The 48 Laws of Power-Law 11: Learn to Keep People Dependent on You

Advocates for cultivating dependence on others to maintain power and influence.


In the game of power dynamics, one often overlooked yet potent strategy is Law 11: Learn to Keep People Dependent on You. It’s a principle that revolves around the idea of fostering reliance on others to solidify one’s control and influence. But what makes dependence such a crucial tool in the arsenal of power? Let’s delve deeper.

Understanding Law 11

At its core, Law 11 underscores the significance of making others reliant on your guidance, resources, or support. By positioning yourself as indispensable to their success or well-being, you establish a stronghold over their actions and decisions.

Law 11 emphasizes the importance of cultivating dependence on others to maintain power and influence. By making individuals reliant on one’s guidance, resources, or support, individuals can solidify their control over them. This principle underscores the strategy of positioning oneself as indispensable to others’ success or well-being, thereby establishing a stronghold over their actions and decisions. Understanding Law 11 involves mastering various strategies such as offering invaluable expertise, creating perceived indispensability, or subtly undermining others’ autonomy while enhancing their reliance on oneself. While cultivating dependence can be effective in wielding influence, it also carries risks, including breeding resentment or distrust if not managed carefully

Strategies for Cultivating Dependence

To effectively implement Law 11, one must master several strategies. These may include offering invaluable expertise or resources, creating perceived indispensability, or subtly undermining their autonomy while enhancing their reliance on you.

Real-life Examples

History is rife with examples of individuals who wielded power by keeping others dependent on them. From political leaders to corporate tycoons, mastering the art of dependence has been a common trait among influential figures.

  1. Social Relationships: Individuals may intentionally or unintentionally foster dependence on their partners or friends by consistently providing emotional support or resources, creating a reliance on their presence or assistance.
  2. Professional Environment: Managers or supervisors might cultivate dependence among their subordinates by controlling access to critical information or resources, thereby ensuring that employees rely on their guidance or approval.
  3. Parent-Child Dynamics: Parents may inadvertently promote dependence in their children by overprotecting them or solving all their problems, hindering their development of independence.
  4. Therapeutic Relationships: Some individuals may develop emotional dependence on their therapists, relying on them excessively for validation or emotional support.
  5. Financial Dependency: People may become financially dependent on others due to various reasons such as disability, lack of employment opportunities, or unequal power dynamics in relationships

Potential Risks

While cultivating dependence can be a potent tactic, it’s not without risks. Over-reliance on this strategy may breed resentment, distrust, or even rebellion among those you seek to control. It’s crucial to strike a delicate balance and avoid overstepping boundaries.

Cultivating dependence on others to maintain power and influence can have several potential risks:

  1. Resentment: People who feel dependent may grow to resent the manipulator, leading to feelings of anger or frustration.
  2. Vulnerability: Individuals who are kept dependent may become more vulnerable to adverse treatment, reducing their capacity to protect themselves.
  3. Loss of Autonomy: Dependent individuals may lose their autonomy and ability to make independent decisions, leading to a lack of personal fulfillment.
  4. Trust Issues: Building dependence can erode trust in relationships as it may be perceived as manipulative or controlling.
  5. Risk of Backlash: If the manipulator’s tactics are discovered, it can lead to backlash and damage to their reputation and relationships


  1. Isn’t cultivating dependence unethical?
    • While it may raise ethical concerns, understanding human behavior and power dynamics is essential for navigating various social and professional landscapes.
  2. Can dependence backfire?
    • Yes, excessive dependence can lead to resentment or rebellion if not managed appropriately. It’s crucial to maintain a balance.
  3. Are there alternatives to dependence for exerting influence?
    • Certainly, building trust, inspiring loyalty, and fostering collaboration are also effective means of influence.
  4. How can one identify if they’re overly dependent on someone?
    • Signs may include reluctance to make decisions without their input, constant seeking of validation, or feeling lost when they’re unavailable.
  5. Is it possible to break free from dependence?
    • Yes, with self-awareness and effort, individuals can gradually reduce dependency and regain autonomy in their actions and decisions.
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Also read: The 48 Laws of Power-Law 12: Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm Your Victim

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