Behaviors exhibited by individuals intending to demean & devalue you can be considered red flags in manipulative relationships. Red flags can present in different forms in relationships, whether romantic or platonic. At times, you may sense these red flags, but there can also be silent red flags in a person that is manipulative.

Subtle or silent red flags are the result of inconsistency in your relationship. When the manipulator displays different types of behaviors, it can be difficult to pinpoint their actions. The manipulator could display a loving attitude one day and the next day can become distant or uncaring. This is a tactic often used to keep you from leaving a manipulative relationship.

In a manipulative relationship, the manipulator may use different tactics including emotional means of manipulation. The goal is to engage in acts that will be beneficial to them at your expense. Their intentions may not always be direct, leaving you confused and questioning yourself.

If you feel as if you are in a manipulative controlling relationship, this article will help you identify some of the characteristics of a manipulative person. It can also help you determine if you are unknowingly a manipulator. Presented are 10 red flags in a person that is manipulative.

Backhanded Compliments

Backhanded compliments are a red flag in a person that is manipulative

The compliments you receive from them are always attached to an insult. This play of words that manipulators use is a way to keep you confused. You are not entirely sure if they meant it the way you interpreted it, so you often just smile and thank them. 

Backhanded compliments are often unquestioned in romantic relationships because of the affection you have for your partner. The love you have for your partner might lead you to believe they will not intentionally hurt your feelings; therefore, you think they cannot say anything that can harm you emotionally.


Blame-shifting is a red flag in a person that is manipulative.

Just as the name indicates, this is a tactic employed by manipulators to make you feel guilty about something you did not do. They do not accept responsibility for their actions and will often blame you for their behavior. They can go as far as victimizing themselves in situations where they are at fault. 


signs of a manipulative relationship

In an emotionally manipulative relationship, the manipulator may employ this method to make you feel insecure about yourself. In a romantic relationship, the comparison could be to their past partners or a current friendship in their life. This is a tactic used to make you feel inferior.  


Discouragement is a red flag in a person that is manipulative

They are selfish individuals that want you in their lives to only provide favors for them. They will never support you in anything you do. Moreover, they will oftentimes plant negative ideas in your mind to discourage you from pursuing your dreams or anything that will elevate you. This is only a way to keep you depending on them, so they can continue to control you.

Downplaying Your Achievements

Nothing you ever do is good enough. Regardless of the amount of support you provide them, there is never reciprocity. Manipulators exert control and the thought of losing that control can become frightening to them. 

Additionally, they will often downplay your achievements to keep you in a dark place and make you feel below them. This tactic is to break you emotionally because you will feel as if nothing you do is enough.


Gaslighting is a red flag in a person that is manipulative

The manipulator will make you question your reality. This is a form of emotional abuse tactic that a manipulator may utilize. They will belittle your contributions to the relationship and refuse to accept responsibility for their wrongdoings. 

They will incorporate doubts in your mind and often lie or manipulate situations. If you feel dejected and often must apologize under different circumstances, you are most likely dealing with gaslighting.


red flags in a manipulative person

In this instance, the manipulator may magnify situations you were a part of to make you do something that will benefit them. Manipulative relationship signs of guilt-tripping include sarcastic comments, emphasis on everything they have done for you, and reminders of your past mistakes. They may also become distant in communication to guilt-trip you.

Highlighting Insecurities

A manipulative person may point out your insecurities

Manipulators will use your vulnerabilities to maintain control. They will utilize situations in which you’re frightened to further discourage you. They can also bring up your insecurities in public situations to embarrass you or make you feel bad about yourself.

Overly Interested 

The goal of this is to have you interested in their feelings as well, eventually making it only about them. In the beginning, you feel this experience to be bonding because they will ask you about all aspects of your life. This is a way to interject themselves into your life without being too suspicious.

If the course of the relationship only becomes about them with no regard for your feelings, you need to be attentive to their subsequent behaviors. In addition, they might use your secrets against you in the future.

Pushing Boundaries

breaking boundaries

They simply do not care for them or want to continue to engage in behaviors that oppose your boundaries. Boundaries establish respect and respecting your boundaries will translate into respecting you, which they do not. If your boundaries are in the way of their control over you, they will stop at nothing to continuously push your boundaries.