One of my favorite authors, John Randolph Price, has a wonderful book called, “Removing the Masks that Bind Us.” In it, he outlines twelve different behavior patterns and tools for changing them. One of those patterns is The Manipulator.
According to Randolph Price:
A manipulator is a schemer – a devious, shrewd, cunning, trouble-maker. He or she has descended into the lower frequencies of planetary energies. Under the impact to these forces, one has uncontrolled ambition for power, position and prestige. These are crafty and calculating people with intense egotism and purely selfish desires.
In extreme cases, the Manipulators simply do not understand the meaning of compassion, and go through life intolerant of any ideas or views except their own. They will practice destructive criticism, be prone to gossip, and be devoted to petty concerns, whether in the family or workplace.
I’ve also come across manipulators in my counseling practice. For example, one woman was so afraid of not being accepted or loved she needed to control everything to her advantage. She’d lie. Change the truth, deny, and isolate her victim. She’d do anything it took to keep herself in favor. The end result was that at some point she couldn’t remember what she said to who, and slowly the thing she feared the most began to happen. Once again she was rejected and found herself isolated because she drove people away with her behavior.
Her need to control and manipulate came from a deep-seeded fear of rejection and she was so afraid of not being loved, heard, or seen, she would overcompensate by showering those around her with cheap gifts, false compliments and unwelcome advice. She thought that by making people around her succumb to her wishes or feel beholden to her, she would feel safer. Actually, the opposite was true.
Generally, manipulators are completely oblivious to the fact that they are a manipulator. It takes someone pointing out their behavior or standing up to them to call their attention to their destructive behavior. And – surprise! they don’t take to counseling too well. In order for a manipulator to heal, they need to learn how to love themselves enough to allow others to have their own opinions and beliefs and this can be very threatening to a manipulator because deep down they truly hate themselves and feel extremely unlovable.
It takes time and patience to work through this particular behavior, but with a good therapist it’s possible.