Today’s thought from Hazelden is:


When am I manipulative?


Without understanding our motives, we can easily lapse into behavior aimed at manipulating others. Sulking is a means of letting others know we are displeased and forcing them to attempt to win our approval. Flattery is a false expression of approval that we don’t really feel – giving others good strokes for our own purpose. Withholding deserved praise is a means of putting others down, something we’re likely to do because of our jealousy.


Manipulative behavior is almost always selfish behavior. It is usually a false means of trying to get our own way. It is certainly an immature way of dealing with people and situations.


The best way to avoid being manipulative is to be ourselves at all times. We have neither the right nor the responsibility to control or regulate other people. Our best approach, in trying to influence another’s actions, is simply to state our own case with sincerity and honesty. Others must be free to act, free to choose, and free to make their own decisions without manipulative interference on our part.


I will be myself at all times today. I will not assume false roles simply for the purpose of bending others to my own will. Manipulative behavior is controlling behavior, which I must avoid.


Notes on today’s thought:


I really enjoyed today’s reading. It caused me to think about my motives behind doing the things that I do and think about whether or not I was being manipulative. The reading gives a pretty clear definition of manipulative behavior. Taking the time to pause and to look back and reflect on my behavior is the best way to determine if I have lapsed back into manipulative behavior. I cannot remember the last time that I sulked. However, as pointed out in the reading, the goal of sulking is to get people to feel sorry for me and to try to win my approval. Flattery is giving people fake praise. The motive behind flattery is selfish. Not praising someone for a job well job is the result of jealousy.


Before I got sober and before I worked the steps, I was manipulative. Manipulation was a way for me to control people and to get them to do the things that I wanted them to do. Sometimes the manipulation was direct and sometimes indirect. Manipulation is selfish and normally directed at getting my way. Surrendering to my Higher Power and having faith that everything is going to work the way it’s supposed to is a much easier way to live life. Manipulation creates wreckage. This wreckage is what can eventually lead to a relapse. Doing the next right thing leads to a life of happiness, joy, and freedom.