A Write-up by Humphery Adun
Humans are relational beings; and thus, we owe our existence to the ability to cultivate relationships that sustain our mental, physical, emotional and psychological tranquility. In every relationship, there are roles played by each correspondence, and these roles are defined by several factors; age, position, class, family, culture, spirituality, and tradition. This plays out in such a way that it creates dominant and subordinate(dependent) individuals in the relationships. Interestingly, as adults we play both roles of being both dependent and dominant at the same time, across different relationships, and thus there is a diffusion of a learned trait from a relationship circle to another one; and this goes on and on, creating a tangle of relationship traits.
As much as relationships are a ladder with which the most beautiful events of life are birthed, it is also a quick sand that has swallowed up souls, with only their heads over the sand. Having power over another human being is like strapping a bomb around the neck of an individual with every action a possible punch on the red button. Hence, it is crucial to be circumspect about the state of every relationship we are involved in.
Balance is the key to a healthy relationship. That is why placing emphasis on submission in the discuss of relationship (which is the norm in the society), has done more harm than good. The misuse of power by individuals over submissive ones in relationships is what causes abuse. These abuses may be physical, emotional or psychological. What is most baffling about abuse is that it gradually quenches the fire of love in the victim until there is total darkness and silence within. The victim had been baited most times with what he or she isn’t familiar with or what he or she loves the most and is most passionate about.
However the case, manipulation is always the tool used by an abuser. In an emotional relationship, for instance, it has become a game of power, “the less expressive is the most powerful and thereby the dictator of the the ship”. This manipulative scheme is employed, as one of the partners become stingy is displaying his or her feelings, using his/her feelings as a collateral for control. In religious settings, those in authorities infuse fear in the minds of the followers, by continually emphasizing the punishments and rewards of Loyalty to a person or institution. Ghandi opined “No one can hurt me without my permission”, and so, What manipulation ultimately causes is that individuals surrender their power of choice and will to another; and this creates an illusion of unworthiness, emptiness and uselessness, when this other person or institution is taken from the equation of their existence. Manipulation and abuse build a prison in the minds of people; the steps they take are only within the perimeter of Fear and Hypocrisy.
Over the years, certain traits have been known to be common to manipulators, some of which are “guilt tripping”, “bullying and threats”, “pleading yet repeating something over and over until it wears the victim down”, “Appealing to a higher authority”, “acting dependent, despondent, sulking and withdrawing”. Of worthy note is that manipulation is like a drug, it consumes one to the point where boundaries are broken, only the pursuit of a personal goal is within sight and there is no regard for whosoever gets hurt along the way to achieving that supposed target. Manipulation is not black, it is white with black dots. Manipulation can be camouflaged in Love, or mentor-ship; Feelings and authority are the two most satisfying ways to manipulate the mind. On the other hand, people may act weak or victimized, as a bait to pull individuals into the trap of continual manipulations. It is a scheme to dominate the simple and gullible.
An abuser if carefully watched is a victim of his/her own incompleteness and insecurities, and seeks healing in blindfolding himself/herself against his/her wrongs. Without the ability to see properly, he/she steps on whoever stumbles across his/her path; every words uttered and action taken, echoing the pains of emptiness in him/her. As Darlene Ouimet puts it “Abusers don’t question themselves, they do not ask themselves if the problem is them. They always say the problem is someone else”; and so if caught in such a web, where you were a victim of an abuse while growing up, or still in such a situation, the most critical shift that needs to happen is not physical but spiritual.
The journey of healing from abuse and manipulation is usually through rocky paths, especially when the torturers do not live any physical imprint. It even becomes worse when the victim begins to doubt their own judgement, by justifying the actions of the abuser. The psychology of man is so powerful that it can render an individual powerless. Hence, a state of mind-freedom is the first remedy. This cannot be achieved in isolation. A community of true love has to be sought. In this community, the victim should understand that it is okay to be hurt and that going through the pain of exit from such abusive relationship is a sign of true freedom.
As Nathalie Nahai puts it “the difference between persuasion and manipulation is Intent”. Thus, for personal introspection, analyse the reasons for the pursuit of a person, goals, principles or ideals. Is it genuinely for the empowerment of the other party or merely for the fulfillment of goals? Motive is the barometer for checking the purity of actions.
Finally, understanding that Ownership is not of man but of the CREATOR is a most potent anchor at these times.
About the Writer
Humphrey from Nigeria is an Energy Engineer, a Writer, and a Public Speaker. He is passionate about Youth Empowerment. He is the the Facilitator of ‘The Rootz Concept’, an initiative that tells the success story of African youths in Diaspora.