We tend to believe what others think of us before believing what we feel about ourselves in today’s society. We can take hours to get ready for a night out, and in one second, someone can say, “You look fat” or “Your hair looks dry,” and this is our thoughts of the way we look all night. Without stopping to think, would this person say these things to ruin my evening intentionally? Looking back, I can think of so many relationships that went this same way for me. I will coin this chapter of my dating life, “The Manipulationship.”
Manipulationship: where one partner uses something against the other person (eg. emotional blackmail, gaslighting, violence, or humiliation) to get the other person to do what they want.
I remember dating this guy who would always go, rogue when it came down to us getting together. One day I asked him, and his reason for always standing me up was my constant nagging. This guy was also a cheater, liar, and thief who constantly got caught doing all three, “At the same damn time,” but all these things weren’t the problem. The primary issue was my nagging, he said, aka confronting him for his bad behavior. I already know what you guys are thinking. Who would fall for this? Me again, of course!
I mean, we all see the Be his Peace His heaven, not his HELL meme. If I wanted this relationship to work, I would need to cut back on the confrontation and let some things go. So I turned a blind eye to things and rewarded terrible behavior by making sure to create a calm, peaceful environment. We all know this didn’t last long, and after a build-up of holding back on all the wrongs I saw him doing, I eventually exploded. At the end of the argument, he apologized and said he wanted to make all three of us happy. Ruh-roh in my scooby doo voice. So it wasn’t my nagging at all; it was him juggling three women. His absence wasn’t about my frequent confrontations; it just wasn’t my night if he would have just said that, it would have cut back on years of confusion and insecurity for me.
Of course, after years of failed relationships, growth, and maturity I would learn the difference between someone pointing out a real issue and someone just trying to make you think you are the issue.
Another example you guys may be familiar with is the “You're Crazy” line. If I had a dollar for every time I got upset or exposed someone to their mess and was called “Crazy,” I could buy the playboy mansion. For a while, after so many failed relationships, I started to believe I was this erratic and crazy person, which was why I was single. I created an unrealistic, quiet slightly snobbish version of myself. Which also didn’t last long because it’s hard being someone else. I soon accepted not being perfect and being a little “Crey” at times, but I still deserved to have someone that would love me for me.
To sum this up, you should watch the way you handle criticism from anyone. If someone truly cares for you they will genuinely correct you on your behavior with the intention of helping you to better yourself and not for them to gain power over you or a “Manipulationship.”