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How Do I Stop Coming Across As A Target Or "Easy To Manipulate?"

HomeForumsEmotional MasteryHow Do I Stop Coming Across As A Target Or "Easy To Manipulate?"

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  • #162908
    Myles
    Participant

    Hey everyone, this actually came about when I was having one of my “introspection” periods (which always ends up with me seeing if I can get angry with myself with things I say I have gotten over, like the Adam situation, as some sort of “test.”)

    I started playing online games when I was about 10, a few of them I wasn’t old enough to play yet, and it seemed like I was the polar opposite of everyone I met. I wasn’t a massive fan of dark humour, I wasn’t into heavy metal, and I didn’t know anything about films with cult followings (obviously everyone I met wasn’t like this, but a lot of people were, and these are the things they seemed to have in common.) Sometimes they would make seemingly harmless jokes that I often took offence to (whether I showed it or not) often about my age or my chattiness (I am not nearly as gregarious in real life, I will make conversation though.)

     

    I mentioned this because this seemed to happen in real life. Back in the My Story post I mentioned how people took an unusual interest in me and how they seemed a bit too friendly (by this I mean they would ask me the same questions over and over again, and a lot of the time they were questions quite clearly trying to bait me into something, and a lot of the time I fell for it because I was afraid of being seen as rude if I stood up for myself.) I get told that I’m a wonderful person, a very nice person, a lovely person all the time. But I sometimes feel as if when I am in conflict with these people (Did I mention I HATE conflict, and a lot of the time it’s because I am afraid of being in the wrong) I try to be as polite as I can be and they interpret this as me being a pushover or “condescending.” But the times where I have met their rudeness with a rudeness of my own, people were always very quick to jump on me about retaliating to the person (who sometimes would express their dislike of me in a more clandestine, passive-aggressive way, making it harder for me to confront them about their behaviour towards me) and of course two wrongs don’t make a right, but I just feel like it’s always a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

     

    I’m a big believer in taking responsibility for your feelings and actions along with being considerate, and the thing that has stopped me from being aggressive is being told I am aggressive or belligerent. How do I make myself less of an “easy target” without bullying people when setting boundaries?

    #162992
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Myles:

    You wrote: “I try to be as polite as I can be and they interpret this as me …”-

    my point: no matter your behavior, some people will interpret it incorrectly. You have no control over how people will interpret something you say or do. Their interpretations, most often, have more to do with their prior experiences in life than with what you said and did.

    All you can do is focus on your responsibility, which is your participation in every interaction. Your responsibility is not the other’s participation in the interaction with you, what he/she interpret, says and does.

    If you are in a good relationship, you ask the other person what his understanding is, you check with the person. And he can check with you, so you correct your interpretations when need to be corrected on an ongoing basis. In many interactions you don’t get that opportunity because of their fleeting nature. Or because although you are willing, the other person is not willing to pause and evaluate their interpretation for accurateness or inaccurateness.

    In your daily life you have many opportunities to act assertively, to “stop coming across as a target or easy to manipulate”. Take advantage of every such opportunity, none is … too small to use this way. Think what is reasonable and right for you to say or do in that situation, check with the person if possible. If not rely on your understanding best you can. You can give an example right here, if you’d like.

