I strongly disagree with Lisa HW. Manipulative and controlling behaviour is not a sign of a personality disorder. Manipulative people are not losers.
First and foremost manipulators are children, they learn how to use "their" power to get what they want. They are excellent judge of character and they will adjust their behaviour according to the person they deal with. Mom, Dad, grandpa, grandma - all people are different and the child knows "how to play each character". It only shows how clever, observant, adaptive children are. They don't yet have the advantage of brute force and power. Like women, they use their weaknesses to their advantage. Children manipulate using instinct and intelligence, the best tools.
Politicians? Do they all have personality disorders? I don't think so. That is the height of manipulative behaviour. Do they get what they want?
Advertising? You have been "manipulated" into buying "Gucci" or "Guess" or God knows what. Do advertisers all have personality disorders?
It is simply human nature to manipulate and, yes, we all do it. Consciously or subconsciously.
"The feeling of having no power over people and events is generally unbearable to us - when we feel helpless we feel miserable. No one want less power; everyone wants more. In the world today, however, it is dangerous to seem to be power hungry, to be overt with power moves. We have to seem fair and decent. So we need to be subtle - congenial yet cunning, democratic, yet devious.
Everything must appear civilized, decent, democratic, and fair. But if we play by those rules too strictly, if we take them too literally, we are crushed by those around us who are not so foolish. As the great Renaissance diplomat and courtier Niccolo Machiavelli wrote, "Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good."
[..] The game is still the same." Robert Greene "48 Laws of Power"
Are manipulative people likable? You bet. How about the special category of manipulative people - charismatic leaders? Pick your favourite person who has a lot of charisma and think how manipulative that person is (was). Knowing people is the toughest subject. Psychology and sociology still do not have all the answers. I doubt that the science will ever succeed in dissecting human nature completely...