If you are involved in a manipulating relationship, either as the manipulator or the person being manipulated, life can hurt.
Although any form of manipulating is an attempt to control someone else it often expresses a need to be in control of one’s own life. It can be the result of low self-esteem caused by a traumatic experience that hurt deeply. The manipulator simply has a need to be in control again. They are not mean people, just confused.
There are many ways to manipulate. There is the person who uses money/education/degrees to intimidate another and make them feel stupid. There are those who threaten to take away their love/support/attention causing fear of abandonment in another. There are the martyrs who eternally give to and help others expecting them to like/love/appreciate them because they are so generous. There are those who constantly play the victim/poor me role inviting others to feel sorry for them. There are those who use put downs in the form of a joke or are overly critical causing the other person to feel inferior to them. The list goes on and on. There are no doubt as many different methods as there are people.
One curious fact about manipulating is that it always requires a partner. It can’t be done in a vacuum. The other fact is that you can’t change the manipulator; you can only change your response. You can disable the relationship by making a change in yourself. Waking up to realize that you are a manipulator or that you are allowing another to manipulate you is a giant first step to taking back control of your life. It is necessary to admit your contribution to the problem.
Until I did a little research on the subject it never occurred to me that I have spent a good portion of my life manipulating in an effort to gain love/respect/appreciation. What a shock it was for me to see myself in that role. I have always been a martyr, giving and doing and helping others. Until now I didn’t realize I had a subconscious motive. I truly thought I was just a very generous person. When you give with a motive it is not truly giving. Today I know I developed this method of control because of an early trauma in my life. That is not an excuse, simply a fact.
I also see that all of my adult life I have attracted the poor me souls who fed right into my chosen method of control. If I have not accomplished anything else during 2011 I am through playing this game. The biggest noise I can make is to quietly walk away. From this day forward I am in control of me and I no longer choose to manipulate anyone else. Life is full of enough hurts and I am no longer contributing!