Manipulative and Controlling People and some Control Tactics


control tactics of manipulative peopleSome people act as though they believe that there is not enough love in the world to go around. They act as though they need to make sure that they are getting all your love and no one else is getting any of it as though if you love anyone else these controlling people will “miss out” on some of your love.  In the past I put a lot of effort into trying to make these people feel like my love for them would never run out because I mistakenly believed that my love for them, could save them and if I could save them, they would love me back and that would save me.

And at the same time it seems as though these controlling and manipulative people also believe and go to great length to communicate, that if you love yourself, you will be spending your love allowance on yourself instead of on them. Heaven forbid that happens! This “don’t love yourself” concept is taught in tons of ways always with the threat of becoming a horrible selfish person if you do anything to nurture or acknowledge your own value.

They picked on the way that I dressed. They picked at the way I did my hair. They picked at me all the time to make sure that I was feeling bad about myself. To make sure that I was trying harder. To make sure that my self esteem was kept low. To make sure that I was always questioning myself and not questioning them. And all of it was presented as thought their judgement was “for my own good”. That this “picking at me” and criticizing me was going to make me a better person. This grooming started young. I was ready to listen to all new controllers and manipulators that came into my life when I entered my adult years.

We all know these people; they told me what to believe about other people. This is known as the “divide and conquer tactic” They warned me about certain people as though I was too stupid to make up my own mind. They turned me against my own siblings and picked at the character of my best friends. They discredited my co-workers. They insinuated that I was crazy and naive if I like someone they don’t like. They told me that I was “different” when I was around these other people making me believe that they were only concerned for my welfare, or my reputation.

But perhaps they have a different motive.

As long as I was questioning everyone else and hero worshiping and depending upon only “them” they had me where they wanted me.  As long as I was looking at myself and what was wrong with me, I would never look at the ones who were constantly picking at me! I would not listen to anyone who warned me about them, because I would not give any credit to all the people that they already discredited. I was so worried about all these “dangerous people” they were warning me about, that I never noticed that my oppressors, my CAPTORS were the ones that I needed to be afraid of in the first place.

It is easier for controllers to control if the object of their desire (ME) is discounting and suspicious; questioning all others including myself.

I think about this concept often. When I was coming out of the fog around the way that I had always been regarded as “nothing” and “no one important” I had this profound realization that the fear these people had was that if I realized my own value, I would simultaneously realize how PATHETIC they ~ the controllers and manipulators in my life were. If I realized that they were wrong about me, then I would see them for who they really are; controlling, manipulative evil and pathetic people. 

That was pretty much how it worked too. When the fog lifted and my eyes were opened ~ when I began to see things through the eyes of truth ~ that was pretty much the conclusion that I came to. Those people were pathetic. I was shocked and disgusted when I realize the tactics they used to accomplish their own control and manipulation over me. They were evil and manipulative ~ pathetic because their own self esteem was so low that they had to control me by insuring that my focus was always ON ME, believing that the problem WAS ME and making sure that I believed I was not smart enough on my own to realize who was good or bad aside from them. They were making sure that I never noticed the truth about “them”.

Today I have plenty of love to share and I don’t throw it away on people who only desire to own me for their own manipulative and controlling reasons.

Please share your thoughts. Emerging from Broken has a facebook page but this website and the comments here are NOT connected to that page. Your comments will not show up on facebook. Your identity is safe as long as you don’t use your full name in the comment form.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time,

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing


Related Posts ~ I vowed I would never be like my Mother 

Dealing with People who talk down to me

Controllers and Manipulative people don’t question themselves

Evil Manipulative People and Emotional Damage

71 response to "Manipulative and Controlling People and some Control Tactics"

  1. By: Cindy Posted: 30th November

    This is exactly what my son is going through with his “baby mama’s” family. They have convinced him I was a horrible mother, was never there for him, etc., when in truth, I was the only one there for him. When things went wrong, he came home to his mother. I supported him, encouraged him and praised him his entire life. They have managed to brainwash him into believing I’m the evil one, to the point we haven’t spoken in two years and my grandson is being kept from me. I pray every day that God will help him see the light and the truth of what this other family is doing to him. If the mental abuse they have him under isn’t enough, he went from a casual drinker with his friends to a DUI, jail time and rehab. I’m told all the time that he will eventually see the truth, but that doesn’t stop me from worrying about him constantly.

  2. By: Amber Posted: 8th January

    Irene, I too took all the criticism and altered myself to become more lovable. It didn’t work of course. As you said, it was impossible.

    Heather, yes, Mother Gothal for me too!

