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Who's Pulling Your Strings?: How to Break the Cycle of Manipulation and Regain Control of Your Life Hardcover – August 12, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 132 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"..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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (August 12, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071402780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071402781
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #719,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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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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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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Format: Hardcover
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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By lepfan on March 24, 2013
Format: Paperback
I read this book to help me deal with a co-worker who is controlling and manipulative. It's helpful in that it describes the whys' and wherefor's of manipulation but there are not many suggestions for exactly what to say or respond when the manipulation starts. Telling someone who's inadvertantly become the target of a controller/manipulator to "stand up to the manipulator" isn't helpful. People become targets because they don't know how to do that. This book would have been better if there were real responses for dealing with controllers and manipulators.

Still, very helpful in identifying and understanding their motives and actions.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have two manipulators in my family, but until this read I couldn't accurately articulate and understand the dynamics. Because these two individuals cause so much grief and pain in the family, I would have to say this is the most valuable book I've ever read. The degree of angst I experience after reading this book is truly minimal. I can almost laugh at their behavior now, whereas before I took it personally. If you're having trouble dealing with someone who is demanding, critical and negative -- and who convinces the rest of the world that you do them wrong, despite your sincere efforts -- this is a beautifully enlightening explanation of why you can't change them, why they treat you the way they do, and why you're better off literally not worrying about it or them (even though that is not your nature). My favorite realization is that this type of person will alternately treat you poorly and kindly in order to keep you confused and off balance. What made no sense before is now crystal clear. Thank you Dr. Braiker.
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