For as long as I can remember, I have had the good fortune of surrounding myself with people willing to bend over backwards to get me whatever I want, asking next to nothing in return. I initially attributed the subservient nature of my acquaintances, close friends and family members as nothing more than a willingness to appease a beautiful person because, as we all know, beautiful people get special treatment. However, after an extended stare in a clean mirror, I have come to the conclusion that my bone structure alone isn’t enough to make people do my bidding. Now I must come face to face with the possibility that I may not be as attractive as I once thought, but also that I might be a manipulative swine.
How do I know if I am manipulative? Serendipity led me to the answer. Serendipity, a close personal friend of mine from university, had given me a pamphlet with the answer printed on the back after I guilted her into buying me an ostentatious dinner.
Repeat after me:
- I pretend to be incompetent, play the victim, act helpless, or admit too often that I am stupid to get what I want.
- I say “anything you want” when I don’t mean it or I lie about how I feel to get what I want in the long run.
- I say “promise me” or I act overly concerned to get what I want.
- I promise to change my behaviour knowing perfectly well that I don’t want to change to get what I want.
- I blame others for my problems to get what I want.
- I act ignored, forgotten, hurt, wounded, unloved, or uncared for to get what I want.
- I act angry or throw temper tantrums to get what I want.
- I act depressed or suicidal to get what I want.
If all these statements ring true for you as they did for me, then I’m afraid that we are manipulative swine. But is that such a bad thing?
From the statements I plagiarized from Serendipity’s pamphlet, we can deduce that the weapons manipulators favour are based in guilt, complaining, comparing, lying, denying, feigning ignorance/innocence, blame, bribery, undermining, mind games, assumptions, reversals, emotional blackmail, evasiveness, helplessness, forgetting, fake concern, love, sympathy, apology, flattery, gift giving and favours. What’s troublesome is not that we see manipulative tendencies within ourselves, but that summarizing the favourite weapons of a manipulator includes every single brand of human interaction.
I suppose it’s just in our nature to manipulate if every human interaction could conceivably be painted as manipulation. Manipulation is the sentient mind at work. Manipulation is the human condition. And am I not human? I am but for how long? It’s only a matter of time before my epiphany enables me to transcend this corporeal form and start pulling strings from the ether.
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