This is great information and speaks directly to what happens during gaslighting, coping with narcissists and dealing with emotional abuse.  Credits are listed at the bottom of the article.

8 Ways to Protect Yourself From Emotional Manipulation

1. There is no use in trying to be honest with an emotional manipulator. You make a statement and it will be turned around. Example: I am really angry that you forgot my birthday. Response – “It makes me feel sad that you would think I would forget your birthday, I should have told you of the great personal stress I am facing at the moment – but you see I didn’t want to trouble you. You are right I should have put all this pain (don’t be surprised to see real tears at this point) aside and focused on your birthday. Sorry.” Even as you are hearing the words you get the creeped out sensation that they really do NOT mean they are sorry at all – but since they’ve said the words you’re pretty much left with nothing more to say. Either that or you suddenly find yourself babysitting their angst!! Under all circumstances if you feel this angle is being played – don’t capitulate! Do not care take – do not accept an apology that feels like bullshit. If it feels like bullshit – it probably is. Rule number one – if dealing with an emotional blackmailer TRUST your gut. TRUST your senses. Once an emotional manipulator finds a successful maneuver – it’s added to their hit list and you’ll be fed a steady diet of this shit.
2. An emotional manipulator is the picture of a willing helper. If you ask them to do something they will almost always agree – that is IF they didn’t volunteer to do it first. Then when you say, “ok thanks” – they make a bunch of heavy sighs, or other non verbal signs that let you know they don’t really want to do whatever said thing happens to be. When you tell them it doesn’t seem like they want to do whatever – they will turn it around and try to make it seem like OF COURSE they wanted to and how unreasonable you are. This is a form of crazy making – which is something emotional manipulators are very good at. Rule number two – If an emotional manipulator said YES – make them accountable for it. Do NOT buy into the sighs and subtleties – if they don’t want to do it – make them tell you it up front – or just put on the walk-man headphones and run a bath and leave them to their theater.
3. Crazy making – saying one thing and later assuring you they did not say it.If you find yourself in a relationship where you figure you should start keeping a log of what’s been said because you are beginning to question your own sanity –You are experiencing emotional manipulation. An emotional manipulator is an expert in turning things around, rationalizing, justifying and explaining things away. They can lie so smoothly that you can sit looking at black and they’ll call it white – and argue so persuasively that you begin to doubt your very senses. Over a period of time this is so insidious and eroding it can literally alter your sense of reality. WARNING: Emotional Manipulation is VERY Dangerous! It is very disconcerting for an emotional manipulator if you begin carrying a pad of paper and a pen and making notations during conversations. Feel free to let them know you just are feeling so “forgetful” these days that you want to record their words for posterity’s sake. The damndest thing about this is that having to do such a thing is a clear example for why you should be seriously thinking about removing yourself from range in the first place. If you’re toting a notebook to safeguard yourself – that ol’ bullshit meter should be flashing steady by now!
4. Guilt. Emotional manipulators are excellent guilt mongers. They can make you feel guilty for speaking up or not speaking up, for being emotional or not being emotional enough, for giving and caring, or for not giving and caring enough. Any thing is fair game and open to guilt with an emotional manipulator. Emotional manipulators seldom express their needs or desires openly – they get what they want through emotional manipulation. Guilt is not the only form of this but it is a potent one. Most of us are pretty conditioned to do whatever is necessary to reduce our feelings of guilt. Another powerful emotion that is used is sympathy. An emotional manipulator is a great victim. They inspire a profound sense of needing to support, care for and nurture. Emotional Manipulators seldom fight their own fights or do their own dirty work. The crazy thing is that when you do it for them (which they will never ask directly for), they may just turn around and say they certainly didn’t want or expect you to do anything! Try to make a point of not fighting other people’s battles, or doing their dirty work for them. A great line is “I have every confidence in your ability to work this out on your own” – check out the response and note the bullshit meter once again.

