Sound Familiar




sunnies: 99 store | jacket: DKNY | blouse: thrifted | cords: sample | booties: | watch: Target | ears: random | necklace: made by friend


I received a version of the email below in my inbox this morning.

She knew something wasn’t right in her relationship when she didn’t want to go home from work.  She felt anxious all the time.  She never knew what kind of mood he would be in, or if she had unknowingly done something that would have upset him.  But she wasn’t in an abusive relationship — at least none that she had ever seen. He didn’t hit her or get violently angry. She just thought they were having normal relationship problems that they needed to work through.

The type of guy the girl was dealing with is all too common, but there’s nothing “normal” about it.  Manipulators aim to control their partners by pressing the buttons that get them emotional, whether it be making them feel afraid, unworthy, stupid, insecure, angry or frustrated. But because manipulators are typically passive-aggressive in their tactics, unlike domestic abuse, it can be difficult to tell when you’re in a manipulative relationship.  While abuse is obvious, victims of manipulation don’t even realize they are being manipulated because the manipulator masks his or her behavior as positive, caring and nurturing.

If you’re sad more often than happy in your relationship and something feels wrong but you just can’t put your finger on it, read on to see if you might be dating a manipulative partner — and what you can do about it.

7 Signs You Might be Dating a Manipulator:

1. You’re always falling short of your partner’s expectations.
In an argument, the person being manipulated is often made to feel they are the ones at fault all of the time. But what’s really going on is the manipulator is shifting the blame away from themselves and detracting in subtle, hard-to-detect ways. They’ll commonly say things like, “So we’re going to have the big interrogation are we?” or “Are you going to get all emotional again?”

2. You often feel guilty in your relationship and are always looking to repair the “damage.”
The manipulator is skilled at making people feel this way by saying things like “I spent all this money on this gift for you, and look how you thank me” or “You have trust issues — why don’t you trust me?”

3. You don’t often know where you stand with your partner.
A manipulative partner often uses concealed or open threats to keep his/her girlfriend/boyfriend anxious and holding onto the relationship. He/She might use statements such as “I don’t even know why I’m here anymore; this isn’t working for me.”

4. You often feel like you’re walking on eggshells around him (or her).
Maybe sometimes you’re given lots of love and affections; at other times you’re given the cold shoulder for no apparent reason.

5. You feel confused in the relationship and keep questioning or blaming yourself for making your partner angry or frustrated. Manipulators are skilled at never being to blame for any problem in a relationship.

6. You’re unhappy in your relationship at least 90 percent of the time.
This is a big red flag for anyone in a relationship — whether you’re with a manipulator or not, it’s time to reevaluate why you’re with that person.

7. You’re anxious about telling your partner your plans or about something you’ve bought. If this is the case, you’re most likely being controlled and manipulated.

If a few or more of these statements described your relationship, you’re likely with a manipulator, and the bad news is, he is unlikely to change.  Manipulation is a learned behavior — no one is born with it. It’s very much a survival strategy learned from early childhood and therefore changing the behavior is near impossible.  Your time is better invested in developing strategies to protect yourselves, because you can never change a manipulator’s actions.

In other words, look into how you attracted him/her in the first place. Women who attract manipulators tend to lack self-worth and assertiveness, and they tend to be people pleasers.  They trust to the point of ignorance and therefore do not realize that they are being manipulated until they have been in emotional turmoil for some time. It can often be years before they see the situation for what it really is.

But once you do recognize it, you can put a stop to it. First, take responsibility and own up to being a victim and a target.   Admit your flaws to yourself. And most importantly, get out of the relationship and become who you really are; not something someone else wants you to be.

Okay girls, so this is in no way aimed at making you break up with your Boo.  So, Boos, don’t send me any hate mail.  Instead, this is to help the girl struggling in a relationship where she feels worthless, trapped and unhappy, but not sure why.  As the email says, this kind of relationship can be more challenging to identify as abusive because you’re not being physically abused and there’s not tangible evidence, however, when you have more bad days than good, then there are some things you should reconsider.

Well, I hope this helps someone.  Thinking back on my B.M. (before marriage) days, I can identify a manipultor or two.  Goodness, I wish someone would have sent me this email back then.  Oh wait, there was no such thing as email.  Oh dear, I just aged myself.








10 thoughts on “Sound Familiar

  1. This post was on time for me! I ended a relationship a few months back and this post gave voice to many of the things I dealt with. It was hard getting through the holidays and I had a b-day just pass and those are times when I miss him and need to reconfirm I made the right choice for me. Thank you for posting this!

  2. I too wish someone would’ve emailed this to me as well. Looking back on past relationships in college all fit this to a T. But the manipulator also became the physical and emotional abuser as well. What’s really wild is I saw this type in my friends’ relationships & told them they needed to let their significant relationships go. Meanwhile, I was dealing with the same & turned a blind eye. Although all this was about 7 or so years ago, it still has a profound affect on me emotionally and mentally. It’s definitely a day to day process of forgiving and letting go but through it all I’ve learned sooo much which I’m thankful for because it could be worse. Thanks for sharing!

    PS: I recently found your blog through my popsugar iPhone app lol. I absolutely love your style but the overall feel of the blog whether it be daily inspirations, thoughts, frustrations, encouragement, I love the most. Thank you!!

    1. College was a learning experience for me to in this regard. My hope is that it doesn’t a literal slap in the face for other young women to come to their senses as well. I’ve been there..but it was actually more of a drag down the flight of stairs!

  3. My dear, you look fabulous as always, and what a wonderful subject to address!! I can only speak for me, in that I have definitely been in this type of situation, and all of the symptoms that you so eloquently list, hit the nail on the head!! I pray that those who are currently experiencing this abuse (and that’s exactly what it is!!) will wake up, and realize Who they are, and WHOSE they are, which is a child of the Living God, who deserves so much better! Bless you, thank you!!

    1. And that really is all we can do…pray! Until that person realizes she deserve more, no matter how many times you rush to help, if she hasn’t come to the realization on her own, she’ll only find herself right back in that pit. Luv ya Momma!

  4. This was truly a great post about relationships. I was not in a abusive relationship, but I was in one with a man who was emotionally unavailable- at least to me. Himself and basketball was his first true love. I am now learning that my self esteem was not intact when I was in that relationship. I accepted bullcrap in ordered to be loved-well in this case liked (I don’t think he loved me). I read a book called “How to spot a dangerous man” which provided climpses of the types of men that are basically preying on women (the unavailables, manipulators, mommas boys etc…). Also check out “Baggage Reclaim” on facebook and look at her blog site. Her name is Natilie from the UK (I believe) and her site is great. She provides quotes and questions that spark discussions on this type of topic. It’s amazing to see that your not alone when dealing with this stuff. Bottom line is-love You first

    1. Thank you for sharing! Aren’t you glad you broke free of that relationship? Thanks for referring me to Natilie’s site. There are great nuggets of information there. I may be posting some of this stuff. 🙂

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