Signs of Abusive People – An Autistic Guide to Detecting Manipulative & Abusive People

Original Blog Post that inspired this video. 


I’m not usually this nervous before video, but this is a really big topic and it’s one I’ve actually been wanting to do for a while now.

I think it’s important , as autistic people, especially a lot of you have told me that you have fallen prey to manipulative people, multiple times. Some of you in your lives and I, myself, unfortunately have fallen into the trap and the pattern of people who come and present themselves as one thing then it turns out once you get to know them on a much more deeper level, the truth is something far more dark and scary and so a few disclaimers and warnings – this week’s video is going to be very intense topics about mental abuse and manipulation and gaslighting.

So this may be upsetting or a bit intense for some viewers. So a bit of a disclaimer. The other thing is I will be sharing firsthand experiences that I have had with people I’ve known personally in my life. the things I’m going to share with you to look out for and be on the lookout for, to help you detect and spot these manipulative people who are out there lurking are all things that I have witnessed personally and are things that I’ve noticed are common patterns of behavior in people who are manipulative and tend to take advantage of other people and, at first, these people can appear very kind.

Often they are actually even charming. They can appear warm. These people know how to be everything you want them to be and need them to be and a lot of times when you first meet them, it will almost be a too good to be true because they are projecting to you what they think you want and they aren’t giving you their, their, their true face. So if anyone ever comes to you, and it seems like it’s too good to be true and they are too good to be true, be on alert for a while and definitely question that. A lot of this are going to be people I’ve known in my personal life. Romantic relationships, friends, frenemies, not really friends. You know, these are things you learn about in high school and middle school, unfortunately .

These can be people’s family members. These can be people’s parents. These can be relatives, these can be coworkers and people you work with. These could be your boss. A lot of what I’ll talk about will be about relationships in a more personal matter, but you can have an encounter with a manipulative person outside of a romantic relationship as well. I just want to add that note in there but unfortunately when one of these manipulative people gets their hands on you in a romantic sense is when it can be especially devastating because they. Get in under your skin and play a lot of mind games.

Like I said, at first, they can appear very charming. anyone who checks all of your boxes and seems too good to be true, look that over and give that a second look because when you dig deeper, a lot of these people may seem very confident and charismatic that they can actually be very immature. They have tend to have very fragile egos and as you dig and you get to know them, sometimes if you don’t spot signs in advance, you won’t know until it’s too late. So let’s talk about how you can spot one of these manipulative people or someone who doesn’t care about taking advantage of other people and won’t think twice to take advantage of you.

Let’s remember that with these lists of things I’m about to share with you, one or two of these things on their own might not be the nail on the coffin here. The final thing but all of these behaviors together combined are really dangerous. And if you see any of these behaviors, maybe you should look a little bit more closely at the person you are in a relationship with.

With that disclaimer in place, be on the lookout for people who have lots and lots of drama in their lives. these are people that trouble, just seems to follow them everywhere they go at first. but if you dig a bit deeper, you will find often that a lot of their problems . Are problems that they’ve brought upon themselves. And that brings you into the other really, really big problem with these people.

And this is a really big flag, is. Often manipulative people are not ever going to take responsibility for their own actions. They will always blame their problems on external situations, even if they are to blame. So, for example, if maybe they committed a check fraud scam and they got caught, they wouldn’t take responsibility for the action. Really watch for people, who not only don’t take responsibility for their actions or the roles that their actions play in their circumstances.

A watch for people who lie, cheat, and steal from other people. Because if someone is lying and cheating and stealing from others, they are going to do the same to you. If someone’s a liar and a cheater and a stealer , and a thief and a manipulator , they’ve shown you true colors right there. Don’t assume, Oh, they won’t lie and cheat on me. the other thing is these manipulative people often have very one sided relationships where they often will expect other people to serve them.

They may be the only person who does venting and complaining, but they won’t be receptive or available for someone else to lean on if they ever need a shoulder to cry on this. These, these people take, take, take, take, take, take. They don’t give back unless they want something and so usually, they will love bomb you and they will give you gifts often things that are like monetary value because they want to like, lure you back in and shower you with love, but it’s really just to kind of keep you hooked on them and, and this is in a romantic relationship too, or, after you, you cut them out the people who still stay in their lives, if they haven’t got close enough to this person to see them for who they really are. Remember, this person can be very charismatic.

