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Manipulate to Get Your Way December 13, 2008

Posted by downton in Manipulate to Get Your Way.
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Manipulate to Get Your Way

     Humans are very tricky. When we want our way, we can ask for it or, more likely, we’ll devise a strategy of manipulation. Asking for our way seems almost too honest and direct; whereas manipulation is creative and somewhat diabolical. Asking for our way dwells in the light of day; manipulation is the spirit of the night.

     Think about the various strategies you use to get your way. Do you pout, cry, use logic, become angry, threaten to leave, cuddle up, or give compliments? For a few minutes, become aware of your leading strategies for getting your mate to do what he or she doesn’t want to do. Now, if your mate wants to do what you want to have done, there’s no need to manipulate, because no power is necessary. Power and the accompanying manipulation come into play when your mate is resistant to what you want. When resistance appears is when you dig into your strategy bag for power ideas. “Let’s see, what can I do to pressure or cajole? Oh, here’s an interesting possibility. I could withdraw to show that I’m hurt, hoping to get sympathy. No, wait, here’s a better strategy. I’ll attack with the words ‘Now I know you’ve never loved me’.”

     When we want something badly enough and our mate resists, manipulation may be our only recourse. Both mates in a relationship have power resources, that is, they have special and acceptable ways of trying to get their way. Men may first use arguments to persuade and, if that fails, use threats, or become verbally abusive. Women may first try to persuade and, if that fails, use threats or become verbally abuse. These days, men and women use some of the same strategies, including crying and withdrawing. Men are probably more apt to withdraw than cry, although they’re neglecting one of their most powerful resources. If you’ve ever seen a man cry, you’ll know that we’ll bend over backwards to console him, much more so than for a crying woman. Just like children learn early, crying is a great way to get their way.

     Bringing things together, what are the resources you have to get your way? Which are your most often used resources? How do you use them? How often do you use them? And with what effects? If you resort to conflict, could there be a more cooperative approach that would produce the results you want? It turns out that mates who cooperate to get and give have relationships that work better. They quit manipulating and start communicating in the spirit of compromise. How could you become one of those people?

Coaching Tips

■ Think about how you manipulate your mate to get your way. Be specific. What exactly do you do?

■ Become aware of the resources you have at your disposal to overcome your mate’s resistance to what you want. What are your favored resources and how do you use them in terms of strategy? What’s your winning strategy?

■ Become aware of the effectiveness of your strategies. Do they create long-term animosity that ruins love? What other more constructive ways could you use to get what you want and need? What changes in communication could you create in order to foster love instead of conflict?

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