    Finally Free I second everything you wrote to Karen!

  3. By: Irene Posted: 8th January

    Wow, memories, smashed between the pages of my mind. lol It was a difficult existence. The constant picking, advising, critiquing. Me too, what I wore, the way I did my hair. Even the distance between my kneecaps when I sat down. Not only from my parents, but also from my older sibs. The truly pathetic thing about it was me. I would take it all in as consultation on what I could do to make them like me, love me. Now that I am older I realize that that what an impossiblity. They werent capable of Love. They loved the picking, advising, shaming, blaming, critiquing. And at our older ages, with Mom and Dad both gone, the game is still afoot. Only I no longer hung around to see what I should do next to get the love, support and approval that would never come. Thanks for the message Darlene

  4. By: Heather Posted: 8th January

    This reminds me of Tangled. (Sorry my daughter watched it all the time for years) But at the end when she says to Mother Gothal, “It was you all along. You were the one that I should have been afraid of.” It was a very profound moment for me. 🙂

  5. By: Amber Posted: 8th January

    Yikes Karen!! That astounds me that your mother said that to you and what a truth leak! Then she follows up with a campaign to belittle you when she realized that she hadn’t gotten the ” results” she wanted. Wow! My mother was a belittler too and probably had the same goals yours did but stopped short of commenting on my self esteem. She did however make nasty comments if my husband showed any feelings towards me in front of her, like putting his arm around me. I guess she didn’t love me and didn’t want anyone else to either. That’s a truth leak as well.

  6. By: FinallyFree Posted: 8th January

    Karen, I saw that you had put a comment here and after reading it, I was blown away! I am sorry that you were horribly treated like that…but so happy for you that you recognized what your mother was doing to you and that you have chosen to respect yourself and not take it any more! I also think you were extremely brave to have told her the truth…no matter how she chose to respond to that. What an empowering change you are making! 🙂

  7. By: Karen R Posted: 8th January

    I had a profound ah-ha moment concerning this recently. The event happened in 1994. When it happened I thought what??? but dismissed my gut feeling as I had been taught. I think it was what Darlene calls a truth leak. Having pulled myself out of clinical depression, I was now the office mgr of a small company. Having not seen mother in 2 yrs I picked her up at the airport. After 5 mins of conversation she turned to me out of the blue and said surprised…”you have self esteem”. I thought what???
    She has belittled and invalidated me all my life. But that comment was a realization to me that the abuse was deliberate. Premediated. A moth later she started calling me at work a couple times a week and belittling me to tears. Kept it up for 4 months ending with a Christmas cut down meant to show me what a nothing I am. I finally said to myself “no more.” Wrote her and said no more and clearly stated why. No response of course. I broke contact after that for 9 years til my Dad died. Resuming contact to her meant I was back in the fold. Day one she dismissed my feelings. No amount of modeling love and respect on my part made any difference. She chooses to belittle me. I choose now not to accept it and am now permanently no contact.
    My choice is to respect myself.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th January

      Holy Smokes Karen R. !
      This is a pretty profound realization and exactly how the whole thing goes!
      Thanks for sharing! AND YAY for your choice today!
      Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Marie Posted: 7th December

    This website is fantastic. I’m in separation mode sine summer. Very controlling, manipulating narcistic husband. The less I’m around him, the more I can see his tactics. The more I’ve come to realize life’s too short to be under the same roof with him. Pardon the following term…he invited me to watch a movie then treated me like it was actually booty call of which I left the scene. He’s mentally sick…heads up to all, pleas be safe and conscious of these people.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th December

      Hi Marie
      So glad you are here and welcome to EFB! Thank you for sharing,
      hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Sue Posted: 14th May

    Had booked marked this site a month or so ago. Today thought I should see what this about. Started reading & couldn’t stop till the last period of the last comment. I have been able to identify & correctly place 2 major issues that have been happening in my life. As well as see very clearly how my family I’ve created is a replica of my family of origin. I’ve been dealing with these disfunction’s for years as well as continually searching for their true source & identity so I could work on the authentic solution to getting this junk out of my life. So today, most unexpectedly, I have discovered what I have been looking for so long. All at once I have a concise understanding of all of “it” & the correct words to explain & absolute identity of who’s who as well as the effects these relationships have had on myself & others. Clear as day. It’s been impossible to address solutions to miserable problems that continually change & disguise themselves. I have been left feeling so many times that it has to be me. It was just to hard to look at my loved ones behavior as being able to cause me true harm & certainly wouldn’t choose to cause me harm. I don’t even have to think about that anymore. Now I have clarity & now I can find the clear & correct answers to solving problems in my life. I am full of hope again with renewed motivation & determination to be the person, women, mother, friend, enjoyable human I truly am. I know I have work to do yet I’m so excited to finally see how to get to where I so desperately want to be!!!! So to everyone here & all those on other sites & blogs who have bothered to share- thank you.