This can be someone who is very charming and they can even appear very warm and very nice and very giving and generous. If you don’t know them that well. That’s the other reason it’s really important when someone comes to you and says, so-and-so hurt me or abused me, or did bad things to me, you believe the person or you don’t say, “well, that person was always nice to me” because manipulative people are aware that they are doing bad things and they will hide the bad, manipulative and abusive behaviors and they will abuse and lash out at people in secret and behind closed doors. So yes, someone might be a very nice person to you as far as you know, with this doesn’t mean they are not abusing someone else behind closed doors.

Because unfortunately a lot of, a lot of abusive people are very two faced and so the people who are still under the abuser’s spell and haven’t been able to see through their mask that they are presenting out to the world. The abusive person will use their flying monkeys and send them to dig and get information on you and to check up on you and to usually get dirt. They’re always looking for information that they could potentially use.

The flying monkey may not even know they’re being used. If you have an abusive ex , the ex may use the children as flying monkeys to come over and get information. In middle school, this was like when the girls had their little cliques of girls, and one of the girls would get into it with the other girl and she would send her friends to go find information about the one that was not in the circle anymore. it’s actually very juvenile, childish behavior so sometimes, unfortunately, when you have a relationship and you want to end a relationship with someone who is abusive and who is manipulative this person isn’t going to change.

So the only answer can be to go no contact with that person. That’s sometimes can include anyone who is a proxy or is associated with that person. So you can lose, you know, friends or loved ones if they side with or even are maintaining a relationship with the abuser because the abuser is friends with, they’re using them, they’re exploiting them, probably has no idea they are being used and manipulated and exploited and that’s really the worst part. That’s the dangerous part. And that’s the part that gets me, and that’s why I’m sharing my experience and my advice.

Once they have slipped past your defenses and the are in, and you trust this person and you fall under this person’s spell. They can just play all these head games with you. They abuse you and they are mean to you and they then say, “Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t mean it” and they, they, they “love you” – you know? “Oh, I love you. I’m sorry. It will never happen again. I was just really”… Fill in the blank excuse. There will always be some kind of excuse, you know, once again, they aren’t going to take, they mostly won’t take responsibility for their actions unless they’re doing so from a manipulative, manipulative place because they knew that’s what you want to hear.

That’s the other thing when you catch these manipulative people in a lie and you catch them doing something that is questionable, even if you have just like walked in in the middle of it, they will sometimes even just outright deny and Gaslight you and say you didn’t see what you saw. “You know, you’re, you’re, you’re making it up, you’re imagining it,” or “I know that’s what you saw, but that’s not really how it is,” or , “come on, it wasn’t really that bad, you’re making it out to be worse than it really is.” And they will say these things and put these phrases in your head to make you doubt your own sense of reality until you are so… Just confused and you think you are the problem, because they, “they can’t be the problem. Everyone else has to be the problem.”

So your abusive friend or colleague or coworker or romantic partner will make everyone else the problem and if you’re in a romantic relationship with an abusive person, you become their problem. Their relationship is never their fault. It’s always something you did. And after you know enough years in a relationship like that, you might even begin to believe it, and your, your self esteem and everything can really fall apart. It’s all about manipulation and control and usually they want something from you. They’ve seen an opportunity to get something they want. Maybe it’s a free ride and a place to live. Maybe it’s a promotion in the workplace that they’re going to trick you into getting from you.

It’s all about getting something they want and if you don’t give them what they want, they may leave and move on. But if you are getting enough supply for them, you know, there’s their supply of what they need from you. They may just leech on and stick around and trying to leave one of these abusive and manipulative people can be actually, scary and very dangerous and not always simple.

When I was younger, I had an ex and I didn’t know how to deal with the situation at the time. And when I tried to leave, he threatened me and said that if I left, he would make sure I came home and found him dead somewhere. And he started carrying around these big kitchen knives all the time. And. I just kind of shut down and I didn’t leave. I, you know, I stuck around for months and months after that. Not feeling safe in my own home. But eventually this, this, this, this partner moved on and left me for someone else. A new supply and it was the best thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life.

