9 Sneaky Tactics a Male Manipulator Uses to Control You in a Relationship 

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Have you ever felt like something in your relationship wasn’t quite right, but you couldn’t put your finger on it? Do you sometimes wonder if your partner’s behaviour is crossing the line into manipulation? You’re not alone.

Male manipulation, with its subtle yet powerful tactics, can leave us questioning our own perceptions and actions. As the saying goes,

Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.

In this blog post, let’s unravel the nine sneaky tactics male manipulators use to control and dominate, equipping you with the knowledge to safeguard your well-being. This will help you cultivate fulfilling relationships with confidence while navigating the dynamics of a male manipulator.

Male Manipulator Meaning

A male manipulator is someone who uses deceptive tactics to influence and control others, often for personal gain or power. These individuals may employ various strategies, such as gaslighting, emotional blackmail, guilt-tripping, and misinformation, to achieve their objectives.

They often exploit vulnerabilities, manipulate emotions, and distort reality to maintain control and dominance in relationships. Recognising the traits and behaviours of a male manipulator is crucial for protecting oneself and maintaining healthy boundaries in interactions.

Let me walk you through nine subtle yet sneaky tactics you might fall victim to if you are not aware of them when dealing with a male manipulator.

9 Sneaky Tactics a Male Manipulator Uses to Control You in a Relationship

Tactic #1: Gaslighting: Distorting Reality for Control

Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic that involves distorting your reality and undermining your confidence in your own perceptions. Male manipulators often use gaslighting to make you doubt your own reality and feel confused and unsure. Essentially, gaslighting makes you doubt your own reality, leading to confusion and self-doubt.

Gaslighting can take various forms, including:

1. Denial of Reality: The manipulator denies events, conversations, or actions that actually took place, making you doubt your memory and perception of reality.

Example: The manipulator insists that they never said hurtful things, causing you to question your own recollection of the conversation.

2. Twisting facts: The manipulator distorts facts or alters the context of events to fit their narrative, making you doubt your version of the truth.

Example: The manipulator revises past conversations to make you question your understanding of what was said.

3. Projection: Male manipulators project their own behaviours, thoughts, or feelings onto you, creating confusion and self-doubt.

Example: The manipulator accuses you of being unfaithful, deflecting attention from their own infidelity.

4. Minimization: The manipulator downplays the significance of their actions or words, making you feel like your concerns are exaggerated or invalid.

Example: The manipulator dismisses hurtful comments as jokes, making you doubt the impact of the words.

5. Blame-Shifting: Male manipulators shift blame onto others, especially you, leading to guilt and self-blame.

Example: The manipulator blames you for problems in the relationship, deflecting responsibility.

Recognising these gaslighting behaviours is crucial to protecting yourself from manipulation and maintaining a strong sense of reality and self-worth. Trusting your instincts and standing firm in your values are essential in navigating relationships with male manipulators.

Tactic #2: Love Bombing

male manipulator

Love bombing is a manipulation tactic where the manipulator showers you with excessive affection, compliments, and attention in the initial stages of a relationship. Male manipulators use love bombing to create a sense of dependency and attachment, making it harder for you to recognise red flags or problematic behaviour.

Examples of Love-Bombing Behaviour

1. Excessive Flattery: The manipulator bombards you with compliments and praise, often exaggerating your positive qualities.

Example: “You’re the most amazing person I’ve ever met. I can’t believe how lucky I am.”

2. Intense Attention: Male manipulators devote all their time and attention to you, making you feel like the centre of their world.

Example: “I want to spend every moment with you. You’re all I think about.”

3. Gifts and Gestures: Manipulators use gifts, surprises, and grand gestures to win your affection and admiration.

Example: “I got you this expensive gift because I want you to know how much you mean to me.”

4. Future fantasies: They talk about a future together, making plans and promises to solidify your connection.

Example: “I can see us growing old together. You’re the one I want to spend my life with.”

This behaviour may seem genuine due to the manipulator’s subtleties and carefully chosen words, which can be deceptive. During these times, it’s crucial to trust your instincts and consider additional clues from the other tactics mentioned.

Recognizing love bombing tactics helps you maintain perspective and avoid being swept away by manipulative behavior. It’s important to take things slow, set boundaries, and assess the relationship objectively to protect yourself from manipulation.

