7 Manipulation Strategies Abusers Use

29 September, 2020
The abuser introduces their manipulation strategies little by little, and in a subtle way, so that their victim isn't aware of them.

Why do we go back to people who’ve abused or attacked us? The answer can be found in the many manipulation strategies abusers use.

These strategies are subtle. In the heat of the moment, they overwhelm us with confusion and desperation. At times like this, we’re more fragile and easier to manipulate than ever.

7 manipulation strategies

In this article, we talk about some of the manipulation strategies you may be a victim of. We should note that, sometimes, you even use them ourselves without noticing it. This happens because, deep down inside, you want things to happen a certain way.

1. If you don’t do what I want, I’ll get angry

A representation of domestic violence.

When the other person feels like they can’t defend themselves, they may choose to get angry. This happens often when they feel offended or intimidated and don’t have the response for what they’re saying.

By doing this, they turn the situation upside down. They try to make you feel like you’re to blame for the situation. They do this so you’re the one apologizing and so you feel pressured to change your actions. Without even realizing it, they can dominate you and put you at their mercy.

2. You aren’t right, I never said that

This is one of the most painful and confusing forms of manipulation. Abusers use phrases like “I never said that” or “Don’t you remember what you were saying?” These tactics make the victim doubt their own reality.

What the abuser wants is for the victim to doubt themselves. Eventually, they’ll even go against their own wishes and desires. This happens often. As a result, some abuse victims will talk to friends and voice their own perspective of the situation. By doing this, they can figure out if it’s all a product of their imagination or not.

Read: My Conscience Bears More Weight than the Opinion of Others

3. I did it because… I love you?

A couple arguing.

Be careful of this justification, especially if it’s used to defend abusive punches, kicks, or insults. If a person raises their hand against you, if they try to manipulate or control you, if they try to keep you from moving around freely, if they’re constantly showing jealousy or trying to humiliate you, be careful… This isn’t love.

Loving someone unconditionally is very different from obsessive control. When we truly love someone, it doesn’t matter if they’re with us or not. What matters most is that they’re happy.

4. One of the manipulation strategies: if you do that, you know what’ll happen

There are some phrases abusers use for emotional blackmail, such as “If you don’t do it now, it’ll happen the next time” or “If you don’t take me back, I’ll kill myself”. By doing this, the abuser wants the victim to feel responsible.

The abuser is usually just trying to scare the other person into staying with them. Even though it isn’t what the victim wants, the abuser craves the control.

Don’t miss: Do You Struggle with Jealousy in Your Relationship?

5. I swear I’ll never do it again

If your partner hurts or abuses you, they often promise they’ll change. Believe us, it won’t happen. Be careful when your partner raises their hand against you and tries to control or manipulate you. At this point, trust, love, and respect have gone out the door.

It’s nice to think that people can change. But, in this case, it’s pretty unlikely. If they’ve already hit you once, there’s nothing to stop them from doing it again.

6. You have to give me an answer now

A man screaming at his partner.

All abusers try to keep you from taking the time to think and rationalize. By doing this, they ensure their victory. Because of this, it’s important that you get some space if they tell you that you have to give them an answer now. Fight for the space that you need to get a good perspective on the situation.

Abusers insist that you decide things on the spot. This is nothing more than one of their many manipulation strategies.

7. Your friends aren’t good for you

Abusers know that they should keep their victim from their friends and loved ones. These are all people who can help the victim escape. Because of this, they’ll try to keep you from the people you love the most. They may start saying negative comments about these people to change the way you see them.

Soon, you start to think that your friends aren’t good for you. You may even think that your partner is the only one you need to focus on. This happens when you think that everyone else isn’t that important. Be careful… In this situation, you’re under the control of a true manipulator.

What sticks out the most about this last point is you don’t tend notice what has happened until it’s too late. This happens because the abuser takes time to act slowly, instead of all at once.

They start by slowly getting angry, making you doubtful, saying “I love you”, and using other tricks. All of this is done to make sure you fall into their net. The sooner you open your eyes, the better.

Don’t suffer in silence, inform yourself and ask for help

If you think you’re suffering abuse by your partner, you can find out about your rights by calling a helpline for victims of gender violence as well as resort to any resource to get out of the situation.

Don’t suffer in silence or prolong your discomfort! Find out and ask for help so that your situation changes and things start looking out for you!

  • Marroquí, M., & Cervera, P. (2014). Interiorización de los falsos mitos del amor romántico en jóvenes.
  • Gálvez Gómez, L. (2015). Proyecto de prevención de violencia de género en adolescentes.