Recovering Manipulator Wants to Change Personality, Undo Damage

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Reader’s Question

I found this site when I was looking up information on blame and victim roles as well as on manipulation — because I have been very good at that in my life and have hurt a lot of people, including myself as a result. I now understand the things I did and the unhealthy patterns I displayed, but I don’t know how to make things better. I have manipulated and played the blame game for many years and many people have gotten hurt as a result. I didn’t really know what I was doing, couldn’t see the pattern. Now that I know, I don’t know what I should say or do to make things right. I don’t even know whether I should say or do anything at all, although my past behavior weighs heavily on my mind.

I need to know what someone else thinks. I am working very hard on stopping my former pattern of manipulation and blaming and am pretty serious about taking a more spiritual approach to life. I never want to do the kind of things I did before and feel that the answer will involve getting back on track with God and taking a more honest and spiritual approach to life.

I can’t change the things I did. But maybe it’s possible to undo some of the damage and make a real contribution. What do you think?

Psychologist’s Reply

Your actions will speak much louder than your words or intentions. As you come to grips with and solidify your resolve to change your former patterns, your relationships with others will slowly and steadily change for the better.

Manipulation is all about the willingness to use even nefarious means to get what you want. But a purpose-driven life (especially one based on a healthy spirituality) is all about doing the right thing even when it doesn’t result in personal gain. In your former life, you might have focused on some self-serving goals. Now, you’re focused on repairing relationships. If you take your focus off what you want and commit yourself to doing right regardless of the outcome, you’ll be on the healthy path.

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