As if dating isn’t already filled to the brim with anxiety-inducing trick or treats there’s a new thing to add to the list to give you the heebie-jeebies – Spider webbing.
According to Seeking.com, Spider webbing brings together a mish-mash of ‘love bombing’, ‘gaslighting’, ‘breadcrumbing’ and ‘therapy baiting’ in an intricate web of manipulation. Being ambushed by one of these things is bad enough, but all four? At Once? During Cuffing Season?
No, thank you.
But how easy is it to spot spider webbing? Are there tell tale signs we should be looking out for? — And, WHAT ARE PEOPLE PLAYING AT?
Why does someone choose to manipulate their partner?
Seriously, why? Being manipulated is such a humiliating and harmful thing to experience. Thankfully, Dr Sarah Bishop, Clinical Psychologist from Birmingham UK says: ″Reasons as to why someone chooses to do this are usually very deep-seated and include insecurity, fear of rejection or abandonment, narcissism or a sense of entitlement, past traumas or experiences, and a lack of empathy or emotional intelligence.″
Tasha Bailey, author, psychotherapist & content creator, echoes this: “It is likely that they have a personal challenge with being vulnerable in their relationships. Some people prefer to feel more powerful — even if that means being manipulative in their actions.”
However, spotting a class-act manipulator can be hard to do. ”Identifying manipulative individuals can be really challenging, as they often possess the ability to conceal their true intentions and tendencies in the early stages of a relationship,” Dr Bishop explains.
So — what red flags do we need to be aware of?
What are the red flags we should look out for?
Speaking with Dr Bishop, she says that someone who is happy to disregard personal boundaries is an immediate no-no.
“This is usually characterised by a desire to establish excessive closeness too quickly, being overly familiar, or expecting too much too soon,” she says.
Bailey suggests to keep an eye on how loaded affection towards you feels.
“Whatever affection they do show, it will often be used as a bounty to control or influence your behaviour,” she continues, “For example, they may blame their bad behaviour on how much they love and care for you, rather than reflecting that they can choose whether to express their affection in a more healthy and balanced way.”
Dr Bishop advises that when it comes to spotting these characteristics, you have to go with your gut. Are they using excessive charm and flattery?
Tasha explains that these traits can be hard to spot and differentiate from someone who is just really into you.
“It can be really tricky to look for warning signs, since many of these behaviours are so subtle and often sugar-coated in charm at the start,” she says.
“A manipulative partner will likely also have a lot of difficulty with taking accountability, hence them depending on gaslighting techniques or projecting blame onto anyone else but themselves,” advises Bailey.
“It is important to note that these signs alone do not necessarily indicate that a person is ‘toxic.’ It is equally crucial to examine one’s own red flags and not solely focus on the other individual,” adds Dr Bishop.
Does cuffing season make us more vulnerable to manipulation?
Dr Bishop believes so. “When we’re longing for companionship, we might overlook warning signs or compromise our boundaries to be in a relationship. Manipulative people can take advantage of this vulnerability for their own benefit,” she says.
Bailey agrees with this, saying, “Festive holidays and the winter seasons also mean that more people are keen to not be alone over the next few months, leasing to more urgency and potentially more manipulate behaviours.”
So, daters beware of the Spiders Web. Be cautious and vigilant of red flags — of other peoples and your own. But, most importantly, try and have fun with it. Dating should be full of lust, love and laughter. Keep putting yourself first and you’ll be sure to find what you’re looking for, and avoid getting ensnared.