You might be getting manipulated in your relationship without even knowing it. Manipulation can be defined as using influence and intimate knowledge of the other person’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities to exploit them emotionally in a bid to control them to serve one’s own end! It is a form of emotional abuse and should be seen as a huge red flag in a marriage. Partners who are manipulative mostly do it for selfish gains or because they want things in a certain way and cannot imagine bending or understanding their spouse’s way of life.
Experts say that most of the time it is so ingrained in their behaviour that they don’t even realize that they are constantly manipulating their significant other. The underlying causes for such behaviour can be traced to their own childhood or teenage years where they had perhaps experienced or seen this and subconsciously integrated it in their own attitude. A manipulative person generally controls others by using words which they will know others will buckle to, feigning tears or threats to blackmail emotionally, to shouting and screaming, and even using sarcasm to make the partner give in to their demands. If you can identify with the above know that you are getting manipulated by your wife. A man wrote to us about how he is drained because his wife uses their private arguments in public to control him.
8 Signs Of A Manipulative Wife
If you have ended up with a manipulative woman, chances are you don’t even realise it. The signs of manipulation are subtle and disguised as love, you will probably feel all of it is for your own good and you have wanted it. Manipulators are expert influencers and work on your subconscious, they essentially tile the balance of power in their favour leaving you with the illusion that you are calling the shots. Read the signs below to know whether you are being manipulated by your wife in more ways than one and what you can do about it. The moment of truth can come as a huge shock but once you know the reality you can take steps to correct it. A man wrote to our expert about how his wife always goes to his past mistakes to get something she wanted in the present. You can read what our expert advised.
A healthy marriage is an institution built upon mutual feelings of love, care, trust, and respect. Some women, however, manipulate their husbands to have things their way. Having a manipulative wife is a deal-breaker because it may change your basic essence as a person without you even realizing it. A manipulative wife has the potential to change all your important relationships in the way she deems fit leaving you isolated and you may feel even more dependent on her as you think she is the only one who cares about you enough. Having a manipulative wife (you must assess what kind of damage is she causing) can be a deal-breaker. It constitutes emotional abuse and like we said many do not even realise what has happened to them. Here are 8 signs that can tell you if your wife is manipulative.
1. She has a didactic personality
A didactic person is the one who thinks that everyone should be taught what they think is right and that they are doing things for their good. They feel that they are super smart and intellectual and the responsibility to mold other people is on their shoulders. Not just this, they keep finding faults with your method of doing things and indirectly tell you that they are superior to you. This is their way of making you feel ‘less than’ so that you defer your intellect to them and ask them for advice. Voila, they have gained control over you. If your wife is the kind of person who makes you feel inadequate and you constantly run to her for her opinion especially when you didn’t do so before, she might be manipulating you and you need to think through your marriage. Here are 10 signs of a controlling woman, please read and see if any of these ring a bell.
Also, remember you can’t be wrong 100% of the time right? Ask yourself: Ultimately, do I feel good about myself in this relationship? If not, make a list of all the reasons why not.
Related Reading: 13 signs you are the selfish one in your relationship
2. She turns every argument into your fault
One of the signs of a manipulative spouse is that they turn everything into your fault and get away as the innocent one. That time when she was emotionally unavailable, it was because you were busy for the past two days. She screamed at your mother because you do not care she is handling so much. If she flirts with a guy and you object, it is because you do not ever compliment her or give her attention. If you complain about something which leads to a huge argument, she will turn the tables on you by pointing out past instances when you behaved in the same manner and how she did not raise hell then. You then come out as the petty one. If you get mad or upset, it’s your fault for having unreasonable expectations; if they get mad, it’s your fault for upsetting them. She has the power to blame you for every wrong thing that has happened in your marriage – from a small argument to a major disappointment. Nothing will ever be her mistake. This is also called gaslighting, check more on it here.
Confront the bully and tell her that you understand what is happening here. Remember if you remain passive and compliant, you make yourself a target.
3. She uses emotional blackmail as a weapon
Emotionally blackmailing a person may seem very subtle and harmless at times, but in reality, it is very damaging. It is a form of emotional abuse where you make the other person feel guilty about not doing what you want them to do. Everything for her is difficult because she loves you a lot and she will die if you leave her alone. She will make you believe that she is the victim here. A man wrote to us about how his wife made him abandon his mother and he couldn’t do anything about it.
Manipulative women have a tendency to use emotional blackmail as a weapon to manipulate their partner.
They keep on saying that they are incomplete without you or they can’t live without you and so you should be dependent on them just like they are dependent on you. If your wife resorts to emotional blackmail every time she wants something done, take that as a red flag in your marriage.
Look for these signs: Does she suffer dramatically and publicly until you feel you must give her what she wants? Does she threaten to harm herself to get you to do (or not do) something? Remember all of us have a certain level of insecurity; it doesn’t mean that we become emotional manipulators to plug that feeling. Take charge, set boundaries, learn to call their bluff. Read a piece on why men stay in abusive marriages here.
