Almost a year ago, I wrote an article about the grounded masculine man. In today’s article, we are going to meet his opposite; the master manipulator.
If the grounded masculine man is the man we all wish to have in our lives, the master manipulator is the man we all pray to never meet. And yet, we can sometimes mix them up. Because the master manipulator wears a mask; that of the masculine man.
He appears to be respected, when he is actually feared.
He appears to be loving, when he actually only cares about himself.
He appears to be a provider, when he actually only uses money as a tool of control.
He appears to be trustworthy, when he is actually constantly manipulating people around him.
He appears to be constantly calm and composed, when he is actually a volcano that is about to erupt.
At best, the master manipulator has no empathy. At worst, he has also no conscience.
We may wonder; how is it possible for someone to have no conscience? How could it even be possible for someone to not be able to make a difference between right and wrong? Make no mistake, he knows perfectly what is right and what is wrong. He just considers himself above the rules. And this is what makes all the difference. He knows that most people have conscience. Above all, he also knows that most people don’t know that he doesn’t have a conscience. And this is what makes him the king of his own game. This is what gives him a step ahead of his targets.
Like the grounded masculine man, the master manipulator can be anyone, everywhere. He is your partner, your father, your uncle or your brother. He is your co-worker, your boss, the waiter at the restaurant, your friend or your neighbour.
The master manipulator wants your love, your admiration, your fear, but what he wants even more is your pity.
He will not be outwardly aggressive with you. He won’t yell at you, he won’t insult you, he won’t be physically aggressive. Rather, he will cause you to lose your grip on reality. And in order to achieve his goal, he will do everything to make you doubt yourself.
If you have ever dealt with a master manipulator, your relationship probably looked like this;
First, you’ve been through what we call the love bombing phase, where you have been prepared for the abuse that was going to be coming later in the relationship.
During this phase, the master manipulator does all what he can to make his target trust him. He wants her to see him as the kindest, most humble man she has ever met. He wants her to see him as a man who has values and who is open minded. He flatters her, overwhelms her with attention, messages, flowers and gifts.
At some point, your instinct probably communicated you that something was off with this man… but what? Was it the fact that he was a little too much, too perfect? Was it that pushy energy that he had from the beginning? Was it his particular charm? Or was it his penetrating gaze? You probably didn’t have a chance to make sense of what was happening, because at this point, the master manipulator had already carried away in his vortex.
Once his target is hooked, he bites here like a tick and slowly buries his chelicerae deeper and deeper, so that he can feed himself.
It all started with comments here and there… a look, a moment of silence when you didn’t “behave properly”. Slowly but surely, he made you lose your ability to trust your own instinct. He abused and sabotaged you in a very subtle way, through passive aggressive ways, often in form of concern for you.
With the master manipulator, we often feel like we have never “really” reached our full potential, we have never “really” found what we are really good at and we are never as happy as we should be. Conversations with him leave us feeling confused and tired. He makes us feel miserable, disempowered and scared of everything, before expressing us his concern and offering us his “constructive criticism”. If we happen to react to his provocations and confront him, he calmly tells us that we are too sensitive. And without realizing it, we find ourselves apologizing for something that we didn’t do. Beside that, he continues to lie and cheat, while expecting us to be perfect. He also continues to compliment us, give us flowers & gifts and tell to family and friends how he loves and cares about us.
Maybe he even accepted to go to couple therapy with you, only to learn more about your weaknesses and turn the therapist against you.
People around you probably told you how you were lucky to have such a wonderful man by your side. You also thought that you had everything to be happy. But inside, you felt miserable.
It is very difficult for our brain to reconcile the image that the master manipulator conveys and his behaviour. Those two contradictory thoughts happening at the same time is what creates the confusion and doubt. Our instinct screams that something is wrong with this man. But we don’t know what to believe anymore; our instinct or what this man tells us? After all, why would he do such a thing on purpose? he is our partner/our friend/ our father; he is supposed to love and protect us. We end up choosing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe, we are indeed too sensitive, maybe we have a big imagination.
Little by little, we end up believing what the master manipulator wants us to believe; that we are and will never be enough, no matter what we do. Slowly, we start to feel exhausted and depressed, without really knowing why. Our joy, our appetite for life, our health slowly decline, until we become a shell of ourselves. And then, one day, an event, a google research or a provocation bring us the missing piece of the puzzle. This day that will mark us forever will be the day of our liberation.