I looked up the following three words and came away amazed that we ever understand anything anyone writes.
Manipulate - 1. to move, operate, or handle something, especially a machine or mechanical parts
2. to work with data on a computer
3. to control or influence somebody or something in an ingenious or devious way
4. to change or present something in a way that is false but personally advantageous
5. to treat a part of the body, or to move a part such as a joint during examination, using the hands only
Control - 1. To exercise power or authority over something such as a business or nation
2. to work or operate something such as a vehicle or machine
3. to limit or restrict somebody or something, e.g. in expression, occurrence, or rate of increase
4. Finance to regulate the financial affairs of a business or other large organization
5. accounting to examine financial accounts and verify them as correct
Let - 1. to allow something to happen or somebody to do something
2. to give somebody permission to do something
3. used to express a suggestion, an offer, or an order
4. to allow or cause something to pass from one place to another
5. used to indicate indifference to what happens or what somebody does, even though it may be unpleasant
6. Environment to release or cause something to release water from a lagoon or pond by breaching a sandbar or other obstacle so that the water drains into a larger body such as the sea
7. to allow people to use land, rooms, or a building in return for rent
8. Ireland to utter something
9. Mathematics logic used to introduce an assumption or hypothesis
I agree and am just as amazed.
There are a lot of words that could be added to your list - we may never have a complete overview of all the possible meanings.
And they can differ greatly. For instance a magician uses manipulation to make his cards disappear and appear again right in front of our eyes, great fun to look at, great fun to do. On a more negative side there is something like genetic manipulation, where an alteration is being forced on a species.
We could argue that manipulation can therefore have positive and negative meaning. It may even be different per culture or language. Maybe americans see manipulation more as something positive. In my native language Dutch the general feeling is more negative, someone who tries to manipulate you is a cheat, it is someone who deliberately misguides another person or his company or the government to his own benefit.
Perhaps control is not per se a negative word. I remember watching a game where you had to cross a field on a bicycle, if you made it you would get a certain amount of money. Nobody managed to cross the field because everytime someone would steer to the left the bicycle would go to the right, steering to the right made the bicycle go to the left. In other words; they were out of control. Great fun to watch and nobody felt that there was anything wrong here in being "out of control".
But in a negative way control can also mean that someone is forcing his will upon someone else. It gets the meaning of forcing, overpowering, dominating. There is nothing positive there.
But understanding each other does not always have to do with the meaning of a word or the positive-negative value that we give these words. Often it is more about a willingness to understand, a willingness to listen.
I think that that is lacking here, in this part of the thread at least.
Also it does not help if people react to words that were not originally used; "nurturing", "guiding" (I am all in favor of nurturing and guiding), make derogatory and insulting remarks and start calling someone names - all good examples of control and manipulation in the most negative sense of the word.
Presenting this list with different meanings in this thread was a good effort to take the sting out of this "conversation", thanks for that.