Emotional manipulation can be subtle or not so subtle. – Boyd Bailey
Emotional manipulation is on my heart today. I have been experiencing it in several of my ‘friendships’ and I am really sad about it and stinging a little from comments, inquisitions, judgments and the loss of respect I am experiencing for people I love. Even though I can spot it and stand against it at this point in my life, it is still painful. It is engrained in our culture, the emotional bully often wins over the weaker person who does not know themselves, but it is so unnecessary and brings such devastation to our relationships. Emotional manipulation creates unequal relationships. It puts one person in control of another persons life and destiny. It devalues the very choices and freedom that someone makes for themselves. I always wonder why really smart and talented people don’t get that. It undermines all the good they are trying to do in the world, because they have decided that what they are doing is more important than what anyone else is doing. Interesting to me.
I have experienced great manipulation in my life. From a very small girl manipulation ruled me. I was a peace-keeper, a people pleaser. I wanted to be popular. I wanted to be beautiful. I won’t go into a lot of detail at this time, but much of my life learning has been overcoming ‘professional’ controllers, abusers, manipulators. For many years my learning and observations were internal as I began to take responsibility for my life and live in awareness of myself, my choices, my actions, my peace. I was aware I was being abused, I was not aware that I was being manipulated by multiple people – some who I had originally thought had my best interests in mind. I found out differently. Then I began realizing that a large amount of people live their lives and build their ‘kingdoms’ through manipulation. I also realized that ANYONE who is truly your friend will not use you for their own benefit, but will give you the true gift of friendship: the trust and freedom to choose for yourself in every situation and love you with no condition.
As I began to get glimpses of God and how God manifests love, how Jesus manifested love on earth, what the attributes of love really entailed and I began to practice this unconditional love that I was getting glimpses of, it changed my life and it also revealed so much about what I had always assumed love was, what I had been taught love was. These revelations revealed that what I had been sold as loving behavior was mainly manipulation and selfishness. Many times it came so subtly it was/is hard to spot at first and I have learned the hard way and endured much in the playing out of relationships to discover that what I had been told was love, was in fact the exact opposite.
It is fascinating to me that no one on earth has ever given me ‘permission’ to be who I was created to be, or to speak my truth and yet God has healed me, given me this understanding, the ability, the backbone, the strength, the courage and the calling to do so.
Thankfully I’ve learned these lessons well. I’ve learned to trust my own journey and be strong enough to make my own choices. I’ve learned to say no. I’ve become adamant about not manipulating others or being manipulated myself. I’ve learned the words and attitudes to let go and walk away from. I’ve learned to grieve. I’ve learned to speak the truth in love. I’m still learning….I always will be…it’s a process…