Controllers and Manipulative People don’t Question Themselves

abuse, control, misuse of power
On What Authority?

Controllers, abusers and manipulative people don’t question themselves. They don’t ask themselves if the problem is them. They always say the problem is someone else. This was a huge problem for me when I went into therapy because I was very willing to convince my therapist that the problem was me ~ I believed it so deeply. I went to therapy because I thought I needed help changing. I had tried everything I could think of, and now I wanted a professional to tell me how to change so that I could be acceptable to certain people in my life. I was fortunate that my therapist realized that I had been so devalued my entire life that I believed all those lies I had been fed about how I was the one that needed to change. He was accustomed to this type of victim thinking and he resisted my insistence that the problem was me.

One of the most productive, powerful and freeing things that my therapist and I talked about was the fact that “controllers” “abusers” and otherwise manipulative people never question that the problem might be them.  That concept stopped me dead in my tracks and caused me to think about the people in my life that had I had tried so hard to change for.  I scanned my memory for clues or indications that I my therapist was wrong about that fact. I think I wanted the problem to be me. I had learned to accept it and I was used to trying harder and If it wasn’t ME then that meant they had to change… and I had lost faith in that possibility.

It turned out that my therapist wasn’t wrong. Abusive and controlling people do not ask themselves if they are being abusive or controlling. What they do is demand changes from other people. They excuse their behaviour by blaming it on the defects or shortcomings that they have decided someone else has.

I could not ever remember a time when someone who devalued me, or someone who told me that I had a problem or that I was the problem had ever stopped to question themselves. The people who told me (usually not in words) that I needed to change somehow had ever looked at their own behaviour. I could not remember a time when one of those people had ever taken a look at themselves the way they thought I should take a look at myself! The only time one of the people in my life that mistreated me ever hinted at some sort of personal change, apology OR regret, was usually when they had a personal manipulative motive for doing so. Like if they were afraid to lose me as their victim or afraid that I was catching on to the one sided relationship. 

I spent a lot of time thinking about this revelation. It was eventually one of the major truths that helped me to see that relationships are not meant to be one sided and that I should not have to carry the entire burden of each relationship. The success of relationship does not depend solely on ME. Abusers do not ask themselves if they are abusing. When I realized this truth; that the controlling manipulative and abusive people in my life NEVER looked at themselves while they constantly pointed fingers at me, I turned a new corner in my process and entered a brighter and healthier pathway.

Please share your thoughts about this subject. Don’t forget to subscribe to the comments since this blog always generates amazing discussions.

Exposing truth, One Snapshot at a Time;

Darlene Ouimet

Emerging from Broken

Final note: Later on I realized that some people, my mother for instance, changed and adjusted for other people, just like I did for her, but she didn’t for me. That was the beginning of my understanding that there seems to be somewhat of a “pecking order” in dysfunctional family systems and in dysfunctional relationships. The key for me was to decide that I would no longer accept my place in the pecking order.

Related Reading ~Demonstrating Appreciation in Relationships

117 response to "Controllers and Manipulative People don’t Question Themselves"

  1. By: Theresa Posted: 27th January

    Darlene, you are the best! Mostly from your blog I have learned that I never realized I had a right to be treated the way I wanted to be treated as the people who demanded it of me. I was always made to feel that I didn’t deserve anything different. Indeed, even asking for it was wrong of me to do. And to get upset or mad about the way I was treated was worse, and was used against me to “prove” that I didn’t deserve anything better, since I acted so badly (in their eyes). I am so glad that I know differently now, that I understand my worth.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 28th January

      Hi Theresa!
      Thank you! I am so glad that you know differently now too!!
      Hugs, Darlene

  2. By: Lela Posted: 26th January

    I had the exact same thing happen with my therapist. Although I don’t have many memories of my childhood and younger adult years I’ll never forget the look on my therapist’s face as he desperately tried to get me to acknowledge that the way my parents treated me was not only wrong, but tragic. I would giggle at the idea that he thought what I was describing was so bad and his eyes would just tear up. I truly thought he was overly sensitive and that perhaps the reason he was that way was because he had never gotten over his own abuse. I thought that perhaps I needed to find someone else who was a bit stronger and therefore could see my situation more clearly and be better able to advise me. He didn’t tear up every time mind you, but he certainly did over what I’ve come to understand truly was cruel and abusive behavior. I will forever be in his debt because although I didn’t get it while I was seeing him, I got it years later and have been able to go back again and again to words of wisdom he gave me. Not only for myself, but for my children too. We’ve all benefitted greatly from his insight.

