The Six Stages Of Leaving An Emotionally Manipulative Relationship

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The worst part about emotionally manipulative relationships is that those in them sometimes can’t even see how bad it’s gotten. The more it happens, the more it’s normalized and even justify. The manipulation can completely destroy them from the inside out, making them unable to see beyond it and completely codependent on their manipulator.

But there is hope. Everyone eventually reaches a point where they feel like they can’t take it anymore. According to the stages of change, this is how people move through a process of defined stages. It has to start from a place of readiness to be able to handle the significant life changes it will bring. Each step brings them closer to freedom once again. Here are the five main stages.

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The Preawareness Stage

woman holds her hand up to the camera

Beniamin Sinca / Unsplash

Beniamin Sinca / Unsplash

It’s not surprising that those deep in manipulative relationships are blind to the red flags because they’ve been manipulated to do so. Their partners will use blame-shifting, criticism, aggression, anger, or even pity to trap them into feeling vulnerable, codependent and justify their behavior.

It’s usually friends or family who will first notice the signs and start bringing them up. Often, the victim will deny them for a while or at least minimize them but eventually comes to see them too. Even then, it can take a long time to make the shift from awareness to a willingness to actually want to do something about it.