The Subtle Art of Manipulation

As a young woman I was oblivious to the dangers of psychological manipulation. I was a people pleaser to the nth. I became victim to a man I married at the age of 17 and tried desperately for years to keep him happy, never realizing that his skills of manipulation kept me under his thumb for 20 years.

As I aged physically and emotionally I began to awaken to how often he would use words and actions to manipulate my life and self esteem. His comments were carefully crafted to keep me insecure and convinced that my friends and family were our problem and isolating me from those who truly loved me kept me from receiving the appropriate feedback and protected him from the true state of things.

My ex-husband kept me from meeting new people, going to college or getting a job. When I got a part-time waitress job he would convince me we needed my tips for household expenses.

The extent of how I was slowly and methodically brainwashed is a classic example of relationship control and it took 18 separations, one assault charge and five protection orders coupled with two one month stays at a domestic violence safe house with my children to see what I had allowed him to subtlety do to keep me isolated.

The story ended when I realized he was not for me, or our kids, but his narcissistic nature had only his wants and needs at heart. Manipulation can destroy a relationship and a person. I'm so grateful to have gained strength and faith to leave. This was a lifelong lesson and every day I thank God for His loving kindness in helping me to walk away with legal help.

Today's fivr minute freewrite prompt is manipulation.

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Comments 17

Wow, @wandrnrose7. This is powerful. I know you are not alone, and this scenario repeats itself. I went through something so similar, you could have been describing my ex. Glad you got out of there. Hugs.

31.07.2019 01:00

Hi @jayna! I am sorry you also had to live through this type of suppression. I can only say that my strength now is a gift hard won. It took many years to grow emotionally well enough to understand what he was doing and my own part in permitting so much control. Once I became discerning enough to realize his control was motivated by his own fears I was able to confront the behavior and the selfishness behind his behavior. The lesson was priceless!

31.07.2019 16:59

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31.07.2019 01:04

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31.07.2019 22:51

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01.08.2019 01:47

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31.07.2019 01:30

@wandrnrose7 - Wow, powerful (and familar story). Those first 3 paragraphs could be written about me (even getting married at 17!) And it took me 28 years to get out. I didn't have the physical abuse, but I lived that story as a child and know how devasting it is. Hugs and all kinds of positive vibes sent your way, I'm so glad you have regained your life.

31.07.2019 01:36

Hi @blueeyes8960. I marvel at the sheer number of women who have lived this story. The root cause is so often lack of self esteem for girls who fall prey to this type of relationship. We go in blind and naive and, if lucky enough, grow wise and much more cautious about handling our trust out to anyone whose intentions are less than honorable and kind. Thank you for adding your story. I return hugs and rejoice that you are also past this lesson.

31.07.2019 23:01

Glad you got out. It's such a sadly familiar story to so many.

31.07.2019 01:54

I'm on a sidequest to topple you lol, thx 4 muting bitch ass!

31.07.2019 04:04

Thanks for sharing. Sometimes we are emotionally depend of these bloodsuckers and can’t see how they manipulate and control.
I’m happy you were able to break the hold. 🤗 ❤️

31.07.2019 07:56

Thank you for reading and for the kindness. I am certainly better off now! @redheadpei

31.07.2019 15:59

I'm so sad you experienced this, so glad you ended it, and am horrified at how MANY women I've known in this situation--empaths, always, thoughtful and concerned about how others feel. The manipulator cares about nobody else's feelings. There must be men who are victims of women manipulators. I don't know the statistics, but as with rape, it seems women are most often the ones being exploited, used, abused.
We tend to ignore, overlook, or excuse so many little telling details early on. We don't want to judge; we don't want to seem demanding or critical; we take the blame, we make the compromises, we fall for the ploys for sympathy. My husband has been great, but in other relationships I've been emotionally sabotaged, over and over again. It isn't just in a romance. It can be the boss, co-worker, professor, so-called friend who guilt-trips and manipulates. This book:
If He's So Great, Why Do I Feel So Bad?: Recognizing and Overcoming Subtle Abuse by Avery Neal explains it better than I do:

Even here at Steemit, in Discord groups, I've encountered the guilt-trippers and manipulators. And I never fail to believe I am at fault, at least to some extent. Thank God for my husband. He keeps reminding me to consider the source...
And thank God you walked away, though it "took 18 separations, one assault charge and five protection orders"--my heart breaks for all the women and children suffering needlessly due to some messed up guy's ego. Bless you!

31.07.2019 12:56

@carolkean you are such a beautiful person and I thank you for this comment. Knowledge is power and God pulled me to Himself and slowly taught me what love is supposed to do. It was slow going and I wanted to make that marriage work. Becoming a single mom and breadwinner was never my dream but became my destiny for those long years. That was my only controlling relationship, but it kept me cautious until Jeff. Respect and true kindness are required for a real match or friendship. I dated men who smelled of control and exited the relationship the moment they tried to control any aspect of my life. A partner like yours is worth the wait.

My patience began to wear out early on but I forgave too many times things that are not forgivable thus perpetuating the cycle and causing me to lose myself for a long time. My accomplishments once I left with jobs and a getting a bachelor's gave me confidence in my choices and a commitment to remain true to myself and children paid off. Hugs!

31.07.2019 23:13

Aw, thank YOU for the kind comments, @wandrnrose7. And thank you for sharing personal wisdom like this: I forgave too many times things that are not forgivable thus perpetuating the cycle and causing me to lose myself for a long time. Keep telling your story--you never who will heed your words and finally make the changes you had to make, difficult as they are. Hugs to you too!

01.08.2019 15:08

What a powerful piece.
Thank goodness you found the strength to get out.

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31.07.2019 14:10

Thank you for your comment and encouragement. I am so glad I did get the strength and support to break free. Thanks again for the faithful prompt drop. @deirdyweirdy 🤗

31.07.2019 22:11