Gaslighting: 10 Tips on How to Spot Manipulative & Emotionally Abusive People

We all come across certain people in our lives that are difficult to categorize as either friends or foes. They appear to be friendly, but their behaviours are often in contradiction with what they present themselves to be. We are never sure of what their intentions are.

You know something is wrong, but you can't point it out. You will find Manipulative people using your weaknesses against. Ironically, you will be the one getting the blame for toxic behaviour.

Fortunately, these people share some things in common that makes it easier to recognize them. Let's take a look at the top 10 ways that will help you identify manipulative and emotionally abusive people.

1. Gaslighting

"That did not happen", "You probably imagined it", "Are you thinking straight?" If you find yourself often being blamed for one or all of these three things. Then chances are you are being gaslighted.

Gaslighting is among the most common ploys of Manipulators. The purpose of gaslighting is to induce doubts about yourself. Manipulators are experts at making others believe that there is something wrong with themselves. If the person is question makes you doubt your own reality, then you're being gaslighted by a manipulator.

2. Playing Innocent

If you ever confront them about their deeds and misbehaviours, they will act as if nothing ever happened. Instead, you will find them explaining to you how they never meant any harmful intentions. And if something ever happened, they were not to blame for.

No matter how resistantly you try to pry, you will never get a confession out of them. They will try to behave as if the problem was not even there to begin with and that "you are thinking things too much". They will never take the blame and always play the victim.

3. It's Always About Them

They present themselves to be extremely self-confident. But you will often find them talking excessively about themselves and seeking attention. Even if you start a subject on yourself, they will find some way to shift the conversation back to them.

The sole intention of their conversation or even the whole relationship is to get admiration for themselves and fulfil personal gains. You will often find them bragging and exerting a superior sense of accomplishments over you.

4. They Are Always Right

Fighting them seems like a useless task. They never accept that they were wrong. Instead, they will turn the conversation towards teaching you how you are wrong, and they are right.

They will never excuse, no matter how hard it was on you. They never had any part in the issue to begin with. You will be frustrated at how much rigid they are. But you will never hear an apology from them.

5. They Constantly Pick on You

They are hurtful without ever being literal. Narcissists are well aware of other people's weaknesses. They will irritate you through different ways without ever being direct hostile. A manipulator will make an offensive joke in such a way that you will feel hurt, but it was disguised in the form of a joke. So, you cannot point it out to them.

They will weave mean comments in a conversation. You will feel the harm, but it will never be direct enough to confront them. They will poke fun at your insecurities and try to make you feel bad, while at the same time they will appear to be friendly.

6. They Generalize their Behaviour

Emotionally abusive people will make it seem as if their words and actions are "Not a big deal" They will make you feel as if you are overly sensitive and too emotional. Ironically, they are the ones that are making a big drama out of everything. But, like other characteristics, it’s never them who are at fault.

If they are confronted and see no way out, they will rationalize their behaviour and try to present things as if they never had any other choice. In either case, their response was utterly perfect, and there was nothing wrong with it.

7. They Lack Empathy

Manipulators and narcissists are devoid of any empathy. They cannot think from someone else's point of view and thus, cannot feel how others feel. Even if you are experiencing a hard phase in life, they won't hesitate to exploit you for personal gains and even for some attention.

You will often see them insulting others and showing no interest in the problems of other people. Their life is all about no one else but them. They will get bored when you express your problems and will soon change the subject to themselves because they do not merely understand other people's emotions.

8. Isolate and Divide

If you are one of their victims, they will try to cut you off from the rest of the people and any potential support. They will fill your ears about other people, and in doing so, will limit your interactions with your friends and family.

The more isolated and distanced you are, the easier it is for them to control and manipulate you. They will present themselves as the ultimate saviours who you can trust and rely on. Once they have your trust, they will manipulate you into leaving others who might help you see the manipulator's true identity.

9. They Don't Have Many Friends

You won't find them ever recalling any long-term best friends. Digging deeper into their connections, you will see that the friends they mention are often acquaintances or colleagues they trash talk to.

Also, according to them, the people with whom they broke their relationships were extraordinarily evil. Everyone except them is full of flaws. Whenever they recall stories of previous relationships, they were the victims, and the other party was always corrupt.

10. If You Try To Break Off the Relationship, They panic

If you try to leave them or stop giving attention, they will become charming and extra loving for some time. They will act as if they have changed. But as soon as you get back into the relationship, they will go back to being cruel and manipulative.

Narcissists and manipulative people are obsessed with power and control. When you try to leave the, they see it as a form of disrespect and defeat. And if you finally, decide to leave, they will lash out on you. They will try their best to damage you emotionally. They might even start instantly dating someone else just to make you feel jealous.


Manipulative and emotionally Abusive people can make our life much harder than it needs to be. Their way of thinking and perceiving the world is very different from healthy people. The points discussed above will help you quickly identify manipulative people. In such cases, the best approach is leaving the relationship altogether because Manipulative people rarely change. Instead of wasting time and effort on them, it’s better to be with people that are your well-wishers and bring joy into your life.

The International Psychology Clinic: Private Psychologists in London

The International Psychology Clinic: Private Psychologists in London

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