Have you ever noticed – REALLY noticed – yourself acting in a certain particular way JUST to try to get the type of reaction you want out of someone else? We all have done it. We all do it. You pick and choose specific words or actions that you know will get the reaction you desire. I’m not talking about the GOOD ways in which this can work, such as in pep talks or motivational speeches, I’m talking here about your average passive-aggressive manipulative bullcrap.
You are irritated and want some conflict to let off steam, so you say or do the one thing you know will most likely annoy someone into an argument. Instead of just talking about the issue that’s bothering you. You want your child to do chores, but instead of sitting down with them and letting them help you come up with solutions, you bribe, manipulate, and threaten. You are in a relationship with someone, and you aren’t “thrilled” with it, so instead of just coming right out and saying so, you decide to act just self-centered enough so that SHE pulls away and wants to end the relationship. Voila! The responsibility for YOUR own feelings is taken off of your shoulders and placed squarely on someone else’s, and that other person is left wondering where THEY went wrong because YOU were too scared to be honest.
Have you ever figured out when someone is using this same tactic on you? And that, if you feed into THEIR manipulation, you end up being the one taking the action, and the one taking the blame, AND the one feeling badly about how things are working out, or badly about yourself, as if you have done something wrong in the relationship. And the first person now does not have to take responsibility for their own words or actions, because the focus has been shifted away from them, most of the time without the other person even being aware that it happened. Pretty neat trick, huh?
Why do we DO these things? Is there some written law in our society that says we are not capable of being responsible for our own feelings, thoughts, and actions? That we have to have someone else to put them onto, because that’s the only way we can deal with it within ourselves? What a bunch of crap. It’s no wonder so many people today are so emotionally dysfunctional and damaged. I won’t say I have any clue how to fix this, because I have done and do the same things, but one thing I AM learning is to RECOGNIZE when I fall into these “playing games” modes, or when someone else is attempting to do it to me. I think that might be at least one baby step in the right direction.

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Categories: Miscellany


Alex · February 1, 2003 at 1:45 am

:lovey: ~xoxo

Jeff Wetherington · February 1, 2003 at 8:39 pm

You’re absolutely right Tricia, recognizing it in yourself and others is first step in dealing with the real issues, instead of the “dummy” ones we or others set up.
I found it extremely helpful years ago to have someone point out to me that it was a “game people play” I did not HAVE to play.
But it’s hard to get others to stop playing it with you sometimes, and you just have to take your ball and go home, in a manner of speaking.
I enjoy your posts.

Daphne · February 2, 2003 at 4:01 am

Wow, from my errant psyche to your keyboard.
{{{{{ Tricia }}}}}

cat · February 2, 2003 at 8:41 am

beautiful musings these past two posts. you truly know what you are talking about when you talk about life. you have been blessed. :kissy:

Lloyd · February 2, 2003 at 10:28 am

whoo, someone is taking philosophy and politics 101.
I can relate to the one where the same tactics are being used on you, I can’t stand that, but you know the benefit of it? if they are using the same tactic as you, then you MUST know how the tactic goes and you won’t be easily fooled… hell, fooled at all!!!

j. brotherlove · February 2, 2003 at 7:27 pm

Great points, Tricia. I’d like to know — since nearly everyone does it — is this instictive in some way, or learned? I wonder how I developed this trait.

Anitra · February 3, 2003 at 9:12 am

Great post, Tricia. And yes, I now notice when I do that, and I’m getting good at noticing when other people do it to me. Although I must say, it’s harder to notice when other people are doing it. I have to get some more practice in that area.
To answer j.brotherlove, I’m leaning towards it being learned. I don’t know if being confrontational or direct (or hell, even honest), particularly when it comes to anger, is really prized in our culture. So I think maybe we learn how to express our anger, or dislike in other (more passive-aggressive) ways. *shrug* Just a thought.

Lloyd · February 3, 2003 at 10:39 am

Tricia, have you ever heard of personality check? You know what… it’s kind of like horoscopes, but it’s more accurate and set on detail. you gotta try one. It’s amazing.
there are like 12 categories of the human character. it’s really good.

the BostonDyke · February 3, 2003 at 4:09 pm

Nice Imbolg post my dear…a belated blessed Imbolg to you, hope it was a good one! πŸ™‚

milo · February 3, 2003 at 9:23 pm

well said tricia πŸ™‚ and we are all guilty of this kind of behaviour at one point or another. it seems like we have integrated this form of [mis]communication into our daily language

witchy · February 4, 2003 at 10:15 am

OOooooo I have a LOT to say about this! πŸ˜€
first. Yes, I do it. I’m an “artist” at doing it. *Evil Grin* here. I Pride myself on being able to know just which buttons to push, and to actually Realize That I’m doing it, and lately, I even know WHY I’m doing it.
Second, yes, lately, I have “seen” it being used on me, but since I’m becoming such an artist at using this technique myself, I know how to counter it πŸ˜€ (I have the krypotonite) /however you spell it/
and Third. YES brotherlove, it Is Learned.
a-if you never see your parents apologizing, or accepting the blame/actions/ of something, how are you going to learn that YOU need to accept responsibility for Your Actions?
b-if your parents always make excuses for you, and you are never punished (OR rewarded) for your actions, than why should You, YourSELF, admit your guilt/mistake/responsibility? (well, if I had had more hugs when I was a child, I wouldn’t have gone out and killed those 30 people, it was all my mothers/fathers fault!)
Trish, you’re right, it’s So much better, it we could be more honest with one another. and I try very hard to admit that I was wrong. (my daughter loves this, and as an ‘aside’ I hate it, because she’s one of those people that really ‘push’ it, “ha ha, /little girl dances around/ I was right, YOU were wrong”. My son does better, he gives a ‘nod’ acknowledging that I admitted that I was wrong, and we go on from there. he doesn’t ‘rub it in’ like she does)
wait, this is getting to long, I think I’ll go over to my place and blog it πŸ˜€

Bink · February 4, 2003 at 11:32 am

I did this a lot with an ex. It drove him insane, almost literally. :bad: It’s an evil that’s unneccessary.

etcetera · February 5, 2003 at 10:01 am

In the case of relationships, I think people are afraid of being open and honest…which totally defeats the purpose of being in one. They figure that if they can get inside the mind of their “other” w/ out…giving too much of themself, they’ll be able to have this kind of radar that’ll signify forthcoming pain and stress (or something like that). Make sense? Yes? Kinda? It does to me (lol). I’m not saying it’s cool, but it makes sense.

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