Manipulated Lives

Five stories – Five Lives
Have you ever felt confused or at a loss for words in front of a spouse, colleague or parent, to the extent that you have felt inadequate or, worse, a failure? Do you ever wonder why someone close to you seems to endure humiliation without resistance?

Manipulators are everywhere. At first these devious and calculating people can be hard to spot, because that is their way. They are often masters of disguise: witty, disarming, even charming in public – tricks to snare their prey – but then they revert to their true self of being controlling and angry in private. Their main aim: to dominate and use others to satisfy their needs, with a complete lack of compassion and empathy for their victim. 

In this collection of short novellas, you meet people like you and me, intent on living happy lives, yet each of them, in one way or another, is caught up and damaged by a manipulative individual. First you meet Tess, whose past is haunted by a wrong decision, then young, successful and well balanced Sophie, who is drawn into the life of a little boy and his troubled father. Next, there is teenage Holly, who is intent on making a better life for herself, followed by a manipulator himself, trying to make sense of his irreversible incarceration. Lastly, there is Lisa, who has to face a parent’s biggest regret. All stories highlight to what extent abusive manipulation can distort lives and threaten our very feeling of self-worth.

Purchase Link -

Hello and thank you very much for inviting me to ‘Jazzy Book Reviews’!

We’ve all done it, consciously or unconsciously and, that is deny the facts that are staring us right in the face.  A wide range of emotions may be the main culprits for us denying that we’ve broken something, lost something or are facing an illness that we could have avoided had we listened to the warning signs or someone close to us, anxiously watching and commenting on our behaviour. At the end of the day, we’d rather be seen doing things right than doing things wrong and making mistakes. We’d rather tell a happy story than a story that contains unpleasant passages.
Humiliation, embarrassment or fear to admit weakness or face punishment may also be at the centre of our blindness. Other peoples’ expectations can misguide our better judgment because making mistakes is human after all, yet learning from them can make us into a better and stronger person, even if the experience as such can be difficult and very painful.
At the end of the day, it may depend on how heavily a person’s actions weigh on their conscience and further, going back to the roots, the way our relationship developed with our primary care-giver when we were children, followed by the many years encountering a number of different teachers.
Decades of research in psychology have shown that this initial phase has a decisive impact on our emotional and mental growth, our empathic skills and the development as a moral individual overall.

In the fourth novella of my anthology ‘Manipulated Lives’ called ‘The Narcissist’, the reader meets the person himself - the manipulator in denial despite his incarceration and the evidence of a dark past that haunts him but which he refuses to endorse.

I was wearing one of my finest black suits. It had been custom-made and therefore fit me like a glove. Underneath, I wore a white shirt, ironed to perfection by my wife just under an hour before. My tie was red and had a black eagle stitched onto the front. I had been called away for an important business dinner, as I often was.
I entered a restaurant and instantly felt at home. A mounted floral creation was displayed at the centre of a big room with a layout of tables, set with the finest cream-coloured linen and crystal glasses, that gave off a feeling of exclusivity as they reflected the flattering light of candles placed between the delicate porcelain plates. I absolutely loved these Michelin star places. Every single detail had been thought about, considered for the greatest comfort of the very special customer who could afford the bill, subtly concealed under a crisp-white napkin. The carpeted floor muffled my steps and the submissive glances of the staff gave off a sense of suspended existence. I was in a bubble of wealth surrounded by people of wealth and I was one of them. I always felt my chest rise in volume, my heart beating with excitement, and this was when I produced my best small talk and funniest jokes. This was also where I lingered that bit longer on an attractive woman’s silhouette as she passed by, picturing where she lived and how thickly her wallet may be lined. And before I knew it, I sat in the most comfortable seats in town, thanks to lavish cushioning.
Without a moment’s hesitation, I took out my mobile. I should not have been the one waiting. She should be. I was only faintly annoyed though, because my attention was swiftly diverted by a perfectly dressed young waitress approaching my table with a welcoming smile. Her attitude confirmed, yet again, how special I was. Her hair was smartly pulled up in a tidy bun and her make-up had been applied subtly so that every other lady in the room could shine. I knew that the aim was to look pleasing to the eye without stealing anyone else’s show.
‘Good evening, sir. Would you care for an Aperitif or would you prefer to wait?’ she asked, whilst lifting off my napkin and setting it accurately over my lap. It was a perfect choreography and if it wasn’t that way, I’d be the first to complain. Next I sensed the refreshing, prickly feeling of Champagne filling my mouth and sighed with relief that all was well and as it should be.

Author Bio –
Helene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches Yoga.

Social Media Links –
Giveaway – Win a signed copy of Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel (Open Internationally)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.