Our Basic Need – We Want to Be Loved
One of the strongest driving forces of human behavior is our need to feel loved. This could come in many ways. From someone telling us that he or she loves us (partner, parents, children), to people praising us, expressing admiration, or giving us things that we connect with these states. That also includes getting a raise from your boss. We are interdependent people who need others to survive. And therefore, the need for love and its many facets is one of the basic survival skills we adopted. Pleasing other people can secure our survival. But it is also one of our weakest points that allows us to be easily manipulated.
3 Ways to Control You
1. Threatening Trough Withdrawal of Love
One of the best combinations of manipulation through carrot and stick is threatening you with withdrawal of money, love, fame, affection, etc. when you don’t do what is expected from you and promising you all those things when you do it. You can look in private and professional areas, and you will find, that this method of leverage is very often used.
- You will stay late in the office because you feel the threat of not getting the raise otherwise or being let down.
- That leverage is also used very often in raising up children (unfortunately) by direct mentioning the withdrawal of love to the child. This is one of the most frightening consequences for a young child and can do so much harm that it may take a lifetime to recover (if at all).
- In relationship there is a (sometimes sublime) threat of losing affection. That is why people do a lot of strange things in relationships.
- Of course also in Marketing this has been used: behind it is the mechanism of installing fear of loss and the only prevention is buying the product. Insurance companies make billions through this. And also a lot of other companies use it too.
2. Installing Guilt
Installing guilt is another great tool of making you do things others want from you.
But what is guilt in itself?
It is a negative feeling that you are expected to experience when you have violated a common agreed rule. Now really ask yourself whether you consciously agreed to that rule and whether that rule is really valid and useful for both sides. Very often these rules are defined by one side and are only there to serve your further enslavement.
3. Adding Urgency and Importance
Another method of others to manipulate you to do something they want, is to make it urgent and or important. Categorizing tasks in to do lists in different categories of urgent and/or important has always been one of the key concepts of time management. But let’s face it, who decides about importance and urgency of tasks. Most of the time it is the importance and urgency that others put on it and is depending on how much leverage they can use on you through their different tools (like the threat of withdrawing something). So urgency and importance are not really helpful for deciding what to do or not, because they keep you enslaved in this vicious cycle of needing to please others.
4 Steps to Deal With This Kind of Manipulation
Step 1: Detach Yourself from the Threat of “Love”-Witdrawal
Love comes without any condition. All else is Business.
Make it clear to yourself and others that love never asks for anything you have to do in order to get it. If someone really loves you, that love should be given unconditionally. That is especially true with the love of parents to a child. Whenever there is a condition to it – it is not love. It’s a business deal where someone wants you to do something and promises to give you something back that will make you feel good. However don’t mix that up with love. And it is ok to do those deals. If you can accept it as it is and don’t think that it is about love, then you are free to accept or reject the deal. Since we are then really are talking about a business kind of negotiating, we can use this terminology and talk about prices to pay for decisions.
Step 2: Love Yourself As a Strong Foundation
Of course you should make sure that you have some source of unconditional love (if possible parents, your partner and your children) but the most important source for yourself are you. You need to love yourself without any condition upfront. Accept yourself as you are and don’t put any conditions on that.
If you can honestly say “I love myself.” … and not add “because …” or “when …” behind it, then you have a strong base and should not feel threatened by someone elses games of “Love”-withdrawal.
You should wake up and say “I love myself” and you should really feel it. Whenever you look at yourself, you should think it. This is not about narcism but about developing a healthy self-respect and self-love that are the basis of any form of personal power. So don’t laugh about it. Do it.
Step 3: Get clear about the consequences
It comes then to the point where you need to get clear about the possible consequences and your options.
You need to ask yourself 3 questions:
- What is the real price to pay if I do or don’t do this thing?
- Am I willing to accept this kind of deal?
- What options do I have?
Let’s go into the questions with a little more detail.
Question 1: What Is the Real Price to Pay if I Do or Don’t Do It?
No matter what decision there is in front of you, there is always a price to pay – if you do a thing or if you don’t.
- Leaving your job early to have enough time with your family might lead to you not getting the raise you wanted.
- Staying at the job late and not spending time with your family might lead to several problems with your loved ones including possible divorce or drifting away from being in touch with your kids.
Now at first that might sound like a Catch 22, and it surely often feels like.
But you have to make sure, that you are in control of your time, and that you are the only one being able to decide where to put your focus on.
- You could go to your boss and tell him, that you need more time with your family and that you would like to restructure your work, so you could manage to do more in less time.
- You could spend quality time with your family while at the same time explaining to them that you need to spend a certain amount of time at work. If you communicate on an honest level with them, they will understand it.
Question 2: Am I Willing to Accept This Kind of Deal?
Now someone else tried to negotiate a deal with you (although they don’t want you to see it that way, since it takes away a lot of power from them). You must find out, whether you want to go with that deal. Often it comes in an either-or form. At this point, you know the price to pay for that deal, and now you must find out whether the whole deal is acceptable to you. If not, you should tell them and be willing to pay the price for not following their way of reasoning.
Question 3: What Options Do I Have and What Are Their Prices?
Make sure you know all the options (not only the few presented by the other person). So of course not accepting the deal is an option. However maybe you can come up with an alternative that will keep you happy and the other person as well. If you detach yourself from the threatening need for love you can think much more creative and can come up with much better options.
Step 4: Decide!
Make a Decision and Stick With It and Its Consequences
After you have evaluated all the options you are then free to decide which way to go. You should know that you MUST make a decision. Even not deciding is a decision and will have an associated price to pay. But if you detached yourself from the threat of “Love”-withdrawal then you are much more capable to make a good decision for all persons involved.
State your decision clearly and let the other person know that it was a real decision (meaning you won’t allow them to threaten you further since you are willing to pay the price associated with that decision).