16 Clear Signs Someone Is Playing With Your Emotions and Feelings

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Feeling confused and vulnerable in a relationship can be overwhelming. You may find yourself asking: “Am I being manipulated? Is someone playing with my emotions?” 

It’s hard to know for sure, but there are some signs that you should look out for.

In this article, we’ll discuss 16 clear signs that show someone is playing with your feelings.

As you read through the list of warning signs, pay attention to what resonates with you. Recognize the warning signs early to protect yourself from more pain and heartache.

So let’s dive in and discover how to tell if someone is playing with your feelings! 

Key Takeaways

  • Emotional manipulation can make you feel confused, anxious, and unsure of yourself in a relationship.
  • Emotional manipulation can be recognized through various signs such as changes in body language and tone, guilt-tripping, gaslighting, and withholding of affection.
  • Manipulative tactics can involve shifting blame, avoiding responsibility, making false promises, and disregarding boundaries.
  • Being aware of these signs and tactics can help you protect your emotions and address manipulation early on.

16 Signs to Look for If Someone Is Playing with Your Feelings

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If you think someone might be messing with your feelings, here are 16 clear signs to watch out for.

  • Pay attention to their body language when they talk to you. If they avoid looking into your eyes or stand too close in a way that makes you feel uneasy, it might indicate manipulation.
  • Listen for changes in their tone and attitude towards you. For example, if they act friendly one day but cold the next without any explanation.
  • Watch for sudden shifts in how they view an issue or topic that’s important to you. If they lose interest after being supportive of your views and opinions, it might be a sign of emotional manipulation.
  • See if their behavior towards you has suddenly changed. For example, if they become excessively critical or use more sarcasm than usual, it could be a sign of emotional manipulation.
  • Think about whether the other person makes all decisions without considering your opinion or input. This could be a sign that they don’t care about your feelings and are using the situation to benefit themselves.

That’s not all. Below are the 16 signs you should look for for a better understanding. This will help you protect yourself from emotional manipulation.

1). Denial of Your Feelings

If someone refuses to recognize your feelings, they might be playing with your emotions. If you notice any of these signs in your relationship, it could mean that you are being manipulated.

  • They don’t validate what you’re feeling.
  • They avoid conversations about how you feel. 
  • They ignore or minimize your concerns and complaints. 
  • They pass off all blame onto you.

If someone keeps denying your feelings or trying to make you believe that their opinion is better, it probably means they want to control and have power over the situation.

This behavior can be harmful because it makes us feel ignored and can lead to more manipulation.

Be aware of these signs. Address them promptly to avoid being exploited by someone who wants to manipulate your feelings.

2). Guilt-Tripping

Guilt-tripping is when someone tries to make you feel bad for not doing what they want. Guilt-tripping is a manipulative tactic.

It’s used to control others by making them feel like they’ve done something wrong and need to give an explanation or apologize.

They might say things like “You should feel sorry” or “You don’t care about me.” This can make you feel confused and frustrated.

Guilt-tripping can involve questioning your actions, telling you that you’re wrong, or resorting to name-calling.

To protect yourself from manipulation, it’s important to recognize the signs of guilt-tripping and take appropriate steps.

If someone always tries to make you feel bad about decisions or choices that don’t involve them, it might mean they’re manipulating your feelings.

A woman in gray sweater talking on the phone

3). Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a type of psychological manipulation. It happens when someone tries to make you question your own thoughts and beliefs about yourself and the world.

This person could deny or convince you that an event didn’t happen as you experienced it.

They might try to make you doubt what you know is true by saying your memory of events is wrong or not reliable.

Gaslighting can harm you and make you feel confused, anxious, and doubtful as time goes on.

Recognizing gaslighting as emotional abuse is crucial. It helps take steps to protect yourself from further manipulation and harm.

4). They Stop Loving

Stop loving is a manipulative tactic. It can make you feel lonely and deprived as if your emotional needs aren’t being met.

Sometimes, people choose not to show love or be with someone to control their actions.

This manipulation is used by people who don’t want to be honest about their feelings and intentions.

They might ignore you for a long time or cancel plans without telling you why.

They might make empty promises or have unrealistic expectations, wanting you to fulfill them in order to gain their love and attention. However, they rarely reciprocate those feelings.

Does this situation sound familiar? If yes, It might mean that someone is playing with your emotions by not showing affection.

5). They Set You Apart From Others

Separating you from loved ones and support networks is another way to control your feelings, emotions and actions.