    anita

    #163174
    Myles
    Participant

    An example of a time I’ve asserted myself or an example of a time I felt I came across as “easy to manipulate?” One time I asserted myself was at the end of my first year at college (roughly 2-3 months ago) and I asked that we stop constantly gossiping about people we do not like in the class (I was doing an Acting course, I passed with flying colours, and it’s nigh on impossible to “not work with” people you don’t like, because you’re encouraged to work with everyone, not to mention your grade being contingent on others a lot of the time) whether they deserve it or not. I did not like the people they gossiped about either, but some of them had not been in for over half the year. They also constantly talked about someone they saw as “too PC” and did things that were quite unprofessional, but who so happened to be my friend, and all of these people were leaving and were not coming back this following academic year. I was hit with “it’s just a joke” and that “if I don’t like it I should be mature and leave” but this person then turned around a few minutes later and said “Well Myles, 4 people said you’re wrong so you should drop it”2 and the funny thing is, our teacher implored us not to form cliques. That’s clique behaviour from where I’m standing. I was then told I think I’m better than everyone else and that I’m telling people that they’re not aloud to speak. Keep in mind my class likes to indulge in dark humour a lot, and one person in my class slipped in a anti-Semitic joke every chance he got and was very quickly asked by the teacher to stop making jokes about missing children like Madeleine McCann, yet no-one was yelling about censorship then. Sorry if it’s coming across as a rant at the moment, to this day, I’m trying to understand what I did wrong and I just hate how people hit you over the head with the “free speech” hammer anytime you simply ask them to stop doing something. It made me more afraid of speaking my mind about things because I don’t want to come across as “unreasonable” or “just trying to cause trouble.”

    #163250
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Myles:

    You gave an example, you “asked that we stop constantly gossiping about people we do not like in the class”-

    I define gossip as people talking about other people, not in their presence, not for the purpose of learning about human behavior, or coming up with suggestions about helping those others, but for the purpose of amusing oneself, being entertained, making fun of others and being amused. Do you agree with my definition? I wish people did not gossip.

    In my last post to you on this thread, I wrote: “focus on your responsibility, which is your participation in every interaction”- unfortunately, since it is not illegal to gossip, and it is not against the university stated rules of conduct,  it is… the other classmates legal right to gossip. And so, there is no authority to enforce a no-gossip law or rule, no authority. In practical terms then, it is a matter of choice.

    All you can do is choose your “participation in every interaction”, and in this case, you can choose to not gossip. You can say: this is gossip, I don’t do gossip. Or you can simply not say anything, or you can walk away when gossip takes place.

    If you were in a personal relationship, you could ask your partner not to gossip, not as an authority figure, but as a partner in a love relationship. In case of your acting class, there is no such intimate relationship, there is a group or a clique, as you pointed out, and you, an individual. In this setting, you have no authority and the other people are not invested in a relationship with you, as an intimate partner would be.

    In your example, asking them to not gossip is ineffective, therefore, I would not ask or ask again, and simply not gossip myself, if possible I will walk away, if not, I will endure and be glad when the moment of gossip ends.

    anita

    #163276
    Myles
    Participant

    I agree with your definition Anita. At the start of the year however, our teacher said Acting classes almost always become very close with one another, in fact, I believe he used the term “family.” This made me uncomfortable from day 1, despite me making friends with quite a large portion of the class, which is why this is still a sore subject for me because I was quite shocked that they would react as maliciously as they did. This actually happened the day we signed off from work (i.e. we finished for the year) so it was kinda pointless asking them, but I just couldn’t stand the hypocrisy in the class when it came to freedom of speech.  Anyway, I’m starting a new course (on the other side of the college) in about 3 weeks, and in the UK Anita, you go to college before you go to University.

    #163280
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Myles:

    In the US  college and university are interchangeable terms, as far as I know. Both offer Bachelor degrees, for sure. University tend to be bigger and do more research perhaps. But in the UK, I just read, college is similar to a US “Community College”, a two year institution, no degrees offered.

    You wrote that you couldn’t stand the hypocrisy in class… well, lots more hypocrisy to stand as you continue your associations with the rest of humanity. Better build tolerance for it, except, as I pointed out, in personal, close relationships.

    anita

    #163346
    Myles
    Participant

    I understand Anita. Are you saying that I should only assert myself to people who have done things to directly affect me personally?

    #163404
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Myles:

    This is a difficult question for me to answer because a person only reacts to things directly affecting them no matter how indirect it seems to another person witnessing it. For example, people may react to others’ political views very passionately in areas that don’t seem to have a direct affect on the person reacting. Or in your case, when others were gossiping about people not present, that affected you directly even though you were not, at that point, the subject of the talk.

