I'm sure we all remember the first time someone told us they loved us. If you can think back to that lovely scene of when it happened, you may once again feel that sense of euphoria... or embarrassment, depending on the person telling you of their love for you. But when most people say "I love you" for the first time they are giving you a test, and what they are really trying to say is, "do you love me back?".
The point I am trying to make is that what we often call love is actually manipulation. Manipulation is trying to control something for your own advantage. I often observe that many couples in love eventually end up in a battle for control over one another. People in every type of relationship trade love for a desire to control others, and this is how "love" is manipulating us. Let me define three types of manipulation we use in our relationships in order to further explain my point. Look at these few examples and try to see which may be occurring in your relationships:
The fearmonger approach to manipulation uses fear in order to control someone else's emotions or actions. People who use this form of manipulation often threaten the other person into doing their will. For example; parents telling their kids Santa will not bring them presents because of their behavior- is fearmonger manipulation.
2. Score Keeper
This is the "I scratch your back, you scratch my back" type of manipulation. People who are Score Keepers always know how much you emotionally owe them. Whether they have "been there for you” more or have contributed (even slightly) more to the relationship, they will make sure you know that you are indebted to them.
The dependent form of manipulation occurs when someone constantly makes themselves seem in need. They make themselves appear weak and powerless, but they use this to keep power over you. By making you feel responsible for them, dependents play on people's desire to play the hero in order to keep control of the relationship.
These are just three examples I could remember from things I have read, but there are many more types of manipulation that exist in our loving relationships. The need to manipulate or control others comes from fear. We fear the other person may leave us, or hurt us in some way, and so we feel a need to control the relationship. Manipulation keeps us safe, because as long as you are mentally or emotionally in control of another person, they can’t hurt you. Manipulation is an effective way to maintain relationships, but it is not love.
Love gives freedom.
If we desire to start truly loving people, we must drop the effort to control them. We must remember the only thing we can control in this world is ourselves, and the same applies to others. Real love is scary, because real love means the other person does not owe you. The other person is free to leave, or hurt you, or take advantage of your love. This is something I could go on talking about, but I will save it for another blog. Just remember to drop the act of manipulation to start loving people. Trust me, love is always worth the risk.