- Manipulative people are masters of smoke and mirrors.
- Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock
Manipulative people can be found in every walk of life. You might meet them at work where they take credit for your achievements, or in social situations where they are controlling, demanding, and even abusive.
Knowing the right words to deal with these people can give you the strength to stand up to them or walk away. In the cases of romantic relationships, manipulation is probably a sign of an abusive relationship, so the best thing to do is to run fast and far away.
Once equipped with the terms, it can be easier to see manipulative people for who they really are, and you can gain the strength to walk away.
Here are 9 phrases you should know if you think someone is manipulating you, and what they mean.
- Manipulative people always have an eye on their victim.
- OlegKovalevichh / Shutterstock
In the first stages of a romantic relationship, it’s normal to feel butterflies, and want to know what your new partner is doing all the time. However, if the person you’re starting to be intimate with is manipulative then their affection and attention could be love bombing.
Lisa Aronson Fontes is a psychology researcher at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and author of “Invisible Chains: Overcoming Coercive Control in Your Intimate Relationship.” She told Business Insider that if your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to be in constant contact with you, it could be a warning sign. In fact, constant texts and phone calls can be a form of stalking.
Not replying to the barrage of messages may end with you being on the receiving end of your partner’s wrath, which is a huge red flag. You deserve your space, and anyone worth your time will know and respect this.
2. Object constancy
- They don’t have any empathy.
Everybody falls out sometimes, especially in romantic relationships. However, the level to which manipulative people like narcissists get angry with their significant others is beyond what is acceptable.
Those with personality disorders like narcissism lack something called “object constancy,” which is the ability to keep your positive feelings about someone whilst also being angry, annoyed, or disappointed in them.
When they hurl insults and scream at their partner, narcissists don’t feel any of the affectionate feelings they once had. That’s why they can seem like a completely different person in these moments, like Jekyll and Hyde. Their reaction is so powerful it can make the victim feel as though they must be in the wrong, which means they start altering their behaviour to make their controlling partner happy.
3. Moth to a flame
- They will appear very attractive.
Contrary to popular belief, manipulative people often seek out those who are strong and confident to prey on, because it makes them feel superior. Targeting vulnerable people doesn’t make them feel powerful, so they will often go after you because they see the positives in you – like a moth to a flame.
If someone is manipulating you at work, it’s probably because they see your skills and they want to look like they’re even more skilled than you. In a relationship, they want other people to know that someone as great as you has chosen to be with them. It’s only behind the scenes that they start to bring you down, because that way they can start to break your confidence. Lower self-esteem makes it more likely you’ll stick with a controlling partner, because you may feel like it’s what you deserve.
4. Flipping the script
- All is not what it seems.
- frankie’s / Shutterstock
Manipulative people are masters of smoke and mirrors. If you are their target, they will have intensely studied you, and will know all of your strengths and weaknesses.
These are the tools they need to know how to wind you up. Often, they will also accuse you of the very things they have done themselves. For example, if they have cheated on you, they may accuse you of being unfaithful. If they are constantly cancelling your plans, they might tell you you’re guilty of not giving them any freedom.
Confusing their partner and making them emotional makes manipulative people feel victorious.
Ultimately, to a manipulator, everything is a game. The only way to get out of the game is to leave the relationship and establish no contact. In a work environment, you have to learn to not hold them accountable or to expect apologies. When they learn they can’t rile you up, they will move on.
- Prepare for reality to warp.
- Shutterstock / Antonio Guillem
The term “gaslighting” was coined from the 1944 film “Gaslight” where a man controls and tricks his wife into believing she is losing her mind. Nowadays it is a term to describe how manipulative people gain power over someone else by making them feel like they are going crazy.
Manipulators lie, make things up that never happened, but say things in such a convincing way and with such conviction, that their victims end up believing it is the truth.
It happens slowly, a small lie here and there, so the victim doesn’t see the bigger deceptions coming. It’s like the “frog in the saucepan” analogy – the water in the pan is heated up slowly so the frog doesn’t realise it is starting to boil to death.
- You may live in fear.
- Dusan Petkovic / Shutterstock
Beyond gaslighting is something called “perspecticide.” This happens when the manipulative person has made someone believe so many things that aren’t true, they no longer know what is real.
When this happens in romantic relationships, the victim is effectively a prisoner in their own life, not being allowed to do anything or even think on their own terms. The controlling partner may cut off resources like money, a phone, or transport to make sure the victim cannot do anything for themselves.
