Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Curly

      Replying to PMs

      Please note that you can not reply to a personal message by replying to the notification email. Recently admins have received some email responses to personal messages. This is because some members have replied to the notification email. You can not reply to a personal message via the email. What replying to the notification email does is send a copy of the original message and the reply to the admin email address. It does not send your reply to the person who sent you the message. The email notification of the personal message does request "PLEASE DO NOT REPLY DIRECTLY TO THIS EMAIL!"
    • Curly

      New Members and validating your account.

      New members registering please do not hesitate to contact our admin if you do not see a validation email within a few minutes of registering. Yahoo and some other email addresses tend to block the validation email and without this part of the process your account remains in limbo. Our admins are more than happy to help you complete the validation process should this automated system fail. We can be contacted via admin.our.place@gmail.com Please note that you may experience a delay between registering your account and validating before you are able to post as we do also manually process all registrations to keep this forum free of spam. Your account should be activated within 24 hours of you completing the validation process. Thank you.
Sign in to follow this  
Vanilli

'Nice' guys who are manipulative (is manipulation abuse?)

Recommended Posts

Vanilli

Hey everyone, 

 

After leaving my very abusive ex, who would say hurtful and unkind things. I was vulnerable and started 'dating' a guy who seemed a really sweet and nice guy. The thing is is that he was very manipulative. My best friend hates this guy and says he was worse than my overtly abusive ex because he was 'weasel' and pretended to be nice. To me, he was very nice, like he was kind and gentle. But, he did manipulate ALOT. Like I told him I never wanted to be in a relationship and after a couple of weeks he took me out for dinner, and then after we went back to his and were spending some time kissing, he then asked me to be his girlfriend and I felt kind of pressurised based on the situation. Throughout our relationship he'd always say things like "I've never been in a happier relationship", "I'd be so gutted if you ever left me" and he'd make sarcastic jokes and put downs when we were in front of other people, like little things that would make me feel bad or criticised but he was always very nice to me otherwise (I pointed this out and tried to break up with him about it but he seemed so fragile when I tried to do it, when I pointed out the critical thing, he stopped for a few weeks but then went back to his 'jokey put downs'). It's just hard because I always felt like he was nice but then people point out to me that he was manipulative. He went away on travels and I said I was thinking about dating other people and he said "you can do what you want but I'd be totally gutted". And before he came back, I told him I didn't want to be with him, I became closer to another guy (but made sure nothing develop romantically and limited that relationship because I wanted to talk to my ex about breaking up properly when he came back). While my ex was away, I told him I didn't really want to be together when he came back.

 

When he came back, he 'surprised' me on my Birthday and acted like everything was the same. I know it was weak and unassertive on my part not to speak my mind, but it was my Birthday and I felt super uncomfortable. We continued kind of seeing each other for a couple of months because I felt really trapped, I felt so, so guilty that I might hurt his feelings by breaking up with him, I would say I needed to talk to him and he would tell me that I was being 'really ominous' and kept saying how happy he was with me and would be so upset if I ever left. When I finally did break up with him, he sent me multiple 'love letters' (which my housemate told me were manipulative) and would ask to take me out for dinner. He then got upset with me and sent me a message saying "If I never contacted you, I feel like you'd never want to speak to me again" (well we are exes...). I was also a bit confused because I wasn't sure if I could go on to like the other guy I had been talking to why he was away (I never did anything inappropriate but I still feel plagued with guilt because I went on to have romantic feelings/briefy date this other guy later - towards the end of my 'relationship' with the manipulative guy this other guy told me that the few dates he went on with another girl didn't work out as she'd just come out of a bad relationship. For some reason that felt kind of awkward to me and I wasn't sure why, then I realise maybe I had a slight crush on him and went on to properly severe ties with the manipulative guy. Even though i never flirted/share anything intimate with this second guy, I have been super plagued by guilt because I realised that in the last couple of weeks I must have started to crush on him and i should have done more to try and prohibit that or just stop talking to him. I can't stop beating myself up for it - even though it's been a good two years or so since I parted ways with the manipulative guy. I feel so sad because I try to be 'good' and kind and i feel so sad that I have this area where I didn't act totally as I should, I'm struggling to forgive myself and beat myself up everyday). 

 

I also told the manipulative guy that I was abused by my step dad and he once said "if that happened to someone you'd look at the differently" (which upset me because I felt like he KNEW my history) - he later said that he never remembers saying that, 'not saying you are lying or anything' which I just felt like was a way to not take responsibility for it. I'm kind of struggling with this because I think he is a nice guy and everyone who knows him does too, I want to believe the best in him but I can't help but feel angry at him for the manipulation and disregard for my feelings so he could get what he wants, like I struggle because I feel like I'm quite empathic and didn't want to hurt him by leaving. I also think I have low self esteem and struggle to be assertive, I felt really weak having just come out of an abusive relationship. 

