The Manipulator

The Manipulator


“Love comes when manipulation stops. When you dare to reveal yourself fully. When you dare to be vulnerable.“

Joyce Brothers



Humans are incredibly inventive when it comes to forms of manipulation. Manipulation is a strategy to impose one’s own needs and wishes on others. Do you know moments when you wanted to convince somebody to act the way you wanted him to? Did you succeed or receive resistance?

The Manipulator chooses between two main strategies: The “carrot” and the “stick” method.

Let’s start with “stick” methods: The Manipulator lets a person down verbally, and makes someone feel (intellectually) inferior. She blames another for her emotional state. Makes this person feel really guilty or egoistic, so this person remembers that whenever he chooses to take own decisions, he might deeply hurt her, and thus be in trouble! If that is not enough, the Manipulator can also be cold and ignorant and imply that she will deprive this person of her love and respect.

“Carrot” methods on the other hand, taste sweeter in the beginning and have a bitter aftertaste. The Manipulator is very sweet to someone when this person does what she wants this person to. She shows her affection especially when someone acts according to her will, so this person knows how to appease her.

When you pick this card, be honest: In your projects, your job, your relationships, your family, who are you manipulating? How do you do it? If you have an agenda, be transparent with it. Realise which desires are hidden behind your strategies. Maybe you discover the needs for respect, support, community, connection, success, or others. Show your deeper longing straightforwardly and ask for support in having it fulfilled – while being open to receiving a “o”.

Recognise that manipulation makes you emotionally dependent on certain other people, while sharing your needs and being creative in ways of how to fulfil them, makes you free and gives you multiple options. To step out of your patterns of manipulation, you need to cultivate true respect for other people’s free will and decision-making, whether you like it or not. And yet, you are free to express you opinion, feelings and requests – without depending on someone changing his mind.



*Which strategy that works best for you to manipulate others?

*In which situations do you tend to use manipulation, to reach certain goals?

*What are your hidden agendas?



Write a story called “How I manage to manipulate my surroundings”. Enjoy it, make fun of yourself and really uncover your strategies. Unmask them, laugh about them. You could even make a fairytale of it. Be the king or queen in the story and describe the multitudinous tactics you use to make others obey your will. Now, imagine that a little fairy visits you, as the emperor and you can tell her, in secret, your deepest wishes and desires. Eventually, describe what how fairy advises the emperor on how to learn to respect other people’s dignity and free will.