How The Costs Of Manipulation Outweighs the Benefits

 / 

,
How The Costs Of Manipulation Outweighs the Benefits

The dictionary defines manipulation as “to influence or manage shrewdly or deviously or falsify for personal gain.”

No one likes to see themselves as a manipulator. But most of us, from time to time, engage in manipulative strategies in our efforts to fulfill certain desires or expectations that we have of others.

Related: 6 Tactics Manipulators Use To Control And Confuse You

Here are some examples of some of the ways that we may manipulate:

1. Intimidation
2. Shaming
3. Comparing
4. Threatening
5. Condemning
6. Self-pity
7. Insulting
8. Humiliating
9. Ridiculing
10. Belittling
11. Humor
12. Accommodating
13. Withdrawing
14. Criticizing
15. Blaming
16. Silence
17. Intellectualizing
18. Crying
19. Cajoling
20. Flattery
21. Bargaining
22. Bribing
23. Demanding
24. Sarcasm
25. Name-calling
26. Punishment
27. Playing dumb
28. Guilt-tripping
29. Judging
30. Raging
31. Whining
32. Distracting
33.  Lecturing
34. Nagging
35. Nit-picking
36. Attacking
37. Seduction

Many of these behaviors are not intrinsically harmful and under certain circumstances even appropriate and legitimate. What determines whether or not one is being manipulative is not the behavior itself, but the context in which it is being used and the intention behind the action or words. An intention becomes manipulative when it is driven by an unstated, covert desire that is meant to mislead another person and influence their perception.

Related: Manipulation Of The Charming Narcissist

We manipulate when there is an outcome that we desire and we are more attached to achieving that outcome than we are to maintaining integrity in our relationship. Manipulation is what we do when we are not willing to risk openly acknowledging our intentions by expressing our desires. We feel less vulnerable when we use covert means to influence others to accommodate us.

While most of us are aware that manipulation in close relationships can diminish trust, we continue to practice manipulative behaviors.

Why then do we manipulate when we know better? And how do we justify this behavior to ourselves?

Manipulation, fueled with good intent, can be a blessing. But when used wickedly, it is the beginning of a magician’s karmic calamity  –  T.F. Hodge

Here are a few examples of some of the more commonly used rationalizations that we’ve heard from people over the years:

  • Everybody does it.
  • It’s harmless.
  • I won’t get my needs met if I don’t.
  • He/she does it and I’ll be at a disadvantage if I don’t.
  • It’s not a big deal.
  • It’s a habit and I can’t give it up.
  • I don’t want anyone to take advantage of me.

You can add your own favorites to this list. Keep in mind that rationalizations aren’t equivalent to the truth. And in the case of relationships, there are “unintended consequences” that inevitably occur when we justify manipulations, regardless of the reasons we do it.

Those consequences of manipulation include:

  • A diminishment in the level of self-trust and trust in the relationship
  • An increase in feelings of anxiety (resulting from the fear of one’s deeper motives being revealed)
  • Feelings of guilt and shame
  • A diminishment in the quality of intimacy in the relationship
  • An increase in feelings of resentment
  • An increase in the frequency and intensity of arguments
  • A loss of a sense of personal integrity

While we may feel manipulated at times when another person is using covert means to influence us, we are much less likely to be aware of these intentions in ourselves. Most of us are disinclined to recognize motivations in ourselves that are inconsistent with our image of ourselves as a “good” person. Consequently, we may be generally unaware of our manipulative tendencies. We usually manipulate because we fear that if we don’t fulfill our desires, we will suffer. We frequently don’t realize it when we are manipulating, and it is embarrassing to catch ourselves in the act.

One of the methods of manipulation is to inoculate individuals with the bourgeois appetite for personal success – Paulo Freire

Examples of the desires that we seek to fulfill include (but are not limited to) acceptance, love, approval, sex, money, attention, security, support, agreement, control, and praise. In becoming more conscious of our manipulative patterns and the cost incurred, we can find the motivation to interrupt manipulative impulses. Then we can find the courage to risk outwardly acknowledging our needs and desires and make more direct requests to others.

The process of interrupting our manipulative impulses and restoring our integrity requires us to get honest with ourselves in regard to the whys and hows of our manipulative tendencies. Through a process of self-inquiry, we can bring into greater awareness the unconscious motivators that may be at play. Self-inquiry enables us to assert new, more effective practices to meet our needs and avoid the damaging consequences of manipulation.

Related: 4 Techniques To Control and Disarm a Manipulator

Here is an example of some questions that will help you to uncover some of your competing commitments and hidden desires. You may want to respond to these questions in writing or in dialogue with another person rather than simply thinking about the answers. With each insight into our deeper motivation, we become more empowered to act in ways that strengthen our commitment to integrity.

Each action that is expressed from this commitment deconditions the manipulative patterns that keep us separate from each other and ourselves.

1. How do I manipulate? (Examples of ways that you manipulate)
2. What am I looking for when I manipulate? (Examples of what I am seeking to get or experience)
3. What is the fear that drives me to manipulate? (Another way to ask this question is: “What is it that I am afraid of losing or not getting if I don’t manipulate?”)
4. What are the prices I pay for manipulating? (What are the negative consequences to you and your relationships?)
5. What would be required of me to stop manipulating? (What risks would you have to be willing to take in order to break this habit?)
6. What kind of support will be useful to me in my efforts to break the habit of manipulation?
7. Who are the people whom I can count on to support me in this process?

Such self-confrontation requires courage and commitment.

The tendency to avoid facing unpleasant truths about ourselves is strong in us all. Doing so can activate feelings of shame, humiliation, and guilt. Yet in coming to terms with these deeper feelings we can become more able to have a heightened experience of authenticity, intimacy, freedom, and passion.