Even things like their own beliefs and religion are compromised, because the victim lives in total fear of putting a step out of line all the time.
7. Trauma bonding
- Getting away will be tough.
- Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock
From the outside, people may look into abusive relationships and wonder how the victim stuck around for so long. One of the answers is something called “trauma bonding.”
Manipulative, abusive people tend to be cruel to their partners, and hurl insults at them. They sometimes are also physically violent. However, they didn’t start off this way when they were reeling in their victim.
Manipulators also give their partners intermittent periods of love and compliments to get them to stick around. These moments are given when the partner has “behaved” or has done something right. It’s a way of being conditioned, and the victim gets biologically addicted to the emotional push and pull.
“You have this back and forth, and the body becomes addicted,” said Shannon Thomas, a therapist and author of Healing from Hidden Abuse. “When we’re looking for something that we want, that we once had, which is a connection with somebody, and they are playing cat and mouse where they are pulling it back and forth, then the body really does become dependent on having that approval.”
8. ‘But he didn’t hit me’
- Psychological abuse is just as damaging as physical abuse.
- Hunna / Shutterstock
One of the most worrying things a person can say when they’re in a damaging, toxic relationship is: “but he didn’t hit me.”
Psychological abuse is just as damaging as physical abuse, but it’s harder to identify because there aren’t physical scars. Unfortunately, manipulative people are often aware of this, and they can use this to their advantage. They know physical violence is the breaking point for many people, and so they will abuse and control their partner in every way up until that point.
“When people say, ‘but he didn’t hit me,’ what they often mean is that they would leave if they were hit,” said Lisa Aronson Fontes, a psychology researcher at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “Their partners exert control one thousand ways but may stop short of hitting, if they know that would ‘break’ the relationship.”
- Don’t compromise on your safety.
- kittirat roekburi / Shutterstock
Manipulators do not like losing. If you take a step back, or you leave a relationship with them, they will beg for a second chance if they think they can still gain something from you.
They are likely to give the fight of their life to keep you around. They might tell you how they will change, or how you will never find someone who loves you as much as them. However, all the promises are empty, and it’s not in your best interests to get back with them out of fear.
- In 2018, daylight-saving time or DST ends on Sunday, November 4 at 2:00 a.m.
- Skye Gould/Business Insider
- Daylight-saving time, or DST, began in the US in 1918 as a way to conserve energy.
- However, many Americans believe the practice is not worth the hassle.
- Scientific studies also suggest that daylight-saving time may cause more problems than it solves.
- There are two main proposals to get rid of DST: by creating fewer time zones or moving to one universal time.
On Sunday at the stroke of 2:00 a.m., most people in North America and Europe will roll their clocks backward one hour to end daylight-saving time, or DST.
There’s some reason to celebrate: This will give hundreds of millions of people one extra hour of sleep. But on March 10, 2019, the invisible time vampire will return to suck away that hour of sleep.
This is perhaps the modern world’s dumbest ritual – a curse upon those who live within its confines, and a practice that needs to be abolished.
Daylight-saving time (not “daylight-savings” time) was created during World War I to decrease energy use. The practice was implemented year-round in 1942, during WWII. Not waking up in the dark, the thinking went, would decrease fuel use for lighting and heating. That would help conserve energy supplies to help the war effort.
Nearly 100 years later, though, the US is a divided nation on this topic. A 2012 survey of 1,000 American adults found that 45% thought daylight-saving was worth it, while more than 40% considered it worthless.
More than 152,560 people have petitioned Congress to end daylight-saving time. Some of the comments on the petition are practical appeals.
“Please stop switching the time! It’s awful driving home in the dark. I’m a woman that drives 30 miles down a 2 lane state hwy to get home!” wrote Lana J. from Gilmer, Texas.
Others are warranted and blistering critiques.
“Daylight saving time is an antiquated practice and serves no purpose in the modern world,” wrote Dustin M. from Kings Mountain, North Carolina. “It causes undo stress to millions of Americans and does nothing for anyone.”
We’re with Dustin, and here’s why.
What’s the problem with DST?
According to advocacy groups like Standardtime.com, which are trying to abolish daylight-saving time, claims about saving energy are unproven. “If we are saving energy, let’s go year-round with daylight-saving time,” the group says. “If we are not saving energy, let’s drop daylight-saving time!”
In his book “Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight-Saving Time,” author Michael Downing says there isn’t much evidence that daylight-saving actually decreases energy use.
