Editor’s note: The following article refers to spiritual concepts. Please read Lovefraud’s statement on Spiritual Recovery.
A Lovefraud reader recently sent me the following link from Wikipedia:
The author of the article on psychological manipulation based most of its information on three books: Who’s Pulling Your Strings?, by Harriet B. Braiker; In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People, by George K. Simon; and The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, by Martin Kantor.
The first two sections of the article are excellent. First, the author discusses the requirements of successful manipulation:
According to Simon, successful psychological manipulation primarily involves:
- manipulator concealing aggressive intentions and behaviors.
- manipulator knowing the psychological vulnerabilities of the victim to determine what tactics are likely to be the most effective.
- manipulator having a sufficient level of ruthlessness to have no qualms about causing harm to the victim if necessary.
Then the author describes how manipulators control their victims. This was a catalog of all the behaviors we know so well—lying, denial, rationalization, minimization, etc., etc. Yes, I’d experienced all of them.
Next, the article discusses the vulnerabilities exploited by manipulators. Here’s where I had problems.
According to Braiker, vulnerabilities that made one susceptible to manipulation included the “disease to please,” lack of assertiveness, a blurry sense of identity and low self-reliance. No, no, no and no, that wasn’t me.
According to Simon, susceptible people were over-conscientious, self-doubting, and had a submissive personality. I have none of those traits. Simon also mentioned naivete. I will admit that I was naïve, but not in the way this author defined it. So for me, that’s a “no” as well.
Then there was Kantor’s list. He described vulnerable people as too altruistic, too impressionable, too masochistic, too dependent, too impulsive, and too much of several other traits. Of his list, I had to admit that a few somewhat applied to me.
Kantor said vulnerable people are “too trusting—people who are honest often assume that everyone else is honest.” I am honest, and although I am well aware that dishonesty exists, I did not know that a man who was emphatically proclaiming his love to me would be lying.
I was too lonely, but not in all aspects of my life, only in that I was lacking a romantic partner. Otherwise, I had plenty of friends. And once in my life I was too impulsive—when I quickly said yes to James Montgomery’s marriage proposal. Otherwise, I took time to consider my decisions.
Overall, the list of vulnerabilities in this article gives the impression that only stupid, pathetic people fall for psychological manipulation. And that wasn’t me.
Meant to be
There was another reason why I allowed James Montgomery to manipulate me: It was meant to be.
When I was involved with Montgomery, it didn’t take long for me to realize that something was amiss. He was telling me how much he loved me, and how rich and successful we were going to be. But I knew that on some matters, he was lying to me. I knew he was taking my money. Eventually, I knew he was cheating.
So I prayed for guidance. I prayed to God, my higher power, my guardian angels. And I kept receiving messages to stay with him, that everything would work out just fine.
I stayed, and things did work out, although not at all in the way I expected. The journey was painful. But I am now happier and more fulfilled than I ever was before the experience, in my lonely, naïve and impulsive days.
No, I wasn’t stupid. I did what I was supposed to do. It may look foolish from an earthly perspective, but my involvement with James Montgomery was right for my personal and spiritual growth.