See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
Manipulation consists of 3 basic parts, a negative effort to fill-in the missing 3 positive needs of Safety, Belonging, & Mattering:
a. Scheming – To get, get out of, or have someone else do something
b. Calculating – Being dishonest, devious, conniving
c. Controlling – Wily, sly, crafty
Of course – many ACoAs will rigorously deny using these tactics, especially a & b, especially those of us who feel powerless & depressed. But S-H, co-dependence, boundary invasion, lying, withholding….. are definite examples of them
REVIEW of Recovery Tools:
To grow, these harmful & useless patterns need to be addressed honestly (like the AA / Al-Anon 4th Step or other inventories), to keep track of how we manipulation ourselves & others.
More than likely we’ll need help identifying behaviors & attitudes, since they’re so deeply woven into the fabric of our daily lives we don’t even realize what they are. “Does a fish know it’s wet?”
Then going on to Step 5, we can begin overcoming shame & loneliness, by speaking out loud the specific ways we’ve been using this defense ‘game’. Program has a saying: “You’re only as sick as your secrets”, so sharing our 4th Step is important, if it’s done with compassion, in the right place, with safe people.
All manipulation is a way to con ourselves into believing we should not have any needs, while conning others into providing them (or we do without) – because we can’t eliminate having them! SO, in order to heal:
• In every situation – start by remembering you have one or more needs, on different PMES levels. Identify them – first on the physical level (help to pick out a present, cleaning the house, getting a job, health issues….), & then on a deeper level – the emotional need (validation, comfort, respect, support…..).
This is only do-able if we accept that all our needs are legitimate, & then practice providing them, both from ourselves & from appropriate outside sources
• Use book-ending to prove to your WIC that getting your needs met now IS possible.
As adults, our efforts are successful more often than not – as long as we “go to the food market for food rather than the hardware store!”
• Be willing to sit with uncomfortable Emotions your WIC feels, when you:
— ask for help AND get it!
— try on a new behavior
— take better care of yourself
— stop an old pattern …..
• Build self-esteem – changing S-H messages into compassion, patience & self-kindness. If you KNOW you’re a worthwhile person, then you KNOW you have a right to your needs
• Make a daily effort to go to the right PPT for help to get your needs met legitimately – in non-exploitative ways
• Accept – graciously – that sometimes people can’t provide what you ask for – either at that specific time for their own reason – or not at all, because they don’t have it to give.
This is not a reflection on your worth or how they feel about you. Nor does it automatically make them bad or selfish. Either wait until they’re available, or go find another resource.
FROM “Everyone is or should be just like me”
TO “I can see that others have their own identity separate from mine, who deserve as much respect & care as I want for myself”
FROM “Everyone else is only a source for provide my needs”
TO “I admit that others don’t owe me what I didn’t get from my family”
FROM “Everyone else is the solution to my problems”
TO “I’m responsible for finding answers & solving my problems”
FROM “Everything is THEIR fault”
TO “I’m responsible for my own actions”
FROM “I always have to be right, about everything”
TO “I can only know what’s right for me at this very moment, & it’s OK to be wrong, or not know something
FROM “I have to have my way, or else (I’ll die or I’ll kill you!)”
TO “I take care of myself, so I’m rarely desperate”
FROM “I’ll do anything to keep others from being angry at me (experienced as abandonment = separation, aloneness & death)
TO “Other people have a right to their emotions, including anger. I’m not a helpless child anymore. I have experiences & options – to take care of myself – even IF the other person temporarily withdraws, or is permanently gone.”
Manipulation is NOT a successful way to survive & feel safe.
NEXT: Goals to Meet NEEDS #1