We are all more or less, emotionally manipulated by others, or wrapped around their fingers. But, on the other hand, we also know exactly how it works to achieve something the other one does not really want. We already knew how to do this when we were small. Think back to the time when you were a little girl. I am sure you knew what to do to get another ice-cream, or stay out longer in the evening.

Back then you unconsciously used mechanisms which were so effective that adults surrendered to your wishes. It is all the more surprising then that we do not notice as adults when someone tries to force their will upon us. This happens so subtly that we can only see it afterwards (if at all).


It is one thing to captivate one’s father with a small girl’s charm until we get what we want. But once we are grown up, we are never satisfied. Then it is not about chocolate, but about putting pressure on somebody else.

Emotional manipulation is a slow process which we are not aware of at the beginning. Only when we start to feel uncomfortable because others intimidate us with their tears, screams or by withholding their love, do we notice that there is something wrong. Exactly: we think there is something wrong with US. But in reality the problem lies in the others.

The weaker one’s self-esteem, the easier it is to manipulate us, the more we feel guilty if we do not meet the other one’s expectations. And the harder we try to make everything better in order not to disappoint the other one.


There are clear signs and hints that show someone is manipulating you; and sometimes this manipulation can happen subconsciously. It is often a manipulation pattern which we have seen from our parents and copied. It used to be normal and, therefore, we did not think about it.

It is well established that we women are more easily manipulated than men. Over centuries women were at the mercy of social pressure and the moods of their male companions. They did not dare to neglect the claims of the male dominated society. Although in the 21st century we have discovered the old patterns and feel equal, we still fall back into the innate or acquired behaviour patterns of our mothers and grandmothers. This might be based on the fact that at the genetic level these behaviour patterns have been passed on through generations of women. And on the energetic level through the morphologic field.


Now we come to the six typical characteristics of emotional manipulation which are all connected:

  • You are faced with demands which are at the beginning quite subtly put, for example, “I could borrow your car, couldn’t I?”
  • First you show some resistance or say NO. It might sound like this, “I don’t want to lend my car, not to anybody!”
  • The NO is not accepted and so pressure is put on you. It may sound like this, “You do love me, don’t you? Why can’t I use your car?”
  • If this does not help, the pressure is increased and, subsequently turns into a threat. In our case it might be, “If you refuse such a tiny thing like lending your car, I feel forced to think about finishing our relationship!”
  • Depending on the personality, there is either an end to putting pressure on, and the manipulator has to realize he can’t get any further, or, the next round starts. The victim can’t see any possibility other than giving in. “Well, if you really think so, then take the car. I want to have a harmonious relationship. This is the most important thing for me.”
  • Giving in lays the foundation of repeating the manipulation. If the manipulated person does not do anything against it, this situation is repeated in different areas of life. This goes on until the victim changes behaviour, forcing the manipulator to change his manipulative behaviour pattern. Maybe the relationship is even ended.

In one of my next blog from this series I will describe how to recognize people who successfully keep manipulating others.

Forward, Susan; Frazier, Donna: Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You

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