5. Emotional manipulators fight dirty. They don’t deal with things directly. They will talk around behind your back and eventually put others in the position of telling you what they would not say themselves. They are passive aggressive, meaning they find subtle ways of letting you know they are not happy little campers. They’ll tell you what they think you want to hear and then do a bunch of jerk off shit to undermine it. Example: “Of course I want you to go back to school honey and you know I’ll support you.” Then exam night you are sitting at the table and poker buddies show up, the kids are crying the t.v. blasting and the dog needs walking – all the while “Sweetie” is sitting on their ass looking at you blankly. Dare you call them on such behavior you are likely to hear, “well you can’t expect life to just stop because you have an exam can you honey?” Cry, scream or choke ‘em – only the last will have any long-term benefits and it’ll probably wind your butt in jail.
6. If you have a headache an emotional manipulator will have a brain tumor! No matter what your situation is the emotional manipulator has probably been there or is there now – but only ten times worse. It’s hard after a period of time to feel emotionally connected to an emotional manipulator because they have a way of de-railing conversations and putting the spotlight back on themselves. If you call them on this behavior they will likely become deeply wounded or very petulant and call you selfish – or claim that it is you who are always in the spotlight. The thing is that even tho you know this is not the case you are left with the impossible task of proving it. Don’t bother – TRUST your gut and walk away!
7. Emotional manipulators somehow have the ability to impact the emotional climate of those around them. When an emotional manipulator is sad or angry the very room thrums with it – it brings a deep instinctual response to find someway to equalize the emotional climate and the quickest route is by making the emotional manipulator feel better – fixing whatever is broken for them. Stick with this type of loser for too long and you will be so enmeshed and co-dependent you will forget you even have needs – let alone that you have just as much right to have your needs met.
8. Emotional manipulators have no sense of accountability. They take no responsibility for themselves or their behavior – it is always about what everyone else has “done to them”. One of the easiest ways to spot an emotional manipulator is that they often attempt to establish intimacy through the early sharing of deeply personal information that is generally of the “hook-you-in-and-make-you-sorry-for-me” variety. Initially you may perceive this type of person as very sensitive, emotionally open and maybe a little vulnerable. Believe me when I say that an emotional manipulator is about as vulnerable as a rabid pit bull, and there will always be a problem or a crisis to overcome.



Many people assume that being verbally/physically abused or cheated on is acceptable in society; in fact we hear about it on the news, see it in videos, and read about it in novels.  "He or she deserved it" , or "he or she was too sensitive".  The list goes on and on.

If you're out in public and made to feel less than who you are by a partner who claims to love you, that is abuse.  If you're smacked around, pushed, punched or attacked, that's assault and physical violence.  If you're unable to visit friends or family, or money is being withheld so your independence is gone, that's abuse.  If friends are being told lies and they now treat you differently, that's another example.  If any of these tactics sound familiar, or you feel unsafe, you are a victim of domestic violence.  Below is a true story of someone who has been through hell and back.  She's out of the relationship, thank goodness, but this is simply an excerpt of her life. 

If you've been watching this blog, you may have noticed the ongoing dialogue regarding my friend who hoped to save her marriage.  For the record, nothing she did was ever right, and things did finally end.

Her husband was scheduled to attend a class one morning and had been discussing it for the past 24 hours.  His class was located in the opposite direction of where they lived.  Meanwhile, my friend went to make a deposit at the bank, located in the opposite direction.  Imagine her surprise when she saw her husband drive past her.  She followed him back to their home where he stated he had forgotten some paperwork he had asked her to fill in for him earlier that day; clearly he didn't need this for the  "class".  She also realized that by now he was seriously late for this alleged class - this from a man who was previously serious about arriving everywhere on time.

He again left, going in the opposite direction, appearing to get to his destination.  My friend made her deposit at the bank, and once again, she ran into her husband in an area nowhere near where the class was supposed to be held, not was it anywhere near her job.  When he saw my friend, he laughed and said he was really just playing a game with her. Huh?  The bank is nowhere near her job, so how in the world could he have even known she'd be in that area?

As my friend was telling this story, I could feel the anger building up, that this man was blatantly lying, and that he did not respect her.  She was crying, hoping he would change and see the error of his ways and settle down into a committed relationship.  Or at the very least, admit to wanting to be single. Every time she questioned this man, he told her it "was no big deal", and that he wasn't doing anything wrong.  At one point he even started to get angry with her questions in an effort to control her behavior.

With support from those who believed in her, my friend has her life back.  She's working at a bank, has her own income and a nice place to live without the drama and degradation.  She's not ready to date and is comfortable with that decision.  She is just thrilled to be among the living.