  10. By: Risé Posted: 19th May

    Karen ~

    I can so relate – this happened to me to with my mother. I was discounted and made to feel I was the one ‘not right in the head.’

    I was never allowed to express myself in wearing my hair the way I wanted or in wearing the styles of clothes I liked. I was ridiculed. My sisters got to ‘experiment’ this way, but for some reason I wasn’t allowed to because it wasn’t ‘acceptable’ in their eyes. And I wasn’t wanting to dress provocatively or anything, I guess you could class my style as more ‘artsy’ than anything – but I got made fun of for it.

    I too seemed pressured into measuring up to their level of perfection … thus creating for myself this idea that if I’m perfect then I will be accepted and loved. What a lie! And its been hard to let go – but as the years go by, it gets easier. No one should have to achieve perfection to be accepted and loved. Ever.

  11. By: Karen Ranes Posted: 19th May

    “that’s what I hate the worst – retreating into myself when I’m attacked and not saying anything. Even though I’m angry at the one abusing me I get so furious at myself for “letting them” do it. I have to remind myself that it’s not my fault that I was hurt. It’s their fault for hurting me.”

    That’s me to this day. But now I am thinking back to the many times this has happened and have played thru it in my mind in a better way. How should I have responded that was good for me rather than feeling
    crushed. How should I speak up to the person that disrespected me instead of cowering in silence.
    That way I will be ready to speak up when it happens. But boy it’s hard to speak up to family not because Im afraid, but the result is worse devaluation to my response. I get the “you took it the wrong way”,
    “i was joking” “you’re too sensitive”. Then If I say no I’m not, I get the raised eyebrows like “really” Huh.
    They want to keep me down and they have a systematic response when I speak up.
    My voice has been silenced. It has been ignored. It has been made fun of. I could never reconcile my
    actual life to the way I was viewed and treated by my family. I’ve always been viewed and treated as
    a failure. But I’m not. And I have struggled with the treatment for years and have never understood
    why being more talkative, active(scooter girl) , athletic, need I say colorful (pink hair) is truly “bad”.
    If you don’t exactly conform to their “perfection” you are “bad”. Anybody else struggle with their idea of perfect?

  12. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 26th February

    Hi Victoria
    These are excellent comments! I believe the the root of abuse is based in the misuse of power and control. I love your saying “he/she that “controls the truth” rules the world of others” YES great statement!
    I can really relate to you share… I was called a liar too, and sometimes a gentler form of the word such as “story teller” and “exaggerator” The confusion and self doubt was huge for me too. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: Victoria Posted: 26th February

    So much abuse seems to stem from power and control and from distorting truth and reality. Ergo, he/she that controls the “truth” rules the world of others.

    My mother was the manipulative controller. One of her tactics really undermined my understanding of reality was to constantly call me a liar. This was very confusing for me. Because I was so cowed and controlled by my mother, as a child I was certain she even knew my thoughts so I couldn’t conceive of actually lying to her. The effect of this was confusion, frustration, and ultimately self-doubt (I must have it all wrong). The thought “if my own mother doesn’t believe me and if I have it all wrong, who is going to believe me” became part of my belief system.

    I also believe that the parent does this for a couple of reasons: 1) to undermine the credibility of the abused child, 2) to ensure that the child constantly turns to the abusive parent for confirmation of what is “true” and 3) to avoid detection because no one will believe the child.

    I truly believe that abusers know exactly what they are doing–deliberate control and manipulation.

  14. By: Tamara Posted: 15th January

    You help me Mary when you say you were enticed back only to experience more pain worse pain. I have gone no contact and only connect with a younger brother now. I had a sister that I connected with until a New Years eve call – we have always had fun/real phone contact;etc. I found out later why she was so weird on the phone and not truly present. Momster was in the room and my sis did not tell me. We have been drifting for years but this sort of sealed the deal because her loyalty was to mean mom. I have more peace in my life w/out speaking to my parents. I will heed your “warning” and not be enticed back!! I’m not sure how to deal with my sister…

