I have quite a collection of books related to dealing with challenging situations with people, and together with some books on assertiveness, I have found Pull Your Own Strings book to be among the most useful. As opposite to other books in this genre which tend to go into categorizing people into different boxes with anti-social behavior, blaming them, or analyzing why did a person get to be or act a particular way, this book gives you down-to-earth practical suggestions that you can use when you have to deal with problematic situations.
If you feel victimized, Wayne shows you how to stop feeling and being victimized. As he points out "It is almost impossible to victimize people who don't expect to be victimized, and who are willing to protest against those who want to subjugate them in any way. The problem of being victimized rests in you, not in all of those other people who have learned to pull your strings."
The first step to stop being victimized is to reclaim your freedom and assert control over your life. Practice self-realiance. "Never place TOTAL reliance in anyone other than yourself when it comes to guiding your own life," Wayne appropriately advises. Or, as Emerson said in Self-Reliance, "Nothing can bring you peace but yourself."
Getting out of victim traps involves developing new habits. Healthy habits are learned the same way as unhealthy ones, through practice, after you have become aware of what you are going to practice.
In this book Wayne guides you through a four-part program of:
(1) learning how to size up your life situations
(2) developing a strong set of non-victim expectations and attitudes
(3) becoming aware of the most prevalent kinds of victimization in your life, and
(4) creating a set of principles which will guide you to detailed strategies for acting out a philosophy of life based on the unalterable notion that you are not going to become a victim.
Among different ways of being victimized, Wayne points out that if you use your imagination, you will find innumerable ways to victimize yourself. But by applying your imagination in constructive ways, you can, by the same token, find the means to eliminate your victim status. The choice is up to you. You can learn to stand up for yourself and to operate from strength.
on September 16, 2003
This work provides specific guidance on how to take control
of one's life ( to the extent that is possible). For instance,
he describes how to operate from a position of strength by
placing people on an equal plane and addressing them by their
first names. In addition, the author criticizes our tendency
to be governed by past events that we can no longer control
or change. He explains the need to draw boundaries and assert
ourselves in defense of our basic rights. The author
recommends the behavioral approach in order to respond to people
and events that make us uncomfortable. Above all, the author
warns about placing institutions over ourselves and personal
self-worth and satisfaction. Finally, the author asks us to
look around ourselves in an effort to make our daily lives
better for everyone. He even quotes the Declaration
of Independence (July 4, 1776):
"All experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to
suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."
The book is an excellent behaviorally based reference which
can help us manage our affairs both privately and in the
on March 19, 2003
Dr Dyer is a rare individual. He really understands. He has found simplicity. The truth is simple, that which I have yet to understand! I read this book first, and felt compelled to learn how to pull my own strings. I freed myself from outside influences by reading this book, Pulling Your Own Strings. We learn to be more than a sailboat, drifting on the sea with a fixed sail, frolicking about, at the mercy of every wave and breeze. I learned how to be effective at grabbing the control panel, that pull the strings of my life, which at times takes a bit of assertion. Combining that with one of his other books, "Your Sacred Self, I gained peace. I finally found the key to dealing with stress. I did so by learning what meditation really is from him. Instead of a lotus position, and humming a mantra, I learned that it is simply sitting or lying still, undisturbed, for ten or fifteen minutes, letting all thoughts leave my mind. Each thought is tied to an emotion. You come to a place that is quiet and peaceful, and your arise refreshed, renewed, and unfettered with stress and resentments. Then your greatest problem solving mind is present, solutions appear. It is true. What a great tool. Instead of resorting to addictive, and destructive habits, or substances to deal with stress, he has shown me the ultimate solution.
So there you have it, with Pulling Your Own Strings, you learn to be the master of your own life, and recognize those, and those things, that try to direct us, and not neccessarily for unselfish reasons. Then freed from outside control, we begin to see that the solutions to our lives are available to us from within. In Your Sacred Self, he teaches us that ego is controlling, and dominating our lives. It is at war with your greater spiritual self. It keeps us from sitting still. Always striving, but never arriving. Let the noise and clamor cease. We are all one together. We don't need ego driven domination, but rather cooperation. Get rid of the anger. Learn how to eliminate the negative influences in your life. The most powerful way for someone else to control you, is to make you angry. Once they see it no longer works, they usually leave you alone, or it makes them angrier that they no longer can control you. "It is like heaping coals of fire on their heads" Then acquire joy and peace. I know it sounds like cliches, but it is true, and I don't know how else to say it.
