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Manipulation and Parenting


Walking hand-in-hand with conditional love is manipulation.

The message here is that love is given as a conditional reward, rather than the natural expression of healthy parenting. Common examples of manipulation include:

Guilt trip–“I’ve done everything for you and you’re so ungrateful.

”Blaming–“It’s your fault that I’m not happy.”Shaming–“Your poor performance is an embarrassment to the family.

”Negative comparison–“Why can’t you be as good as your brother.”Unreasonable pressure–“You will perform at your best to make me proud.

”Manipulative reward and punishment–“If you don’t pursue the college major I chose for you, I will cut you off.

”Emotional coercion–“You’re not a good daughter/son unless you measure up to my expectations.

”The reasons a parent manipulates can be subtle and complex. However, according to David Hosier, a psychologist and author of “The Devastating Effects of ChildhoodTrauma,”parents who manipulate may be narcissistic or have a grandiose self view; or have low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy, which causes them to abuse their power as a form of overcompensation for their shortcomings.“Another reason may be the failure of the parent to view the child as a separate, distinct and unique individual, but, rather, to view him/her as an ‘extension of themselves’ so that the child feels responsible for the parent and becomes ‘enmeshed’ in the relationship.”Hosier adds that the effects of having been significantly manipulated by a parent in early life can have serious negative consequences in terms of emotional development.“These consequences may be very long lasting,” he says.

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