I contrast this to my VERY recent boyfriend, who is very kind. He never does anything manipulative, he says he just wants me to be happy (exactly like this slightly manipulative guy) but he actually follows through. Like I see him go out of his way to consider what makes me happy (and not just think about what he wants and on his terms, which is kind of like ex - like even to the point where if he wanted to hang out with his friends while I was there, he wouldn't consult me, he'd just invite them over, or he'd pick a TV show he wanted us to watch). I told my current BF I wanted to go and move somewhere for a new job, and I asked him how he felt. And he laughed and said "you're not my property, I just want you to be happy" and he encouraged me to go and do it. He put my happiness first. Like surely that is what 'love' is? It's being kind and considerate. And we both do that for each other everyday (while I can't be with him because we are incompatible for other reasons, it was just like never I'd felt before, someone who genuinely cared about me and my wellbeing - most other people in life never really have).

I just don't know. My friends say this guy was manipulative and I agree and I feel mad for that , but I remember lots of kind stuff too - I think he is good but maybe just misguided. But then maybe that's what I used to say about my abuser. Does manipulation automatically equal abuse? I just thought I knew what abuse was. And now i'm reconsidering that maybe abuse can come in lots of different forms, and I feel sad. I don't think this person ever met to be hurtful, maybe he just felt weak and powerless. He would never say anything as horrible and traumatic and cruel as my ex abuser did. But sometimes it's hard to tell. Can anyone relate? He's such a 'nice guy' everyone always said and I felt that way too. It just makes me feel a bit crazy, am I being rational or am I just seeing things/making things up/trying to feel better? Does anyone relate? Please advise? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bennu

I think that the nice manipulative guy was just a better abuser than the other one. A good abuser seems nice while he is manipulating you to serve his needs. Most successful abusers at least start out that way. Mine was very good. Later you see how they are entitled and manipulate to get what they think they deserve. And they think that they deserve everything while you deserve nothing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vanilli
Just now, Bennu said:

I think that the nice manipulative guy was just a better abuser than the other one. A good abuser seems nice while he is manipulating you to serve his needs. Most successful abusers at least start out that way. Mine was very good. Later you see how they are entitled and manipulate to get what they think they deserve. And they think that they deserve everything while you deserve nothing.

Thank you for your reply Bennu, it makes me sad to hear but I think that makes sense to me. Abuse does seem to be anything in which you give up someone else's happiness/exploit them for your own wellbeing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quaddie
3 hours ago, Vanilli said:

I felt really trapped, I felt so, so guilty that I might hurt his feelings by breaking up with him, I would say I needed to talk to him and he would tell me that I was being 'really ominous' and kept saying how happy he was with me and would be so upset if I ever left.

I only got this far before needing to quote this as being very telling. Totally manipulative. And yes, abuse is about control and manipulation - so yes, it's abuse. It can come wrapped in a soft shell or a razored armor, but it's all abuse.

3 hours ago, Vanilli said:

I have been super plagued by guilt because I realised that in the last couple of weeks I must have started to crush on him and i should have done more to try and prohibit that or just stop talking to him

i feel so sad that I have this area where I didn't act totally as I should, I'm struggling to forgive myself and beat myself up everyday

I mean - you're human. This was all totally natural and no reason to feel plagued by guilt. Nothing even happened "wrong" so you are kicking yourself just for a feeling. Does that sound like you are being kind to yourself? Are you supposed to be some sort of "perfect" super-human? Maybe try thinking about what standards of perfection you hold yourself to, and how reasonable and normal they are, and whether you are not allowing yourself to be just a normal human.

3 hours ago, Vanilli said:

I also told the manipulative guy that I was abused by my step dad and he once said "if that happened to someone you'd look at the differently" (which upset me because I felt like he KNEW my history) - he later said that he never remembers saying that, 'not saying you are lying or anything' which I just felt like was a way to not take responsibility for it. I'm kind of struggling with this because I think he is a nice guy

Someone who says these things is NOT a "nice guy." He may appear to be soft and kind, but inwardly he's not nice. I think separating what someone seems like on the outside and what they are showing of their inner selves is super-important. Manipulators very, very often have a false face. Almost always. My abusive ex-h seemed like the most passive person you'd ever, ever in your life meet - yet the relationship was very emotionally (and financially and otherwise) abusive. These are almost the worst because it's covert and more difficult to pinpoint and believe. So if your definition of a "nice guy" is that someone would say very awful things like this - who would manipulate you by guilt (oh he found that hot button for you, didn't he? It worked for him, and he used it and used it and used it when you tried to break up with him... He used guilt to manipulate you)... someone who would totally disrespect your wishes by refusing to leave you alone when you'd broken up with him? None of that is "nice guy." It doesn't matter if they seem kind or soft. 