4. She uses your weaknesses against you
This may seem very cruel and you might not have realized that this was happening to you but manipulative women are extremely selfish. They take advantage of your weaknesses to get their work done. She, being your wife, would know a lot of things about you and during a fight, which she would bring up to hurt you where you are most vulnerable. She would make a spectacle of your failures, compare you to other men in her family and make you seem all and incompetent. Every time you ask her for something, she will make you feel that you have not lived up to her expectations hence you have no right to ask things from her. She may also use people you care about to hurt you but hurting them in a way you cannot pinpoint anything. You try and make sure that you do not displease her because her reaction (hurting you in turn) drains you both emotionally and otherwise. A man wrote to us about how his wife shared their bedroom secrets outside which devastated him.
Related Reading: 15 signs your spouse takes you for granted
5. She is the decision-maker
If in your marriage, you are the one who keeps on nodding and agreeing to all the small and big decisions made by her, you know that you have a manipulative wife. She makes all the plans- financial, holiday, and even the evening social ones. She decides the school the kids should go to or what air conditioner you should move on to, or even the car which is good for your family. She is picky about the friends and you see yourself more and more aligned with people she gets along with. You feel you are getting distant from your school and college friends because she doesn’t think much of them or maybe because they do not think much of her. She decides everything for the both of you, she may ask for your opinion but you know in the end you will end up doing what she thinks is right. If you enforce something, you will never hear the end of how terrible it was. We had a story from a man who shared that he was scared to correct his wife you can read it here. She will reassert that she has thought things through and subtly hint that she knows best. For a boy’s night out, you have to take her permission well in advance, while for a girl’s night out, it’s quite the opposite; she is the boss of her own life.
In a healthy relationship, a couple decides on things after discussing it with one another. A single person making all the decisions for two people is a sign of manipulation and a definite red flag in a marriage.
6. She victimises herself every time
This is a very obvious sign because you can easily spot this happening. She acts scared of your reaction and makes you the controlling villain of her life. She will show in the family and friends how she is often accountable for all decisions and what a stress it is o her. She will exaggerate her illnesses, or makeup lies about how she is being ostracized, maybe how XYZ is constantly picking on her. They will show reality and pretend to feel powerless, maybe even show how they’re the martyrs. Manipulative women are great at playing the victim card. They often speak of how selfless they are and how cruel everyone around them is. Maybe even hint how ungrateful you have been. They keep a record of every single sacrifice made and display it as their prized possession.
Moreover, such people often use emotional outbursts to support their ‘act’. You will see dollops of tears and sadness but in your absence, she will be perfectly fine. Read a story on male victimization in today’s age.
Think of the advantages this approach has.
- The victim, one way or another, is safeguarded from the criticism of others.
- They have the sympathy of others just because they have proved that they are the ones suffering here.
- How can a person who is suffering lie? Everything she speaks somehow seems true.
7. She keeps on blaming you for everything
Every time she is in a tough spot in her life, she makes it your fault. It is because she married you, she had to change her area of residence which is quite far from her office. She throws you under the bus every time she takes the wrong decision. Manipulative people are adept at twisting words and making up things out of nowhere. She will pretend as if her decisions were taken keeping your convenience in mind and she has to deal with the repercussions of it, and that ‘you are not helping’. She will make you seem responsible for her sadness, and her personal failures. Because you do not help out with the kids, she has been fired from her job. Because of the stress of managing a home and your parents she had an outburst and had a huge fight with her best friend. She will keep blaming you for things you did not do until you give up and apologise. We had this honest confession from a girl on how she blamed her husband for a petty issue, perhaps you can get some insights from this.
Related Reading: 5 Ways Blame-Shifting In Relationship Harms It
8. She’ll never apologise
Even if you finally prove it to her that it is her fault, she will never say the word, ‘Sorry’. It is just too much for her ego. She is never apologetic. Instead, she would justify her actions or go silent as a way of telling you that she is hurt. By deliberately not responding to your calls and text messages she will make you doubt your own point of view over the matter. You will start thinking, ‘What if she was right, she wouldn’t be so upset otherwise’. Maybe you will conclude you were not right to blame her. People who are manipulative want things their way and proving them wrong about something just fires up their emotions. Such people find it very hard to admit their mistakes or apologise for them.
Also when caught in an unfavourable situation, they “play dumb” Preston Ni M.S.B.A. says in Psychology Today
“By pretending she or he doesn’t understand what you want, or what you want her to do, the manipulator/passive-aggressive makes you take on what is her responsibility, and gets you to break a sweat.”
Some other signs you could look out for are:-
How does she speak of others in relation to you? Is everyone your adversary in her stories? This could be an attempt to isolate you.
She is indifferent to how her actions may hurt other people, she can only see her own point of view.
Is there a huge gap between what she says and what she does? She may act devastated but a closer look may suggest otherwise.
To have a manipulative spouse can take a toll on your life. It can be very difficult to deal with one especially when they are not ready to accept that they are manipulative. If you think your wife is guileful, you should talk to her calmly and make sure you have real instances where you can pinpoint her actions or behaviour. You can also see a marriage counsellor and discuss these problems. It might seem a very small thing in a marriage but manipulation can be very hurtful in a long-term relationship and must be addressed.