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Tag Archives: Manipulation

Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey, and Why Women Repeatedly Put up With Abusive Relationships

Fifty Shades of Grey, the movie adaptation of E. L. James’ erotica, came out this past weekend, spurring millions of dollars in revenues and lots of reviews. I’ve always been vocal about my dislike of Fifty Shades of Grey and its predecessor, The Twilight Saga, which glorifies abusive relationships and aren’t appropriate for adults, let alone the younger girls that Twilight is aimed at as it’s target audience. James, who originally wrote Fifty Shades of Grey as Twilight fan fiction, took author Stephenie Meyer’s twisted Edward and Bella relationship and turned it into an even worse kind of relationship between Christian and Ana. For me, Fifty Shades of Grey and The Twilight Saga isn’t merely just fiction. It’s personal.

I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood. I went to a middle school that was predominantly black. I’m Asian. It wasn’t easy to fit in. From a young age, I was taught that people of the same color usually tended to stick with one another: all the white kids, all the black kids, all the Hispanic kids, and yes, all us Asian kids as well. By middle school, there was more of us so that was great. I didn’t feel so bad then, but before that, it was hell trying to be nice to kids to have friends, to not be alone, and to not feel alone. I spent most of my childhood trying to please other people, which translated into an automatic mechanism that triggers in my relationships later on in my life. The thought process behind that mechanism is pretty much along the lines of, “if I can do this or that for someone, or prove myself valuable and worthy of them, then I won’t have to be alone”. As we can all see now, it’s a really messed up way of thinking, but we all still do it to a degree. We give in to peer pressure and do things we would’ve never done before. We tolerate the subtleties of abuse hidden behind promises and empty words from others that were meant to be nothing but a form of control over us.

It took me a long time to break out of that habit, the habit of letting others do whatever they wanted with me and to me just as long as they’re happy and okay. I’m still not as mean as I’d like to be, but I can now tell people to go screw themselves when I do catch the mind games and realize all the power plays for control of me. It’s all very subtle. Or it can be blatantly in your face like something I read today with a woman who is trying to appease a friend who was upset at her for apparently no reason. While she didn’t understand the friend’s anger, she still wanted the friend to be happy and she still wanted the best for that person, even when they basically told her the equivalent of, “fuck off“.

I’m not a stranger to those words. I used to cry about it. I used to be confused and not understand why someone was being so mean when all I wanted was to make them happy. It all stems back to my childhood and wanting friends which led to low self esteem and an overwhelming dependency on other people’s thoughts of me to validate my self worth. Reading what that woman wrote made me feel bad. I used to feel like that. I used to be the one who would try to make someone smile and think the world of them, even when all they wanted was candy I had or some other material thing. I wanted to say something to her, to that woman. I wanted to tell her the reason why it didn’t matter that her friend was upset, but why it did matter that she move on and not let such people control her emotions nor her life anymore.

It’s almost always about a boy.

Bella sees Edward and immediately starts obsessing about him. It’s not even that he’s into her, it’s that she created an ideal of him in her head simply based on how gorgeous he was. And in her ideal of him, he is actually a big, soft, cuddly teddy bear that wants love just as much as she does.

This is where all of us fail at relationships before there even could be any sort of relationship. We create versions of people in our minds that are suited to us, that are suited to our needs. Unfortunately, love is an incredible need that every person experiences. Love isn’t sex. And sex isn’t love. But because of love, many, many people will suffer abusive relationships all because of the ideal of someone they have clung on to inside their minds.The truth could be rather vocal like the woman and her friend. Instead of taking what was said and what happened for what it was, she held on to the hope that somehow, her love could change them and their behavior towards her. How I greatly wanted to shake her and tell her to snap out of her defeating daydream of someone else and what she hoped they were. It was much different from who they really were.

In Blood Lust, book two of the Turning Vampire Series, Marisa suffers a very controlling and physically abusive relationship at the hands of Alessander. Because he physically beats her, people reading that book can see that it’s domestic violence in its purest form: physical abuse. However, many people don’t realize that abuse isn’t only when someone is black and blue and almost dead from being beaten by their spouse/lover/friend/family member/etc. Abuse is any form of control of another. That could be as simple as convincing someone that they shouldn’t hang around a friend who has never done any harm or as complicated as manipulating someone like how Alessander manipulated Marisa.