My heart is beating really fast right now. I just started sweating really hard in my armpits…

But I didn’t know, you know how to get myself out of that situation. I felt responsible and it wasn’t right for that person or anyone to ever put that kind of a threat on another human being.

Like, you don’t put your life on someone else’s hands like that. That is never okay. Suicide is a really serious issue. People really do suffer with mental health issues and anxiety, and to use something that serious to manipulate and hold another person captive. Is not okay ever – there is no excuse. There is no excuse ever for that.

And I remember what I remember the most and what kind of just came back to me. I just started sweating when I was thinking about it was the feeling of just not being able to feel safe in your own home. And when you go to your own home it you, you come into your home and you feel like you are coming into a battleground.

And my heart is still pumping really hard. I can hear my pulse in my ears right now. I haven’t, um, said any of that out loud, I don’t think very many times, and not recently, and I thought it was going to be good. It’s been a lot of years.

But they seem so nice, right? And this one, you know, this one even. I should have known better. You know, they even tried to warn me, you know, this person said at the beginning,” I’m evil. I’m dark” They would use things that didn’t even make sense and weren’t logical to excuse their behavior. They may have been through trauma on their own. After being in a relationship with someone like that for awhile – you pick up certain things from being in a relationship with someone like that, or when you’re hurt and you, someone hurts you, you kind of bristle up sometimes as a way to protect yourself because it’s like, I’m going to get them before they get me. But it’s never okay. just, just cause I’ve been through something traumatic.

It doesn’t mean it would be okay for me to then go and displace my feelings on to someone else and lash out at someone else. I’m responsible for the harm and the damage that I do in this world. I know there have been times in my life, even where I have been the toxic person, especially when I was in the relationship with that one individual that I just told the story about and also when I was younger – in high school and a very young person, there were times when I would say , my behavior has been toxic.

Nobody, you know, nobody is perfect but as adults, we learn about how we all have feelings and people’s feelings are different from our own, and we should take care to be considerate of other people’s feelings and this particular group of humans, the problem is there is no care. There is no regard for the feelings and emotions and the reality that is another person. these manipulative people in their own minds for whatever reason, are on a pedestal. Even if they have self esteem issues, they are on a pedestal and they, they think they are, I don’t want to say better than other people, but it’s like they think other people are their pawns and their things to be used.

They use other people. They don’t, other people’s feelings don’t come to their mind at all. It doesn’t matter. It’s only about them. They are completely self-serving. And any opportunity they have to get a one up on someone, they will it’s, it’s, it’s not good. Unfortunately these people, once they’ve really sunken into these patterns of behavior, it can be really hard for people to unravel and come back from that.

That’s why we have to be very alert when we do see these patterns of behavior.

So just to kind of summarize and recap, top things to look for would be, people who really, really love drama and drama seems to find them but when you look closer, they are seeking out drama and they are looking for drama and they are causing their own drama 95% of the time.

The other part of that is they won’t take responsibility for the role, their own actions, having that drama and they won’t take responsibility for when they get themselves into trouble, it will always be someone else’s fault. they will always blame external situations or other people for keeping them down because they can’t admit when their own failures are their own faults.

The other one is watch for how people treat others if they are mean and nasty to others, if they don’t treat others well, if they have a history in a pattern of being abusive, lying to others, cheating and stealing from others believe they will do that to you too. So let me know in the comments of the video today, if you have any patterns of behavior that you notice that abusive people tend to all have in common.

As autistic people, unfortunately, for whatever reason, a lot of us say, we do struggle with this and we have fallen victim to people with this type of behaviors and so it’s really important that we all share.

Let me just see some of the comments. – I’m not giving a name to what I’m talking about. I am talking about specific things that people who I have worked with been in romantic relationships with, had frenemies with. People who tricked me into thinking they were nice and then they weren’t.

It’s just these things that I’ve noticed that were common with all of these people who have gotten the best of me at one time or another, and I’ve made a few of these lists before I actually have a blog post and I’ll link that in the comments and I’ll put that in the description talking about this in more detail.

