Am I Manipulative? (7 ways to tell)

In this brief guide, we will look at the question “Am I Manipulative?” and consider some characteristics of a manipulative person. We will also look at how to tell if you are manipulative or being manipulated, and how to deal with a manipulative person.

“Am I Manipulative?”: Ways to know for sure

One significant way in which you can tell if you are being manipulative is to assess your fights with other people, if you feel that you are always the one who ends up getting consoled or apologized to, or if you tend to “win” your arguments, you might be manipulating people.

Sometimes we may not know that we are being manipulative, but unintentionally we corner the other person into doing what we want or somehow assisting or humoring us.

This is something that you will only learn with time and real introspection, because a question like “Am I manipulative cannot be answered without looking inside oneself and considering all our flaws and problems.

To know if you are being manipulative you can also ask your close and loved ones, they can tell you best if they have ever felt that you were being manipulative or trying to get them to do your bidding somehow.

Sometimes we may not know what we are doing but the other people around us might, but they may not feel comfortable enough making an allegation that may well be baseless, in which case you asking for input might give someone the opportunity to help you out and speak up.

Asking someone “Am I manipulative?” is not a shameful or bad thing either, in fact whoever you are asking with be thrilled that you care enough to ask, and possibly change, and they will respect you greatly for considering their opinion and insight.

Another thing you might consider to find out if you are being manipulative is whether you feel people distancing from you or you feel that you are making your relationships go a certain way without much input from others, as this might be another signal that you are being manipulative without knowing it.

While there is no “Am I Manipulative” test, there are some online quizzes you might be able to take that will give you some idea of whether you are being a bad friend, family member or lover, and while these results must be taken with a grain of salt, they will still give you some idea of where to start or what else you need to read about manipulation.

Here is a good test to find out if you are being manipulative: Am I manipulative?

Am I Being Manipulated?

When you are with someone who knows what they are doing, you may find it hard to know if you are being manipulated, and one quick way to tell is if you are always the one apologizing or feeling like you are at fault, yes, you are being manipulated.

A major thing people tend to forget when they are in a relationship with a true manipulator, is that no one is always at fault, even if their partner or friend is making them believe they are, and if someone has to be apologizing the entire time while the other person acts like a victim, then they are most certainly being manipulated.

Another good way to tell if you are being manipulated is to check if you get heard enough in the relationship, if your opinions matter or if you get laughed at or dismissed, and if this is the case then it is possible that you are being manipulative.

It can be very hard to be in a relationship with someone who is narcissistic or antisocial or just has some other personality pathology, and them manipulating people is the biggest way they tend to get their self-esteem boost, without caring about what that does to the other person.

“Manipulation is an emotionally unhealthy psychological strategy used by people who are incapable of asking for what they want and need in a direct way,” Sharie Stines says, and she would know as she is a therapist from California who specializes particularly in abuse and toxic relationships. “People who are trying to manipulate others are trying to control others.”

She adds further, “When you are being manipulated by someone you are being psychologically coerced into doing something you probably don’t really want to do, You might feel scared to do it, obligated to do it, or guilty about not doing it.”

How to stop being Manipulative?

Here are some ways in which you can stop being Manipulative:

Improve your Self-Esteem

Most of the people who manipulate people do so because they have low self-esteem, as when you feel unworthy of love, you try to control and manipulate the other person to keep them around and make sure you keep receiving the love you are getting.

Here are some ways in which you can raise your self-esteem and your self-confidence:

  • Work out
  • Learn a new skill
  • Buy new clothes
  • Get a new haircut


Anxiety can be another reason why people start being manipulative, because anxiety involves fear, and fear causes the kind of negative thoughts that makes people want to control everything in their surroundings so that they can regain control and feel better.

Controlling your anxiety can be a great way to stop manipulating people without knowing it.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Control Your Jealousy

Just because you love your partner does not mean that yu need to be jealous all the time, and controlling your jealousy and bringing it under control can be a good way to stop manipulating them.

