Manipulation involves using the influence and intimate knowledge of other’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities to emotionally exploit them for one's own benefit. If you are in a relationship with a manipulative woman, it is very possible that you may not even realize it.
One day your path may have crossed with that of such a woman who managed to get under your skin, embodying everything you needed most, making you dream of a wonderful future, and then gradually began to exploit your vulnerabilities to her advantage, leaving you confused, disoriented, and powerless.
Men who find themselves in this situation feel ashamed and do everything to hide the reality and maintain their dignity in front of others, so as not to become the target of jokes and remarks like, "your wife has you under her thumb!" or "why don't you show her who's the boss, what kind of man are you?". They fear that they won't be believed, they fear they will be accused of lying and exaggerating, they fear they will be labeled as weak. Often, those around them do not believe that a woman can dominate and abuse a man for years on end, especially when that woman knows how to play the helplessness or supreme innocence card in public.
Love can fulfill you wonderfully, but it also represents a destructive force (and then it is not love) for those who turn those around them into mere puppets that they use as they like.
How does it all begin?
I. The seduction game and the beginning of the relationship
In this first stage, the manipulative woman is like a chameleon - she changes her colors according to your needs. She likes what you like, dislikes what you dislike, you have the same tastes, preferences, interests, and a lot in common.
She knows what to do to capture your attention and gain your trust. She is pleasant, charming, seems extremely interested in you, she has a kind, warm, and empathetic attitude, and tells you what you want or need to hear.
She will begin to physically assert herself in your personal space. A hand on your arm, on your shoulder, on your leg, a hug, prolonged eye contact, physical proximity to hear you better, and other such gestures that seem natural and that she repeats constantly (she often tends to touch a bit too much), as if she wants to convey that "you belong to me."
Things happen very quickly, so you don't have a chance to change your mind. She is affectionate, understanding, she makes wonderful promises, and makes everything feel "special." If she gives you a gift, she will tell you how much effort and affection she invested in this gesture and how much it means to her to offer it to you. She repeatedly reminds you of all her "efforts" to start instilling a sense of indebtedness in you.
Sometimes, she disappears, doesn't answer the phone, and doesn't give any signs, only to reappear suddenly. She tells you she will call you at a certain time, but she calls you several hours later. She's late for a date or cancels it at the last minute, citing a situation beyond her control. She wants you to worry, to wonder what happened, to feel her absence, only to make you want to be together even more.
She subtly and gradually invades your emotional and sensory space. She will tell you how much she suffered in the past, how difficult it was for her, how she was betrayed by other people, how she was treated unfairly. She presents herself before you as a helpless victim, as an extremely fragile and endearing person, who is not at fault, activating in you the role of savior. If you tend to please others and feel that your main duty as a man is to save her and thus become a hero, you will be eager to offer all your affection and protection to a wounded soul. If you perceive her in this way, you won't even consider that she might have less-than-healthy intentions. At the same time, some clues may appear that make you suspicious. If you question something, she will react as if you have said the most absurd thing. She will be indignant, hurt, and she will make you feel guilty for even thinking, even for a moment, something negative about her. In this way, she will make you doubt your own ability to judge and analyze. She will manage to convince you that you are wrong, and she is right.
She will make herself wanted, knowing how to use her irresistible charm, but she will imply that she can’t be easily won over, that she won't be yours so quickly. This is easy to understand in any relationship that is in its early stages, but she will use this approach to ignite just the right amount of emotion, desire, and tension. She may tell you that you are the first man she starts having feelings for in a long, long time, that she's afraid of getting hurt, that she has never felt this way before, that you are special (wanting to flatter you and make you believe that you are different or much better than her past partners). She praises you and exaggerates your qualities, essentially flattering you.
In addition to the "victim" type, there is also the "trophy woman" type who implies that you are lucky because you have her attention. Sensual and provocative, she knows how to seduce you and create a sexual dominance, and you should be happy and grateful that, by some miracle, she chose you. The relationship is inherently unequal - she behaves as if she's doing you a favor by being with you, for which you should be eternally grateful. She may also exploit your fear of abandonment, suggesting that she can leave you at any time if you don't fulfill her desires, including financial ones.
Using lies, she presents herself either in a position that puts her in a favorable light to demonstrate her superiority – she is special, strong, beautiful, intelligent, and... all-knowing, or as a victim to garner your pity and sympathy and gain various benefits.
What is the true face of a manipulative woman?
She is emotionally immature – as if she's stuck in an infantile stage of development. Only her needs matter, and she's always right. She ruthlessly pursues her own interests at the expense of others, even if she poses as an altruistic and sensitive person. She criticizes, accuses, destroys, all while putting herself on a pedestal.
She lacks empathy and isn't genuinely interested in understanding the other person. Some men end up blaming themselves for being too sensitive or wrong for displaying their emotions because their partners are indifferent, contemptuous, or defiant even when it comes to strong and deep emotions like the sadness of losing a loved one, the joy of a significant achievement (she's more likely to envy them than to genuinely celebrate with them), gratitude, and so on. If she does show happiness, it's because she's gained something, and she's happy for herself, not for the other person.
She doesn't take any responsibility – others are always to blame. She doesn't admit her mistakes or question her choices. The partner is always the only one responsible for any problems.
She is selfish and self-centered – the world should revolve around her and her desires, while ignoring or setting aside others’ desires. She is focused on herself and disregards others and their opinions or simply doesn't take them into account. If she listens to others or their issues, she immediately turns the conversation into being about her: "Yes, but let me tell you what I've been through." She feels entitled to give advice, even if nobody asked, because she thinks she knows better.
Occasionally, she may give something, but never for free, making the other person feel indebted.
She displays an image for others because she wants to be perceived in a certain way, but that image doesn't represent her true self. This reflects the fragility of her ego, which she wrongly defines as sensitivity. In reality, she can't tolerate criticism, being contradicted, or having her qualities and way of doing things questioned. Such persons are often narcissistic, wearing the mask of "perfection" that hides their true nature.
She has no real friends – even if she associates with or wants to be seen with many people, her "friendships" are superficial, fleeting, insincere, and based on personal gain. She can easily cut people out of her life if they are no longer useful to her and speak ill of them if those relationships no longer serve her interests, including former lovers. Occasionally, she may have a "good" friend whom she uses to stand out, to help her in various aspects of life, or to blame when things don't go as she wishes.
II. Taking control
Once she is confident that she "has a hold on you," she will start alternating between arrogance and attention, criticism and love declarations, affection and indifference, sweet demeanor and anger. She will become suspicious and critical, exhibit inexplicable mood swings and contradictory behavior that will leave you in a total fog, making you doubt yourself and feel increasingly uncomfortable. You'll blame yourself and start asking yourself a lot of questions: "Did I do something wrong?" "Am I not loving enough?" "Am I doing everything I should?"
To dominate you, she needs you to start doubting yourself, your judgment, and your intuition, to lose confidence in yourself, become confused and insecure, become fearful, and believe that you couldn't manage without her. Slowly, so you don't realize what's happening, but constantly, the manipulative woman will condition you to accept what you wouldn't normally accept, to become docile, to fulfill all her needs, desires, and whims.
What behaviors or techniques does she use? We will discuss this in the next article, so stay close.
Dr. Ursula Sandner