There is a subtle and insidious link between emotional manipulation (narcissistic abuse) and economic manipulation.
There are manipulators and narcissists, men and women, who, for economic reasons, deprive the victims of their loved ones or fill them with gifts to bind them to themselves or, moreover, force them to live in deprivation in order to better control them, or impoverish them to meet their needs first of all.
For example, someone, who is forced, without any real need, to live in economic hardship by someone whom he/she loves, feels in trouble, is insecure and disoriented. The manipulator or narcissist can manage him/her as he/she wants. It is about economic and emotional avarice. The victim is so used to this “quid pro quo” mechanism, that is “I give you something, if you give me something in return or if you behave as I want”, that he/she sees as his/her reference only his/her tormentor . He/she cannot perceive that he/she has many more resources and many more opportunities.
Let us suppose that the victim needs a pencil and that the stationery stores are closed at that time. If he/she thinks that he/she can only obtain it by buying it where and how he/she has always done, he/she will wait for them to reopen. If, instead, the victim analyzes all the possible ways, with which he/she could come into possession of a pencil, he/she will realize that there are many more. He/she could meet a friend, who lends it to him/her or who gives it to him/her. While walking in the park, he/she could find it on a bench, forgotten or lost by someone. She/he could remember having it in her/his hair, because she/he has used it to tie it up in a ponytail.
As there are not only stationeries to obtain a pencil, so there are not only manipulators and narcissists as a reference. There are many other alternatives and many other people, whom very often victims, forced to live as in isolation, can no longer see.
The victim can also happen to be inundated with gifts, money and kindness when the manipulator or narcissist wants to impress her/him, wants to impress strangers, needs something from the victim, or has something to be forgiven.
Also in this case the victim falls into confusion: the link between love and economic well-being is ambiguous and unhealthy. A moment before, the manipulator or narcissist is ready to give her/him everything without asking or doing anything. A moment later, he/she has no right to anything and must undergo impositions and retaliation. Which are the right behaviors? Which the wrong ones? How does he/she get his/her pencil from the manipulator or the narcissist?
A victim is unable to understand that he/she has so many alternatives at his/her disposal and that they are all within reach. If she/he does not know the dynamics of emotional manipulation and narcissistic abuse, she/he will think that she/he is wrong. If she/he thinks that these mechanisms are normal among people who love each other, she/he will tend to repeat them with her/his loved ones. He/she will not realize that there are healthier and more productive methods to deal with other people.
Wrongly thinking that love is an exchange of commodities that can be bought, sold, bartered or lent, a victim of emotional and economic manipulation will think that it is normal to be surrounded by other people, who behave that way. Repeating the actions of his/her manipulators and narcissists, he/she will remove from himself/herself people, who are capable of giving and receiving sincere and unconditional love.
Then there are manipulators and narcissists, who for economic claims or spite deprive the victim of his/her dearest ones. This can happen, for instance, because of issues connected with inheritance disputes or to daughters and sons, who are contended between parents fighting each other. The victim may be required, for money matters, to take sides against someone whom he/she cares about. She/he may be forced to no longer see brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, or grandparents.
In this case too, love and money are confused. In this case too, manipulation undermines both the emotional and the economic well-being of the victim. Healthy family relationships are based on love bonds and not on economic ties. This confusion will also reign in the life of the victim, if he/she does not notice it and refuses it.
Economic well-being and security go hand in hand with emotional well-being and security. If someone has done everything in his/her capability, if he/she has studied, if he/she has worked hard and if he/she has committed himself/herself with all his/her strength without being able to achieve his/her economic and affective objectives, perhaps the answer is precisely in the emotional and economic manipulation that he/she has suffered.
If someone in his/her life has met too many manipulators and narcissists, he/she could not know all his/her resources, could not have seen all the opportunities at his/her disposal, could have been exploited and exhausted, could make confusion between love and money, and could not have the right emotional support.
Love is not for sale, is not attachment and is not dependence, on the contrary, it is given at no cost, is liberty, and autonomy.
Paola Morgese, PMP
Civil Hydraulic Engineer
M.S. Sanitary and Environmental Engineering
Translation of the Italian blog post: Paola Morgese, Legame tra manipolazioni affettive ed economiche