This is actually one of the first topics I wanted to start talking about when I started my blog over three and a half years ago. It’s a topic that is very near and dear to my own heart but I haven’t been ready to speak out loud and share my own personal story yet. even today it was a little different, more difficult than I thought it would be to share, but I’m glad I did it. That’s what all of this is from.

This is me describing people that I have unfortunately had the pleasure, or displeasure of knowing personally and getting suckered into once they get close to you, once they get in, once they’re in the circle, once I trust them, Oh, it’s too late. They’re already in. And I don’t realize, you know, when people are going to be lying to me, like, why? Why would you lie to me? You know, why? Why do you lie?

Even if it’s a really obvious lie, sometimes I don’t pick up on it. even if it’s like a joke, like someone’s making an obvious like kind of a joke, I don’t get it cause I’m like, what? It just doesn’t occur to me.

So that’s why I can’t have people around me like this because they do head games on me .

That person leaving was the best thing that’s ever happened in my entire life and these manipulative people get bored. They will go find a new source. If there’s a better source, they’ll jump to a better source. Someone else, they can manipulate it more easily.

Nothing justifies abuse, nothing . There is no excuse. There is no justification. There is nothing that makes intentionally manipulating, taking advantage of and hurting other people okay.

Nothing makes that okay. I think when some of us maybe have been through something where we have been abused we can have a soft spot for someone else who may have been abused and that can be bad too if the other person is someone that’s saying, “Oh, I can’t help it, I was abused” and then that tugs on our heartstrings cause we go, “Oh, he’s just damaged. Oh, they’re just damaged. Oh, she’s just damaged.” And you want to have so much more compassion for them because you can remember how that felt. And you empathize, you know, you really empathizes with that and it tugs on your heartstrings more sometimes when they say, “Oh, it’s because as mom didn’t love me” or whatever.

It hurts when it’s more personal, especially if you’ve gone through something similar yourself that’s unfortunate because a lot of people who have been abused – the statistics show that it’s more likely someone who has been in a relationship with an abusive person or someone who’s been abused and more likely to be abused again. So it’s breaking the cycle and learning to recognize those patterns so that you can get out of them and escape them.

But it’s hard because sometimes you are just used to it and you don’t see it. Or if you grew up in a household where that was your norm and you didn’t have a good home life, or there was not an example of a healthy relationship and your parents were always fighting and it was a very abusive home life. Then, you know, you might not know what a safe environment even looks like, especially if you’ve had nothing else. Let it go on because all you’ve experienced life is abuse.

“It’s so, so harmful when people more attached to people that don’t think of our feelings.” It’s true and like, it’s like those, those people that we are attached to who don’t care about our feelings usually expect for their feelings to be considered and often their feelings are the only feelings that will matter.

Your feelings never matter when you’re in a relationship with an abuser unfortunately. And if you try to express your feelings, that’s often when gaslighting will come into play. When you try to express your feelings, the abusive person will all of a sudden be like, “Oh, you’re being too sensitive” or “it’s not that, bad” or they use your feelings against you because they’re not receptive to your feelings so you don’t share your feelings anymore, unless they agree with your abuser’s feelings.

If you agree with your abuser, then you can share all you want.

“I’ve picked up toxic habits before from others who were toxic towards me” and that’s the thing – if you see yourself in any of these patterns take that as something to work on.

The difference with these toxic people, unfortunately, is a lot of them don’t see a problem in the, how they treat other people.

They don’t care about other people. And that’s a big key difference is the disregard. Sometimes, we can be toxic unintentionally, we don’t know to ask people if they have time and space for a certain conversation.

Things we learn as we age, that let us be better in relationship with others. Sometimes we can be toxic and it’s not because we don’t care about the feelings of others. It’s just we are misunderstanding, or we didn’t realize we are intruding on the feelings of others. And that’s very different because you care and you don’t want to hurt people versus other people’s feelings, just not being of importance or concern to you.

Like how can someone do that to another human being?

“No amount of apologies and promises for change guarantee the person will change. But it’s so hard not to believe those promises when you are attached and love that person.” That’s really true. And that’s the hard thing. It’s like you’ve already let them in and they’ve already got close to you and you know. But you have cognitive dissonance where you don’t want to believe what your brain is maybe logically telling you about the person, your heart doesn’t want to believe.

