When we met, he told me he wasn’t looking for a relationship – he was looking to “make memories with good people.” Ironically, he took up all of my energy. He had come into my life at a point where I was actively dating, but suddenly I no longer had time for anyone else. We were spending every night and day together, growing at an accelerated pace. Naturally, it could be assumed that he wasn’t dating anyone else. One weekend, he told me that he had plans with his friends for one of their birthdays. Thinking nothing of it, I asked him generic questions about their plans, who would be there, and where they were going. He answered each question with no hesitation, informing me all about their weekend excursion in DC. The weekend came and went, I felt no alarms. Days after he returned, photos from the weekend began to surface on social media. Pictures of “my guy” with a woman I didn’t recognize showed up on my explore page. Naturally, I asked him about the photos and he proceeded to tell me that this woman was his girlfriend. GIRLFRIEND?! Yes, girlfriend. I asked him why he hadn’t told me he was in a relationship and he responded, “you never asked.” I was in awe and couldn’t believe him. While I hadn’t asked him the specific question, I had expected him to share something of that magnitude with me.
I felt betrayed because I had opened up my home, life, and space to this man and he belonged to someone else the entire time – a fact he never cared to mention. After thinking long and hard about it, I acknowledged his behavior as a form of manipulation. By omitting pertinent information, he had removed my option to make an informed decision. He was fully aware that I wouldn’t have dated him had I known he was in a relationship, which is why he probably didn’t share that with me. I had made my decision to be with him based on the assumption that he was single because he was giving me all his time. While it was my job to ask, it was also his job to tell. Today I’d like to discuss normal behaviors present in relationships that are in fact manipulation.
3 Forms of Manipulation
- Omitting Information. Choosing not to tell the whole truth is just as bad as lying. Omitting information is often a behavior used to persuade or deceive an individual’s thinking.
- The Silent Treatment. Have you ever gotten into an argument with someone and they put you on the block list or Do Not Disturb for a day or two? Whether you know or not, this is manipulation. The person who is giving you the silent treatment has gained power and control by forcing to you silence your attempts at assertion. By doing this, they relieve themselves from having to take accountability or resolve conflict.
- Playing the Victim. We’ve all met those people who overdo the victimization game. These people refuse to take blame for anything and they are focused on what they feel others have done to them. Victimization is used to tap into and control the sympathy and emotions in others. This can also be used to justify a person’s abuse of others.
Each of these examples of manipulation can be seen day-to-day in our relationships with others. In 2019, I have made it my goal to live in transparency. I have dedicated myself to not imposing toxicity on others. While these acts of manipulation are small, they have great effect!