In fact, sometimes DST seems to increase energy use.
For example, in Indiana – where daylight-saving time was implemented statewide in 2006 – researchers saw that people used less electricity for light, but those gains were canceled out by people who used more air conditioning during the early evenings. (That’s because 6 p.m. felt more like 5 p.m., when the sun still shines brightly in the summer and homes haven’t had the chance to cool off.)
DST also increases gasoline consumption, something Downing says the petroleum industry has known since the 1930s. This is probably because evening activities – and the vehicle use they require – increase with that extra daylight.
Changing the clocks also causes air travel synchronization headaches, which sometimes leads to travel delays and lost revenue, airlines have reportedly said.
There are also health issues associated with changing the clocks. Similar to the way jet-lag makes you feel all out of whack, daylight-saving time is like scooting one time zone over. This can disrupt our sleep, metabolism, mood, stress levels, and other bodily rhythms. One study suggests recovery can take three weeks.
In the days after DST starts or ends, in fact, researchers have observed a spike in heart attacks, increased numbers of work injuries, more automobile accidents, and higher suicide rates.
Why keep it?
- Wikimedia Commons
Despite those early studies about energy use, one analysis from 2008 did find a small amount of energy savings after we extended DST by four weeks in 2005.
According to the Christian Science Monitor:
“Most advocates cite a 2008 report to Congress by the Department of Energy which showed that total electricity savings from the extended daylight-saving period amounted to 1.3 terawatt-hours, or 0.03 percent of electricity consumption over the year. That’s a tiny number. But if electricity costs 10 cents per kilowatt, that means an estimated $130 million in savings each year.”
More evening light also inspires people to go out and spend money.
Downing told NPR that this comes in the form of activities like shopping and playing golf – the golf industry told Congress that an extra month of daylight-saving was worth $200 million in 1986. The BBQ industry said extending DST would boost sales by $100 million.
Extending daylight-saving time to November might also help the Halloween industry – the longer kids can trick-or-treat, the more candy you need to buy.
Changing the law can also be expensive. One legislature representative in Alberta, Canada, suggested that holding a referendum on DST may cost the province $2 to $6 million, even if it were put into a standard election ballot, and that holding a no-DST vote on its own might cost $22 million to organize and execute.
A world divided over time
- Where in the world daylight saving time is used (blue), abolished (orange), and never instituted (red).
- Paul Eggert/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Other areas of the world have gotten rid of daylight-saving time, or never had it to begin with.
The map above shows the breakdown. Blue areas observe DST, red areas never have, and orange areas once did but have since abolished it.
Some parts of the US have decided not to observe daylight-saving time, including most of Arizona (excluding the Navajo and Hopi reservations in the northeast), and until 2006, parts of Indiana.
A bill to abolish DST was once recommended for passage in Oklahoma, but it was not signed into law. A lawmaker in Utah also introduced legislation to try to abolish DST, but his bill died in committee.
The decision is up to individual counties, but choosing not observe DST when other nearby cities and counties do can be problematic.
Standardtime.com has a unique suggestion.
Their proposal is to create just two time zones in the continental US that are two hours apart.
Compare that to the current state of things in America.
Right now, the US is broken into six time zones: Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific time, Alaska time, and Hawaii-Aleutian time, each one hour apart from the next.
These time zones exist so that areas in the east of each time zone get sunrise at about the same time.
- Wikimedia Commons
Under Standardtime.com’s proposed system, the US’ East and West Coasts would only be two hours apart. This would standardize more travel and meeting times within the country.
But the downside would be that sunrise and sunset would happen at wildly different times for many areas of the nation.
For example, the sun rose in New York City at about 6:15 a.m. EST today and in Chicago at 6:10 a.m. CST; but if the two were in the same time zone, sunrise would be at 8:15 “Eastern Time” in Chicago.
Johns Hopkins University professors Richard Henry and Steven Hanke have come up with yet another possible fix: adopting a single time zone worldwide. They argue that the internet has eliminated the need for discrete time zones across the globe, so we might as well just do away with them. The proposal also includes a 13-month “permanent calendar.” (The idea, understandably, has encountered some resistance.)
No plan will satisfy everyone. But that doesn’t mean daylight-saving time is right.
The absence of major energy-saving benefits from DST – along with its death toll, health impacts, and economic ramifications – are reason enough to get rid of the ritual.
Jennifer Welsh and Sarah Kramer contributed to previous versions of this post.