Ending Manipulation: What Blocks and Supports Us in Ending Manipulation

In our last post, we looked at why children don’t receive the help they need to outgrow manipulation. We’re following the thread that explores the idea that human beings are designed to outgrow manipulation by adulthood. When children don’t receive this help, they can’t outgrow it. This month, we’re looking at the things that block or assist that evolution.

From Chapter 3:

“Focusing on what another person is doing actually blocks us from outgrowing manipulation. When people speak of manipulation, they’re usually focused on how to stop someone else from manipulating them. This identifies the other person as “the problem,” leads us to think we can change their behavior, and gives permission to put blame on someone outside of ourselves!”

“Let’s take a moment to realize that because people have not understood the nature of manipulation, its cause, and how to work effectively to end it, we persist in believing the problem is outside of us. We think someone is “manipulating me,” and I must stop them from doing this. Our society supports this approach, not realizing that such an approach prolongs manipulation and has no chance of resolving the situation.”

“This is because of some important principles:”

“The only time we have power is in the present”

“The only person over whom we have power is our own self”

“Attempting to change another person is an empty dream. It’s impossible to do. Each of us has the task of changing our own self!”


“However, once we change our self, that puts pressure for change on anyone with whom we’re in a relationship. Changing yourself allows other people to change. And with manipulation, other people will either follow your lead and change, or they will get out of your life. The only person you need to work with is your own self. Any other approach dooms you to failure and is a waste of your time and energy.”

“To move out of manipulation in your lifetime, you will need to stop focusing so much on what someone else is doing to you, and begin focusing more on what you, yourself, are doing.”

In The Wellness Universe Guide to Complete Self-Care (Volume 1), I wrote this, which is a fuller explanation of why we need to work on ourselves, first and foremost:

Inside, Out”

“…. you need to change your mindset. Instead of being in a world where others do things to you, where someone else is to blame, where fate has it in for you, or your parents didn’t give you a good enough start in life, shift.”

“Shift to realizing that life works better when you live it from the inside out, which means that you accept the notion that the experiences you have, have been tailored to help you learn; that you can only change yourself, not anyone else. Realize that the only time you have the power to make changes is the present; that what you have inside of you, you tend to attract from outside. Our world operates like a mirror, with the people and experiences we have mirroring ourselves back to us. Except that you, like every other person in the world, are individually responsible for your own life. You are a Co-Creator of your life, created by what you pay attention to and through your beliefs, choices, and actions.”

And more from Chapter 3, Ending Manipulation:

“Interestingly, looking at how someone else is behaving is a good way to understand the entire system of manipulation. When we can spot Lifestyle Manipulators and know how they’re doing their manipulation, we have a better chance to take ourselves out of the line of manipulation. Not being manipulated gives us the opportunity to put more energy into our own self, thus allowing for faster and more effective personal growth…” 

“… [The] giver and taker roles occur frequently in manipulative relationships, yet it is often difficult for the outside observer to tell which is which. In reality, both are takers. And both are givers.”


“To keep the manipulative relationship operating well, at any particular time, one usually plays the taking role and the other the giving role. The giver gives what the taker appears to need, needing the taker to take! If the taker no longer takes, the giver is thrown into confusion, having only two choices: leave the relationship by grabbing onto another taker, or grow and stop manipulating! If the taker blocks the manipulation and stops giving energy, she will be dropped altogether as the Lifestyle Manipulator will find and adopt a new victim. Lifestyle Manipulators must have an “energy broker,” so if the giver abandons her role, the Lifestyle Manipulator must find another person in need of a broker, fast!”


“If you behave in manipulative ways, you will attract and relate to manipulative people. If you behave in assertive, mature ways, you will attract and relate to mature and assertive people. Thus, if you feel you are heavily involved in manipulative relationships now, the most effective way to bounce back from those energy losses is to become more mature and assertive yourself, thus reducing your availability to be hooked.”

If you think this description of manipulative behavior is confusing, try living your life inside the experience! Manipulation is at the base of domestic violence. Therapists often refuse to work with both partners at the same time because they shift roles and positions, back and forth, frequently and confusingly. Who is the victim? Who is the perpetrator? It’s hard to tell! In our next post, we’ll focus on our pain related to manipulation and why we want to end manipulation! Later, we’ll also examine how to identify Lifestyle Manipulators!

Connect with Ilene Dillon on The Wellness Universe and walk away feeling better!


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