The word "manipulative" has been suggested as a negative attribute or weekness of those of us in chronic pain. Youch! I HATE this word a lot more than many words. I hate being manipulated by others, and hate the thought that I might be manipulative. I looked at Yahoo for dictionary definition and this is what came up:
"To move, arrange, operate, or control by the hands or by mechanical means, especially in a skillful manner: She manipulated the lights to get just the effect she wanted.
To influence or manage shrewdly or deviously: He manipulated public opinion in his favor.
To tamper with or falsify for personal gain: tried to manipulate stock prices.
manipulate, exploit, maneuver...
These verbs mean to influence, manage, use, or control to one's advantage by artful or indirect means: manipulated me into helping him; exploits natural resources; maneuvered me out of one job and into another. See also Synonyms at handle."
I think any of us who is serious about being the kind of person that God has called us to be would be truely ashamed (and rightly so!) to be called manipulative. So, why do people in chronic pain tend toward or at least enough have this trait for it to be a stereotype of us as a group?
I think one reason (NOT an excuse at all) could be that when your body is out of control - pain that you cannot do anything about, you feel like life is out of control. You plan things but then have to cancel because of a flair up of symptoms, you try new treatments and suergeries etc. only to be left in the same place you were before. You (I) feel like life is out of my control! Manipulation is trying to control craftily the actions or emotions of others. So it seems logical that when my life feels out of my control in so many ways, that I might try to control the lives of those around me. I could imagine that this could be unconscious on some level - but with honest self-examination would come to light. Another reason that this could be a "natural" sinful tendancy especially for those of us with chronic pain is that we LONG like a deep burning ache for people to understand us! So trying to get others to understand us when we feel widely misunderstood could lead to manipulation. Allowing others to see our pain so that they can know how bad it hurts etc.
Next I will examine ways to fight against this very destructive behavior. If you have thoughts PLEASE share! I am exploring this just like you!