Do you know the feeling of someone trying to get what they want without being direct about it? Or do you have experience with trying to get what you want without doing so overtly? Manipulation is a tool many people use to achieve their goals and when you are good at manipulating it is tempting to use it everywhere and with everyone. But does that serve you in the long run?
Manipulation can occasionally be used to achieve goals which are difficult to attain. Used in this way, manipulation means that you handle or control something (a tool, mechanism, etc.) in a skillful manner. In other words, just making things happen. Thus it is not always bad to manipulate in order to get what you have set your mind to.
The problem arises when manipulation becomes your primary tool in achieving your goals, because massive manipulation leaves your relationships in ruins and you in a lonely and disconnected space.
The leaders I meet that have exercised effective manipulation have a longing for being authentic; simply being themselves and not always having to think and strategize in situations and relationships.
Also, it takes up tons of energy to constantly think about how you can maneuver so that the people around you will do what you want them to. The energy expended on this can be used for things far more fruitful. Take in to consideration that trying to continuously control others or specific outcomes is a never-ending job.
But far worse, doing this creates a distance between you and other people because they intuitively will recognize the manipulation. Even without being conscious of it they will distance themselves from you.
Thus manipulation can be effective but it usually takes up too much energy and ends up leaving you feeling lonely and disconnected. Not to mention, manipulation will prevent you from using your innate power and talents.
In order to continue having meaningful relationships, you will have to practice stating your needs as they are without knowing the solutions and/or having expectations of the outcome.
How to wean off manipulation?
1. Be curious and observant: start by observing and recognizing when you are manipulating – is it only with plans and projects or is it also in relationships? This part of the process can take a while, because for many people using manipulation is almost an automated process.
2. Define and be honest: When you recognize yourself doing it in relationships, look for the need and/or desire you are trying to get across and formulate it more directly.
3. Examine and communicate: When you experience people who are trying to manipulate you, ask them which need and/or desire they are trying to convey.
Good luck with being more connected and authentic in your relationships with others.