“If you are an approval addict, your behavior is as easy to control as that of any other junkie. All a manipulator need do is a simple two-step process: Give you what you crave, and then threaten to take it away. Every drug dealer in the world plays this game.” ― Harriet B. Braiker
The quote above illustrates the recipe for any manipulation in life. The manipulator has to find the thing that you want more than breathing, they give it to you and then they threaten to take it away. After that, they know that you will do anything they want to make sure that they keep supplying the thing that you think you need. Some will even withhold it completely, leaving you only with the hope of someday receiving it.
Many times, what we do in life is what I will call, “The Wizard of Oz” effect. Dorothy landed in Oz where she got some ruby slippers and was told to find a Wizard, who would help her get home. The Wiz decided to use Dorothy to fix his problem with the Witch. Dorothy was manipulated into putting herself in danger to kill a witch when she had the power to go home the whole time. All she had to do was believe in herself. The Wizard could’ve just told her that, but he decided to put his needs above hers and exploit what she didn’t know about her own power.
In this world, people have their own agendas and intentions. In a perfect world, people would reveal those intentions and ask for your help, but then there is a possibility that you will say no. So, instead, people will seduce you with the very thing you need or think you are lacking and trap you in manipulation to fulfill their own needs. This is the basis of every toxic relationship. It also flows through our commerce, politics, and even religion. There is a subtle manipulation going on in your life. The point is to recognize it. It plays on fear. Your fear and the fear of the manipulator.
In the case of the Wizard, he was afraid of the Witch. His solution to end his fear was to use Dorothy’s strong desire to go home to motivate her to kill the witch and solve his problem. Of course, there was less concern on his part of what would happen to Dorothy. What if she was killed by the witch? One could guess that he would just wait to find someone else to face the Witch. It’s as simple as that. We love to believe that people are malicious in their manipulation, but, often, their motivation is fear or perceived survival. Using you is their solution to their own problem. If you don’t want to be used, you have to be aware of your own power.
The only way to end manipulation is to realize that you have the power to give yourself the very thing that someone is using to manipulate you. We were all created the same way and with the same potential. Somewhere along the line, someone convinces us that we’re not smart enough, pretty enough, powerful enough or good enough so they can manipulate us into fulfilling their needs and being the solution to their problem. The thing that most people don’t realize is that people who attempt to use you don’t do it because you are weak. They know your strength. They sense that you are strong and you are stronger than them. Think about it. When a man has to travel a long way, he uses a horse, gets in a car, a train or a plane. Are those things weaker than him or stronger than him? No one uses something weaker. They use something stronger than themselves.
You are stronger than you think. If someone is manipulating you into fulfilling their needs, but they are not giving you anything in return, you need to realize your own power. We are meant to give, but we are also meant to receive. You play the biggest role in your own manipulation, because you are the one that has to choose to continue to be manipulated. No one can keep you where you don’t want to be unless you give them permission.