We’ve all run across a master manipulator at one time or another in our lives even if we didn’t recognize them in the moment.
Let’s hold up this very special glass to take a closer look and observe the master manipulator from afar if only to get a glimpse of what one looks like so we can spot them and then fend off their dark and ominous magic.
Master Manipulators have a unique way of getting others to do their bidding. Sounds scary, doesn’t it?
It might look like…
~ withholding affection to get another to come close
~ criticizing to express their hurt and loneliness
~ shutting down and pulling away to communicate that they are overwhelmed
~ playing on your emotions to get you to do something different
~ complaining to get you to jump into action
As we draw nearer to the glass, I wonder if you recognize anyone? I wonder if you might even see your own reflection in the mirrored image?
The reality is that manipulation at its most basic concept means “to move”. We learn very early on how to move others and some become more skilled than others out of necessity.
Babies don’t politely ask to be fed, nurtured, bathed, changed…they thrash and they wail and an attentive parent is moved.
When we do begin to grasp language and we are told no, we skillfully manage to find other ways of getting our needs and wants met. This skillful moving of others doesn’t suddenly stop at some magical age.
It takes a concentrated effort to notice how we are feeling and our chosen behaviors attached to getting our needs/wants met. When we understand ourselves better, we can then ask for our needs, “I’m still feeling hurt from our earlier conversation and that’s why I ‘lost track of time’, even though I knew you needed me here early so you could meet up with friends. I’m sorry. Could we plan for some focused time together to work this through?”
Now granted, there are those who are well aware of their skill and use it to cause harm. There is a difference. However, I think we can too quickly discount our own masterfulness when it comes to the creative way’s we manage to move others.
It doesn’t make us evil or sick…it means that we have an opportunity for curiosity. We have an opportunity to discover what it is we are really feeling and why we are acting out in a particular way. Then to ask more directly for what it is that we want and need, and learn to tolerate a “no” (insert cringe). That’s a whole other blog for another time ~ talk soon!