Tactic #3: Playing the Victim

Male manipulators often play the victim to gain sympathy and manipulate your emotions. This tactic involves portraying themselves as innocent or wronged, deflecting attention from their own behaviour and actions. Recognising when someone is playing the victim can help you maintain clarity and avoid falling into their manipulative traps.

Examples of Playing the Victim

1. Innocence Claim: The manipulator denies responsibility for their actions and portrays themselves as blameless.

Example: “I didn’t mean to hurt you. You’re overreacting.”

2. Seeking Sympathy: Male manipulators exaggerate their hardships or struggles to elicit sympathy and compassion.

Example: “I’ve had such a rough day. I need you to comfort me.”

3. Deflecting Accountability: Manipulators shift focus away from their behaviour by highlighting past grievances or hardships they’ve faced.

Example: “You’re upset about this? What about when you didn’t attend to my call when I was in need?”

4. Guilt Inducement: They make you feel guilty for questioning or challenging their actions by portraying themselves as victims of your scrutiny.

Example: “I’m trying my best, but you’re always criticising me.”

Recognising these tactics empowers you to maintain boundaries and see through manipulative behaviour. Trust your instincts and validate your feelings to avoid being manipulated by those who play the victim role.

Tactic #4: Emotional Blackmail

Emotional blackmail is a manipulative tactic where the manipulator exploits emotions to get what they want, often at the expense of the victim’s well-being. Male manipulators are skilled at using emotional blackmail to control and manipulate their targets, creating a toxic dynamic of coercion and guilt.

Examples of emotional blackmail

1. Using Guilt: The manipulator uses guilt to manipulate the victim into complying with their demands or desires.

Example: “If you really loved me, you would do this for me.

2. Threatening Consequences: Male manipulators may threaten negative consequences unless the victim complies with their wishes.

Example: “If you don’t do what I say, I’ll leave you.”

3. Withholding Affection: Male manipulators may withhold affection or attention to punish the victim for not meeting their expectations.

Example: “I’m not going to talk to you until you apologise and do what I want.”

4. Blaming Past Actions: They bring up past mistakes or actions to make you feel guilty and responsible for current problems.

Example: “If you hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t be in this situation now.”

Recognising these emotional blackmail tactics empowers you to set boundaries and protect yourself from manipulation.

Tactic #5: Isolation

Male manipulators often use isolation tactics to gain control over you by cutting off your support networks and sources of outside influence. Isolation can make you more vulnerable to manipulation and less likely to seek help or perspective from others.

Examples of Isolation Tactics

1. Limiting Social Interactions: The manipulator discourages or prevents you from spending time with friends, family, or other supportive individuals.

Example: “I don’t like your friends. They’re a bad influence on you. You should spend more time with me instead.”

2. Creating Dependency: Male manipulators foster dependency by making themselves their primary source of emotional support and companionship.

Example: “You don’t need anyone else but me. I’m the only one who truly understands you.”

3. Undermining Relationships: They sow seeds of doubt or conflict in your other relationships to weaken your connections outside of the manipulative dynamic.

Example: “Your family doesn’t really care about you. They’re just using you.”

4. Threatening: Manipulators use guilt or threats to prevent you from seeking support or advice from others.

Example: “If you talk to anyone else about our problems, I’ll leave you. You can’t trust anyone but me.”

Recognising isolation tactics empowers you to maintain healthy relationships and seek support when needed. It’s important to cultivate a strong support network and avoid becoming overly dependent on a manipulative partner.

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Tactic #6: False Promises

male manipulator

Male manipulators often make false promises to manipulate your behaviour or actions, creating false hope or expectations to gain control. Recognising false promises helps you maintain clarity and avoid being misled or manipulated.

Examples of false promises

1. Future Commitments: The manipulator promises a future commitment or change in behaviour to keep you invested in the relationship.

Example: “I promise I’ll stop drinking and be a better partner from now on.”

2. Financial Promises: They promise financial support or stability to keep you dependent on them.

Example: “Once I get this promotion, we’ll have everything we’ve ever wanted.”

