Manipulation Is Not Love
When we say things like “if you’re not jealous, it’s not true love,” “if he really loves me he doesn’t need to spend time with anyone else,” or “love means guessing what the other person wants and needs,” we end up dealing with unfair and degrading situations in order to maintain a romantic bond that most of the time isn’t genuine.
Love, like almost everything else in life, is learned. And sometimes we learn it in the wrong way. The romantic and illusory idea of love that is popular these days does little to help interpersonal relationships. The values found in healthy romantic relationships are the complete opposite of the values of passionate, all-or-nothing love.
Love is one of the most powerful feelings in the world, and every person adds their own personal characteristics to it, as well as ideas that aren’t always completely true. The large majority of relationship problems come from highly unrealistic romantic demands on the relationship and on one’s partner. These distorted ideas of passionate love can compromise the relationship, even when the partners fit together well.
“Disturbing emotions and toxic relationships have been identified as risk factors in disease.”
Characteristics of manipulation
Manipulation occurs when one person exercises control over another person’s behavior. To do so, they use persuasion techniques to try and take away or condition that person’s judgment. Mental manipulation could be a particular form of selfishness.
Manipulators will often shamelessly use their partners, with the narcissistic goal of obtaining more power or getting what they want. They might also use lies, seduction, or even coercion by threats or force to destabilize the victim. Manipulative people devise situations that will direct other people’s behavior towards their own benefit. If they’re really good at it, the person they’re manipulating won’t even realize that they’re being played.
The people who are most likely to fall for manipulation by their partners tend to have a low self-esteem and present with feelings of guilt and inferiority. External factors that can influence the effectiveness of manipulation include the loss of a loved one, a breakup, divorce, and the loss of a job.
Love doesn’t understand manipulation.
How to recognize a manipulator
Knowing how to recognize a manipulator will save you a lot of frustration in your daily life. If your partner can’t bear to take “no” for an answer, and if you notice that they’re not reacting the way they normally do – or they even completely lose control – when you resist their attempts at persuasion, it’s a sign that they can’t stand not having influence over you.
People who manipulate their partners love to show off their strength and prowess, and are rarely shy. They tend to blame others when they don’t get what they want. They don’t care about what they can offer or how they can help other people. Instead, they’re constantly focused on themselves and they don’t seem to know the meaning of the word reciprocity.
They always talk about themselves, and if they ever ask how you are our if you need anything, they’re not really interested. Also, you’ll notice that as you give into them, not only do they not thank you, but they just end up wanting more and more. These people tend to be highly insecure, but they try to present themselves as the complete opposite, using self-centered and dominant attitudes to hide their fears.
The first step to correct a manipulative situation is to become aware that you’re being manipulated. Realizing that you’re being manipulated by someone you love, to the point of becoming their puppet, can create a lot of emotional turmoil.
There are various ways you could solve this problem. One would be to end the relationship if your partner changing their behavior is not a possibility. Another option is to make them learn to ask for things directly, rather than indirectly trying to get you to see their point of view without actually showing you their cards or expressing their true feelings. Interestingly, people who crave to control others can’t even control themselves.
Images courtesy of Catrin Welz-Stein