  15. By: mary Posted: 2nd January

    Oh don’t be so stupid! How many times I heard that. It was a standard statement no matter how minor or major an event or matter it was to me. It dumbed down any further discussion as it was mean to. Or don’t mind her she is over-reactive when I was a child and upset and crushed by them. Or “I can’t handle it!” when you wanted to ask about anything.
    I am changing the message to there was nothing stupid about my feelings, only those who refused to validate them at any time ever. I wasn’t overeacting I was reacting to over-abuse. From her “I can’t handle it” to I can handle the truth. From I was wrong to they were not right.
    I was never convinced of their lies gratefully, but I did waste energy trying to be understood at any level no matter how small. If you said one thing it was another, I could never get it right, not according to them. Now I care about getting it right for only myself and my children.
    My daughter said she never knew I had it so rough,she said she is beginning to put the pieces together. I never went into detail but I did teach her from birth who not to be alone with. She understands more now by my siblings and their actions since Mom died. They are in their own world and they shut me out of it, TG! They insisted my daughter’s family had to come to their xmas party. They did and were ignored the whole time they were there. I said yes that’s them. I could go a year without seeing them and it was like it I was invisible in a room with them. They talked over me and cared less about my input.
    I don’t miss anything about them. The only sister who was close and we shared insult, ridicule and a bedroom when we were little, jumped ship when she was blackmailed by the will if she didn’t co-operate and go along with writing me off too 17 years ago. I haven’t felt the commaradery since though I tried. I threw myself at our perps mercy for my siblings but they have forgotten. It will catch up with them when the money is gone and they are empty again. It is bound to. I feel sorry for them, not hatred. Hate only wore me down. I don’t know if it ever was hate. Shocked, flabbergasted, frustrated, hurt but I don’t think it was ever hate. I always had some hope not hate.
    Now that I am becoming freer I can see progress and my energy devoted to what matters and not wasting it on unfeeling people. I wish I followed my instincts that told me there was no use long ago.
    There was no hope of getting anywhere with them. I wish I could get that through to other survivors who are confronting the same thing and save them years of grief.
    Going through it in childhood is bad enough, but they make sure you have nothing left before you realize you need to release them. I wish I hadn’t wasted so much of my adult life and made the choice to break long ago. I did for ten years but was etitced back for even worse abuses from all of them. (Don’t make that mistake, if you go no contact make it stick, they will lie and beg to get you back where they want you!) But this is now and I want to make up for lost time. Love more those who are nearest and dearest and deserve all of me, my children and grandchildren. I am relevant in spite of what my abusers tried to make me think otherwise and I only need to prove it to myself and those who do matter.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd January

      Yay Mary,
      Great comments and great share. Love the determination at the end!
      Hugs, Darlene

  16. By: joy Posted: 30th December

    Hi Darlene..

    One of my New Year’s resolutions was to try to learn to discern about people, places, and things. I have not always made the right choices because most my life these things were done for me . I had no idea that it’s part of our human rights to choose or not to choose something.. I was raised to believe I had no rights and my life continued in a pattern where rights were not honored. So, this year I am going to work on learning to think for myself..and developing healthy habits that are good for me. Just because something is or is not good for someone else; doesn’t necessarily mean the same applies to me.

    Hope you are well.

    Love and prayers.


    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 30th December

      Hi Joy
      YAY for thinking for yourself! I was also raised to believe that I had no rights, and it was not the easiest false belief to break out of but it is possible! We all have choices.
      I am very well thank you,
      hugs, Darlene

  17. By: FoggedIn Posted: 29th December

    Darlene thanks that makes perfect sense re the name change and moderation 🙂 my pc has been slowly dying on me so I was sure it was my end playing up…you know ‘my fault’ – geez that’s so ingrained 🙁

    Ownership is right – that’s exactly how I felt, and no she wasn’t in the pics I chose to share, just me and my half siblings. And your question was right on and the blank was ‘scared’ – I’m 34, married and have an 8 yr old being scared sounds so dumb to me but even as I type this I fell anxious and my heart races.

    J – I think we have the same brat inside!!! Though my ideas of revenge and retribution always stay just fantasy – made me smile though thanks 🙂

    Robin yup I end up angry with myself too, come to think of it I know that’s a trained, conditioned response that actually just adds self abuse to the equation. So I might have not incurred her wrath by shutting up and retreating, do instead I beat myself up for it…I’m doing her dirty work for her!

