Thanks to emotions and feelings we are able to connect with others and empathize, but this also has its drawbacks. Among other things, emotions open up a new way in which we are psychologically vulnerable, because they make us capable of getting excited about projects that are really a hoax.

It is because of this fact that many people who come to psychological therapy do so with one question in mind: how do you act when a man plays with you? Although both men and women can emotionally manipulate other people, when someone of the male gender does it, certain facts are more likely to occur, so it is worth seeing what they are.

So, in this article we will try to answer this question related to cases of emotional manipulation when the manipulator is a man.

Signs that they play with your feelings

One of the keys to the emotional manipulation that occurs when a man plays with your feelings is that what happens is not evident, especially from the victim’s point of view.

Hopes of having a meaningful and intimate relationship with the other makes those things that might be giving away their true intentions go further unnoticed.

However, there are some signs which, analysed as objectively as possible, help us to know if what is happening is that there is indeed a man playing with you (or trying to). In many cases, they will make use of traditional male gender roles, since these are historically linked to the concept of authority and rationality: that is, it is easier for them to make it seem that they are right and it is the others who are wrong or too confused. Let’s see it.

1. Use gaslighting

Gaslighting consists of blaming one’s negative actions on erroneous interpretations by those who witness these behaviors.

In fact, the person who uses gaslighting to manipulate another is able to blame the victim for feeling bad about what is happening , scolding her for not paying attention or for being “weak” or too sensitive.

2. Promises many things but does not deliver

It is common for manipulative people to feign an interest in the other person that is simply not real. This is just a way to win their favour by giving them hope and reasons not to break up the relationship.

This can be detected by keeping track of the occasions when unfulfilled promises appear. On the other hand, infidelities are a clear example of a broken commitment in those cases where a relationship has been established with that person.

3. Does not look at the details

In both men and women, when playing with the feelings of the other, they tend to do so without really caring about what the victim is like; they only memorize the essential details so that it is not obvious that there is no intention of considering them as loved ones .

Therefore, paying attention to whether he puts effort into remembering details about how we are, what we like and what we don’t like, what our past is and other nuances that create our identity, we will see if we are part of the things he values most or if he just pretends love or appreciation for us in an interested, instrumental way, to keep up appearances.

How do you act when a man plays with you?

To find out what to do in these cases, follow these step-by-step tips and recommendations.

1. Adopt a healthy distance

To get an objective and neutral view of what is happening , you have to focus on the facts as you know them and draw conclusions from them.

You should avoid adopting statements like “he doesn’t want me” or “he’s playing with me” as a starting point, since these are ideas that we will conclude in any case once we have considered everything that has happened, but not before.

Therefore, it is good to create lists and diagrams that describe the situation . When you see a statement in which there is an implicitly very subjective interpretation of the facts, remove it and replace it with another one.

2. Make a decision

Once you have managed to have a more or less objective description of what is going on, stop and think whether the degree to which that person has played with your feelings is worth stopping seeing or letting him/her know how you feel and leaving him/her a reasonable time (for both) to correct his/her attitude.

In case you decide to break off forever the friendship or couple relationship you had, or that after some time it has not changed significantly for the better, move on to the next piece of advice.

3. Don’t obsess about what I might think

In situations where we decide to cut off the relationship we had with someone, we usually find ourselves in a dilemma that poses two options: to give priority to one’s own feelings, or to give priority to the feelings of the other .

In this case, it is very important to focus on what one feels, and thus release the responsibility of making the other person feel a certain way.

If instead you give in to the desire to make the other person perceive us as we want them to, we will be feeding a dynamic by which we continue to depend on the other. In other words, if you do that, you actually allow them to continue playing with your emotions .

4. Avoid blaming yourself

In these cases it is easy to fall into the error of blaming oneself for not making the relationship work.

However, this is only a consequence of the fact that they have played with us and have generated a dependency dynamic in which one part gives a lot and the other gives almost nothing. The fact that we have analyzed the facts in the most objective way possible will protect us against these negative thoughts.

Bibliographic references:

  • Rubin, Z. (1973). Liking and Loving: an invitation to social psychology. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
  • Phelps, S., Austin, N. (1987). The Assertive Woman. Impact Publishers.