In our last post, we talked about the kinds of things we all do to either block or assist manipulation. Our focus was on the importance of coming fully into your own self, so you are able to live your life from the “inside, out” instead of collecting energy from others and the world. It’s fine to do both, of course, but the buck stops inside of us! It actually simplifies life to know the primary person we need to keep track of, or change is our own self. Once we change, the outside world around us begins to change too. In this post, we’ll explore some of what comes along with living manipulatively that is painful. We start by exploring the energy aspects of manipulation.
From Chapter 4
“Every living thing needs energy in order to grow and exist. A rose takes energy in the form of sunlight, water, and nutrients. Human beings get energy from some of these same sources. Once these biological needs are met, human beings get energy in the form of attention from other human beings.”
“When I visited my daughter in Ecuador in 2016, she noted that the many greenhouses we passed during our travels were where roses were grown. She pointed out to me that most of the roses we purchase in the US have been raised in Ecuador. Their straight stems and generous foliage are a result of growing on the equator in Ecuador, where the sun is directly overhead! Roses that receive plenty of water and nutrients, and are directly under an energy source like the sun, grow lush and straight. Roses that receive indirect light frequently produce a spindly, not straight plant, putting most of its growth effort into making stems and little into creating leaves and flowers.”
“Human beings who receive the nutrients and ingredients they need for growth, and who get positive, direct attention, also grow the equivalent of “lush and straight” by developing a strong sense of self and personal boundaries. On the other hand, children who receive indirect, unclear, and inconsistent attention from others during childhood learn to “spread themselves thin,” putting most of their growth effort into seeking attention, or paying attention to others instead of themselves, leaving limited time and energy for developing their own sense of self.”
“This person literally does not have the time to develop the ability to learn to put their own energy through themselves. Instead, they continue to work with their “energy broker(s),” not learning to find out who they are separate from others. When this occurs, the person has difficulty making decisions, loving, empathizing, setting personal boundaries, taking action, or growing on their own. To survive, literally and emotionally, this person believes she needs other human beings constantly. Other people must continue their “energy broker” role and always stay connected.”
“A human being who receives direct, clear, and consistent attention is given the opportunity to grow into a full, mature, and complete person able to make decisions, take action, set boundaries, love, and grow independently. This kind of attention includes helping that individual to put his own energy through himself, develop personal power and a clear sense of self, thus developing the ability to live independently and interdependently.… “
“Once we know who we are as separate individuals (which we’re designed to do during childhood), we can come back together (such as in partnering and marriage during young adulthood). If we never achieve the separation, however, our coming together with others will be flawed. Instead of having happy, loving relationships between two mature people, we’ll become enmeshed with one another, leading us to intense, often negative or violent, and painful relating. Enmeshment leads to all kinds of problems, including difficulties getting along, with working out problems between us and others, and even abuse.”
Today a lot of us are talking about being “authentic,” “finding our truth,” and discovering our “Purpose.” A lot, not all, of what necessitates these searches to know ourselves results from the absence or delay of developing our full personhood as children. We do know ourselves, in connection with other people or cultures. We don’t always know ourselves separately.
Years ago, I was given a spiritual definition of marriage. It was:
One whole, complete individual + One whole, complete individual = Unity
To form a true Unity (the “something more” that comes from combining our lives, energy, and love), each of the “Units” in a marriage needs to be separately whole and complete. When the union occurs, then, the Unity becomes more than the whole.
This actually applies in all relationships. It emphasizes the importance of I, separating and knowing who we are on our own. Once done, we can blend and combine with others without losing track of who we are.
Nowhere is this more evident than in manipulative relationships. My neurosurgeon husband, Bob Fink, used to tell me of the difficulties of operating on a Glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumor that enmeshed itself with the brain so thoroughly the surgeon couldn’t excise it without cutting away precious and important parts of the brain. Manipulative enmeshment is like that, too. The real pain of manipulation is how much of our own self we don’t have available for living life when we’re living enmeshed through manipulation.
If you are enmeshed, focus on developing your self, so you become a whole, complete unit!
In our next installment, we’ll consider whether manipulation is “bad,” and its impact as it continues into our adult lives. For now, focus on becoming the best and most complete “Unit” you can and want to be!
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.