So here is one way that some people can (try to) manipulate you--positively or negatively.
They can help either to keep you "in the know" or "in the dark."
As we all know by now, information is power!
When you're in the know--you are a trusted agent and a valuable resource; you have more dots and more connections between the dots to make; you are able to analyze what's happening and make better decision going forward; you can lead with knowledge, wisdom, and hopefully understanding. People come to you for advice, guidance, and because you are a true asset to the team, your superiors, and the organization.
When you're in the dark--you are untrusted and unvalued, you may actually be seen as the enemy who needs to be marginalized, put out or taken out! You are kept out of meetings, uninformed or misinformed, and so you become more and more intellectually worthless. Further, others are implicitly or explicitly told that you are poisonous and not to get caught up in the pending slaughter. A colleague of mine put it this way: "Don't get between a man and his firing squad."
So with others, there can be information alliances as well as information warfare.
To a great extent, you are responsible for keeping yourself in the know. You need to build relationships, bridges, and networks. You need to read, observe, and talk to lots of people. You need time to digest and analyze what you learn. And you must build your information store so that it is ready and actionable.
But to another extent, there are others--superiors, competitors, bullies, abusers--who just might seek to keep you in the dark and bring you down. Not everyone is your friend...some maybe just the opposite. (Wouldn't it be nice, if we all were just friends!) But showing you the intellectual ass of the group is a powerful nut that once superimposed as an image, cannot be easily distilled. There is plenty of groupthink to go around. And taking out a perceived enemy diffuses their power to everyone else. What a lousy coup by some nasty f*ckers!
Why some friend and others foe you--who the heck knows. Perhaps some is chemistry; some is tit for tat; some is personal bias and bigotry; and some just the crapshoot of fate.
In the end, keep doing your part to enhance your value, your friendships, and your integrity. The rest, you have to be vigilant about and realize not everyone wants the lights kept on. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)