In our previous installment, we talked about whether manipulation is “bad.” It is not. Manipulation begins as a super asset, allowing us to get our needs met so we can survive. We’re designed to outgrow this behavior as we mature. When we grow up and still behave manipulatively, that’s when manipulation starts working against us instead of for us. Most of us have not shifted. Now is the time for us to make this shift! There is a nearly foolproof system set up to “encourage” us to shift into non-manipulative behavior patterns!
I’ve been a psychotherapist for 50 years, helping countless people. One thing I have observed is that we humans do not like to change! Literally, we realize it’s time to change and then hang onto our old ways of doing things until the pain of where we are gets so bad we think it couldn’t be any worse if we make the change! That’s when people change.
Our experiences bring up issues, situations, and opportunities; they’re designed to help us learn, grow, and change. Being here on the earth is about change! Change is inevitable. Still, we resist it. The nearly foolproof system for getting us to change is PAIN. Once we are aware we need to learn, grow, or change, that issue doesn’t go away. The same situation or lesson gets repeated and repeated. Each time it repeats, it’s a more painful experience. That increasing pain “encourages” us to change. Let’s look at the pain of manipulation, as considered in Ending Manipulation.
From Chapter 9:
“What Tells Us We Are Being Manipulated?”
“In short, it is primarily emotions and physical reactions.”
“As we know, our emotions arise in response to our experiences. It turns out there are specific physical reactions and emotions that arise in us when others are using our energy without our permission. Identifying these emotions as they arise allows us to be aware that manipulation is occurring. It is our signal to be alert to the drain and be ready to protect ourselves by creating personal boundaries.”
“Most of us pay attention to our emotions only after the manipulative event, which puts us at a disadvantage because by then we have already lost precious personal energy. We can still take care of ourselves, but we have the added task of recovering from the effects of this latest manipulation.”
“Of course, we need to learn to feel and know those emotions in order to identify them as they arise in us. When we feel our own energy strongly throughout our day and our life, it is easier to identify any change. Manipulation creates a strong pull away from your own rhythms and energy and into the system of needs catered to by Lifestyle Manipulators. Our task is to stay with ourselves.”
“Thoughts, Emotions, and Emotional States are Usually Associated with Manipulation”
- Anger (out of proportion to the event, you cannot seem to resolve it, or have anger toward yourself)
- A knot or tingling in your solar plexus (the pit of your stomach)
- Tiredness, exhaustion
- A desire to escape
- Hurt or fear
- Questioning your own motives
- Strongly suspecting the other person’s motives
- A feeling you should do something, but don’t know what that is
- The idea you are responsible, in some way, for what happened
- Concern that you may be bad, wrong, or crazy
“These are feelings, thoughts, and emotional states people report when they have encountered manipulation in their lives. Experiencing seven to ten of them is a sure sign you have been drained of energy and will be drained whenever you spend time with that individual. If you experience these feelings frequently when you are around certain people, then those individuals operate as “energy drainers” for you. They are the manipulators in your world.”
“Emotions will always tell you when manipulation occurs.”
This list tells us about the pain we experience as a result of being in manipulative relationships.
How many of these emotions and feelings occurred in your previous relationships or are present in your current relationships? Have you been aware of the pain of each of these?
Very often people don’t recognize the pain they are in from relating manipulatively with others. They’re so busy dealing with what is going on they don’t really pay attention to themselves, and especially to their emotions. They may also believe that the other person must change his behavior for this pain to go away! Not so. The pain is for you, the person being manipulated! The pain is there to push you to take notice, feel, and change. It does not go away until change occurs.
Most of us believe that for us to feel better, the people in our lives must behave differently. The reality is quite different. Because the only person you have power over is yourself. The person who needs to change in order to relieve the pain of manipulation is YOU!
Getting in charge of yourself is the key to ending manipulation. It’s for you to make changes that allow you to be more empowered, more in charge of your life, and happier. We experience the pain of being manipulated so that we get the message that we need to change.
Leave the room! Get this person out of your life! Do for yourself what you now believe you could not do for yourself thinking someone else must do it! YOU are the person with the power over yourself! It often looks like the manipulative person is more powerful, but in reality, the manipulator is 1) only as strong, emotionally, as a three- or four-year-old child and 2) only strong in our life because we are allowing it.
The pain resulting from manipulation will alert you to being manipulated. Knowing the kinds of behaviors Lifestyle Manipulators engage in enhances your ability to recognize and sidestep manipulative experiences. We’ll explore those next!
Connect with Ilene Dillon on The Wellness Universe and walk away feeling better!
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Ilene Dillon, MSW, has dedicated her life to helping people resolve personal challenges once and for all, then design life to be what they want it to be. A Transformation Specialist, she has worked 50 years as a psychotherapist and 15 years as a coach. She is a global speaker, Amazon International Best-selling author (The Wellness Universe Guide to Complete Self-Care, Volumes 1 and 2), podcast guest, and plans to give her first TEDx speech (on Anger) later this year. Ilene is also the author of Emotions in Motion: Mastering Life’s Built-in Navigation System and End Manipulation: Stop Being Jerked Around by Toxic, Energy-draining People. With her little dog, Pi, Ilene lives and travels full-time throughout North America in her RV, writing, teaching, and speaking along the way.