Here are some examples of the kind of jealousy that may lead to manipulation of the partner:

  • You want to know where your partner is, and who they’re with, all the time
  • You keep comparing yourself to people your partner previously dated
  • You try to control or limit your partner’s time spent with others
  • You want access to your partner’s phone and social media accounts

Take “No” for an Answer

Talking about or expressing your wishes known is fine, but when you stop listening to others at all and have problems every time someone says no, you need to stop, because you may be manipulating people with this attitude.

Recognize Manipulative Behavior and stop when it happens

Once you are more in touch with your behavior, you can recognize the signs of manipulation and check yourself before you manipulate someone.

Listen to the Other Person

Manipulators often only want to talk about and discuss goals and desires, so if you want to stop manipulating people, you need to start listening more, and this will tell you if you have the ability to care about other people properly.

How to deal with a Manipulative Person?

To deal with a manipulative person you may try any of the following tips:

  • Stand your ground when thy try to gaslight you.
  • Recognize the instances where they manipulate you and avoid them.
  • When they start talking sweetly to get something, refuse.
  • Work on your own self-confidence
  • Get a wider support system for yourself.
  • Tell them directly when they are being manipulative.
  • Get out of the situation.


In this brief guide, we looked at the question “Am I Manipulative?” and considered some characteristics of a manipulative person. We also looked at how to tell if you are manipulative or being manipulated, and how to deal with a manipulative person.

Manipulation can be a hallmark of many personality problems, and it is incredibly hard to deal with a manipulative person in an interpersonal relationship, especially a romantic one, because those are built primarily on trust.

If you are dealing with a manipulative person, or if you think you are manipulative, you can take strong steps towards making your situation better either way, and you can try to either be better or try to help the person be better.

In some cases, the person may be too abnormal or hurtful, and they may not really want to stop being manipulative, in which case they may make you question everything and even bring you to a point of asking “Am I Manipulative?”, which in itself is a manipulation.

If you have any questions or comments surrounding the question “Am I Manipulative?”, please feel free to reach out to us for further clarifications or even to share your experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Am I Manipulative?

What are the signs of a manipulative woman?

Here are some common signs of a manipulative woman:
She has a didactic or pedantic personality, and she may frequently try to be teaching you things.
She can make everything your fault.
She emotionally blackmails you in every fight
She has no qualms about using your weaknesses against you.
She makes most of the decisions around the house and rarely takes an opinion from others
She victimizes herself when she makes things your fault.
You get blamed for everything
She’ll never apologize, even when faced with her mistakes.

Can you be manipulative without knowing it?

Yes, in some cases you could be manipulative without knowing it, because some manipulative behaviors are so common, you could be engaging in emotional coercion and not know you are, but usually in these cases the person does not do too much harm because they don’t mean to.
Another thing with being manipulative without knowing it is people may find it easy to stop doing what they are doing when their manipulation is pointed out to them.

How do you outsmart a manipulator?

Here are some ways to outsmart a manipulator:
Try to avoid contact with the manipulator
Try to figure out when you are being manipulated if you do need to interact with them
Ignore someone who is manipulating you and focus on what you are doing
Set personal boundaries and don’t allow anyone to cross them
Set goals so you can notice when someone is trying to manipulate you away from them.
Assume responsibility for what you do.
Keep track of everything you are involved in.

How does a narcissist manipulate you?

A narcissist might manipulate you by trying to flatter you to gain control on your positive emotions that they may then use to build themselves up.
Narcissistic manipulation usually deals with emotions like shock, awe, and guilt to maintain control over the person they are manipulating.

What does Gaslighting mean?

Gaslighting is a means to get someone who is not at fault in a situation to start questioning their own reality, especially when the person doing the gaslighting is the one at fault.
Gaslighting is a technique that most manipulators use all the time to manipulate people, because this method makes the person stop questioning the motives and actions of the person gaslighting them.


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!