Other Little-Known, Overlooked, or Forgotten Tactics in Resisting Manipulation

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.

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            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:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A2998551

 

           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

were:

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:

http://edition.cnn.com/2006/US/02/08/teen.abuse/index.html

 

            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!:)

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Other Little-Known, Overlooked, or Forgotten Tactics in Resisting Manipulation

  1. Doug S.

    I’ve observed that people will say that standing up for yourself is good, but when you start trying to stand up to them, they tell you to stop.

    If you’re dependent on someone else to keep a roof on your head, standing up to them becomes even harder, because, if the worst happens, you just might lose the roof over your head. Some relationships are just inherently unequal; parent/child, teacher/student, and boss/subordinate relationships usually fall into this category.

  2. How right you are, Doug. Economic dependency creates a lot of submission and timidity; battered women, for example, endanger themselves by *being* openly assertive in this regard. And you are quite right about how some relationships have an inherent inequality–no questions about that.

    I should have been careful to specify that my recommendation for asssertiveness skills should be limited to relations that are *supposed to be equal*…

    But then when I think about it, while I agree that assertiveness frequently fails with a power imbalance, *sometimes* it’s all that prevents a subordinate from getting completely victimized. How many employees, for example, have been able to put an end to the sexually harassing *quid pro quo* of a Neanderthal boss, a boss who says, “You’ll meet me tonight in Rm. 634 at the local Hilton if you want to keep your job?” There *are* some employees–thankfully, not a tiny number of them–who have verbally told off this type of boss and/or then proceeded to go to court upon getting fired or demoted, a very tough sort of assertiveness that is quite costly but has won a much less hostile and sexist workplace for *much of the workforce* across the nation.

    Part of the problem, IMHO, is that we’re losing our sense of freedoms and rights in this nation; we are forgetting that *humanity has rights,* and that people have the right to STAND UP for those rights. Hence the nasty little cognitive dissonance you’ve observed:
    “I’ve observed that people will say that standing up for yourself is good, but when you start trying to stand up to them, they tell you to stop.” That’s really sad, but becoming more and more common, I’m afraid…

    The next time I post on manipulation, I really want to examine the findings of Stanley Milgram. He had an *awful* lot to say about conditioning, compliance, and obedience, and I think that an analysis of Milgram’s work–combined with the Stanford Prison Experiment–should throw a huge light on the role of obedience to authority and how it makes people open to being manipulated towards doing some pretty cruel, atrocious things.

    As I noted in my post, I believe that young girls and women between the ages of 16-24 are the population *most* at risk for abuse because they’re fresh out of childhood and haven’t been “deconditioned” by life to be less compliant. A note must be made that in some ways young men are also compliant; during a draft time, the “choice” young men are in the 18-20 year-old-range. I believe that it’s due to being *fresh out of childhood* with no cultural “decompression chamber” to wean people off the obedience habit.

    **This** could go a long way towards combatting excessive compliance and vulnerability in our population: creating a cultural “decompression chamber” to get rid of no-longer-needed childlike obedience! Any thoughts out there, people?

  3. Doug S.

    Isn’t something like that “cultural decompression chamber” already supposed to exist? I think it’s called college… 😉

    You mentioned Stanley Milligram and the Stanford Prison Experiment. Did you know that Philip Philip Zimbardo (the psychologist responsible for the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment) contributes to a blog? http://thesituationist.wordpress.com/ is the URL for it.

    Scarred: THANK YOU! This will be an immensely useful URL! I really appreciate this one!

    And yes, college is **SUPPOSED** to be a cultural decompression chamber, but it doesn’t seem to do much good for challenging compliant indoctrination on the *personal* level…sigh…I wish. Doesn’t seem to do the trick, because I knew and have seen sweet vulnerable 18-24 year-olds *in college* join cults, stay with abusive boyfriends, etc. College is SUPPOSED to do this, but it doesn’t seem to do a very good job. Maybe not enough logic courses.:)

  4. Doug S.

    I’ve concluded that destructive cults and abusive relationships persist because they do something strange to the brains of people that are in them. The software in our heads is far from being bug-free, and there’s something about these kinds of situations that takes advantage of it.

    What people need are better ways to tell the difference between sense and nonsense. Scientific skepticism doesn’t come naturally to the human brain, but it’s a way of thinking that has really made a difference in the world in the last 400 years or so. If I had the power to establish educational standards, I’d make a course in the philosophy of science a requirement for graduation from high school.

    Perhaps every English speaking person in the world should read Richard Feynman’s essay on what he called “cargo cult science” – you can find it at http://wwwcdf.pd.infn.it/~loreti/science.html if you’ve never read it.

    Scarred: actually, we do know–or heavily suspect from serious preliminary research done into the developing human brain–that childhood abuse can and does impact and change the brains of abused and neglected children. I offer you some of the work of Dr. Bruce Perry, quite possibly the world’s foremost expert on this subject. This link should bring you a number of links featuring some of his work: one of them talks about the impact of abuse and neglect on a child’s neurobiology in *layman’s* terms:

    http://www.safefromthestart.org/resources/supporting.aspx

    I *agree* with you about the idea of teaching the philosophy of science. I think it would be a *wonderful* idea. In the next day or two, I’ll check out the link you’ve provided, most likely tomorrow morning.:)

  5. Wow, I think this has been one of your posts that I’ve agreed with the most.

    I have big problems with David X’s tactics, at least as described. Personally, I would only want a girl to leave a bar with because she was into me enough to want to leave a bar with me. Why would I want her to do so for any other reason? I don’t get it. If this guy has to “trap” a girl to get her to leave with him, he is doing something majorly WRONG earlier in the interaction.

    For me, seduction is about accelerating and amplifying the natural attraction and interest between two people. Yet this is not what David X is doing here. What he is doing by reminding them of their claims of being spontaneous, is trying to get them to leave with him on a basis other than their attraction and interest in him; namely a on basis of being consistent with their previous statements about their behavior.

    Trying to get someone to be sexual with you, or commit to doing so, for reasons than their attraction and interest is generally unethical (possible exceptions: prostitution, procreation, and sometimes in marriage, where the party lacking in attraction and interest consents to sex for other reasons for other goals). Deliberately and knowingly using interpersonal influence to generate a situation that is not win-win is unethical, and therefore a form of manipulation.

    I’m glad that most tactics in the seduction community, regardless of whether they are objectionable for other reasons, don’t follow this particular format. Many PUAs will “qualify” women on being “adventurous” or “spontaneous.” Yet David X is the only one I’ve seen who will remind them of those claims as a way of dealing with objections. Encouraging a woman to think of herself as adventurous is one thing; defining being “adventurous” as leaving the bar with you, when she doesn’t even want to based solely on your merits, is something else.

  6. Scarred the Feminist Pit Bull

    “Encouraging a woman to think of herself as adventurous is one thing; defining being “adventurous” as leaving the bar with you, when she doesn’t even want to based solely on your merits, is something else.”

    Well said, Hugh. Well said.

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