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Who's Pulling Your Strings?: How to Break the Cycle of Manipulation and Regain Control of Your Life [Kindle Edition]

Harriet B. Braiker Ph. D.
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A self-empowering plan for anyone who wants to stop being manipulated by others

In Who's Pulling Your Strings?, Dr. Harriet B. Braiker,New York Times bestselling author of The Disease to Please, explains how depression, low self-esteem, chronic anger, and feelings of helplessness are often the result of being caught in relationships with manipulative people--including family members, friends, coworkers, and associates. More importantly, she arms readers with the knowledge and tools they need to understand and identify manipulative personalities and to free themselves from the bondage of relationships with them.

Working from sound psychological theory and research, yet writing in a warm, accessible style, Braiker exposes the most common methods manipulative people use to control others--and makes clear that it takes at least two people to enable such a relationship to function. With the help of valuable self-assessment quizzes, action plans, and how-to exercises she empowers readers to:

  • Recognize the signs of a manipulative relationship
  • Spot manipulators and their typical modus operandi
  • Assess their own vulnerability to manipulation
  • Identify the 7 main "Head Games" manipulators play

...and much more, including informative case studies and highly effective Resistance Tactics to help those who identify themselves as victim-participants end the damaging cycle of control and manipulation--and clear the way for success and happiness.

Orlando Sentinel, “She devotes her book to explaining how manipulators operate and, more important, what their victims can do to end these destructive relationships.” --Harry Wessel

Chicago Tribune, “…offers practical suggestions for those who find themselves repeatedly yanked, right down to language they can use in a tight spot.” --Joanne Trestrail

Editorial Reviews


"..she helps readers recognize manipulation and assesses and reduce their own vulnerability." -- Library Journal

From the Back Cover

Many people suffer from relationships that leave them feeling manipulated and out of control. Whether it's within the context of a personal relationship, a family member, a friend, or someone at the workplace, these "toxic" relationships can erode a person's self-confidence and self-esteem, and have a strong, negative effect on their ability to perform well at home and at work. But there are ways to escape these kinds of relationships--by giving the person being manipulated the skills to cope better with these manipulators, and eventually free themselves from the bonds of their manipulators.

Working from a proven blend of sound psychological theory, research and clinical expertise, Dr. Braiker exposes the most common methods manipulative people use to control others--and firmly reminds us that it takes at least two people to enable such a relationship to function. Once you understand how your own thoughts and behavior make you a soft-target for manipulators to ensnare in controlling, stressful, no-win relationships, she teaches you potent techniques that will thwart a manipulator's designs and allow you to escape his or her web of control. Using revealing self-assessment quizzes, action plans, and how-to exercises, Dr. Braiker empowers you to:

  • Recognize the signs of a manipulative relationship
  • Spot manipulators and their typical ways of operating
  • Assess your own vulnerability to manipulation
  • Identify the 7 main "Head Games" manipulators play
  • Utilize effective resistance tactics against manipulator's efforts
  • Transform yourself from a "soft" to a "hardened" target
  • Extricate yourself from manipulative relationships that do not change
  • Protect yourself from falling prey to manipulators' control in the future
  • Stop others from pulling your strings once and for all

Also included are enlightening case studies, along with clinical techniques adapted into proven self-help exercises, which will help victim-participants end the damaging cycle of manipulative control, and clear the way for healthier and happier relationships. At last, you can protect yourself from emotionally draining manipulative personalities--and break free from the confusing, frustrating, and entrapping bonds they create.

Break away from manipulators--and regain control!

Millions of people, men as well as women, can become involved in relationships with manipulators--people who control through emotional manipulation, insults, and mind games. This manipulator could be anyone who seems trustworthy, but eventually makes life miserable for the victim involved. But whether it's a relative, a spouse or romantic partner, a sibling, a boss, co-worker, or subordinate, a friend, a teacher, or even a trusted advisor, Dr. Harriet B. Braiker, bestselling author of The Disease to Please, shows you how to break this toxic cycle.

Who's Pulling Your Strings will help you both end a current destructive relationship, understand how this relationship occurred, and will also prevent you from ever getting involved in a manipulative relationship again.  Dr. Braiker will help you devise your own action plans through revealing quizzes, checklists and self-evaluations, such as:

  • Are You an Easy Mark?
  • What Are Your Hooks?
  • Seven Key Resistance Tactics
  • And much more!

With the Harriet Braiker's insight, compassionate advice, and self-affirming strategies, you can create the strength to end any manipulative relationship and gain control of your life--starting right now.

