Much as we would rather not say it, in fact there is a close tie between manipulation and co-dependency.
Coping with Codependency by Kay Marie Porterfield offers a few definitions to help us recognize the signs. We present them here. Notes in italics are ours, although they are not original thoughts, but rather a compilation of conventional wisdom, anecdotal material, and research. (I encourage you to read About Kay Marie.)
People-pleasing. When we tell people what we think they want to hear no matter what we are really thinking and feeling, we are trying to manipulate them into liking us. We pretend to be what we are not in order to avoid conflict and prevent people from rejecting or leaving us.
NB: You are being manipulated when people are not honest with you.
Being instantly intimate. Sometimes codependents crave closeness so much that we overwhelm people by crashing through their boundaries. We try to spend every minute we can with them. We share our problems with then, whether they want to listen or not. We demand absolute loyalty.
NB: You are probably being manipulated when someone tells you the intimate details of his or her life when you first meet. When someone so overwhelmes you with stories of past abuse that you become enraged at the abuser, you are being manipulated.
With regard to the loyalty Kay Marie speaks of (and its first cousin “jealousy”) you may well be asked to account for your whereabouts at every moment and checked-up on. You may be asked often if you are looking at, having sex with, or a have a deep friendship with someone else.
Caretaking. We confuse caring about people with taking care of them. Often we try to help people when they neither want nor need our help. Other times we may hook up with people who really do need help and we give so much of it that we keep them dependent on us.
NB: This is confusing. But men are considered to be so vulnerable to medically needy women that a new craze is on – women on Tokyo are using eyepatches and gauze wrapped around their heads or arms to attract a man. Watch for an upcoming blog post about this.
Playing guilt games. Instead of owning up to the anger we feel when our manipulations fail to work, codependents walk around feeling hurt and sad. We usually make certain the people around us know how bad they have made us feel and try to make them feel guilty for hurting or disappointing us.
NB: You may be a victim of manipulation when you confront the co-dependent with the truth, then he or she becomes angry with you for the accusation. You may be THE MANIPULATOR if someone is honest with you and says things you don’t want to hear and then you punish them by telling them they made you feel guilty.
What really gets mixed up here is when you begin to treat others who are not co-dependent with you as if they are thus alienating family and friends who really care about you and love you, just as you are.
For more about co-dependency visit this website. http://www.kporterfield.com and re-read the Blog post of Manipulation and academia.
What do we do about the co-dependency and manipulation trap? Think of yourself as a valuable person who can be loved and appreciated without getting sucked in by manipulators. Find ways, through friends who believe in you, or therapy, to break the habit, the learned behavior, that really doesn’t serve you well.
Copyright 2008 Rita Watson