THE BLOG

Discerning Love From Manipulation

05/04/2015 03:50 pm ET | Updated May 04, 2016

"Everyone loved my mother and thought she was a saint, but I never felt good around her and I never felt loved by her. There must have been something wrong with me," stated Pauline in our first session together.

While Pauline's mother's actions appeared to outsiders to be loving, energetically there was no love. The actions that appeared to be loving were really manipulations geared to control how others saw her. Her "giving" was designed to get attention and approval, rather than coming from an open, caring heart.

Everyone told Pauline how wonderful her mother was, but because Pauline didn't feel or experience love from her mother, she concluded that there must be something wrong with her. Only after working with me for a while did she see that she was accurately picking up her mother's manipulative energy.

The very same action can be coming from an intent to manipulate or from an intent to express love. How can we tell the difference between actions that are loving and actions that are manipulative when they may look exactly the same?

Discerning love from manipulation is about honoring your inner experience, your experience of the energy rather than just of the actions. To do this, you need to move beyond relying on sight and instead start to rely on your feelings. The energy of love feels good. It feels safe and nurturing. It feels clean and light and refreshing. The energy of manipulation feels heavy, draining, dark and lonely. It feels limiting and oppressive rather than freeing. It weakens your own energy instead of supporting it. When you are tuned in to your inner experience, you can feel the pull that occurs when someone's intention is to get love rather than give it, or when they are giving in order to get.

Most of us as children were not taught to trust our inner experience. We were taught to rely more on what we see rather than what we feel. Yet the outer can be deceptive, such as someone saying "I love you" with an intent to hear it back, rather than offering it as a free gift. Unless you learn to tune in to and trust your feelings -- your inner experience -- you will not be able to discern the truth.

Trusting our inner experience becomes very important in primary relationships. Since Pauline was not encouraged to discern the truth of someone's intent, she had run into the same problem with her ex-husband that she had with her mother. "I really thought he was loving. How could I have been so wrong?"

As we explored her relationship with her ex-husband, Robert, it became apparent that Robert had learned the art of looking open, caring and loving without actually being open and loving. He knew what to say and do to appear loving. Because Pauline distrusted her feelings and inner knowing due to her experience with her mother, she distrusted her feelings with Robert too. Once again she thought there was something wrong with her when she did not feel connected with or loved by Robert.

Once Pauline learned to feel and trust her feelings and inner wisdom, she was able to choose people to be with who were open and loving. When she stopped trusting the outer actions and started to trust her inner experience, she was able to create relationships that were based on the sharing of love.

Energy is always trustworthy while actions can be deceptive. Practicing tuning into energy -- to how it feels rather than to how it looks -- will lead you to knowing the truth.

Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Relationships Course: "Loving Relationships: A 30-Day at-Home Experience with Dr. Margaret Paul - For partnered individuals & couples, & people who want to be partnered."

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