You Need to Know How to Set Limits for a Manipulator

Are you being manipulated in a relationship or friendship? Learn how to set limits and maintain your integrity.

During our lives, everyone has been “left” by a manipulator.

Instead of shaming ourselves or trying to hide it, we need to understand some things. First, you should understand that a manipulating person isn’t able to recognize these dynamics, tactics, or devices that are usually used with subtle skill.

The first time we don’t see it coming. Perhaps it’s because we’re young. Or, perhaps it’s because we don’t have much life experience to know the profile of a manipulator.

However, after this first lesson, and this early experience, we need to be able to incorporate all of the data. This means each action, word, and gesture. This is done to identify new behaviors and know how to set a limit, a defensive barrier.

At the same time, we can’t forget that this kind of experience always happens for a reason: to learn. This way, we are more capable to bypass new obstacles in our path. This lets us move forward with better integrity and fulfillment.

Why do we let ourselves get manipulated again?

There are many people that, unlike what we said before, trip time and time again on the same obstacle: they consciously let themselves get manipulated. They fall into the same kind of relationship repeatedly.

Why does this happen? What psychological explanation can be behind these dynamics?

  • People that let themselves be manipulated constantly need positive reinforcement.
  • Manipulators do this, they are loving in the beginning. They flatter and give a lot of positive reinforcement to get what they want.

Something like this is very attractive for someone who needs to feel praised.


  • At the same time, another aspect explains this voluntary surrender to manipulation. This is the fact that they don’t really know how to feel loved or respected.
  • Sometimes, there are people who have never had a strong and decent bond with anyone, not even on a family level.

They feel “hungry” for love. From there, they are able to accept any “substitute.” This is despite the very terrible secondary effects.

The last “straw” that breaks your patience’s back

Before becoming sad addicts to these double-edged, calculating, and false relationships, we need to do something. We need to get rid of the edge of manipulation that keeps us tied to certain people.

There is always a “last straw” that breaks your patience’s back. In other words, everyone needs to find the unpassable limit that no one should go past.

  • No one should make you believe that you aren’t capable, are ineffective, inept, or that you don’t deserve the goals you set.
  • No one should violate your personal rights. These include your right to have a voice, opinion, the ability to act and to decide.
  • No one can attack or make light of our values, ideas, or beliefs.
  • No one should make you feel that you are inferior.
  • There is one that has authority over you.
  • No one can touch a single thread in the magnificent fabric of your self-esteem.

Reflect on every aspect we listed here. This is because each one of them is a straw that breaks any camel’s back when talking about your patience. And, you need to encourage yourself to react.

We were manipulated once and never again

The art of manipulation is very common. But, just because it’s common doesn’t make it allowable.

  • Unfortunately, this kind of behavior is habitual. It tries to influence your way of acting or other people’s emotions for the manipulator’s own good.

This can be found in relationships, friendships, in familial relationships and also in the work place.

  • We need to be able to identify these mechanisms and react to them.
  • Doing this isn’t even a selfish or excessive act. Instead, it’s an act of physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

We say a “selfish or excessive act” because it’s very common for the person to try to set limits. But in the eyes of the manipulator, they could be seen with suspicion or a lack of confidence.

As a result, it’s common for them to say things like “of course I want what’s best for you, you’re thinking wrong, how little do you trust me, or look at how little you appreciate all I do for you.”

A “NO” in time to save lives

This is, without a doubt, the first principle we need to add to our day to day lives: a “no” in time helps us prevent more problems later on.

  • If something doesn’t please you or is uncomfortable, you need to say it out loud. This way, other people know exactly where our limits are.

Do what is right and good for you.

We should never give in to what doesn’t seem right to us. It doesn’t matter that your partner, brother, or father is the one that’s asking us to do something that goes against our principles or values.

If we don’t feel comfortable, if we don’t like it, or it bothers us, we won’t do it.

I’m not an “easy target”

It’s possible that for a period of our life we were what is known as an “easy target”. 

  • We were a person who was easily manipulated. Or, we were a person who said “yes” when we wanted to say “no” and vice versa.
  • This has stopped. We need to put strength in our minds, courage in our hearts, and dignity in our self-esteem.
  • No one deserves to be manipulated or fed with a “white label love. And, no one deserves to be treated with a poisoned love and an ulterior motive.

We’ll react.

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