How to recognise Psychological manipulation in a relationship.

Psychological manipulative behaviour is a type of social influence that aims to change the behaviour or perception of others, through abusive, deceptive or underhanded tactics. The manipulative person's methods could be considered exploitative, deceptive, abusive and devious.  

None standing, psychological influence is everywhere.  We could define it as the social influence which makes us behave in many ways according to their purpose.  But social control is not necessarily harmful, for example, a health professional could persuade a patient to change lousy habit such as stop smoking and exercising. Social influence is perceived to be harmless when it respects the right to accept or reject it. 

The main cause of the manipulative behaviour

One of the primary cause occurs when parents are extremely strict and leave no opportunity for their children’s voice and development.  Children emotions are suppressed by strict rules and a general attitude of ‘do as you are told, or there will be negative consequences.' Most manipulative individuals learn these dysfunctional ways of behaving when they are children.

Psychologically, this restores some balance for the child and helps them to cope with the perceived unfairness of the situation.  This dysfunctional way of dealing with the perceived emotional threat then gets carried over into adult relationships, and this is where the trouble begins. Once they become adults, they express anger or disagreement in others so they can comfort themselves by knowing they have ‘harmed’ their strict parent in some other way.


This manipulative behaviour will easily make a person feel they are going mad.  Gaslighting involves planting false information as true in order to make another person doubt themselves and their perceptions.  This is cleverly done over a slow period and can leave a person confused and unsure of themselves. Your partner may swear they told you about the party on the weekend and, even though they didn’t in reality, the more time goes on, the less confidence you have in your version. There needs to be lying.

Here are signs of gaslighting:

1. You are constantly second-guessing yourself
2. You ask yourself, “Am I too sensitive?”
3. You often feel confused and even crazy.
4. You can’t understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren’t happier.
5. You know something is terribly wrong, but you can never quite express what it is, even to yourself.
6. You start
lying to avoid the put downs and reality twists.
7. You have trouble making simple decisions.
8. You have the sense that you used to be a very different person – more confident, more fun-loving, more relaxed.
9. You feel hopeless and joyless.
10. You feel as though you can’t do anything right.
11. You wonder if you are a “good enough” girlfriend/ wife/employee/ friend; daughter.