3. Emotional Promises: Manipulators promise emotional fulfilment or happiness to manipulate your emotions.

Example: “I’ll always be there for you and make you happy, no matter what.”

4. Career or Life Promises: They promise career advancement or life improvements to keep you under their control.

Example: “Once we move to a new city, everything will be perfect for us.”

Recognizing false promises helps you set realistic expectations and avoid being misled by manipulative tactics. It’s important to assess actions rather than just words to determine true intentions and reliability.

Tactic #7: Passive-Aggressive Behaviour

Male manipulators often use passive-aggressive behaviour as a subtle yet effective way to control and manipulate you. Passive-aggressive tactics involve expressing hostility or resentment indirectly, avoiding direct confrontation while still exerting control over the situation.

Examples of Passive-Aggressive Behaviour

1. Sarcasm and Mockery: The manipulator uses sarcasm or mocking remarks to belittle or undermine you.

Example: “Oh, sure, because you always know best, don’t you?”

2. Silent Treatment: They use the silent treatment as a way to punish you or manipulate your behaviour.

Example: Ignoring your messages or calls after an argument to make you feel guilty or seek their attention.

3. Procrastination and Delays: Manipulators intentionally delay or procrastinate tasks or responsibilities to frustrate you or create tension.

Example: putting off important discussions or decisions indefinitely, causing uncertainty and stress.

4. Backhanded Compliments: They give compliments that have a hidden insult or criticism embedded within them.

Example: “You did a great job, considering how difficult it is for you.”

Recognising passive-aggressive behaviour helps you address conflicts directly and assert your boundaries effectively. It’s important to communicate openly and assertively to avoid being manipulated by passive-aggressive tactics.

Tactic #8: Information Control

Male manipulators often control information flow to manipulate your perceptions, actions, and decisions. By selectively sharing or withholding information, they can influence how you perceive situations and maintain their control over you.

Examples of Information Control

1. Selective Disclosure: The manipulator selectively shares information to paint a specific narrative or manipulate your understanding of a situation.

Example: only sharing positive aspects of a situation while omitting crucial details that might change your perspective.

2. Distorting Facts: They manipulate facts or present false information to create a desired perception or outcome.

Example: twisting the truth about past events to make themselves look better or justify their actions.

3. Withholding Critical Information: Manipulators withhold important information that could impact your decisions or actions.

Example: keeping you in the dark about their true intentions or plans to maintain control over the situation.

4. Creating Confusion: They intentionally create confusion or ambiguity by providing contradictory information.

Example: giving mixed signals about their feelings or intentions to keep you off-balance and reliant on them for clarity.

Recognising information control tactics empowers you to seek out accurate information, trust your instincts, and make informed decisions. It’s important to verify facts independently and not rely solely on information provided by a manipulative individual.

Tactic #9: Threats and Intimidation

Male manipulators often resort to threats and intimidation to instill fear and gain control over you. This tactic involves using verbal or non-verbal threats, as well as intimidation tactics, to coerce compliance and suppress resistance.

Examples of Threats and Intimidation

1. Verbal Threats: The manipulator uses explicit threats of harm, punishment, or consequences to make you comply with their demands.

Example: “If you don’t do what I say, I’ll harm you, leave you, or spread rumours about you.”

2. Emotional Threats: They threaten emotional harm or withdrawal of affection to manipulate your behaviour.

Example: “If you don’t do this, I’ll never forgive you or stop loving you.”

3. Financial Threats: Manipulators may threaten financial consequences or withhold financial support to control your actions.

Example: “If you leave me, I’ll cut off all financial support and leave you with nothing.”

4. Physical Intimidation: They use physical presence, gestures, or aggressive postures to intimidate and control you.

Example: Standing over you in a threatening manner, invading your personal space to assert dominance.

Recognising threats and intimidation tactics empowers you to assert your boundaries, seek support if necessary, and protect yourself from abusive behaviour. It’s important to prioritise your safety and well-being in any relationship dynamic.

Final thoughts…

male manipulator

In conclusion, understanding the manipulative tactics used by male manipulators is crucial for maintaining healthy relationships and protecting yourself from coercion and control. By recognising these tactics, such as gaslighting, emotional blackmail, playing the victim, love bombing, isolation, false promises, guilt tripping, passive-aggressive behaviour, information control, threats, and intimidation, you can empower yourself to set boundaries, assert your independence, and make informed decisions.