    What I did say to you earlier is that gossip is legal and not against university rules of conduct and therefore it is a matter of choice. That means that however distasteful it is to you, you have no authority behind you to force a no-gossip personal ethic.

    You are welcome, as far as I am concerned, to state your anti-gossip position to anyone, anytime, to champion this position, but be prepared to the responses you got.

    It is tricky, to figure out what is in your power and what is not, and then accept with as much equanimity what you cannot change.

    anita

    #163464
    Myles
    Participant

    Alright, I think I understand. And when it comes to politics, being black myself (but British), I tend to get angry about issues that concern race, or generally about things that I feel would make my life harder. For example, it angers me when people make excuses for police brutality or resort to victim-blaming.

    #163494
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Dear Myles:

    There is plenty to get angry about, a whole lot. On issues I can do nothing about, I try to not think about them, and therefore not get angry: politics, specifically. Anger is an emotion that motivates a person (and animals) to act. If there is no helpful action possible, experiencing the anger with nothing to do and nowhere to go is exhausting.

    anita

    #163538
    Myles
    Participant

    I think there’s a part of me that understands that (intellectually, but it doesn’t live in me, if you catch my drift) but I think I take the MLK Jr. quote “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” quote a bit too literally sometimes. But I was asking about how I stop coming across as “easy.”

    #163546
    Eliana
    Participant

    Hi Myles,

    I think, there are times that no matter who we are, rich, poor, race, social class, etc, there is always going to be someone out there who is going to try to manipulate. I don’t think any of us are really looked on as “easy targets”. There are lots of nice people in this world, many of them get manipulated in some way. I guess you just have to have that person earn your trust. Don’t give too much of yourself away..especially to people you don’t know. I know that’s what helped me.

    #163550
    Myles
    Participant

    Hey Eliana, thank you for replying. Funnily enough, my parents have mentioned the fact that I wore my heart on my sleeve a bit too much as a child (even when they were only saying this because they wanted to save their own skins, they usually said this when I would tell someone in authority about my relationship with my parents.) I think I let on more than I needed to because I was insecure, or that I wouldn’t meet the other person’s expectations if I didn’t tell them everything about me.

    #163658
    gia
    Participant

    Dear Myles, I read the entirety of your post but I am writing in response to your last post in which you mentioned “your parents have mentioned the fact that [you] wore [your] heart on [your] sleeve a bit too much as a child…” I was also that child, and in my teens, and through most of my 20s. I was, looking with my more cautious eyes now, too trusting. Do you think you were too trusting? You said it was probably you were insecure and wanted to meet other people’s expectations, too. I used to have a big aversion to gossiping, as I thought it unfair to the people being gossiped, and I was very uncomfortable whenever I saw those gossipers acting chummy with the people whom they had gossiped/complained about/sneered at. I didn’t understand why the gossipers would exhaust themselves with two or more faces rather than being “simple” (not foolish, but wearing masks seemed exhausting to me). I find that I have since let that go as I grew older. I sometimes gossiped nowadays. It seems to help me fit in better (I used to be isolated from the group because I didn’t agree with being mean, even if it was only behind someone’s back, which I thought was even less honourable). I am replying to let you know that I feel for you. (P.S. edits for the html codes that kept popping up when I opened a paragraph)

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by gia.
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by gia.
    #163788
    Myles
    Participant

    Well, I was very talkative around people I was comfortable with, but I didn’t really have trust issues until after I was outed by my Mum to my homophobic Dad. I’m not sure, I just think I was really chatty as a child. And yes, I just think that if you’re going to call someone out of their name behind their back, make sure you’ve made clear that you don’t like them to their face. Let me reiterate that I’d rather people not gossip at all, but if you’re going to, at least be consistent.

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