Reactions and manipulation

I realize that for much of my life, I’ve drawn manipulative people into my life. Friendships, boyfriends/girlfriends, and now – I’m realizing – bosses.

My last post was about the upset I felt as a result of letting someone down who I had made a commitment to. I got dates mixed up, and it was an honest mistake, but still I was roasting myself over the fire because of it. I even went so far as to call my actions “unforgivable.”

The thing I’ve come to realize is, this woman is volatile, unpredictable, and, although it is done in extremely passive aggressive ways, manipulative. The reason I turned on myself last night and called my actions unforgivable was because I knew – or I sensed anyway – that she will probably not forgive me. I am not saying this to be overly dramatic. That’s truly the way she is. Or I at least won’t hear from her for a good number of months. The thing is… and here’s the difficult part… I took care of her daughter, who I was very close to. And the thing that she had asked me to do was to help out at her daughter’s birthday party. She’s a bit distrusting of people, so when she asked me to do it, she said that there are few people she feels she can trust to be there and help her in that way. That’s something she’s always told me. How I’m the only one she feels she could trust with her daughter. But I’m now seeing this as a means to get me to do what she wants. She can use the excuse that she doesn’t have anyone else (since she “can’t trust anyone else”) and therefore “needs” me. Every time I’ve ever been unavailable in the past, she’s made me feel bad about it. So I would bend over backwards trying to accommodate her every need. And now that I’ve gone ahead and cancelled on her on a commitment we discussed several weeks ago, I know she probably is hating me right now, and I won’t hear back from her.

I’m starting to recognize the signs of manipulation. I never saw her as a manipulative person before, but after my own response upon having to cancel on her, and how strongly I feared her reaction, I think I’m starting to see things for what they are: she is an unstable and (perhaps unconsciously) manipulative person.

I’m sad because I wanted to see her daughter before they moved away. And I fear that I am not going to be able to do so. A part of me has to let this go, because I haven’t actually seen them (or heard from this woman) in almost a year, and then she calls me out of the blue to ask me to help her on that day. I was happy to do so, since it seemed it would be the last time I got to see her little daughter. But there are some things that you can’t control. What I can control are my own boundaries and my own dignity. There is no reason I should continue punishing myself for something that – which people on here have kindly reminded me of – was an honest mistake. Now it’s just letting go of what this person thinks of me that will be the hardest part.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Reactions and manipulation

  1. It sounds like the experience gave you a useful insight.

    My problem i that I can’t say no to *anyone* without feeling like they may turn on me. That probably says more about me than about them. Or perhaps I’ve been so conditioned to be manipulated that that’s my natural reaction.

  2. don’t worry about what people think of you worry about what YOU think of yourself!

  3. First, I don’t think you should be so hard on yourself. Second, I don’t know whether this woman is manipulating you or not but the bottom line is that we forget, we are human. You made a prior committment and the date slipped your mind. If she cannot accept that gracefully, she is not worth your self-torment. You made an honest mistake, you apologized, all parties need to move on.

    I do understand your anxiety of her reaction, of waiting to see what she will do. I don’t know that this exactly correstponds with manipulation or just past experiences with so many abusive people. My family took a trip in which we were unreachable by phone for five days. When I arrived back home, I found out my horse had gotten very sick and being unreachable, the 70 year old couple where he was boarded ended up having to care for him and make decisions in my absence. My mother in law was called who was clueless and also my own mother who lives 2000 miles away, so helpless as well. When I started retrieving all the phone messages and e-mails, I could feel the adrenaline rush start. I just knew all of these people were going to be furious and resentful and think I owed them something for putting them out. Well, my own mother was a total hag but I didn’t care, by that point I was done with her. My mother – in – law was decent though I am sure she put that on the tally of things owed. When I called the 70yr old owners, it was actually them I was most worried about being irate and they were the best. They were just so glad I was back and also glad we had a good trip and enjoyed ourselves. I was shocked that they were so nice. Truly. It is something I’ll never forget. Now, I just pay rent with them so don’t know them well, but I reacted to all parties as if they would act just like my mother. I think it just takes time and experience with decent people to make those anxieties go away. Not to mention the condemnation.

    Chin up.

    • Nicely said phoenix!!! I agree Brandic, you made a mistake. Though considering the fact that this woman contacted you after an entire year with no communication just to help her out on something, well I think that says alot about the way she views your relationship. Maybe she is simply not used to attempting to maintain relationships for a purpose other than obvious benefits, but it seems to me like you will be healthier without her. Keep your eyes open to the people you choose as friends, and remember that no one will be perfect, but no one has the right to make you feel useless for a little slip-up.

    • Thank you for your insightful response. If you read my latest post, I go into a little more detail about this woman. In this case, I do believe she’s a very unhealthy person, and I do believe, sadly, that I most likely will not hear from her again, or at least for a long time, because that’s how she’s “punished” me in the past for not being available or for letting her down.

      But… I’m starting to see that these are her issues, not mine. It’s actually just sad, really. I’m the saddest that I probably won’t get the chance to say bye to her daughter, who I was really close to.

  4. It’s such a shame that people seem to be taking advantage of you. I’m sending you a little hug to make up for it xx

    • Thanks Wee Gee. I’m starting to realize that people have taken advantage of me because I’ve let them take advantage of me. I’m not blaming myself, I am just seeing that I have some control in those types of situations and that I can set boundaries and take care of myself and put a little less blame on myself.

      The little hug is appreciated. đŸ™‚

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