What’s vital here in all these situations is that you need to trust your instincts, validate your feelings, and seek support from trusted sources if you feel manipulated or controlled in any relationship. Remember that healthy relationships are built on mutual respect, trust, and open communication, and you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

By staying informed and aware of manipulative tactics, you can navigate relationships more effectively and prioritise your emotional well-being.

Case Study: Manipulative Guilt Tripping in Relationships

Imagine you’re in a committed relationship with your partner, whom you deeply love and trust. Over time, you notice subtle changes in their behaviour, but you dismiss them initially, attributing them to stress or external factors. However, as time passes, these changes become more pronounced, and you start to feel unsettled and unsure about the dynamics of your relationship.

One evening, during a casual conversation about future plans, your partner suddenly becomes defensive and dismissive, downplaying your concerns and desires. They subtly twist the facts of past discussions, making you question your memory and perception of events. This behavior leaves you feeling confused and invalidated, as if your thoughts and feelings are being undermined.

As the days go by, you notice a pattern of emotional blackmail emerging in your interactions. Your partner starts using guilt-inducing statements, such as “If you really cared about me, you would understand” or “I’m disappointed that you don’t trust me.” These remarks leave you feeling guilty and responsible for their emotional state, even though you know deep down that your concerns are valid.

Realising that your partner is using guilt-tripping as a manipulation tactic can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to address this issue and protect your emotional well-being. It’s important to communicate openly and assertively with your partner, expressing how their behaviour makes you feel and setting clear boundaries regarding manipulation tactics.

Seek support from trusted friends or a therapist to gain guidance and perspective on maintaining healthy relationship dynamics. Remember that you deserve to be treated with respect and understanding, and it’s okay to prioritise your emotional needs in any relationship.


Key Takeaways

1. Gaslighting (Distorting Reality for Control): Trust your perception of reality and don’t doubt your memory or experiences due to manipulation.

2. Love Bombing (Excessive Affection to Create Dependency): To avoid being swept away by excessive affection, take things slow, set boundaries, and assess the relationship objectively.

3. Playing the Victim (Portraying Innocence to Gain Sympathy): Recognise when someone is deflecting responsibility and seek clarity by addressing behaviours directly.

4. Emotional Blackmail (Exploiting Emotions for Control): Set boundaries to protect yourself from guilt-inducing tactics and manipulation of emotions.

5. Isolation (cutting off support networks): Maintain healthy relationships outside of the manipulative dynamic and seek support when needed.

6. False Promises (Creating False Hope): Focus on actions rather than just words to determine true intentions and reliability.

7. Passive-Aggressive Behaviour (Indirect Hostility): Address conflicts directly and assert boundaries to avoid falling prey to subtle aggression.

8. Information Control (Manipulating Perception through Information): Seek out accurate information independently and trust your instincts to make informed decisions.

9. Threats and Intimidation (Coercion through Fear): Prioritise your safety and well-being and assert boundaries against abusive behaviour.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the mindset of a manipulator?

A manipulator typically has a mindset focused on power, control, and self-interest. They may lack empathy and use deceitful tactics to influence and dominate others for their own benefit.

2. Can a manipulator actually love you?

While a manipulator may exhibit behaviours that seem loving, their love is often conditional and manipulative. They may prioritise their own needs and desires over genuine emotional connection and mutual respect.

3) How do you tell if a guy is a manipulator?

Signs of a manipulator include frequent lying, gaslighting, guilt tripping, emotional blackmail, and a lack of accountability for their actions. They may also exhibit controlling behaviours and disregard your feelings and boundaries.

4) What are manipulators’ weaknesses?

Manipulators may have weaknesses such as insecurity, fear of abandonment, and a need for validation and control. These vulnerabilities can be exploited to challenge their manipulative behaviour and encourage healthier communication and boundaries.

5) Why do men become manipulators?

There are various reasons why men may become manipulators, including past trauma, learned behaviour, low self-esteem, a desire for power and control, and unresolved emotional issues. Understanding the underlying factors can help address and potentially change manipulative behaviour.

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Until next time,

Love, light, and endless inspiration to all.


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