I’m like a total ninja at spotting manipulation these days.. I can feel it. So it was really confusing to feel manipulation when someone seemed to be caring for me. That’s because they didn’t truly care about what they claimed to.
It’s called FALSE CONCERN. This is what false concern sounds like:
“Well it’s your decision, I just worry about you.” -that is to make you doubt your ability to make a choice.
“If you love him I am happy for you. I just don’t want you hurt.” -to make you doubt yourself and your choice in a partner.
It’s like subtle disapproval and it can be so subtle that it’s hard to pin point exactly what it is that feels so slimy. It could also be an attempt to get a reaction out of you. In the examples I mentioned above, most people would defend their decisions and in doing so give out even more information. But that is exactly what the individual expressing false concern wants. In a situation where you are dealing with a highly manipulative, narcissistic type more information would just give them another angle… another way to try and discredit you and cause you to doubt your ability to choose for yourself.
If statements like these are made and you did not ask the person for their opinion, it’s likely manipulation. Especially if it comes right after excessive flattery.
“You are such a smart person and you are so pretty. You could have any guy you want. I just don’t want you to look up one day and regret staying with (insert name here).”
Manipulation is learned. If someone has done this to you, it’s possible that they grew up in an environment where manipulation was just how the members of their family got their needs met. Also, if you grew up being manipulated you are less likely to notice when it happens because it feels so familiar.
I don’t think every person who uses these tactics is 100% conscious of the manipulation but they do know they aren’t acting authentically. If they were they would either support your choices or say nothing.
Don’t take that shit from anyone. Call them out on it. Like:
“When you say things like that about my life choices it almost seems like you are trying to plant doubt in my mind. Maybe you didn’t realize that but from now on I would appreciate if you keep those thoughts to yourself. It makes me uncomfortable when you say things like that.”