Monday, March 7, 2011

Manipulation, Synonym for Family Obligation?

We all have our "things." We have all done stuff to get our way, making the cute little face that says, "please let me watch what I want on TV," the adorable little snuggle that says, "please won't you have dinner with my friends tonight," and the utterly exhausted face that begs, "don't make me go out with your friends, let me just stay in and play Madden football." Some would call these manipulations. My husband would call it using my "girly powers" and I would call his version the "puppy face." Either way these are small little tries at getting what you want and I don't consider it manipulation.

I used to think other "guilt" type things manipulation because of have a guilt button the size of a wall. Here I am admitting to the world, if you fail at making me feel guilty you must be HORRIBLE at it. I am the easiest person in the world to make feel guilty, I still have not determined if it is a learned behavior or just in my DNA, but I am a people pleaser. An independent, stubborn, sometimes resentful people pleaser, but a people pleaser none the less. I want peace, I want everyone happy, I will do all I can to make that happen. Now it doesn't make me any less strong willed and I am in no way a pushover, but if I can find a way to make all sides get what they want I will. So I have decided guilt like that is not manipulation either because I still have free will.

Lies. Lies are manipulation. Specifically presenting something to someone that you know will get them to do what you want and presenting something else to the other party so in the end you get what you want is flat out, bold faced manipulation and it fills me with RAGE. I try not to let such emotions overwhelm my day or ruin my psyche but sometimes you just find yourself so frustrated you can't help yourself. I am not talking murderous rage, but yeah, sometimes. I just appreciate someone being straightforward. Tell me what you want from me. You might very well get a no, but lying to me so you ultimately get what you want, and then thinking I am dumb enough not to figure it out? That is what sets off the rage. I hate it when people think I am dim or dumb.

I get it, at the core. You are afraid I don't want to do something so you think of something I can't say no to so you get what you want. Simple concept, except I am not four and the distraction of the lollipop quickly fades. Truthfully, at this age it is probably a glass of wine and maybe a piece of cake, but either way I'm no sucker. Then you are just left with a pissy person doing the thing you wanted me to do and hating every minute of it. My not so mature part response involves me becoming a bit like a petulant child, that I will admit, but it is my only free will left after being tricked into doing something I clearly didn't want to or didn't have time to do. Of course, that is ASSuming I would have said no, because you never even asked! Instead you have gotten me where you want me, standing around being "here," but you can't make me do anything else. I even try to stop myself from doling out the very lame "pouty baby" punishment because it does make me just like a teenager, yet I feel I have the higher ground. I've been duped, tricked, lied to! You know what the end result of all of this is? I now don't want to do anything with you because I never know what your real motive is.

Lucky for me it is not my husband who does these types of things. Of course if he was, we likely never would have been married. I count my blessings in life everyday, but for all those who are considering the "bait and switch" with me or others, I beg you to reconsider. Straightforward honesty will get you much more respect as well as a person who is actually fun to be around as opposed to a pouty baby.

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