Manipulative Behavior:
Am I Manipulative?

If you don't know what manipulative behavior is, are any of the following statements true for you, at least some of the time?

- I pretend to be incompetent, play the victim, act helpless, or admit too often that I am stupid.
- I say "anything you want" when I don't mean it or I lie about how I feel
- I say "promise me" or I act overly concerned.
- I promise to change my behavior knowing perfectly well that I don't want to change.
- I blame others for my problems.
- I act ignored, forgotten, hurt, wounded, unloved, or uncared for.
- I act angry or throw temper tantrums.
- I act depressed or suicidal.

If at least one of those statements is true for you, you ARE manipulative. What you are doing is trying to make people feel guilty when you want to get something or some attention. Unfortunately, most of us have been made feel guilty by our parents, teachers, ministers, or telemarketers. It is so ingrained in us that we don't even realize we are being manipulative. (Read the article "Guilt trips: Is guilt one of your tricks?")

Manipulative behavior and guilt are used by everyone. Consider this: even Gandhi was using guilt when he went on hunger strikes. His intentions were pure, but his ways were still manipulative. He wanted people to feel bad so they would do something. The problem with guilt is that it makes people do something they don't really want to do. So they feel uncomfortable but they don't exactly know where it is coming from. However they do know YOU make them feel bad, so they slowly - or rapidly - distance themselves from you. And you resent them for it.

The best way to deal with this problem is to be really honest with yourself and realize when you are manipulating others. Then, by putting yourself in their place, you can change your behavior and be the nice person you want to be.

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