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Break free from a manipulative ex

Your relationship is over and you’re glad to be rid of him, but somehow you still feel trapped. If the breakup is still fresh, it can be easy to let your ex mess with your head, but that just ends up causing more grief. If you’re dealing with a manipulative ex, who seems to be set on driving you crazy, here are a few ways to deal.

1Don’t answer the phone

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.

2Don’t play his game

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.

3Don’t let him get to you

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.

3 brutal Hollywood breakups

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.

  1. Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry: After dating for four years and having a daughter together, one of the world’s most beautiful couples parted ways in 2010 in what seemed like an amicable split. Then the sparks started flying and the two got down and dirty accusing each other of racism (her about him) and child endangerment (him about her).
  2. Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson: Former starlet, frequent trouble maker and sometimes actress, Lindsay Lohan stepped out with DJ Samantha Ronson in 2008 in what can only be described as a torrid affair. Their whirlwind romance ended in a series of heated Twitter accusations from both sides and enough tabloid drama to create a month’s worth of tabloid headlines.
  3. Sandra Bullock and Jesse James: After a triumphant Oscar win for her role in 2009’s The Blind Side, Bullock got a blind side of her own when she discovered (mere days after her win) that husband Jesse James had been cheating with not one, but multiple tattooed tramps. She fled the spotlight immediately, but he has been spouting off about their relationship ever since.

More on breaking up

Avoid breakup remorse
Handling the fresh pain of a breakup
How to let go of a failing relationship

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