OK, so this one might seem completely obvious, but the first step towards breaking free from a manipulative ex is not picking up when he calls. The problem though, is how tempting it can be to see what he has to say this time. Plus if your breakup is fresh, you're probably just instinctively used to answering the phone – so you do it post-breakup despite knowing he's just calling to mess with you or make you feel bad. We can't stress this enough, how simply blocking his number or avoiding his calls, is the only way to go.
Playing his game means buying into whatever it is he's feeding you when he calls or happens to run into you at mutual friends' parties or at stores in territory you both used to roll in. Just because you break up with someone doesn't necessarily mean they're out of your life (or your mind) for good. The trick is to not let yourself get too involved in the game your ex is playing. Maybe he's holding onto resentment and wants to take it out on you; maybe he can't get over getting dumped. Whatever is causing him to keep you on a hook isn't worth you buying into, so try to ignore him and let it go.
We know it's hard but do your best to not let your ex's snide remarks or passive aggressive comments make you crazy. If you're truly over him and you know you're better off without him, just laugh it off when you get a text that makes you cringe or you hear from a mutual friend that he was badmouthing you. His antics are his own business, so don't give him the satisfaction of seeing you squirm.
We'll never know for sure if either half of these infamous celeb couples can be categorized as manipulative, but the way these breakups went down indicates one or both parties didn't shy away from pushing the other's buttons.
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