Related: Surviving A Manipulator and Restoring Your Sanity

We don’t have to wait until we “arrive at our destination” to begin to feel the benefits of this process. The positive feelings emerge as soon as we commit ourselves to live more authentically and communicating more directly with the people with whom we seek to co-create a fulfilling connection.

The longer we practice, the easier it gets. It’s never too early or too late to make this commitment and to begin to enjoy the results of the process. See for yourself!


Written by Linda and Charlie Bloom
Originally appeared in Psychology today

How The Costs Of Manipulation Outweighs the Benefits pin

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply



Up Next

7 Warning Signs Of Losing Yourself In A Relationship And How to Rediscover Your Sense of Self

Signs Of Losing Yourself In A Relationship

Are you starting to feel like you have lost yourself in a relationship? Do you have this persistent feeling that you don’t know who you are anymore? You know, that feeling when you are so caught up in someone else’s world, that you forget who you are? Well, these are just some signs of losing yourself in a relationship.

Believe it or not, this is actually quite a common feeling, and lots of people experience this. If you have ever felt like you have lost yourself in a relationship, then this article can be a godsend for you.

Let’s delve into the all those signs of losing yourself in a relationship, so that you can stop yourself from doing so (at least to some extent!). And not just this, we will also talk about what to do when you lose yourself in a relationship. So, are you ready to explore this? Let’s go then!



Up Next

4 Steps To Open And Hopefully Change Someone’s Mind

How To Change Someone's Mind: Useful Pointers To Remember

If you want to change someone’s mind, there are a few things you need to remember. This article is going to talk about some of the best ways to influence someone’s mind, but in the right way. So, are you ready to explore how to change someone’s mind? Let’s go then!

KEY POINTS

Starting conversations with respectful curiosity can open someone’s mind without evoking their resistance.

Our brains are very protective of how we think. Arguing with someone activates the fight-or-flight response.

Practice summarizing key ideas people share so they feel heard before you ask if you can share your ideas.



Up Next

Are You Struggling To Manage Your Emotional Reactions? 3 Important Steps To Take

Managing Emotional Reactions: Effective Steps To Take

If you are someone who struggles to control or manage your emotional reactions, then you have come to the right place. This article is going to talk about some of the best things you can do when it comes to controlling emotional reactions or emotional reactivity.

KEY POINTS

Emotional reactions are based on mental habits you can change if you want to, believe you can, and can commit to the steps.

Even when you know a new mental habit will relieve your stress, you must consistently override your protective brain while forming the new habit.

Start with small steps so you can see your progress and celebrate your successes.



Up Next

3 Zodiac Signs That Bear The Burden Alone With A Never-Say-Die Attitude

Zodiac Signs That Bear The Burden Alone

When life throws its toughest challenges the way, some are drowned by it while others manage to swim through. Below are 3 zodiac signs that bear the burden alone with extraordinaire calm and resilience.

One thing about these zodiacs carrying the burden alone is that they always handle the hard things in life all by themselves. They don’t vent their problems on social media, or cry about it. These people a determined and strong, and can handle anything without support from other people.

When carrying the burden alone, they keep silent and confront all their troubles – this is what really truly sets them apart. So are you one of those who don’t shy away from problems and face them head on? Let’s explore the zodiac signs that bear the burden alone!



Up Next

The Philosophy Of Forgiveness: What Is True Forgiveness And How To Forgive People

What Is True Forgiveness? Tips on How To Forgive People

Have you ever held onto anger and resentment because someone did you dirty? Most of us often become trapped by the weight of bitterness and make wrong decisions that affect us more than it affects others. This is where true forgiveness comes in. But exactly what is true forgiveness?

There is a transformative power hidden within the philosophy of forgiveness. True forgiveness has the potential to liberate us from the chains of bitterness, allowing us to heal, grow, and rediscover the joy of living. 

Let’s explore the depths of what is true forgiveness and learn how to forgive people so that we can be liberated from the pain and bitterness.

What is True Forgiveness?



Up Next

“Why Do I Hate Talking On The Phone?”: 7 Signs You Might Be Dealing With Phone Anxiety

Why Do I Hate Talking On The Phone? Signs Of Phone Anxiety

Do you ever find yourself rolling your eyes and letting out an exasperated sigh when your phone starts ringing or buzzing? Do you feel dread at the mere thought of having to make or receive a phone call and try to find out how to avoid talking on the phone? If you’ve ever said these words to yourself, “Why do I hate talking on the phone?” with frustration, you’re not alone.

There are many people out there who feel the same as you, and hate talking on the phone. And it turns out, there’s a very valid reason behind feeling this way, and that’s phone anxiety.

Today, we are going to talk about phone anxiety and the signs you hate talking on the phone, so that the frequency of you asking “why do I hate talking on the phone” lessens. So, are you ready to know more about this? Let’s get started, then.



Up Next

The ‘Sincericide’ Trap: How Being Too Honest Can Backfire

Sincericide: Dangers Of Being Too Honest

In the realm of human interaction, truthfulness is often described as a virtue—a foundation of trust and authenticity. However, there’s a phenomenon called “sincericide,” which denotes the paradoxical act of undermining one’s own sincerity.

Honesty is appreciated, but the idea of “Sincericide” – an oxymoronic pitfall that may lead to undesirable results through too much sincerity.

Trust is built on transparency but it’s also important to know how not to cross the line between being frank and rude.

In this article, we’ll discuss ‘Sincericide’, the secret killer of strong relationships — telling the truth without sugarcoating it. How do you communicate honestly without destroying you