the accusing party. Simple version is say a friend of yours is being extremely hostile, you respond in a frustrated manner wherein out of context you wouldn't be viewed in a good light. They then go about telling mutual acquaintances that you are hostile.


"They will start small..."

Manipulators are extremely jealous and needy usually narcissist type. They will start small by getting you to do little favors for them then they get angry if you don't do everything they ask. And a lot of manipulative people will start fights and argue for no reason. Just endless fights. About who is right.


The fighting gets infectious.

Once you find yourself thriving on it––as if in an effort to keep the relationship alive––it's worth backing away. It's not worth it. It never is.

Let's continue.

"When you feel like you're crazy..."

When you feel like you're crazy and feel guilty for doing things that aren't bad/don't harm anyone but piss off the person gaslighting you.


"If someone tries to tell you..."

If someone tries to tell you that you can't leave them because you're all they have. Red flag 100% of the time.


If you or someone you know... experiencing abuse, there are ways to get help.

The National Domestic Violence is one such resource. Safe Horizon is another. Even if you just need someone to talk to, it's worth it. Trained professionals can help you get the footing you need.

Have your own experiences with abuse? Have other tips to share for people who want to identify factors that might indicate that they're being manipulated or gaslit? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

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