Manipulation Tactics Used by Abusers

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Manipulation happens to us all. Whether it be in personal relationships, work relationships, and romantic relationships. You are not alone, which is why I included this video in starting this blog with Black Shadows’ personal experience in the situation. Manipulators come from all over, believer it or not, which many in denial will say that it doesn’t happen to them. Because the thought is too unbearable even to fathom. But the truth of the matter is, like I said, happens more often than you like to believe. As we get manipulated on a daily according to Pasadena Star-News in Robert Rector’s article “Statistics Can Be Manipulated to Prove Anything (” This says one thing, we have accepted manipulation as our everyday norm and way of living and surviving, especially in our daily lives.

From a visual perspective, if we see it. It must be real. Right? Well, one of the many tactics that many influencers use to stage a glamorous life. Is the act of directing their lavish lifestyles. Which is a form of visual manipulation that makes us wish we had the experience they made for themselves. But we want to for something that doesn’t even exist in the majority of many situations. Where many neglects to realize with the advancements of Photoshop and Reface, any one of us can be incriminated at any given time. But that is another conversation. But one thing you should keep in the back of your mind is that anyone with the resources can put you in a compromising situation through video and images, which is why everything that is made to be real must be questioned. Research is a must in this day and age.

The Goals of A Manipulative Abuser

According to Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT from, there are six goals that an abusive manipulator will strive for, which are the following

1. To avoid being confronted

2. To put you on the defensive

3. To make you doubt yourself and your perceptions

4. To hide their aggressive intent

5. To avoid responsibility

6. To not have to change

Which if you evaluate the situations you may have been in or are in, you will see that these are the everyday things that they strive for in their acts of manipulation. I will tell you a funny story regarding facing a narcissistic abuser. Part of re-evaluating the situation was that the guy had little man syndrome since I was 6’0 and he was 5’4. I attempted to date this guy, and well, obviously, it didn’t go well. Well, I ended up going over because he wanted to hang out, which I had no intention of, and made it clear nothing was going to happen. Of course, I took his word as he used many of the most manipulative abusers use (I will get in the next section of this blog). After he attempts for the third time, I told him to stop. He, of course, resulted in slut-shaming and got in my face trying to push me into having relations with him. He attempted to grab, and I pushed him, telling him that he needed to stop. Well, after the fourth attempt, I punched him in the face and body-slammed him, which resulted in victimized calling the cops on the way out and telling them what had happened. I waited in the car until they came and explained what happened. Ironically enough, he already had a few accounts of him doing this but had no proof to convict him. When the police arrived, he was questioned, not seeing I was behind police officers. Of course, he attempted to blame me but paused and stuttered, trying to convince me at that moment that it was a misunderstanding. The cop looked at me and said, “No, because I told him three times, and he attempted to get physical.” As I later found out, he was convicted of sexual assault to a minor (Which he neglected to tell me as he didn’t appear as such), got taken into custody, which is why never judge a book by a cover as this is the most instant way of manipulating someone. Dressing for success is the way these manipulators fool us every single day.

Tactics Used By Manipulators

One of the most common tactics I used where manipulators used to attempt to come into my life is the fear that people commonly have, which is “the fear of being alone.” This is why bandwagoning is often used as fears are used to get people to “see things their way,” which, if you think about it, is how discrimination came to exist. Where using speculation and stereotyping an entire demographic to cause fear that stems hate in that associated group. But how do we fall into these traps? According to Helena Knowlton from, here are the 26 Covert Abuse Tactics (

