I’m back, dear readers! And feeling better than ever!:) Sometimes the *best* thing we can do is take some time off and rest, recuperate, and rejuvenate to our heart’s content.
Sometimes when researching and learning ways of resisting manipulation (such as the double-bind tactics or emotional blackmail that mainstream patriarchial PUAs will sometimes try to pull), it’s important to realize that there are old, proven, and tried methods of resistance that were already researched and developed. It was called “assertiveness training,”and its primary developer and proponent was an enterprising psychologist by the name of Manuel J. Smith, the author of the ground-breaking book When I Say No, I Feel Guilty. This book was first published in 1975, truly an oldy-but-goody.:) I will provide a link from the “h2g2” section of the BBC website on assertiveness training that mentions its primary proponents, Manuel J. Smith and Susan Jeffers:
I want you to pay **special** attention to what Dr. Smith referred to as the “Bill of Assertive Rights.” I trust that you’ve already looked at the link, but just to be helpful, I’m going to quote the Bill of Assertive Rights here again:
The ‘Bill of Assertive Rights’ in When I Say No, I Feel Guilty reads as follows:
1. You have the right to judge your own behaviour, thoughts, and emotions, and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon yourself.
2. You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses for justifying your behaviour.
3. You have the right to judge if you are responsible for finding solutions to other people’s problems.
4. You have the right to change your mind.
5. You have the right to make mistakes – and be responsible for them.
6. You have the right to say, ‘I don’t know’.
7. You have the right to be independent of the goodwill of others before coping with them.
8. You have the right to be illogical in making decisions.
9. You have the right to say, ‘I don’t understand’.
10. You have the right to say, ‘I don’t care’.
Yes, people, you have these rights. Take them! As I’ve explained in another of my earlier posts on this blog, your worth as a person cannot be judged by others; you have the right to exist, and the right to your own personhood. As a Christian, I will stand up for the fact that there is objective right and wrong; however, this does not mean that your worth as a person should be dependent on anyone else’s approval or goodwill. Please understand that this “Bill of Assertive Rights” is not a license for predatory behavior, but rather a statement of what is in effect God-given rights to self-worth, self-determination, and free will. God is the ultimate Judge, but no human has that right, only Him/Her…and with that in mind, let us merrily figure out ways that Dr. Smith’s manifesto can be used to protect ourselves against manipulators.:)
Let’s examine a PUA and his tactic from Neil Strauss’ book, The Game. Strauss talks about a PUA by the moniker of “David X,” and relates this following story in his book:
…Every PUA had a specialty, and David X’s was harem management—
juggling relationships with multiple women without lying to them. When
we walked into the dim sum restaurant, I was shocked by what I saw
waiting for me. David X was quite possibly the ugliest PUA I’d ever
meet. He made Ross Jeffries look like a Calvin Klein underwear model.
He was immense, balding, and toadlike. , with warts covering his face and
the voice of a hundred thousand cigarette packs. My meal with him was
like so many I’d had before. Except the rules were always different. His
I. Who cares what she thinks?
II. You are the most important person in this relationship.
His philosophy was to never lie to a female. He prided himself on bedding women by trapping them with their own words [emphasis mine]. For example, on meeting a girl at a bar, he’d get her to say that she was spontaneous and didn’t have any rules; then, if she was reluctant to leave the bar with him, he’d say, “I thought you were spontaneous. I thought you did what you wanted.” The Game, pp. 145-146.
I disliked leaving in the observations about David X’s appearance, as I think this culture is way too obsessed with youth and beauty as it is, but I felt that for the integrity of presenting his methods and their effectiveness, I felt bound to leave them in.
The point of all this is that “David X” is/was damn effective on playing on women’s feelings of obligation of “honoring her word” and “proving” herself. He apparently was really good at manipulating women into attempting to demonstrate their own value as “spontaneous,” and then trapping them by their speech. The antidote, dear readers, is to internalize the Bill of Assertive Rights and to apply them!
For example, how could a woman apply the Bill of Assertive Rights as above?
She could, for example, apply Right Number 1. She could believe and say the following: “I am doing what I want and being spontaneous. I’m saying goodbye. Bye!” Here, she’s being the final judge of her behavior, thoughts, and emotions—and taking responsibility for their application.
She could assert Right Number 2. “Uh, I’ve changed my mind. Guess I’m not spontaneous after all, like I thought. Have a good night.” And then walk away.
She could exercise Right Number 8: “Hmm, yeah, I’m not being rational about being spontaneous and doing what I want, but—no. Bye.”
She could assert Right Number 10: “You’re right, but I don’t care what you think of me: I’m not leaving the bar with you. Period. Have a good night,” turning and walking away.
Also, on the above link to the BBC article, you will find a number of tactics one can use to resist manipulation if someone is aggressively refusing no for an answer: “Broken Record,” “Fogging,” “Negative Assertion,” and “DESC Scripting.” If my memory serves me correctly, these methods are all in When I Say No, I Feel Guilty.
However, one thing must be said: what is more important than these techniques is realizing wholeheartedly and without reserve that you HAVE THESE RIGHTS AS ENUMERATED in the “Bill of Assertive Rights,” and that you HAVE THE RIGHT to self-autonomy, to steer your own ship, and that no other human HAS ANY BUSINESS TRYING TO CO-OPT THESE RIGHTS. People will do their level best to try to guilt-trip you, tear you down, or otherwise convince you that you have to answer to them, but this quite simply is not the truth. It is NO ONE’S civil right to have sex with you in spite of your better judgement, to sell you things, or to otherwise try to get you to dance to his/her tune; you’re not depriving them of anything if you say NO. You have that right. Remind yourself frequently and often of this important fact.
Women in particular nowadays are on the receiving end of a lot of fear-mongering, bashing, and demonization. I’ve seen all sorts of things aimed at feminists and women in general about how if we don’t kowtow to men, we’re all going to die as crazy old single women with umpteen cats. This is a gross and usually very ineffective attempt at playing on women’s “fears”, because usually we see right through it. BUT. Many social observers are commenting that girls and young women are especially prone to this sort of moronic manipulation, guilt-tripping, and emotional bullying; it needs to be exposed for what this is, so that the younger generation can take advantage of the experience of those who lived in a much more honest and open age.:) Please understand that manipulation, carried to a certain degree, becomes verbal and emotional abuse, and check out this link on the abuse of young women:
You will note that the age group that appears to be the most vulnerable to relational abuse is the 16-to-24-year-old set of girls and young women; my guess is that it is precisely this age group that is the most prone to being manipulated, particularly as obedience and compliance is often much more emphasized for girls than it is boys by parents. As young women emerge from girlhood and enter the world as adults, frequently they haven’t learned to shake off the habit of habitual compliance to others’ wishes that is so ingrained in their childhood.
Hmm, Stanley Milgram, anyone?
I think I’ll blog on that next.:) Until next time, dear readers:Let’s put the CHOMP on patriarchy!:)