Manipulation tactics are just about the lowest, darkest forms of control over a person. At least, if someone were to physically hold you back from something, you can see where that arm is on your body and you can clearly guess that that person does not want you to reach your goal. Manipulation is, I think, a conscious effort on the part of the antagonist to control the protagonist using tactics that are conniving and in many ways, just plain mean.
My theory is that the most manipulative people are the ones who have had a whole lot of it done to them, and they don’t seem to know any other way of getting what they want. I find that I get suckered by these people more often than I care to be, but, don’t we all? Also, it’s rare that in the middle of being manipulated to do what the antagonist wants that I realize that I am being fucked with; usually it is after the fact that I realize I was had or that I did something I was not comfortable doing.
Bullies can be incredibly manipulative: “Hey if you let me copy your homework, I’ll talk to Jane about inviting you to her party.” Or “If only you had answered my call, you could have really gotten the big break you’ve always wanted, but you didn’t and now you should learn from this mistake. Pick up every time I call you. No matter what.” Or “I took you out for dinner, bought tickets to see your favorite show, and you’re not going to date me? You led me on.” Or “Are you OK? You are acting so weird. You should talk to me about your problems. I know you say you’re fine, but you don’t seem fine to me at all.” Bullies can be anyone: friends, boyfriends, bosses, family friends, etc.
I feel like the more I become self assured, the easier and faster I can spot manipulation. However, being that I wasn’t raised with manipulation (my family has more of a guilt and passive aggressive based upbringing) I am still very susceptible to it. I think when a really skilled asshole, whoops, I mean, fast-talker, catches wind that I have a high threshold for guilt it’s like a pinata burst and a whole crap ton of candy spilled out; ripe for the taking.
There will always be manipulative bastards out there. Unfortunately, these are the pariahs that Mama tells you about in a hushed voice when you put on your first bra at 12 and think you’ve got what it takes to be a confident, worldly woman. There will always be the people who use the over active guilt glands in my body to make me feel bad for doing what I wanted to do. I’m still grappling with how to confront those people and how to avoid those people… and then the passive aggressive side of me writes a blog post about those people. But, I say to you, whoever is reading this and has once been had by the sticky tentacles of a manipulator: be sure of who you are and what you want. Be confident in your choices, because you always have choices regardless of whatever that other person may tell you. Manipulators stand no chance against truth, and they have no sway with confidence, and they themselves are deeply hurt people who see something in you that makes them feel powerful by controlling that. You in fact, have the power over your choices and life. Always.
November 19, 2012 at 6:31 pm by Natalie Allen