Dr Dyer gives you the tools, to build a new house. Or should I say, he reminds you of the house that has been there all along. Only the expressions are original, the thoughts lie within us all.
on August 21, 2002
This book's theme is taking charge of your own life, being responsible for yourself, and not allowing other people to control your thinking or convert you into a victim. Throughout the book, examples of victimhood are adduced, along with recommendations for personal action that will avoid that victimhood.
Contemporary, progressive society has left this mode of thinking completely behind. Nowadays, there is limitless honor in being a victim, in having been wronged by someone else (or even wronged by yourself, like if you spill hot McDonald's coffee in your lap). Dyer appears to have no appreciation whatever for the fact that professional victimhood is a huge national industry, a thriving source of income for an entire benthic layer of our society.
Dyer's implication that you should simply "get over it" and move forward with your life is an insult to everyone who has spilled hot McDonald's coffee in her lap. "Get over it" suggests there should be no reparations for descendants of slaves or payments to lung cancer victims who smoked three packs a day for forty years. "Get over it" would leave legions of personal injury lawyers scraping elsewhere for money. When I envision our own World Grand Master of Victimhood, Hillary (who steadfastly stood by her cheating man) merely "getting over it" and not wallowing in the ocean of pity that got her elected to the Senate, I understand how drastically Dr. Wayne has strayed from contemporary mores and morals. He is obviously not a member of the Bill Clinton's (political) organ, the Democrat Party.
"Pulling Your Own Strings" is an antique, an outmoded relic of a bygone era when real people took responsiblity for themselves. Don't waste your time on it. You might become self-reliant.
on August 10, 2002
The title refers to being manipulated, "strings" in this case could be synonymous with "buttons," as in: "Don't let them press your buttons."
Wayne Dyer further expounds on thoughts first introduced in YOUR ERRONEOUS ZONES, the main message being that we need to take charge of our own emotional lives and not let ourselves be subject to the whims of others' attempts to control us through guilt, with "others can't manipulate you if you don't want them to" constantly reiterated. Dyer continues his thought on the paradoxical situation we are caught in while living in this world, how on one hand rules are usually unjust and put in place by people with power in attempts to maintain their power, while on the other hand it does us no good to incapacitate ourselves with anger regarding that injustice. Do what you can to make things just, but let go of it when there is nothing you can do. It is equally unjust for you to make yourself feel guilty or angry over things you have no control over.
"The clerk is a jerk," Dyer tells us to remind ourselves when we are mistreated at department stores, shopping centers, banks, government offices, or fast food chains. He cautions that this is not an indictment of the person behind the job, but a description of the job itself; Dyer says clerks are supposed to be "jerks," that's their job. We shouldn't let them "pull our strings" and upset us. Just accept that they are that way, do what you can to stick up for yourself, but don't let them manipulate you or control you. I especially enjoyed the passage where Dyer mimmicks all the "no" signs you see everywhere: no loitering, no talking, no skating, no eating, no smoking, no gum chewing, no radios, no parking, "no nothing!" Dyer comments. The world is full of people who want to control you. Don't let them control your emotions or how you feel about yourself!
I believe this book is best seen in continuity with Dyer's other works, whereas, say, YOUR ERRONEOUS ZONES could stand on its own. In fact, I think it would be a good idea to read this book after YOUR ERRONEOUS ZONES.
on December 19, 2001
I read this book 22 years ago, when I was an 18 year old heading off to college. The book provided me with ways to be assertive and achieve my goals without allowing others to walk all over me.
Now, I am the mother of three teenagers and am reading this book again with my 14 year old daughter, in an effort to help her through a difficult time dealing with an authority figure (who is manipulative and abusing her power.)