  1. Grooming/ Re-grooming – Grooming Grooming is a tactic of overcoming the survivor’s defenses by slowly desensitizing his or her natural reaction to abusive behaviors. (Grooming Grooming is a tactic of overcoming the survivor’s defenses by slowly desensitizing his or her natural reaction to abusive behaviors.)
  2. Gaslighting / Distorting Reality
  3. Confusion / Muddying the waters / Word twistingThey twist your words, and accuse—all while smiling and pretending to be your biggest supporters.”
  4. Playing the Victim – “Every time I had a complaint or wanted to discuss something that hurt my feelings or that he could do better, he would get his feelings hurt so badly. To the point that he would claim that he could never please me and that I didn’t appreciate the good things he did.”
  5. Accusing the Victim
  6. Hidden Blame Shifting / Guilt Tripping
  7. Subtle Putdowns/ Shaming
  8. Circular Conversations “He was messing with my head and spinning the truth into a lie to keep me off balance.”
  9. Diverting / Evading “He takes your focus off what he’s done by getting you to focus on some mistake you made and defending yourself.”
  10. Denying /Minimizing / Rationalizing
  11. Induced Helplessness
  12. Rewriting History They will drive you insane with their version of history.”
  13. Lying by Omission “They subtly lies by leaving things out or distorting how they happened.”
  14. False Remorse and False Apologies
  15. Punishing / Silent Treatment
  16. Covert Control “They undermine your attempts to have your own life in subtle ways- by not encouraging you, by making scheduling difficult, by criticizing someone else who does what the survivor is doing, by making family visits miserable by being grumpy, and other ways.”
  17. Isolation
  18. Covert Intimidation through Fear Mongering
  19. Sabotage
  20. Intermittent Reinforcement“It’s like living on a roller coaster. It’s like going on a train journey and never knowing which stop you are going to get off – is it going to be a nice stop? or a bad stop? And it’s like that every day basically. You don’t know how the day is going to start. And you don’t know how the day is going to end.”
  21. Covert Physical Aggression
  22. Accusations
  23. Fake Empathy
  24. Image Management “He not only fooled me but also mutual friends in our small, close knit community to the point that many of them thought I was a nut case/liar and drama queen.”
  25. Smear Campaign “He’ll smear your character to people he knows he can convince, including your own family, friends or co-workers. He does this subtly, often under the guise of “concern” for you, implying that you are unstable, untrustworthy, deluded, and even abusive.”

The Harsh Reality

The truth of the matter is that in many of these cases, the abused become the abuse as this is a learned condition gained in these situations. When people use this as a defensive mechanism against me, I realize that they are survivors of abusive relationships, whether through childhood or adulthood, as the internalized issues that they deny as they attempt to lie to themselves that these events never occurred. And for a good reason. Many people who have been abused don’t want to admit to it as the shame of being an abused person makes people victimize those coping with it. Having others who have been used and are in denial deflect their reality, saying that they are “damage.” In many cases, the conditioned behavior gets encouraged as that bandwagoning will reassure that malicious behavior and act on that behavior. And as Human Psychology says that deflection is a reflection of someone’s experience. It just comes to prove that we all have been abused in one way, shape, or form in our life. Where those who overcome the abuse they experienced break the shame and find solitude and happiness. Which comes the next attempt of shame when those are inflicted with severe pain “What are you taking?” Well, the answer is simple. Nothing. Because I broke free by resolving the problems from the past that use to haunt me. And realizing I am scarier than my demons as I will confront every single monster that attempts to get in my way.


There comes a time when you get tired of lying to yourself. Either two things occur. You end up wanting to resolve those pains. Or you choose to be a bitter person. That’s a personal choice that you have to make for yourself. But the truth is, there is only so far denial can take you. The repercussions of this is a sense of emptiness and loneliness. Where nothing seems like it’s never enough, holding those pains makes us into people we don’t want to be, I feel. But the truth of the matter is, what are you willing to do to erase that pain from the past. Face your demons that, in my journey, realized are not as scary as I perceived them to be. Where for once in your life, you feel liberated, free, and accomplished. Realizing that the things that were holding you back were what others made you believe in their actions that inflicted your trauma. Or the ugly truth, are you going to allow yourself to become your abuser. If you look at your behavioral pattern, you do the same things your abusers inflicted on you.


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Published by Frieda Lopez at Frieda the Writer

Frieda López is the writer for Journey of an Unraveled Road who was born and raised in San Antonio, TX. Through her professional career in Customer Relations and Retail Management, she has utilized her experience and interactions with the behavioral patterns, which was used to start her personal journey with Journey of A Unraveled Road as her debut novel. She has completed philosophy, psychology, and theology courses at San Antonio College as well as creative writing courses. Frieda López has been a lifelong writer since 2nd grade. A survivor of childhood trauma, childhood abuse, and domestic violence, she wrote this piece, which started this book as her personal journey; works from home in San Antonio, TX.

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