    Thanks for the support everyone i feel I’m growing in strength quietly inside. So much so that in my first visit to my dad since I put him inside for molesting my son I’m going to tell him I want nothing further to do with him ever! This is a big step cos he was always my ally and we were great friends and the daughter in me misses her daddy. BUT I don’t believe Pedos can be rehabilitated and there’s no way I’m allowing him to be around my son ever again.
    Still despite myself that makes me cry – I was hanging onto getting answers to the why questions I have…I don’t care why anymore all I care about is safety! Given he’s told everyone he thinks ‘I’m great and over it all now’ tells me has little notion that what he’s done is unforgivable. Argh – if we really do ‘chose’ our parents then I must be se kind of sadist

  18. By: Robin Posted: 29th December

    Sherie, that’s what I hate the worst – retreating into myself when I’m attacked and not saying anything. Even though I’m angry at the one abusing me I get so furious at myself for “letting them” do it. I have to remind myself that it’s not my fault that I was hurt. It’s their fault for hurting me.

    I’m really sorry that your mom isn’t acknowleging what’s going on in her own family and is not giving you the support you need and deserve.


  19. By: J Posted: 29th December

    Hi Foggedin,

    seems to me there’s an argument to be made only if it’s a photo of the actual person you’re posting online (eg your mother).

    Hmmmm…. it also seems that the brat in ME is coming out now – I’m picturing posting pictures of your mother on your facebook! (For extra fireworks, use photoshop or something to “adjust” them first).

    (This is obviously not a helpful solution – meant as a joke. I often use humor for myself when thinking about these sort of difficult/annoying etc situations; hope you don’t mind!)

    PS I love the phrase “Mind blind” you used in one of your posts – sounds like a song title or something!

  20. By: Fogged In Posted: 28th December

    test testarooney – my comments don’t seem to be showing up anywhere…

    I’ll try once more with this: Feedback on whether this seems strange to others would be appreciated as I try to sort through my feelings and what I have a right to be upset about and what is just me being a selfish little sook….

    Recently I offered to repair my baby album. The pictures were all falling out as they were only stuck in with cheap cellotape folded over to act as double sided tape. I offered to remount every picture in the book for her so it would be good as new. I offered because I wanted to do soemthing nice and I wanted to sit with the pictures of my babyhood for a while with myself. I got a very long lecture about how special it was to her and that I was to treat it very carefully and take care of it…like what the heck did she think I was gonna do with it??

    Anyway a couple of the photos that weren’t stuck in were pictures of me as a toddler with my half sisters and brothers. I had only recently had them find me through facebook and I was very excited to have made the connection as were they. They had sent me a few photos of themselves as kids and I scanned a couple of the pictures of us all and posted them to a private album on facebook.

    MUM hit the roof! Those are my photos and they are precious to me. I am disappointed you shared those publicly. So I asked what I knew she wanted, do you want me to take them down. She said Yes. I was hurt and bewildered by this and couldn’t understand how photos of ME had all of a sudden become her sole property that I had no right to even just share! I finished reparing the album and promptly returned it. She thanked me ‘for respecting her request to take them down’ and followed up with the line “when I die you’ll get them then anyway”…

    Geez I don’t remember signing a model release to enable her to have exclusive rights to pictures of me?! argh crazy mean woman – but perhaps I am being a brat? Feedback would be great to help me figure that out…

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th December

      Hi FoggedIn
      When you changed your info, you went back into moderation. All first time comments are held in moderation ~ (one of the ways that I keep EFB safe) and then as soon as the comment form info is changed, I have to approve it again. All of your new comments are now published.
      This story about the photographs you found is a great example what I am talking about in this site. That extreem control. It’s more like ownership than love. I don’t think you are being a brat. Perhaps you could ask her what the probelm is with sharing pictures of yourself on FB?? (and the real work will be in asking yourself why the prospect of asking her that makes you feel _______ (fill in the blank)
      Hugs, Darlene

  21. By: Sherie Posted: 28th December

    Darn auto correct! I didn’t mean womanly I meant ‘so many’ lol

  22. By: Sherie Posted: 28th December

    Pennies dropping all over the place!!!!

    Robin this cut right through to me! “Appearance is everything to people who want admiration.They’re great at faking love but when a situation arises that requires the genuine article, they’re blind to it and don’t even understand that they should respond to it.” I’ve felt this womanly times that I avoid even bringing stuff up. I made the mistake of trying to talk with her about my first visit to my dad in jail next week and the impending parole hearing where I’ll be making an oral submission in support of him NOT being released. She dismissed it and changed the subject to a high profile child attack that happened in another city! Cricket I wanted to slap and shake her but instead felt completely unimportant and unheard – what about THIS thing going on in your own family with your only child and only grandchild. Evil, ignorant, uncaring bitch!

    Worse thing is I didn’t say anything I just retreated in side as per usual. I hate her

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.