By Paula Bianchi –
Manipulation has been used as a tool to get what we want for eons. It’s something that we learn while we’re babies, then, we hone and expand our skills throughout our lives. Some of us become masters in manipulation.
Every personality type, uses manipulation differently. Some may use it for the sole purpose of getting attention, while others use it because they get a thrill out of controlling those around them.
As with all things, there’s manipulation with a positive connotation, or it comes from a place of negativity, with different degrees of manipulation within each example. When we hear ourselves say, “If I do ‘this’, then, they’ll have to do ‘that’,” you’re trying to manipulate the situation.
Kids manipulate their parents in so many different ways. It all starts off when their babies. They realize crying, laughing, or being cute, can get them what they want. Once a kid learns the cuteness card, they’ll use it for as long as they can.
Parents are no dummies though, when it comes to manipulation, but there can be times where they have to throw in the towel. (Like getting your child to eat right.) Kids never want to clean anything, unless, we pay them an allowance, and if they don’t do it, they don’t get paid. Parents also use their child’s social life to get them to do what they’re supposed to do.
A person, who just doesn’t want to do anything, will do the task wrong, so they’ll never be asked to do it again. This is a classic manipulation. In just about every family, there’s someone who does this.
Attention seekers may make up stories to get attention from their loved ones and friends. The drama they create, from their manipulation, can range from a mild nuisance to a huge blow out.
Manipulators have no problem with lying. This is usually the first tool they pull out. They lie to get us to do something, or to not do it, depending on their desired outcome.
Molesters can groom their victims and manipulate them into keeping quiet. Drug addicts get their family and friends to fall into line with broken promises and lies. Abusers keep their victims in line with threats of violence.
Some religions control the masses through manipulation. We don’t need religion for us to have a relationship with God. He hears you whether you’re in church or not.
Media outlets manipulate us with one sided stories or with stories that hold no truth. Politicians manipulate us with lies and falsehoods to mislead us, so they can get our vote. Our leaders can manipulate us into thinking they’re watching out for us, but in reality, they’re only watching out for themselves.
So many of us are manipulated every day that it has become a standard in our lives. Even when we know we’re being manipulated, we’ll do what they want. Sometimes, just to keep the peace.
There are a lot of people out there who won’t let themselves be manipulated. These strong-minded individuals can see right through all the crap that’s being presented, but just because they understand it doesn’t mean some of them wouldn’t hesitate to manipulate a situation to their advantage.
The hardest people to manipulate are the manipulators. It can take a lot of strategic planning to pull the wool over their eyes.
When we’re young and going to school, we always have to be on guard for the bullies because they manipulate situations to publicly harass or belittle us. In the process of doing this, they manipulate others to follow their lead. They announce that they’re going to kick your ass after school. The news of the big fight travels making everyone, who hears it, show up to watch.
I witnessed a fight like this, when I was in Jr. high, in the girl’s bathroom. To make matters worse, the bully, who started it all, was my best friend. It’s so terrible for me to remember now, what happened to that poor girl. My friend beat the shit out of her causing terrible injuries to her head and ribs, and she got into a lot of trouble for doing it. More importantly through, all of the girls who just stood and watched, without lifting a finger to help, got in trouble too. Myself included.
I’ve often regretted that I didn’t do anything to help her. After the first punch, I knew it was wrong, but I chose not to do anything like everyone else. Hindsight can haunt you. I realized, after I became an adult and started using my empathy, what this girl must have suffered. The humiliation she must have felt having to face all of us every day. This is the one day I wish I could go back and change. The bully was my friend, so I know I could have manipulated her into stopping. But it also taught me that I would never stand by and witness cruelty again. Especially, if I can stop it.
Some people who know they’re being manipulated, choose to turn a blind eye to it just to keep the peace. When we negotiate with someone to keep peace, both sides know it will involve some form of manipulation to come to a compromise.
Manipulation can be subtle, or it can be as plain as the nose on your face, but either way, we’ll have to deal with it. How we choose to do that, reveals our character. If we feel we’re being manipulated, bring it out into the light. Make them explain why they’re doing it, then, it’s up to us to decide if we’ll continue playing their game of manipulation.
In my next Mind Games article, I’ll talk about hope. Thanks for the visit. Hope to see you again. Bye for now.