How To Recognize Manipulation

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION from the Florida Jewish News There’s little worse than thinking someone is a manipulator who isn’t, except failing to realize you are being manipulated when you are.   We should think well of our fellow and give people the benefit of the doubt. It would be nice if we didn’t even have a doubt to begin with. Judging others favorably means thinking positively about others no matter if we think we have “evidence” to the contrary.   Given this dictum, to assume someone is a manipulator is particularly bad. But, one could argue, what if all the evidence lines up in such a way that you can find no other explanation for the behavior but manipulation? If that’s what you really think, here’s my diagnosis: I hope the person in question is not your spouse, parent, or child because, whoever it is, there has been a terrible breakdown in your relationship with this person. For the individual to need to manipulate is a sign of a relationship that has practically failed; it is also a sign of a person who doesn’t have a clue how to put it back together.   The reason for this conclusion is simple: Manipulation is deception. It’s painting half the picture or fabricating the other half in order to gain some end that would not be gained in a normal, straightforward manner. It may or may not involve lying, but it twists the truth. Why would someone feel the need to resort to that? The answer is clear. Only where the lines of communication between that person and you have degenerated...
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