7 Signs of manipulation in a relationship

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If you have been feeling drained and your relationship’s started to feel like a burden, these are the signs you need to watch out for!

Relationships can be very delicate and complex at the same time. We might not see it, but there can be clear notions and behavioral patterns that would give away the fact that a relationship we would be sharing without a partner might not be the one for us.

Persuasion and manipulation are two strong emotions and toxic traits of any relationship, and although it might sometimes be hard to see right through your partner’s act, you have to get out of the toxicity eventually. This can leave a lasting impact on the partner, and there’s no going back once the doors are shut.

Here are seven signs of manipulation in a relationship that you definitely should NOT skip!

Emotional guilt-tripping

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You tend to go on an emotional guilt trip when your partner turns towards blaming and holding you responsible for your own emotions and actions. This tactic often involves the manipulator exaggerating their emotions and positioning them to be superior to their partner, pretending to be more hurt than they actually are. It’s a sneaky way to gain power and control over the partner.


It usually happens when the partner denies to admit to their fault. They would make you question your sanity by twisting the truth, narrating versions of situations that might have a completely different meaning altogether. They might poke at your insecurities, even though being aware of the fact that you will be put on the edge.

It can also create feelings of guilt in the victim as they start blaming themselves and doubting themselves.

Constant criticism

It’s when your partner always has something to point out, even to the best of your efforts. This constant criticism can be hurtful and disheartening, constantly damaging your self-esteem and uniqueness.

You no longer remain your own person as you eventually look for validation from your partner in everything. The controlling partner uses this tactic over you to feel the need to be in power, making you overly dependent and inadequate.


Love bombing and devaluation

In this, one partner tries to gain control over the other’s emotions and actions. Love bombing happens at the early stages of a relationship when the partner showers you with love, affection, and flattery. It’s basically the “honeymoon” phase. Initially, it all feels like out of a book. You are made to feel special and desired, but after the love-bombing phase, the entire dynamic of the relationship shifts.

The manipulative partner changes their behavior, being more distant, hostile, and uninterested towards their partner. This may give off the sign that there is no communication left to be driven between the both, a silent treatment, and eventually, you tend to grow distant, leaving the partner confused and hurt.


Threats and intimidation

They are a major red flag and a serious sign of manipulation in relationships. Threats can involve explicit and implicit warnings to harm the partner physically, emotionally, and psychologically. They tend to impart fear in every sense, including body language, with their control and threats.

These tactics make the partner vulnerable and make them feel trapped and powerless.


Isolation in a relationship is a situation where one of the partners drives you away from your connection with friends, family, and relatives. It’s like cutting off from the outside world and living under a rock, being relied on your partner for everything. Relationships like that eventually grow toxic and, at times, abusive.

Isolation becomes a dark place forming into psychological abuse, a manipulation tactic that the controlling partner uses to exert maximum control over you. This creates a sense of vulnerability and makes it hard for you to navigate the unhealthy dynamics with your apparent partner.

Withholding affection and support

When one partner deliberately holds back emotional connection, love, or concern from the other partner, this becomes a red flag in the relationship for manipulation. It most likely could be that they have their guard up all the time and hesitate to communicate or express themselves as you would generally expect from a healthy and romantic relationship.

They might dismiss your remarks and emotions completely, along with declining to offer you support when you need them the most. This will eventually lead you to feel like you are unimportant and not valued enough. This tactic is majorly used by the partner when they are willing to gain control over the other partner in the relationship, trying to make them dependent and inefficient.