  1. In my opinion he is hiding something, and his lies are obvious. Instead of getting angry at her questions, he should be reassuring her. I have seen this pattern, and behavior before, several times in fact. It never ends good. Your friend should start preparing for the relationship to end, unless by some miracle he does a 360' turn. Either way there are definite trust issues, and the relationship will never work out unless they are addressed. My heart is with her, and I hope things get better, or she moves on and be happy.

    1. I fear you're right, but the Christian part of me says for her to hold on and wait for that miracle of the 360 degreee turn. The rational part of me says, she's probablly fighting a losing battle. She'll be glad to know that others are in her corner, wishing her the best, and I thank you so much!


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  2. Hi, RO, How did this resolve itself?

    1. Hey right back! Unfortunately it continued to get worse, until somehow she gathered the courage to seek therapy, lost the weight she had gained due to depression, found a part time job and ended up leaving the state to start her life over again. What a blessing and thanks for checking! Hugs...

  3. That's great that she could turn around her life.

  4. We thought my sister's husband would change and gave him many excuses and justifications.

    In the end, he killed her.

    He. Gets. NO MORE excuses.


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  5. Hello RO, I'm one of your active followers but I'm using an alias because of shame. I put on the front that my home life is perfect but my husband is an emotional abuser and has been for years. I am currently in what I call punishment mode because I stood up for myself. He accused me of something completely false that he perceived, I tried to tell him it was wrong, he started an argument and now I'm 10 hours into the silent treatment.

    Are all men abusive? It seems that even from childhood, every experience I've had with a man has been questionable. It's like they are primitive and can only bang their clubs when they have an emotion.

    I don't know why I put up with it, but I'm embarrassed as hell to admit that I do put up with being called names (last night I was a bitch), ridiculed (told to "sell" my story to a movie producer when I try to gently approach him with a complaint), I've been told I have a persecution complex when I try to discuss our relationship issues, and humiliated, made fun of and told I was immature as he slams the door during a tantrum and ignores me for days. I walk on eggshells all the time and am very close to recording all of our conversations to prove him wrong, but I suspect he will say I manipulated the recording. He is THAT narcissistic and vindictive. I am that desperate to feel justice and not feel accused all the time. But then I come back down to reality and think "why bother?" I just decide to agree with everything he says to keep the peace.

    He's showing signs of physical anger to our pets. He gets impatient quickly and takes it out on them. When I brought it up that I don't like his harsh way of correcting them, he did his typical thing, turned it around and found something I did that was apparently worse. This was what I mentioned previously, that he made up and that he perceived. I really believe he's trying to make me feel crazy. He won't take responsibility for anything, everything is always someone else's fault and he's the constant victim, always asking me why bad things happen to him. Of course, I say nothing. All of his previous girlfriends were bitches too, abusing him and treating him like dirt, eventually breaking up with him under false pretenses. His last girlfriend, who he was with for a year, APPARENTLY broke up with him because his mother brainwashed her. She told the girlfriend that he had abused her and his sisters their entire lives and they often called the police on him. He said it was all a lie...but I am now wondering if it was true. He no longer speaks to his family so I won't try to find his mother to ask. I feel it's not worth it. He will always put himself on a perfection pedestel anyway.

    I happened to be pregnant last spring, but I decided on abortion because I couldn't imagine him being a loving father after the way he has treated our pets. I never told him and I don't regret it at all. I now take birth control secretly to make sure it won't happen again.

    He doesn't contribute financially or physically to our home. I am at the point of having to apologize for things I have never said or done, but God help me if the apology isn't sincere and meek, or I'll be continually stonewalled.

    Its exhausting. Thank you for letting me vent. I know that I will hit rock bottom at one point and want him to leave. Hopefully that will be before he shows signs of physical violence...which at this point I guess I'm in denial of. I really am starting to hate all men. I know I can't change him, I can only change me, but it makes me sick to my stomach that I'm allowing all of this to happen.

  6. I guess you might not read comments on old posts? I was told today after another big fight that I was an effing bitch. I walked away and he kept the verbal assault going. He then apologized for saying that and said that it will always be this way, nothing will change and the he's not going anywhere so either I put up with it or I tell him to get the eff out.

    I wish I had someone to talk to, I'm very isolated. I know the smart thing to do is realize I don't deserve abuse. I should ask him to leave, but I'm so weak. He's drained me emotionally.

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