They might make it difficult for you to see people or go out, or they might go as far as telling you not to talk to certain people.

These tactics show that they’re trying to control your feelings by blocking your access to helpful resources and advice.

In addition, isolating can also lead you to feelings of loneliness and abandonment.

When we are isolated, we miss out on the chance to have deep connections where we can all learn, grow, and make happy memories together.

Emotional deprivation can impact how we see ourselves and our worth in society for a long time.

couple having an argument

6). They Criticize Your Actions

Criticizing what you decide and do is a sneaky way to make you feel less confident and independent.

At first, it might seem subtle with comments that seem helpful or like suggestions. But if it happens often and focuses on things you say or do, then someone might be trying to control you.

They might try to guilt-trip you if you don’t follow their advice. That’s why it’s important to identify this behavior for what it is.

If you often feel attacked and belittled by someone who says they’re trying to help you, it’s likely they’re playing with your emotions.

7). They Use Passive Aggression

Another sign that someone is playing with your emotions is when they use passive-aggressiveness instead of directly criticizing your actions.

Passive-aggressiveness can happen in different ways, but at its core, it means sending nonverbal messages to hurt you somehow.

If someone is always making subtle digs or giving backhanded compliments, they might be trying to manipulate you and play with your feelings.

Here are three ways this behavior manifests itself:

  • Acting aloof or uninterested when talking to you, even if they initiated the conversation.
  • Saying something isn’t important or worth doing, and then expecting praise for not doing it.
  • Making something out of the past is an excuse for why they don’t want to do something in the present.
  • Ignoring or invalidating your feelings or opinions.

8). They Abuse Your Trust

Someone manipulating your emotions is a clear sign of them abusing your trust. Keep an eye out for it. This can involve breaking promises they’ve made or deceiving you in some way.

If someone makes a promise but doesn’t follow through, it could mean they are trying to manipulate your emotions by using their words.

Making vague statements that are hard to understand instead of being honest, can also be a sign that someone is trying to manipulate your emotions.

Keeping secrets or purposefully withholding information from someone is a form of trust abuse that can lead to emotional manipulation.

They may pretend everything is fine and refuse to admit any mistakes. But actually, they are trying to manipulate your emotions and control your thoughts about them or a situation.

Don’t let others take advantage of your trust. Stay alert for subtle signs of manipulation and don’t let them get away with it!

Portrait of upset woman

9). They Don’t Listen to You

If someone’s refusing to listen to you, it’s a sign they’re not taking your feelings seriously.

If someone doesn’t care about how you feel, that means they are not thinking about what’s best for you. They might be trying to control the situation for their own gain.

Lack of communication can harm relationships. Good communication is vital for a successful partnership.

If you refuse to talk and ignore your opinion, it means you don’t respect and trust the other person.

Both parties must be willing to compromise and work together towards a solution. If one person refuses to listen, then this isn’t possible. In the end, this will just make everyone more frustrated and hurt.

10). They Shift Blame to You

Shifting the blame is a sneaky way many people use to avoid owning up to their own mistakes.

When someone shifts the blame, they make excuses or try to blame someone else, even if it’s not fair or right.

This technique can manipulate how you feel, and it’s hard to notice if you’re not aware of what to look for.

If someone is playing with your emotions, they might blame others or outside factors for their own actions or decisions.

They may also try to find ways to deflect criticism away from themselves onto someone else.

Being aware of this manipulation can help you recognize when someone is trying to play with your emotions. It also helps you protect yourself from being taken advantage of in a relationship.

11). They Refuse to Take Responsibility

Refusing to take responsibility is a common manipulation tactic. 65% of people have had someone try to blame them for something, according to studies.

If someone is messing with your feelings, they might not take any blame or face the consequences for what they did. They will try to make you feel like the issue is your fault, even though it’s not.

When someone refuses like this, it means they don’t respect you or your feelings. This can really hurt your relationships.

It’s important to recognize this manipulation and protect yourself emotionally. Recognizing these signs as manipulation is important. It helps you address the issue and safeguard your emotional well-being.

If this behavior keeps happening without anyone saying something, it could lead to more emotional abuse. And that could really hurt you for a long time.

12). They Manipulate Your Decisions

If someone is playing with your emotions, one sign is that they try to manipulate your decisions.

If you don’t do what they want, they might make you feel guilty or angry. They may also try to convince you that their way of thinking is the only right one.

Dealing with this can be tough when someone makes you feel bad about your choices, making it hard to stand up for yourself.