Product Details

  • File Size: 475 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0071446729
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 4 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (August 12, 2003)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,492 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
173 of 177 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Educational insight October 18, 2008
By Sharon
I found this book extremely helpful in explaining the syndrome of manipulation, and more importantly, it gave me some practical advice for responding and feeling less like a victim. I learned two stark realities from reading it. First of all, do not attempt to reason with a manipulator, as their feelings and needs are all that matter to them and you are wasting your time. These personalities seldom change. Coming to terms with this helped trememdously in releasing frustration. Secondly, manipulation continues because it works - period. One must break the cycle of success, and this book gives some solid tools to facilitate just that.
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85 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Break free! March 6, 2009
This book was soooo helpful and I really felt empowered by the practical help that she offers. It's an easy read and very comforting. The best parts are: the insights she offers that explain what goes on in the dynamic between manipulator and "target"; what a manipulator thinks; why the "target" always gets stuck with people like manipulators; you can't reason with a manipulator beause of their insecurities but you can reason with your own insecurities; and best of all are the practical ways you can change your behavior to take back the power. I like that the author addresses your own behavior and actions, the easiest thing to manage in situations like these.
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86 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Insight! July 29, 2004
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a must read if you've been in any sort of manipulative relationship weather it be romantic, friendships, or family related. Not only are the hints helpful in recognizing WHEN you're being manipulated, but it provides the tools necessary to combat manipulative situations. Every aspect of this book applied in my life somewhere and in multiple areas such as work, home, love, family, and friends. A MUST read for everyone as we've all been prey to manipulators at one time or another.

On an alternate note, there are also scenarios in this book that might make you think of a time or times that you have manipulated others. It's helpful to have these pointed out and be conscious of your own manipulative tactics even if you weren't aware of them previously.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Made Me Act October 30, 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Who's Pulling Your String gave me essential information on how to act in sadly a bullying situation that I had remained in for years. I strongly believe in personalities being the primary cause of most relationship discord and not the symptoms, i.e. money, honesty, lack of sex, etc. that gets named as cause by most. This mainly gives you insight into how you are being manipulated, how to try to stop it, and if no attempts are successful - as she puts it - EXTRACTION. This was my only option as all attempts at stopping it were unsuccessful. It was the best decision of my life and gave me the impetus for change that would not have happened had I not listened and followed this advice. This book essentially gave me a new life that I am living with all I got until its gone.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars waking up to manipulative relationships February 29, 2004
By A Customer
Dr.Braiker made understanding "manipulation" easy. Kudos to a book well written. Searching for books to learn what manipulation IS is hard to come by. Sometimes in our fast paced world we are so caught up that the art of manipulation can cause denial even to "seemingly" intellegent people. My work environnment was so covertly manipulated by its owner that I preferred to look the other way, due to building a company, rather than force myself into realizing how detrimental my environnment was. Peoples live have been ruined. Whether your in a bad relationship on a personal or professional level Dr. Braiker will defintely help you understand, and ultimately help you gain Your-Self back.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wake up and smell the manipulation. July 22, 2009
Once again Harriet Braiker provides a wake up call and this time it's about manipulators. Not only does she help us recognize the manipulators in our lives but also provides guidance on how to break free from it. Manipulators can show up anywhere in our lives and this book provides great insight on how to be come a harder target for manipulation now and in the future.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wasted my time with Myers Briggs testing. This is it! October 18, 2010
I have been manipulated by people close to me and this is helping me see. It ticks me off that I allowed folks to control me by influencing me to settle for less than what I want in exchange for what they want for me. Who's life is this?..Who has it been?...Whom will it be should be no question.

One more thing! The book names the some of the types of people who control and manipulate. I took initiative by reading and rereading the DSM-IV codes 301.2X to 301.9Z. OMG I think I know some of these people. What scares me about learning this is applying what I read to folks I know. Whoa!
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended April 18, 2007
Although I purchased this book in order to better cope with the inevitable interactions with my daughter's father, I discovered much more. Those little problems I was having at work...I was convinced that my high stress levels (with said ex) where causing me to forget things become easily confused & constantly find myself with too much work to do.

She was a stealth manipulator hiding behind a sweet, pious facade. I brought some of these indications to my boss's attention & we instantly realized that we, both were her victims!!

To be able to spot 'em a mile away: An invaluable skill.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Turned the light on in my head.
A very good read and I have listened the audio book.
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great insight for those of us that have a manipulative partner in our lives.
Published 1 day ago by T. Fernandez
5.0 out of 5 stars This book helped me, it will help you!
Unfortunately, I was caught in the grip of a master manipulator for three years. I thought I had a solid, committed relationship. However, Mr. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Marifrances
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!!!
I love this book, it gave me the tools I needed to be myself and to be free, now I know that it its ok not to like everyone and that not everyone has to like me.
Published 1 month ago by maricela rivera
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Easy Read
I would recommend this book for anyone that feels they are being manipulated by their significant other. Read more
Published 1 month ago by kh
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Offers little on deciding whether to stay or go--a single page of pep talk, but no real boundaries.
Published 1 month ago by Sandra Carr
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book I've ever Read on Manipulation
This book will take you step by step into the minds of manipulators and you can see where you went wrong, how you became a target, and how to get out from under it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Lisa O'Hara
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book of helpful insight
If you are constantly in turbulence with loved ones or just simple jerks " pulling your strings" this is a wonderful guide to help you gain strength to end the chaos.
Published 2 months ago by Lady in Red
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
Enjoyed the book. Great information. Helped me understand why the things was happening in my life. Time to make a change.
Published 3 months ago by Geegee
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Advise To End Manipulation
Good book to explain the specific pitfalls of manipulation. Helpful tips on how to recognize the people in your life who manipulate you & how to stop the cycle.
Published 3 months ago by Heidi
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