    I’m a very happy person today most of the time, although I still struggle with social relationships and trusting. I now have a wonderful husband, daughter and one friend that I trust with my life and can totally be myself around, but for everyone else I pretty much keep some distance. I still expect that at some point they’ll turn on me although I don’t obsess over it. I just keep a cool distance and am ready for whatever comes my way.

  3. By: Beth Posted: 29th January

    My mother picked on me when I was a child and as a grown up. She caused me to feel lousy, ugly, and unlovable. I learned to accept that everything was my fault. I am still going through the process of disputing the lie. I am so prone to accepting all of the blame and the responsibility that it is a constant battle to disallow the guilt for everything.

  4. By: Faith Posted: 14th November

    Thankyou so much for this article , it is incredibly healing being able to find someone to relate with and that has found their inner empowerment , being able to read everyones letters is helping me to not feel alone in this and to reach for my empowerment , thankyou everyone for sharing! Goodluck and God bless you all

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 14th November

      Hi Faith
      Welcome and thank you for your note!
      hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Amanda Posted: 11th November

    My mother is a manipulator, and so is my father (I think partly because of my mother) and I grew up in a fog, and have gone through depression, anxiety, and social problems because of it all. I always knew there was a mystery to solve, however, and I have a drive to persevere. I have more manipulators in my life than real people. I am now hyper aware of non genuine people. I feel for all of you who have been tricked by manipulators. It really has made my life unbearable at times, and this is not how life should be. My journey has brought me to wonder now- has my mother ever loved me for real, or is it impossible? I am fearful of the answer, but as ALWAYS, I will see the truth and hit it head on. God bless you Darlene for putting this article up.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th November

      Hi Amanda
      It is sad to realize that although some of these parents said they loved us, they didn’t act in the definition of love itself. It was huge for me to realize what love really is ~ mostly so that I could give that to myself and then to others. The false definition of love kept me feeling sorry for these manipulative people but not at my expense anymore. I was fearful of the answer too, but it set me free to move forward.
      hugs, Darlene

    • By: Stephen Posted: 21st October

      I can’t tell you how much I can relate to your post.

  6. By: Blank Posted: 7th May

    I wrote a bunch of stuff but deleted it because a family member would know I wrote it. I and a sibling are sadden due to the devastation a manipulative person has done. Our family will never recover and many family members don’t even know they were and are being manipulated. The person that entered my family is very skilled at manipulation with the intent to obtain my parents property. The manipulator convinced my sibling that they were ENTITLED to my parents property and that they earned it. Although they were able to do a lot of damage in every aspect, a little road block was put up by my parents and it is causing them some pain. (Fyi… Manipulators don’t feel the pain they inflect on you. They only feel the pain that is inflected on themselves.) I use to wonder how they could sleep, but have since learned that they have no remorse and have no trouble sleeping. Currently, the manipulators are in the process of working around the road block which from what I see they will accomplish. I read that if you have contact with a manipulator that YOU need to get professional help. Now I see why they say this. I’m now trying to figure out how to move forward. Do they make a pill to block all the bad these memories? Where can I get it? Oh, I’m not one that needs boos or pills (let me take that back… I have to have my hormone patch and sometimes double that when coming in contact with my family). Well I have to stop. Appreciate everyone opening up and sharing. I really needed this website. You all take care now.

    but as much damage that has been done to my family, I can’t imagine going thru what some of you have suffered. I am now trying to cope with only seeing one member of our large family and I don’t even want to see that sibling. It brings back all the pain. This has recently consumed my life due to dealing with my parents

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