I have just faced manipulation for the first time in my life. Most of the time I only heard about it happening to other people. Thankfully I am strong enough that it does not effect me. I stand by what I believe is right. Let me tell you a story that might help someone in a similar situation. No names shall be used here.
Let me start from the beginning. I am on a dating site. I know what you are thinking. This is a breeding ground for those kinds of people. Well I put in place a strict screening process. Most of the time I block guys that are completely not a match at all. Abs and indecent exposure runs rampant but I made the filters screen out those guys too. Sadly a manipulator got through my screening process. I did go to meet him.
I met up with him at a board game convention (this detail is very important). It was really nice to finally re-connect with my old friends from the board gaming community. The fact that I had a date with one was really awesome. I had a great time. The first thing that really annoyed me was that he used sarcasm in every sentence. He embarrassed me in front of my friends by calling attention to my flaws. I laughed it off as best I could. At that point I was debating about coming back the next night after work.
The next night there were more events at the convention so I asked him if he wanted me to come back. He texted me, "Sure I guess" Then proceeded to ask me if we were going to start dating. (I have only been out with him once! Whats the rush?). I explained that I did not want to lead him on at all but I did not want to rush into anything and I would just rather be friends. I had my reasons for not wanting to date him. That was my choice, not to be taken personally. Well he was naturally very frustrated that I had said I would not date him because he is not a believer, among other things.
Later that night we talked until 3am. We went over a ton of topics. I came to figure out that we disagree on just about everything else including religion and politics. I told him that even if I were to put religion aside, we do not have anything else in common, except board games. I ended the conversation because it was late and my dad was really worried for my safety. He walked me to my car. He tried to hug me multiple times and I kept pushing away. He hugged me again and then kissed me. It was late and I was tired but I knew this felt very wrong. He texted me the next day. I said the kiss was awkward and my answer was no. I will not date him. He replied. "It was awkward because you did not kiss me back"
A few days pass and he texted me just to say hi and then I did not hear from him for weeks.
Last night I got some texts from him. He asked how I was. Then he asked if I had any luck on the dating site. I said I did not want to talk about it. He said, "About what?" It was obvious what I was referring to but I elaborated saying that I had messaged a few guys that were excellent matches but no meet ups yet. We talked about a few board games we learned and then suddenly he said this. "I don't know why I even texted you. You used me. " I asked how and he said that I used him to meet up with other gamers. I said I already knew those people and that he should leave me alone. He said, "I'm trying"
During this whole time he would use phases like, "You don't even like me so why are you talking to me." To me this was my red flag. At first everything seems great and fun. But then paranoia sets in. Manipulation is so hard to spot sometimes. With the above phrase he could make some girl feel bad for rejecting him and start dating him but then dump him. Sometimes I am afraid that if I go to the next board game convention that he might try to hurt me. I have a contingency plan for that when the time comes.
I do not want someone to hurt me because they got rejected. I think I escaped this just in time. I plan to block his number from contacting me. I should not have to live in fear because I rejected someone.
My philosophy is that if you get knocked down, you get back up again and move on to something else. Something better.