A manipulator's handbook is full of a number of vile techniques they use to dig their claws into someone and never let go. It can leave their victims feeling helpless and alone, having done nothing to warrant being treated this way.
To protect yourself from the awful people that aim to treat others like this, there are a number of defensive steps you can take that will immediately signal to any manipulator out there that you are not the one to mess with.
In any relationship, always take stock of your feelings and ask yourself: does this person make you love yourself more? Do you want to grow old with them?
Love is more than just kisses and butterflies, it's much more than that. If you want to know more on what your birth chart reveals about how you love and what you need out of a partner, check out this personalized report based on date of birth.
Warding Away The Negativity
Though we may not like it or wish they would all vanish, there are a lot of bad people in the world, and most of them walk among us every day. They're people you otherwise wouldn't think of as evil or toxic, but who only show their true colors behind closed doors, often with their partners.
As we all navigate our own romantic lives, we try our best to spot the red flags and avoid these people when they make themselves known, but it's not always easy! Instead of always having to remain hyper-vigilant, here are some powerful steps you can take to ward off these types entirely.
This step is sort of the first one that everyone ought to take, as it'll help with the rest down the line.
To live a life that's completely fulfilling, learn to decenter romantic relationships. This means remembering that your life can still be full of love, passion, joy, and growth while you're single; you don't need a romantic partner to foster these beautiful things. You are a complete person even when you're alone, and you can be just as happy on your own as you can be in a relationship.
This step is so important because it leaves you less likely to feel the need to cling to a relationship simply because you feel like you should. Having an intense desire for a relationship also creates a point of vulnerability that manipulators can use in order to, well, manipulate you into staying with them even when you know you should leave.
Regaining this strength and confidence in being single is a powerful force in a world where the idea of romance is being sold on every corner, in every piece of media, and even among your friends. Put yourself first in every aspect of life to truly thrive.
Matching Their Energy
One tactic used by manipulators and narcissists in order to rope someone into a relationship is to give them plenty of loving, validating attention, then pull back greatly, leaving the person they were just being so kind towards starving for more.
This begins a cycle of dependence and creates a power imbalance structure, wherein one party has to beg the other for simple things like love, affection, and validation.
This 'tons of love upfront, then deprivation of it' technique is known as love-bombing and tends to happen very early in a new relationship.
Tone It Down
To counter this, once you notice this new person beginning to withdraw and purposely take love away from you, match that same energy. Pull your own affection back as well and see how they respond.
Alternatively, if you pick up on behavior that feels like love-bombing, start to set limits on your contact with them. Don't talk to them 24/7, don't always be immediately available for them, and take some of that time back for yourself.
If they were genuinely being manipulative, they'll respond with anger at your set boundaries. If this is just how they are or they're someone who cycles through intense emotions easily, they're more likely to be more understanding about your own changes in behavior.
Do A Cost-Benefit Analysis
This is more of an analytical tip, but analytical approaches to emotional scenarios can reap great benefits.
This is also a step that can take place at any time. Whether you're single right now and taking a break from dating until you feel centered, or you're currently coupled but always want to be proactive, taking the time to do a cost-benefit analysis of relationships as a concept should help you gain some perspective.
Sit with yourself and determine what a relationship means to you, and why you consider it either important or unimportant. What benefits do relationships bring to your life? What about the drawbacks? Most importantly, what are your red flags when it comes to a partner? What are your hard lines, your set-in-stone boundaries that are grounds for a breakup should they be crossed?
The Power Of Confidence
Narcissists and manipulators will be immediately frightened of any woman who not only knows her boundaries but asserts them as well. They search for people they believe they can easily change the minds, thoughts, and opinions of, but if you're set in your beliefs and know your worth from the get-go, they're going to know you won't bend to their whims and move on quickly.
Not to mention that these things will also immediately raise your own standards, meaning the partner you do end up snagging will be of higher quality out the gate without you having to work to get there.
Process Your Traumas
Processing your own traumas is another step that is important for all of us, not just those seeking to avoid the worst that the dating pool has to offer.
We've all been through tough times, and though not all of them result in capital-T trauma, they can still weigh heavy on our minds for years after they occur. It's important to sit with these things and properly work through them, preferably with a professional, so we can release all the pent-up feelings we have and not bring them into our next relationship.
Abusers of all sorts will seek out those who they consider 'damaged' (not the case, mind you) because they believe those people will have weaker, more malleable minds. It's despicable, but these people don't have the same morals as you or I.
Doing It For Yourself
It's more than just that, though, as the person you should be thinking of first when wanting to get better isn't all the other bad people in the world; you should be focusing on yourself. Lasting trauma will always affect us and those around us, as it takes a lifetime to fully heal from events that damage the psyche. It takes constant work, but you owe it not only to any potential future lover of yours but to yourself!
You deserve to live a happier, healthier life that doesn't feel like a never-ending drudge through the trenches. Yes, getting treatment will make you a better partner, but before that, it will make you more at peace within your own body.
Take Charge Of Your Finances
Beyond the realm of mental manipulation, the next area narcissists tend to target in order to really snare their victims is finances.
Finances are a powerful tool that can keep people trapped if they're managed improperly or if one-half of a toxic relationship manages to take control of them entirely. If a manipulator can convince someone that they're better off handling the money in their relationship, or maybe putting their name on a lease, a bank account, whatever it takes, it suddenly becomes much harder for the victim to leave.
The money you earn is yours and yours alone. Even if you don't consider yourself to be too good with money, you're still always the best person to remain in control of your own finances. No one else has any business handling what's yours.
If you do feel like this is an insecurity someone could potentially prey on, there's no better time than the present to look into how to proactively save and budget your accounts. There are courses, guides online, even reaching out to a trusted friend for budgeting advice are all steps you can take to build your financial literacy and confidence.
The Best Defense
As you can see, a lot of the tools that are helpful for warding off unsavory partners are also tools that promote and encourage personal growth. This isn't a coincidence; the more we evolve into the best version of ourselves, the less these types of people will want to do with us.
They're stuck in a childish, insecure past version of who they are, and that insecurity causes them to want to bring others down with them. The best advice for keeping these sorts out of your life is to love yourself first and foremost. If you're always wanting the best for yourself, you'll never have to stoop to their level.
And to those who have been victims of these types of people in the past, know that it's not your fault. You were not the one with the desire to harm someone else, and the fact that you made it out is a testament to your strength. You deserve your flowers and the peace of knowing you're a better person now than any manipulator ever could be.