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15 Signs Someone Is a Master of Mental Manipulation

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12. The Shift the Blame to You and Others

Manipulative people often have narcissistic personalities and view themselves as superior to others. If anything goes wrong in their lives, it’s always somebody else’s fault. In a toxic relationship, they will shift the blame to you to make themselves look better.

According to an article published by PlosOne, blame-shifting is a way for toxic people to assert control. It’s often done in the guise of an apology, but it’s quickly turned around on you. For example: “I’m sorry I lost my temper and said those horrible things, but if you didn’t press all my buttons, this would never happen.”

13. They Play the Martyr

A manipulative person in your life may play on your sympathies. They’ll often exaggerate any problems or challenges to make you feel guilty. You’re always the big bad wolf, and they’re the innocent lamb.

The martyr depends on using guilt trips, so you’ll do what they want.

You’re a good person and don’t want to hurt them. The whole time it’s you who is being hurt, not them.

14. They Pretend to be Ignorant

“Oh, did what I said the other day hurt you? I’m sorry, I had no idea you were so sensitive.” Faked ignorance is manipulation that’s often connected to twisted apologies. Their façade of innocence is a stall tactic that makes you uncomfortable and gives in to their control.

It’s also a devious ploy to cover any of their mistakes or shortcomings. They’ll say they don’t understand, and you weren’t clear about your feelings. They know what they’re doing, and their ignorance is manipulative, not bliss.

15. They Make It All About Them

A narcissistic partner, friend, or family member may be deluded that they’re superior to you, but they still want you in their lives. You’re the subject for their blame-shifting, and you’ll be the captive audience for their haughty boasts.


No matter what you’ve seen or done, they’ve done better. They can magically turn the conversation back to them regardless of the topic. These people manipulate you for constant validation, and they don’t have time for your thoughts or needs.

Final Thoughts on Mental Manipulation

Whether it’s physical, verbal, or emotional, manipulation is abuse. A person who uses words and actions to cause mental anguish is toxic, and you deserve better. Reclaim control in your life and make your exit with your head held high.

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