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I am manipulative in my relationship...
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An_247827 posted:
Alright, It is not really the most comforting thing that I can admit this but it is probably a good thing..

Here is the scenario, I have been in an amazing relationship for 2 years now with easily the most trusting loyal down to earth person I have ever met. In the past couple months things have been rocky fights ect, almost to the point of breaking up.. recently she told me I was controlling which I denied because I am not jealous and I trust her. When I got to thinking of it though in a previous relationship my gf mentioned I was manipulative. I googled it and read up on manipulation... well... it sounds like me to a "T" minus the anger part.
So now I am stuck, obviously that is not a good trait and I really didnt think I was being manipulative. She does not deserve it and we really want to have a future together. A. How do I change? B. Is it something I can break as a bad habit or is this permanent and have to work on the rest of my life?

I love this girl and would spend the rest of my life with her, but I know if what I am doing continues it will end, the hard part is I dont even realize I am doing it. Luckly she is willing to try and make things work. I did not tell he about me thinking I am manipulative cause I dont want it to scare her away(definitions and blogs online wouldnt be very reassuring to stay in a relationship lol)...help would be awesome..
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD responded:
It would help if you give us some examples of you being manipulative. In the meantime, she would most likely appreciate you telling her that you have thought about what she said and have come to realize that you are controlling (this is part of what you mean by being manipulative, right?). Be specific and clearly take responsibility. Tell her how it affects you to have hurt her as you have (e.g. sad) - be genuine. Tell her you plan to do things differently, but know that this won't go perfectly well. Invite her to tell you when she thinks you are being controlling so that you can work on this. Then you will need to respect when she gives you this feedback - think about what she says, take responsibility when appropriate, apologize, and work on doing things better.

I hope this helps you to at least get off to a good start.
 
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SisA1 responded:
how are things for you now? I know its been a few months but I
found out the same thing..like today.

I found out a few things that helped me on my way hopefully they will benefit others looking at this post.

Firstly, admit it to your wife, or say you suspect you are and
if she could help support you to change in your arguments.
Something my husband's been doing which eventually led me to realise my behaviour was to point out my 'unfair' behaviours in arguments to the point where I couldnt utilise any of the strategies to get my way. Ask your spouse not to reinforce your behaviour or eventually 'give in' but to support you in showing you directly where you're wrong, a simple statement such as 'you do not need to make your point in this way and so on' or simply refusing to communicate with you until you can both have a reasonable conversation will help change this.
If i had a tantrum my husband would ignore it, if I tried to guilt trip it wouldn't work, and so on, until I was forced to speak to him reasonably. Sounds like working with a child, but to be honest, I needed it to change.

changing my wording in an argument really helped me too, whenever I found myself trying to be dramatic or making up a phrase in my head to throw at him, I stop, ask myself, ''what do I really want to say?, what do I want to achieve?'' and change the wording to something fairer that doesn't involve blackmail to get my point across.

admitting your straight up wrong at times, sometimes I start an argument thinking I was justified in complaining about something but really it's in the self absorbed belief that I should always get what I want from my spouse and if he doesnt do that, he 'doesnt care' or other lame excuses like that. Then I realise maybe Im just over reacting and really Im wrong for even making it an issue. admitting your wrong can be hard but since you sound like you really want to stay with her, as I want to stay with my husband it's worth not always getting your way or even realising they are human beings with their own wants and desires and are not there to obey and give into what you want them to do all the time (for the readers: manipulation is based on using blackmail to make others do what you wish).

from the last part, realising they must want and need things different to you at times and that doesn't make them wrong/notlove you/bad/whatever else we may say and sticking to this, using this to check our behaviours BEFORE we make the leap to start a conflict or manipulation strategy.

I'm glad I've realised now and can work on changing it, I think the fact that we want to stay in these relationships means the cost of losing them to our manipulation means more to us, so eventually we'll change to keep them.

Wish you all the best out there,
 
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rohvannyn replied to SisA1's response:
It's so very helpful to read the thoughts of people who have problems and actively want to fix them. I have my own issues which I need to work on, and I am all too comfortable with blaming my partner, so it is heartening to see that there are people with the courage to work on themselves as well. Thank you for being out there and for sharing. It's a good example to me and a needed bit of inspiration.
Roh

'Your focus determines your reality.' --QGJ
 
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to SisA1's response:
Thank you for sharing your efforts (and success) at changing personally and in your relationship. It takes courage both to take the steps you explain here and to share them with others. So, again, thanks.


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