I’m convinced the manipulation gene skips a generation. I don’t have it, but I’m pretty sure my daughter does. The gene that allows you to get your own way by whatever means necessary, whether it be whining, the silent treatment, begging or convincing through simple logic.
Although I never figured out how to manipulate, for example, my husband, into doing things my way or giving into me (quite the opposite, imo, it was always his way or the highway), I think I might now be qualified to give advice to the lovelorn or ineffective manipulators out there. From my own clinical observation and something I was told long ago by my high school English teacher and others, use this effective tool: Actions Speak Louder Than Words.
In observing a romantic situation with a young woman and her boyfriend, I watched as they seemed unable to resolve an issue between them that arose whenever they visited their hometown. He appeared to exclude her to spend time with his family and her feelings were constantly hurt and then she became angry.
Reasoning with the boyfriend didn’t work. Explaining why this upset her fell on deaf ears. The behavior continued.
This is the age-old situation of doing the same thing and expecting different results. When words don’t work, stop talking and do something different.
So she did. When he called her after a day spent with his family, she ignored his call, ignored his voice mail, ignored his text messages. Talking to him had been ineffective thus far. Words weren’t working. Perhaps silence would get his attention and make him realize she wasn’t taking his behavior lightly.
Sure enough after an evening of ignoring his attempts at contact he showed up at her door at 3:30 a.m. Silence got through to him when all the words in the world had not.
This one incident may not resolve the situation. It might take more than that to change it. But if what you’re doing isn’t working, for heaven’s sake STOP DOING IT! Try something else, perhaps the opposite of what you’ve been doing. If you want to get your point across then remember: Actions speak louder than words.