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Manipulation and control

Do you let others impose on you in a way that it impacts how you feel about yourself, and/or do you lack the necessary filters to maintain healthy boundaries in your relationships and behaviour with others?

That’s quite the question to throw out there, but manipulation and control are central to many relationships – bad ones. Toxic ones. Relationships borne out of low self-worth, low self-regard, self-esteem and major contributing factors to emotional abuse and poor mental health outcomes.

Nobody wants to be manipulated, no matter what the circumstance. You may sometimes feel like something isn’t quite right in a relationship, be it personal or work related. You may feel like you’re being pressured, that this person may be trying to control you, or make you feel like you need to question yourself more than you usually do.

To be the victim of manipulation is to be the victim of an emotionally unhealthy psychological strategy someone who is incapable of directly asking for what they want or need. If you’re being manipulated, an attempt is being made to control you.

Fear, obligation and guilt are prime factors when you’re being manipulated. There’s an element of psychological coercion to make you do something you may not really want to do. The perpetrators of these kind of behaviours will usually wear one of who masks: either bully, or the victim. The bully will use threats, intimidation tactics or aggression to get you to a state of fear to do what you feel you have to, to avoid the consequences. The guise of the victim will usually involve the manipulator acting hurt, emotionally manipulating you through guilt or passive aggression into doing what they want, projecting the bully status on to you.

Another tactic is ‘gaslighting’, which is where someone is being manipulated by psychological means into doubting their own sanity. It’s a tactic used in which a person manipulates another person in the hopes of acquiring power of them.

If your relationship with another person determines how you feel about yourself, then it is more likely you will attempt to exercise control. There’s a saying that we’re all victims of victims; the expression is one that goes back to the idea of those who have been abused will grow up believing on some level that such abuse is the norm, and the only way to treat people – even the ones you love. Abuse victims are often victims themselves – it’s a horrible, perpetuating cycle.

The legacy of such abuse left unchecked, unnoticed and uncared for contributes to people gradually going ‘emotionally blind’. You never have just one disorder. If you show evidence of depression, subsequent disorders seem to accompany it. That is treatment of trauma at its root cause is essential. Simply containing symptoms does not contain the problem.




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