Toxic and manipulative people are quite clever and usually very skilled at getting people to bend to their will. While many different tactics help them to do this, one of their preferred methods is baiting.
If you have never heard of baiting, after I explain what it is, I can almost guarantee you have had it happen to you before and simply do not realize it. Baiting is when someone does something to provoke a response out of you. In some cases, a narcissist (or otherwise toxic person) will antagonize someone into fighting with them. In others, they bait you to respond emotionally, so they can make you look crazy.
By doing this, they feel like they are in control. It can be hard to decipher when you are being baited and when you aren’t until the situation is already over. Here are 6 signs someone is trying to bait you.
1. They accuse you of doing something.
People who are trying to engage a reaction out of you are likely to accuse you of something you haven’t done. They do this because they want you to react strongly to defend yourself. But, once you lash back, they will act as though they are the victim.
2. They break something you own.
When someone intentionally destroys something that belongs to you, they are trying to elicit a response. Then, once you get upset and react, you are the ‘bad’ person and they are the victim.
3. They prey on your emotions.
Manipulators can’t always empathize with you, but they do understand how to merit certain emotional responses. For example, if they want to make you mad, they may say something off-handed. If they want to make you sad or make you look crazy, they will find a way to get you there.
4. They triangulate.
Manipulators use triangulation to get emotional responses out of their victims. Examples of this are a toxic boyfriend who wants to upset his girlfriend and make her react who befriends a cute female from work and makes it obvious he is attracted. But, he may not make it so obvious that when he is called out for it that he looks like the jerk. He will do just enough to make his girlfriend lash out and then call her crazy.
5. They play the victim.
Manipulators always want to play the victim. No matter what they do to you, they are going to act as though you are the one that has done them wrong. This is another tactic to get a strong response out of you.
6. They rush you.
Be wary of someone who pushes you to make big decisions under pressure. This is a sign of manipulation. If they can’t allow you to sleep on it, simply tell them no.