What happens to you when you start a relationship apologizing? Apologizing for taking up space, apologizing for wanting things, apologizing for feeling passion and love? What happens when you go into a relationship accepting the premise that you’re doing something wrong?
A backwards connection happens when you decide who someone is and then attempt to connect with that image. The examples she uses are very basic, and it demonstrates how often we are just one step away from a control connection, and the justification of abuse.
The thing that separates manipulation from enslavement on one end, and influence on the other, is the illusion of choice. It is also why being manipulated will degrade your self esteem so rapidly. You watch yourself make choices against your own self interest, and it chips away at your self respect.
There’s a passage in More Than Two that I profoundly regret. I don’t know if it’s the most harmful thing in the book, but I know it underpins a lot of other harm.