THE FINE ART OF “MANIPULATION”
Most humans are skilled in the art of emotional manipulation even if we are unaware of it. Thing is, we have learned controlling people works better through dishonest means rather than the honest approach. Unfortunately that makes for sick relationships and a loss of Love. And let’s face it AA and NA are full of dysfunctional relationships. Unfortunately sick guidance is rampant in AA but it’s still one of the best ways to get sober. That is, if you also seek God and get some empathic therapy along with it. And absolutely read the Big Book for yourself and go to step study and same sex meetings.
One reason we do the 12 steps is so we can become aware of our character patterns both healthy and unhealthy. Oftentimes active addicts have enablers who help us get our much desired dope and money. We may feel reliant on enablers for something. Therefore we often feel we must handle our enablers in a way they will react and behave as we want them to. We are skilled in the art of getting a desired reaction from our “foe” per-say.
Controlism- The using addicts Creed
Maybe we engage in manipulation just so we can feel ‘in control’. When we feel in control life isn’t so scary and we are not so afraid. Good luck getting most recovering addicts to admit they are afraid. One reason it’s so hard to recover in AA is the rampant emotional denial and the false humility that goes on. Members mistake cutting themselves down verbally for humility. And they mistake cutting down the newcomer for 12 step service work. How can I recover when no one admits their true feelings aloud. I might sit in meetings feeling like the only one who is scared to death of delving into a sober life having no idea of what’s what’s around the next corner. Dysfunction is the counterfeit for peace of mind. We don’t have as many fears if we are playing God. Now that we are sober we don’t need tangible items (money and dope) from our prey but rather some emotional reactions to make us feel ok. I have read that even serial killers and child molesters use “emotional fishing” to choose their victims. They throw out a “needy” or “vulnerable” type line and then watch for their desired response from a potential victim.
One way to manipulate is to hand over power by either acting weak and incapable or by requesting that our enabler make our choices and decisions for us. As an AA sponsor, it’s imperative that our sponsee make his own choices, in making the right choice he builds his much needed self esteem, as he sees the good result of his healthy choices piling up. Gaining a sense of accomplishment and setting goals in recovery is vital. That is why we only “suggest” what newcomers should do for their recovery. We should be a teacher not take control and oppress. A sponsee does the “next right thing ” and reaps the benefits of it both emotionally and spiritually. The 12 steps are based in good principles. When we act according to these good principles we build our inner spirit-man.
When the manipulator hands the enabler power, in the mind of that manipulator the enabler now feels powerful and “better than” because they have the opportunity to dole out perfect instructions to the the co-da and “not so smart” manipulator. In the mind of the manipulator: “now the enabler likes me, and will give me what I want, and he will like to be around me cause I made him feel powerful”. Hence handing out power by an expression of my own vulnerability, ignorance, or incapability is the manipulators way of controlling a foe enabler. To take it to a deeper level (which most people have a problem with) The manipulator needs to manipulate people also, because they really don’t feel they are worth being loved by anybody either. We have been taught this, usually by an adult in our formative years.
I have a house guest, this morning he said, “When I make coffee, I just pour fresh coffee on top of day old coffee grounds left in the pot. I don’t want to waist anything” he says. My reaction was unplanned and I didn’t realize until that moment I was being primed as his emotional enabler. He is truly wasting the coffee I bought anyway because he adds entirely too much water (every time he visits he does this). He knows I won’t drink his weak-ass coffee anyway so I just pour what he made in the thermos and make my own. I have long given up on requesting that he not add so much water to it. Every night I throw away a thermos full of the watered down expensive coffee I paid for and he made. Because he insists on making it weak and using enough water for a household of 10 coffee drinkers. So, he pours fresh coffee on top of old grounds, which sat out all night rotting. He is still throwing my hard earned money down the drain. I am not sure if he is trying to piss me off or if he wants another lecture on how to NOT waist coffee. Or maybe he is really an idiot, however I don’t think so. What the man wants is someone to do any emotional co-dependent dance with him. And today I am not participating. He has no idea he is casting a line my way and I often don’t realize I am biting a fishing line with a sick hook in it.
It’s the habit of my husbands old friend to be in the state of Chaos and disaster over his security ($) when he comes down to spend a week or so in my house. He begs that everyone tell him “it’s going to be ok” over and over and over. But the thing is, he is a dry drunk sober 12 years in which time he has been to 3 AA meetings. He prides himself on getting sober all by himself not needing any help. Ironically, asking for true and authentic help is his poison (in his mind) he has a strong aversion to it. Ironically the counterfeit to being humble enough to ask for true help is handing out power where we don’t really need it (help me make my choices for me and I won’t follow your advice anyway). I recognize that type of handing over power because it was my key manipulation when I was emotionally sick. With the counterfeit handing over of power I can snatch it back at any moment. I choose leaving the foe enabler empty and powerless no longer entitled to make my choices or solve my disasters for me.
SOLUTIONS: CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES, WORK THE 12 STEPS, FOR IN RECOGNIZING OUR OWN PATTERNS WE LEARN THE PATTERNS OF OTHERS.