Black and white image of a white little boy dressed in a ninja hat doing a ninja move in shorts and snow boots.

Freeing Myself from Manipulation – First, I Have to Know I’m Being Manipulated

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Ok, if we’re going to talk about screaming and yelling on Valentine’s Day like we did last week, then we also need to talk about that other more manipulative approach to conflict: passive aggression. Let’s be honest; a passive-aggressive person can be like a master ninja going up against a measly, yelping school boy. (I don’t think I need to tell you that I’m the measly, yelping school boy in this scenario.) But a buddy recently shared a Melody Beattie quote that helped this loud yet defenseless lad gain some strength.

 “When we’re being controlled, we may feel guilty, obligated, indebted. In our muddled state, we agree to another’s wishes but we’re unsure why. Then we wander around feeling uncertain, unbalanced, confused.” 

I have spent years in passive-aggressive stupors with people. YEARS thinking, What the hell just happened back there? What did I do? Between my people pleasing, perfectionism, and Catholic upbringing, I used to be THE PERFECT TARGET for passive-aggressive manipulation. But not so much anymore…

Here they are Team, look at these words:

    • Guilty
    • Obligated
    • Indebted
    • Uncertain
    • Unbalanced
    • Confused

If you’re anything like me, you don’t even know when someone’s being passive aggressive. Again, I come from a long line of people who make conflict very easy; when they’re pissed you know they’re pissed. But when there’s no yelling, and that ninja just comes out of nowhere, it leaves me on the ground, scratching my head and wondering, “What the hell just happened?” Now, if I’m feeling guilty, obligated, indebted, uncertain, unbalanced, or confused, it’s safe for me to assume that a manipulating ninja has snuck him or herself right onto my simple-minded playground. And, when I understand what’s happening, I can take action.

I’m not sure what the professionals would say, but this is how I’ve been handling passive aggression: I stay in my truth about the events. If I see something as pink, I’m no longer going to entertain a discussion that the object is red. If you see the color as red, that’s fine, but I’m done spending time debating the color with you whilst driving myself mad. You see it as red; I see it as pink—what are we going to do about it? I’ve also been able to identify that other people guilting me is all about their stuff or their self interest—it has little or nothing to do with me. I get to run my life how I want to run my life, and you get to run yours how you want to run yours. Deal? Deal.

This little micromanaging, perfectionist, martyr school boy can be a bit dim when it comes to head games. But, like everything else, awareness has made the biggest impact on my life. Now that I’m able to recognize when it’s happening, my change in behavior transforms the energy on the playground. Watch out, world! People are teaching me stuff—ninja stuff—and yer not going to be able to push this kid around anyMORE!

If you’d like to read or listen to more on this topic:
BLOG: Gaslighting Prices Are Rising
PODCAST: Gaslighting Prices Are Rising

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  1. Love this!

    • Thanks so much Kelly!

  2. Excellent blog! Gaslighting can be a tough subject to wrap your head around. Reducing it to pink vs. red hits the nail on the head.

    • RIGHT?! But once I truly learned what it was, my eyes were so wide open to it happening.
      It’s like knowing the smell of say, basil. When you know exactly what basil smells like, you can identify it immediately!
      Thank you so much for taking the time to check in, it means so much to me~

  3. Thank you for a helpful sketching of the morass of manipulation. ??❤️❤️

    • Christine, you know I had to look up the definition for “morass,” it DOES NOT MEAN “more ass” — cleared that RIGHT up!

      2. a complicated or confused situation.
      “she would become lost in a morass of lies and explanations”

      Perfect example, no?
      Google’s, not mine — but it really applies here!
      And let’s credit Melody Beattie, she cleared it up for us. Whoot! Whoot!

  4. Ahhhh man I needed this today. When they are pink keep them pink. You can be blue you don’t have to become pink. The goal is not always agree or accept. Or approve. Sometimes it is just to see hear and understand. Yelling louder never helps with the ninja even when the rumble is there. Thank you for your wisdom. .

    • Raquel—I love the reminder that we also don’t have to change our own color, thank you.
      And that point about yelling louder is also so important!
      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts~

Welcome to my blog! Here you can read about what’s on my mind as I try my best to recover from screaming at my kids and nagging the bejesus out my husband.

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