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Hartselle Enquirer

Lessons learned

If there is one thing I have learned throughout my almost thirty three years of life, it is how to spot manipulation.  In most instances, especially those where you are not one of the insiders, it is fairly easy to see.  Some cases, however, are not as simply spotted.  I have seen a few people close to me use manipulation in some form or another on others and myself since my early childhood.  Because of this, I have learned that manipulation of others to get something you want is never a good idea.

If you are in the business of using manipulation on others, no matter who they are, you may already have an understanding of how it can affect personal relationships.  Whenever someone manipulates another, they are essentially conveying that the other person does not matter.  It is probably one of the highest forms of selfishness I have ever personally experienced.  The manipulator is never able to fully develop deep, meaningful relationships with others.  They tend to have several so called friends, but never seem to make lasting friendships with those friends.  They are more like acquaintances than true friends.  And it’s sad.

I have watched this happen to others my entire life, and I truly feel sorry for both parties.  The people who are manipulated are the ones for whom I have more sympathy.  But I also feel bad for the manipulator.  I always seem to ask myself the same questions.  Does this person not see what they are doing?  If so, do they just not care?  Are they so self-consumed that no one else or nothing else matters to them except what they want and need?  Do they not see that it hurts them, too?  It absolutely breaks my heart to think that some people I am close to either have so many trust issues from past hurts or are so self-centered that they don’t realize what they are doing to themselves or others.  No one likes to be manipulated for anything. 

So this lesson that I have learned from personal experience, I have decided to share with you.  If you are a manipulator, please think of this before you try to manipulate the next person.  If you only keep people close to you when they are serving you and your needs, you are not truly developing and experiencing fulfilling relationships with others.  Don’t be so blind to what you are doing that you justify it with excuses.  If it’s from past hurts, seek help from friends, family or a counselor.  So many people will be glad to be there for you if they truly care.  However, once those people find out they are being manipulated, they will never look at you or treat you the same way.  It is basically the equivalent of burning your bridge with them.  They lose trust in you and become more reluctant to help when you may need it.  They may even cut you out of their lives completely.

If you have been manipulated by someone, you may want to take a step back and try to figure out why they are using you and what makes them feel they have to.  If you know they have some sort of past issue, reach out to them and try to help them through it.  If not, I say cut your losses.  If you truly care about your friends, don’t try to manipulate them for your benefit.  The relationship should be benefit enough for all parties involved. 

Renee Poole, special to the Hartselle Enquirer