Also, EVERYONE has the right to break up with anyone, for any reason. Guilting someone into not breaking up with you because it makes them feel bad ....  well c'mon.... think about it... If nobody ever broke up with anyone because breaking up is "wrong" because it hurts the other person's feelings, then nobody would ever break up with anyone, and everyone would just be stuck with the first person they went out with. People break up, it always hurts someone, and it's just normal life. So guilting someone into not breaking up with you because it hurts your feelings is extremely manipulative and extremely unhealthy, too. I mean, also think about this: if someone wants to break up with you, but they don't just because they don't want to hurt your feelings - what does that leave you with? That'd leave you in a relationship with someone who doesn't really want to be with you. Who wants that? Would you want to be in a relationship with someone who didn't want you? Nope, right? Because that's super-unhealthy and messed-up. So I think that, too, is an indication of just how messed-up he was.

3 hours ago, Vanilli said:

Like surely that is what 'love' is? It's being kind and considerate.

Yes, that's a great example of mature consideration and caring for the other person.

Anyway, you're not making things up or being irrational. Abuse has countless faces and presentations. It can look like violence and anger, or it can look like soft whispers that gently say, "Are you sure you want to go out looking like that? I don't want you to feel embarrassed."  (I'm remembering a former member whose partner abused by "loving, kind" whispers and soft suggestions.   Manipulation = abuse. Abuse is about control, no matter what package it comes in. 

I've experienced many different forms of abuse. They all come in different wrappings, but the driving force underneath is all the same: control.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vanilli
On 5/13/2018 at 8:34 PM, Quaddie said:

I only got this far before needing to quote this as being very telling. Totally manipulative. And yes, abuse is about control and manipulation - so yes, it's abuse. It can come wrapped in a soft shell or a razored armor, but it's all abuse.

I mean - you're human. This was all totally natural and no reason to feel plagued by guilt. Nothing even happened "wrong" so you are kicking yourself just for a feeling. Does that sound like you are being kind to yourself? Are you supposed to be some sort of "perfect" super-human? Maybe try thinking about what standards of perfection you hold yourself to, and how reasonable and normal they are, and whether you are not allowing yourself to be just a normal human.

Someone who says these things is NOT a "nice guy." He may appear to be soft and kind, but inwardly he's not nice. I think separating what someone seems like on the outside and what they are showing of their inner selves is super-important. Manipulators very, very often have a false face. Almost always. My abusive ex-h seemed like the most passive person you'd ever, ever in your life meet - yet the relationship was very emotionally (and financially and otherwise) abusive. These are almost the worst because it's covert and more difficult to pinpoint and believe. So if your definition of a "nice guy" is that someone would say very awful things like this - who would manipulate you by guilt (oh he found that hot button for you, didn't he? It worked for him, and he used it and used it and used it when you tried to break up with him... He used guilt to manipulate you)... someone who would totally disrespect your wishes by refusing to leave you alone when you'd broken up with him? None of that is "nice guy." It doesn't matter if they seem kind or soft. 

Also, EVERYONE has the right to break up with anyone, for any reason. Guilting someone into not breaking up with you because it makes them feel bad ....  well c'mon.... think about it... If nobody ever broke up with anyone because breaking up is "wrong" because it hurts the other person's feelings, then nobody would ever break up with anyone, and everyone would just be stuck with the first person they went out with. People break up, it always hurts someone, and it's just normal life. So guilting someone into not breaking up with you because it hurts your feelings is extremely manipulative and extremely unhealthy, too. I mean, also think about this: if someone wants to break up with you, but they don't just because they don't want to hurt your feelings - what does that leave you with? That'd leave you in a relationship with someone who doesn't really want to be with you. Who wants that? Would you want to be in a relationship with someone who didn't want you? Nope, right? Because that's super-unhealthy and messed-up. So I think that, too, is an indication of just how messed-up he was.

Yes, that's a great example of mature consideration and caring for the other person.

Anyway, you're not making things up or being irrational. Abuse has countless faces and presentations. It can look like violence and anger, or it can look like soft whispers that gently say, "Are you sure you want to go out looking like that? I don't want you to feel embarrassed."  (I'm remembering a former member whose partner abused by "loving, kind" whispers and soft suggestions.   Manipulation = abuse. Abuse is about control, no matter what package it comes in. 

I've experienced many different forms of abuse. They all come in different wrappings, but the driving force underneath is all the same: control.

 

Thanks so much for your wise sage advice Quaddie :). Your wisdom has really helped me think on things. I guess to me by ex was so cruelly and traumatically abusive that sometimes it's hard for me to label other 'abusive' or 'manipulative' behaviours as what they are. I guess you are so right, there are all kinds of abusive behaviour and it sits on a spectrum - it's not just the overtly cruel and sociopathic kind that my ex seemed to be. I think you're also right that I definitely hold myself to a very high moral standard and beat myself up a lot, I know it's not healthy even if a part of me feels I deserve it - thank you for your kind words on that. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×