Have you ever been friends with a manipulator? I have. You know the type….the ones who make everything about them, who are always the victim and who, no matter what, always make you feel guilty although you’re not really sure why.
My grandmother was a classic manipulator. Being young and hot-headed I used to get into awful arguments with her when she played her victim card. I remember my 21st birthday ending in tears because she decided she had a headache and when I told her if she was too sick to come not to bother (yes, the sympathy had run low by this point) she started crying and saying she wasn’t sure I really wanted her at my 21st party. The result? I was left feeling angry and guilty although for what I never did figure out. The long-term result? We didn’t speak for the two years preceding her death.
The friend I recently argued with is a manipulator. I think because of my relationship with my grandmother I was comfortable with this friend. But because of that comfort I was unable to see her for what she was. I have had many issues with her over the last 12 months and every issue has left me feeling guilty and upset. I was made to feel guilty about being in a happy relationship, about living away from my hometown, about having a dog, about choosing the bridesmaids dresses for my wedding, about getting married, about getting married overseas, honestly the list is endless.
And you know what? No matter what she said or did to me *I* was the one who felt guilty, like I had done something wrong, when in actual fact she was really the one who had manipulated my kind nature and preyed on my weaknesses to her advantage.
Anyway, it got me thinking…what kind of person is a manipulator? And by that I mean, what kind of person takes pleasure out of always being a victim? Always having people feel sorry for them? Always making others feel bad? II have come to the conclusion that a manipulator is a really sad person who honestly must have the lowest self-esteem. Such low self-esteem that they need that constant validation through being the victim in order to try to feel ok about themselves. They don’t have the capacity for whatever reason to feel happy for other people. They need the constant limelight to reassure them, to make sure they exist.
So I say, no more guilt! Let’s all appreciate each others differences and be happy for one another even if we are not happy in ourselves. Let’s be happy on the inside!