ACoAs MANIPULATING Self & Others (Part 3a)

Manip chartPREVIOUS: Manipulating OURSELVES (Part 2c)

SITE: Motivation & Manipulation (<—- Graph )

BOOK : “In Sheep’s Clothing”
~ Dr. Geo. Simon, PhD
Re. an extensive repertoire of techniques that can be used to deny personal accountability & to manipulate others  (Extensive outline of book)


Most of us learned to manipulate (based on cognitive distortions) by watching/ living with manipulative parents & other family members, but some come by the skill naturally, & all of us had to use it, one way or another, to cope with the painful, complicated environment we started out in.

M. is a form of ‘acting out’ (Freudian def). Translation for ACoAs:
Compulsively taking actions or ‘forgetting’ to act, as a substitute expression of painful emotions we are not consciously experiencing.

REASONS for manipulating others:
By now, having lived in the world for some decades, we’ve had the oenvypportunity to watching how others function, & envy their ability to get their needs met while we feel stuck in the mud of our damage.
But we have also had many life experiences of our own – some even positive – so we DO know something about how to manage, but rarely if ever apply that info to ourselves – while often using our extensive care-taking skills on others.

This causes intense deprivation in PMES ways, since we are:
• Not allowed to have needs & not allowed to ask for anything
• Assume no one will ever provide for us if we ask directly, will be angry & punish us, the worst being Abandonment – withdrawing their connection to us
• Don’t have a right to give to ourselves (we think it’s arrogance)
• Don’t believe we don’t know how to – not having seen it from role models & not taught directly

confusedThis leaves us confused, ‘starving’, desperate – so we resort to the default position of manipulating – in order to (GOALS):
• prevent others from having power over us
• cover up Self-Hate, Shame, Loneliness
• get needs met from others instead of from self (taken care of)
• show our contempt for everyone, especially authority
• make connections in the only way we know how keep from getting abandoned, ever again (FoA)

FORMs of Manipulation
1. Direct / Overt (“Throwing others on the defensive”)
Bullies come in many guises, sometimes like a spiked hammer, sometimes like a Southern rose, sometimes covered in sheep’s clothing. Each one has gathered an extensive repertoire of techniques used to manipulate others, in order to gain power & deny any accountability for their actions. The Workplace Bullying Institute defines bullying as “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators

The overt style is based on deliberate, intense confrontation designed to verbal bullychallenge people’s personal legitimacy, validity of their ‘performance’, or the value of their point, issue or complaint. The goal is to put others on the defensive, & nothing works better to achieve this than intimidation. Tactics can be fired off so quickly that they’re hard to identify & separate, and the slickest maneuvers use several tactics at once.

Most ACoAs hide their aggressive side, sometimes from themselves, but definitely towards others behind the many faces of co-dependence.
Sometimes it only comes out toward strangers, but more often toward their intimates – their mates, children & closest friends.
bylly typesBut the bully/sadist is there, having been created in response to the abuse we suffered for so long – the greater the original abuse, the more intense is our sadist/bully. In Recovery we can make friends with this aspect of ourselves, by acknowledging that “It really was that bad!”, safely venting our rage, & never letting the bully/sadist act out on others or ourselves.

EXP: Drama is often a clear indication of manipulation, its purpose to bury the real issues (personal or relational) in a giant pile of noise.  Includes:
— taking over every conversation, taking up too much space
— knowing how to get their way & insisting on it
— yelling & screaming, threatening or doing physical harm
— not good at sharing – anything
— talking over someone, ignoring all types of boundaries
— pushing their point of view rather than asking questions
— always bragging & showing off, to make others feel small
— pushing their way ahead of others, like in line
— writing / texting attack messages, all verbal abuse
— escalating arguments, not ‘letting go’ ….

Add your own

NEXT: ACoAs Manipulating Self & Others (Part 3b)


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