How to Recognize and Deal with Manipulation

Think about how free you would feel if you never allowed yourself to be manipulated again.

How much more of a sense of control do you imagine you would feel?

Perhaps you have been trying to help someone you love recover from an addiction, but in the process the person has manipulated you into frustration.

You always saw yourself as a strong person, able to stand up for yourself. But you love the addict so much that (s)he has been able to use your love against you.

You suspect you’ve been being manipulated but aren’t exactly sure.

In this post, we want to help you recognize if what you are dealing with is manipulation.

But we want to take a fresh approach.

Instead of the typical “5 signs you are dealing with a manipulative person” which are general repeats across the internet, we want to help you identify more specifically if you are being manipulated or not.

And we are going to help you do that by analyzing, not the person manipulating you, but by analyzing yourself.

You see, when someone manipulates you, it creates a certain effect. You feel it on the inside. Sometimes, it’s easy to ignore the warning signs of a manipulative person, especially if they are quite manipulative.

But it isn’t as easy for them to fool you about yourself as long as you know what to look for.

So, what are the signs that you are being manipulated?

There are actually 3 internal warning signs to look for.

Let’s examine each of them.

Do You Feel Guilty to Help?

The first warning sign that you are being manipulated is the guilt trip. This comes in a variety of forms.

Here are a few common ones:

  • If you really want me to get sober, you’d…

  • I can’t clean up as long as you are…

  • If you loved me, then you would…

The result of these types of statements is always guilt. We feel obligated to help, to give money, to defend, to excuse, and ultimately to enable.

If you feel guilty about having to help, then you may be seeing a red flag that you are being manipulated.

Do You Feel Regretful for Helping?

The next sign to look for is to think about how you feel after you help. This is especially true when money is involved.

Do you have a sense of peace after giving the addict money or do you become anxious, worried about what may happen?

Do you feel violated or taken advantage of afterwards?

If you do something for someone to ease the guilt only to have it replaced with regret, then you’ve got two red flags indicating that you could be being manipulated.

Do You Feel Responsible to Help Again?

What happens the next time the addict needs help?

Do you feel like it is your responsibility to help the person again?

You see, “help” should do exactly that – it should help. If the person needs you to do it again and again then, by definition, it did not help.

When someone is manipulating you, however, they will expect you to “help” them again. And they will pressure you to do it.


By doing the same things they did that produced the first two warning signs in you the last time – guilt and regret.

The pressure now intensifies with them trying to get you to do it again. That is why you feel responsible to reengage the process.

If you’ve been on this cycle and once again feel that it’s your responsibility to “help,” you may be seeing the third red flag indicating that you are being manipulated.

If you see these warning signs, you are probably asking the big question – What do I do about it?

The answer is simple and difficult. Simple in that it is not complicated. But difficult in that it isn’t easy to live out.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

So, here’s the answer.

Stand up for yourself and refuse to be manipulated anymore.

See, it’s simple.

But it isn’t easy.

So, how do we do that? How do we stand up for ourselves and refuse to allow someone to manipulate us?

There are 3 ways to do this that will help us live it out effectively.

Do It in Love

Be kind. Be gentle. You don’t need to scream at the person that you will not be manipulated. You can address the person with love and respect.

Be Firm

Make the decision. Don’t bend. Don’t change. And don’t let the addict talk you down a rabbit trail. You have made up your mind and what they say or do will not change it.

Get Support

What you are doing takes courage. It is challenging, difficult, but overwhelmingly freeing and rewarding. The best way to do it and follow through is to have someone support you.

Before you confront the manipulator, make your decision. Then share it with someone else. If necessary, have the person present when you confront the manipulation.

And when you feel yourself getting sucked back into the cycle (guilt, regret, responsible to repeat), call your support. Let them encourage you to stay strong and stand your ground.

The freedom from manipulation is well worth the effort it takes to make your stand and free yourself from a responsibility that isn’t even yours to carry.

Justin FranichComment