I am simply amazed at how much of the information in the book has worked its way into my core beliefs over the years...from handling difficult people and situations to teaching my kids how to handle bullies. As we were reading the introduction, my daughter said, "Mom, I don't need to read this." When I asked her why, she commented "you've been teaching it to me all my life!"
Young adults, I highly recommend that each and every one of you read this book. Learn to stand up for yourself and be respected for doing so. Parents, you'll want to read it too!
on July 11, 2001
While many people praise Dr. Dyer, I have a great deal of difficulty with his personal philosophy of life. It is, to me, in a word -- selfish. To be sure, many of us are "victimized" by our socialization and acculturation and we can do things to minimize the degree to which we are victimized. However, Dr. Dyer's neo-individulaist approach can, in its illogical extreem, subborn totally anti-social behavior. In his school of thought, anything I do that satisfies me is okay.
Sorry, no cigar from me. We live in society, our frontal lobes (according to the most recent research) evloved to assist us in managing our interpersonal relationships. If one accepts the common ancestor theory, we have also got a lot of social stratification in our genetic code. We are meant to live in society and that means dealing with interpersonal relationships and not all of them are going to go "our way."
As other writers in this genre tell us, those relationships are about the day-to-day give-and-take. Once we graduate from infancy we learn that we must serve the needs of others in order to be served by them.
Dr. Dyer may be the secular saint of the "Me Generation" I, for one, do not venerate his position. And, to all the "victims" I have two words: Grow up!
on January 12, 2001
Many of us, inadvertanty, or out of fear,respect,socio-cultural norms, or sheer lack of initiative and courage/self-confidence....refuse to take control and surrender ourselves to others; be it family members,parents,friends,peers,superiors, or people in authority etc. and end up being miserable and live a life that's not our own.
Dr.Dwyne Dyer, a psycho-therapist and counselling pyscho-analyst, and author of many self-help books including the runaway bestseller "Your erroneous zones" is back with another very intersting and useful book; Pulling your own strings.
The basic thrust of the book is to make people take charge of their lives and not to let others victimise,manipulate or control our life. Its only when you are in-charge, you can stop being miserable, and guide your own destiny the way you want it.
Many of us with normal faculties have handicapped ourselves and victimised ourselves by belief systems and mental blocks. In search of security, we compromise and end up letting others control and confine us by using our own linitations and fears against us.
To live a life of your own choice, you have to be a bit rebellious, stand-up for yourself, and stop being manipulated by others by acquiring assertive behavioral skills.
The book gives various tips on victimisation, overcoming the fear of the unknown, avoidance of traps,assertive behaviour, elimination of self defeating judgements,creative aliveness, and many other day to day road blocks that everyone of us comes across.
Last few pages ongauging the victim profilei in various day to day situations and the advisible assertive response strategies are very interesting.
The book is a must read for all the adolescents, young men and women, and even grown ups who many times feel helpless, depressed, confused, and victimised. A compulsory reading for all the parents who presume that they alone are best judges for what is good for their children and refuse to let them grow on their own .
on July 6, 2001
This is the first "self-help" book that I have attempted to read, and I am very impressed with it! It starts off somewhat slow, but when you are determined to get through this book and understand what Dr. Dyer is actually saying, then your whole mindset will change! This book has definitely opened my eyes to my own self-defeating behaviors, and it has made me want to stand up for myself and stop being victimized by others. I have really taken to heart the advice in this book. I belive that most people can feel better about themselves and improve their situations in life if they put to use the techniques that Dyer talks about. The majority of our self-esteem problems come from how we view ourselves, and when we realize that we count as a person, then our situation will most likely start to improve. Dyer has given the most analytical minds (including those like me with a degree in Psychology) a lot of food for thought.
on September 16, 1999
Its a beautiful and a powerful book. It presents everyday life situations and a variety of alternative reactions to choose from. The book was written by Dr Dyer in his early days and I would recommend others to read his subsequent more spiritual books like "You will see it when u believe it" as they give one a complete view of Dr Dyers personality and also give the reader a more spiritual perspective to every day life situations as opposed to the practical perspectives offered by Dr Dyer in the above book. Reading the book without reading the later books may trap as victim reader in flipping from being a victim to a victimizer.