• Sometimes we manipulate before we think. Before we even know exactly what we want, or evaluate the possibility of asking for it directly, we go right to the habit of manipulation. This can lead to assumptions about one another that corrode the relationship. Complaining, abusive criticism, guilt tripping, and other indirect versions of manipulation can become habitual in a relationship. Another layer of the power struggle develops even though we did not intend it. All because we were too casual about our use of manipulation, emotional blackmail, or intimidation.
• It doesn’t always satisfy. If I got you to say that you love me by manipulation, and I know that's how I did it, even if you don’t, do I really trust that you love me? If you bought the car because of my sneaky sales pitch, will you ever buy another car from me? If I got what I wanted, but the price was a sense of mistrust and secrecy, is that really what I wanted?
Testing a partner’s love through manipulation is probably very tempting, especially in the early stages of a relationship, when it may feel very risky to admit what I am feeling and what I want. But it sets up an indirect and often unconscious power struggle that can have negative repercussions for the future of the relationship.
Assertive Communication, asking clearly and honestly for what I want, has several advantages over manipulation. First of all, it requires me to be clear and honest with myself about what I want. More on assertiveness in future articles or on my website at www.Change-for-Good.org.