If you’ve never been in a relationship with a manipulative or an abusive person, most of the abuse was never a hand laid on anyone else in this situation, it was always mental, it was always mind games. Growing up, our parents teach us, ” sticks and stones will break your bones, but words can never hurt you.” But the mind games that these abusive people play really messes you up. It’s not, it’s not good.

Those are just my thoughts. And if you found this video helpful like I said, share, and hit that like button because that’s really helpful. Helps people see the content people know this is relevant and helpful and if you want more join my Patreon group where I have, extras and sneak peaks. I will put some links to the resources I mentioned today in the description and the chat box. Thank you so much. Bye guys. I appreciate you all.




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4 thoughts on “Signs of Abusive People – An Autistic Guide to Detecting Manipulative & Abusive People

  1. Ah! That is very hard to read. Very familiar and true. I think what makes these situations so scary is that leaving is often what triggers the change from mental abuse to physical. That seems to be the point that grabbing, hitting, threats to life, etc. suddenly come out. But, after you’re stuck in that mentally abusive situation, you worry about how to avoid those reactions and feel like there is just no safe way out.
    I think about the ‘behind closed doors’ idea a lot. Because, as you pointed out with the flying monkeys, there are these channels of communication and personal exchanges that happen. Those doors aren’t completely closed, just closed to you, the victim. And, I think, that as some of us struggle already to wear social masks, it just makes it really hard to see others’ masks from their true faces. Particularly in those flying monkeys who come for you, maybe not realizing how their mask is serving the manipulator.
    I basically lost every single friend I had to an abusive relationship. When you don’t know which friends to trust, sometimes the safest is none of them at all.
    Thank you for speaking about this! 👏

  2. In dutch we have a saying “How the inkeeper is, he trusts his guests”. This means: if somebody doesn’t trust others, it means probably they can’t be trusted as well. This has proven to be the truth over and over for me. Only somebody who isn’t trustworthy themselves, will think of untrustworty behaviour by others.

    1. I love this. I feel that to be very true as well. I think giving grace and presuming the best is the best measure and test of a person.
      We project what we are. If we are honest people we will presume honesty in others until we learn otherwise. If we are dishonest though, they will project dishonesty onto others & have difficulty discerning actually nice & trustworthy people from everyone else, & when they do, they will already have done too much damage to the relationship.

  3. Holy crap, YES. My ex was most of these things. He was charming and funny; everyone thought he was so gentle and easygoing. In his FB profile photo, he’s making this ‘I’m so innocent’ face. Being autistic and thinking that how people present themselves is how they are, I fell for it.

    Once we were living together, I started to see all the self-inflicted drama that was always everyone else’s fault – parking tickets, dodging train fares, not taking care of essential tasks at work, etc. It was just non-stop. And of course his ex was ‘crazy’.

    Our last Christmas together, he stole Christmas money from me, lied about doing it, lied about lying, later admitted it, then went on a 3-day ‘woe is me’ binge, crying about how awful his dad was to him growing up, that his mother neglected him, on and on.

    He called me names, shouted all the time, called my children names, and anytime I tried to talk to him about his behaviour, he’d turn it around and make it all about him. That’s a big one, I think, the need to always be the victim. It’s always someone else’s fault. I would come to him with an issue, which I always presented in a non-confrontational way, and he’d start shouting about things I’d done, including when I didn’t do what he wanted to do on MY birthday.

    He tried to get my friends and family to talk about me, and after I left and he found out I was seeing someone new, he started telling everyone I was crazy. When they asked what about me was crazy, he said, “She’s autistic, so she masks so she can fit in with other people.” (No Sh*t.) He turned up at my son’s house, messaged my daughter and mother, and even messaged my current partner’s ex-wife to ‘warn’ her about me. This man is 50 years old and has a history of domestic violence. Getting away from him was the best thing I ever did. The drama has stopped and I’m now with someone who is nothing like this abusive ex. We can talk about problems and resolve them. There’s no manipulation, he never expects me to be anything I’m not, and he embraces my neurospiciness. The contrast still surprises me sometimes. 🙂

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