You can tell if someone is manipulating your decisions by how often they change their mind.

If someone who usually makes decisions quickly starts making excuses or changing their opinion constantly, they might be trying to control the situation.

Be cautious of individuals who use tactics such as pretending to be ignorant or avoiding direct answers to manipulate you into giving them what they desire.

Being aware of these signs can help protect yourself from emotional manipulation.

A man and a woman conflicting to each other

13). They Make False Promises

If someone makes false promises, they could be manipulating your emotions. Whether it’s a promise to call you or take you out, making false promises is a huge red flag.

They might say something like: “I’ll call you tomorrow,” and then never follow up.

If someone frequently breaks promises, it could be a sign that they are playing with your feelings and emotions.

  • They don’t keep their word often.
  • They make big commitments that they can’t keep.
  • You’re always the one following up.
  • Their excuses seem too convenient/unbelievable.
  • You can never rely on them for anything.

When someone makes a promise and keeps it, it’s important to pay attention. Determining if someone is trustworthy and honest can be done by paying attention to their words and actions.

If someone keeps failing to do what they promised, it’s time to either make clearer rules or end the relationship.

14). They Demand Your Attention

Manipulative people try to get your attention by always wanting to talk or do things with you.

They may call, text, or message you more often than usual and expect an immediate response. When you don’t respond quickly enough, they may become angry or act hurt.

They might also try to monopolize conversations by not allowing others to speak. The constant need for attention can be exhausting and make you feel manipulated or used.

If someone ignores you completely, it could be a sign that they are playing with your emotions.

When someone is playing with your emotions, they may ignore you completely. They put up a wall and won’t talk to you until they get what they want or until things go their way.

If this keeps happening, it could mean that someone is trying to control how much you talk to each other.

Recognize the signs and act if needed to prevent the situation from getting worse.

15). They Control Over You

Manipulators may try to control you by telling you how your relationship should be and making choices for you.

They may act as if they’re in charge and try to make all the choices for you.

They will often have a rigid idea of how things should be done and won’t accept any other way. Even if it isn’t what you want or think is best, they’ll insist that their way is the only right one.

They might keep criticizing your opinions or ideas and not care about your feelings.

Recognizing these signs early on is important because this behavior can harm your self-esteem. It’s crucial to stop the manipulation before it becomes worse.

16). Ignoring Your Boundaries

Manipulative people don’t respect your boundaries. They want to control your decisions without considering your feelings. Their actions often include:

  • Refusing to accept no for an answer.
  • Repeatedly asking the same question or making the same request despite being told no.
  • Guilting you into saying yes when you don’t want to.
  • Insisting on doing things their way.
  • Dismissing or ignoring any of your suggestions or input.
  • Not compromising on issues that are important to you.

These behaviors can be very draining and create a feeling of helplessness. If someone keeps ignoring what you want and think, it could mean they are toying with your feelings.


It’s important to be aware of the signs that someone may be playing with your emotions. If you experience any of these signs, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate the situation.

Imagine yourself in a safe place, away from emotional manipulation. Remind yourself that you deserve respect and love, no matter what anyone else tells you. Don’t let anyone else control your emotions or dictate how you should feel.

Believe in yourself and stand up for who you are. Remember to wait for someone who truly appreciates and loves everything about you.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Tell If Someone is Manipulating My Decisions?

Someone who is trying to manipulate you might push you to do things that don’t feel right or make empty promises.

They may also try to control the way you think or act by not telling you everything or making you feel guilty. Pay attention to these red flags and trust your instincts.

What Can I Do If Someone is Guilt-Tripping Me?

If someone makes you feel guilty, remember you don’t have to believe them.

Stay firm in your beliefs and don’t let them control your decisions. Speak up for yourself and be confident in the choices you make.

What Are the Consequences Of Someone Stoping Loving Me?

When someone doesn’t show affection to you, it can make you feel lonely, frustrated, and hurt.

You may feel that your emotional needs are not being met or that the other person doesn’t care about you.

These feelings may make it hard to trust the relationship, and that can affect how long it lasts.

What Should I Do If Someone Is Isolating Me From Others?

If someone is isolating you from others, talk to them about it and confront the situation.

Speak up for yourself and let them know that their behavior is not okay.

Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and reach out for help from trusted friends or family.

Hey there, I'm Khursheed Alam! I started the Deeplines blog to help people benefit from my content. I really believe in loving yourself and being kind, so my goal is to spread that message everywhere. In my free time, I read novels, self-development, and writing books.

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