One of my friends reading Blood Lust was greatly disgusted by Alessander and Marisa’s relationship. Although Marisa did learn how to stand up for herself and how to stop Alessander from hurting her, she went through all the steps that someone in an abusive relationship goes through. One of those main things is believing all the lies told by the other person. It’s odd how people are drawn to others who say no to them. Edward made it clear that he didn’t want Bella, and yet, she stalks him like a puppy, hoping he’d recant that whole episode where he ran off to get away from her and instead, declare his undying love for her. Christian made it clear to Ana that she was merely a play thing to him, a toy he wanted to use when he wanted and she had no influence in his life at all. He was influencing hers. However, despite all the signs of no, she still believed that deep down inside, he was a tortured soul who needed someone like her who could put up with his punishments and make him happy in the hopes that one day in some far off future, he’d confess his love for her. Alessander is a lot different from Edward and Christian. Instead of pushing Marisa away like how Edward did to Bella and Christian did to Ana, Alessander manipulated Marisa into thinking she wasn’t worth anything to anyone and that no one wanted her. Alessander was everything of the classic typical abuser in a romantic relationship that most people think of when they think of domestic abuse. They think of violence, of fights, of being put down and torn down. They think of male egos and arrogance. Alessander presented only one of the many multifaceted faces of abuse. Edward and Christian presented two more. All three were abusive. Edward creepily watched over Bella while she was asleep and kept tabs on her while she was awake. He listened in on other people’s thoughts to spy on her. Christian downright controlled Ana with his demands and the risk of “losing” whatever semi-resemblance of a relationship they had together. Alessander totally took it over board, but sadly, it’s not very far from the truth of how reality is for many people. Many people will never do what Marisa did. The concept of self preservation, self worth, self anything seems foreign to them.

It all starts in our heads.

As much as everyone wants to blame the more aggressive person in an abusive relationship, abuse actually starts with the person who allows themselves to be hurt. I’m not talking about the people who wake up one day to a black eye and don’t know how their relationship got that way. There’s that too and it’s wrong. I’m talking about us and how we have these expectational ideas of others. The woman believed her friend was simply having a bad day. Although she couldn’t understand why the friend was angry at her since she only strives to make the other person happy, it is well understood that whatever sort of relationship she has with that friend is largely one sided. I can’t really blame her for thinking the best or wanting to think the best about others, but the excuses that she makes for the friend’s behavior is something I’m familiar with. There’s a part of all of us that can see things as how they truly are. We will see bad friends as bad people. Yet, a different part of us holds on to these unrealistic ideas that our bad friend is somehow a good person and just going through a rough time. I was stuck in that circle for a while. I knew exactly what kind of friend my friend could be because I’ve watched her spend time with others, do things for others, be kind to others, share with others, and then, she spends a total of a few minutes saying hi to me and that’s it. She talks longer if she’s hungry and wants me to cook her food. Yet, knowing that she was a bad friend to me, I kept hoping that if I was nice back, she’d eventually act like a real friend. She never did and I had to finally accept that some people are great friends to others, but really bad friends to us. And even then, I still cried about it, because I knew she was a good person at heart. And that’s exactly the dilemma that this woman was having: her friend was a decently good person with a good heart and they were good friends with others, but the two of them didn’t get along well. Yet, knowing this, she still held on to that false hope that maybe that friend will change and treat her better as I thought my friend would surely see my worth and treat me better too. She didn’t.

We often are afraid to lose people for imagined potentials at what kind of relationship we could have with someone in the future.

I remember a girl from my childhood who hated me, but I wanted to be her friend so badly, that I was super nice to her all of the time. To describe our relationship, it was like Cole off of the movie, The Sixth Sense, and the bully Tommy who pretended to be friends with him in front of his mom. This girl pretended to be my friend in front of her mom. We’d get to school and she’d ditch me for all of her other friends. Her mom thought we were best friends. I thought we were best friends too. I didn’t understand that we weren’t until I was much older. That was a bad relationship. We didn’t physically fight. We didn’t hurt each other. But there was still a lot of misleading things and manipulations and abuse. In the end, we weren’t friends anymore and her mom came to my house and gave me back all the stuff I gave her daughter. The sad thing is, I had nothing to give to the woman as something her daughter gave me out of friendship. Back then, I also wasn’t brave enough to tell her mom what really happened. I still cared too much about what anyone thought of me.

Peer pressure is a huge thing for children. Being liked, making friends, feeling lonely…all of that affects everyone at some stage in their life. We can do without all the books that glorify abuse in relationships and tell us that we need someone else’s approval to be worth something. We’ve already told ourselves that enough as children. We hope for a, “I’m proud of you” from our parents and teachers. We hope for inclusion from our friends. And now we have popular books that tell us that independence is a lie and we need someone else to be complete.

The message in today’s world is that we cannot be strong without someone being weak. That’s the wrong message to send out to anyone, anywhere. I saw a meme today where some out of the closet atheist woman said, “I am happy that men wrote the Bible. That means that women didn’t.”

My reply was: “That’s sexist and quite frankly, a foolish thing to say. It took a man in order to birth that woman. It’s cool for men and women to be treated equally, but all this superiority bs simply needs to stop. She could’ve simply said she was an atheist instead of trying to belittle men to make her self worth as a woman greater. It shows that she has no self worth and that’s sad.

The opening poster said: “Oh BooHoo! You missed the point.”

In which I replied, “So I should acknowledge other people’s stupidity for a supposed point? No thanks. If someone’s going to make a stand for what they believe in, there’s no need to bash anyone else to make you or your religion or whatever you believe in as being better. She will die like the rest of us. Every human being will have the same ending: death, and there’s no escape from that.

So the OP responds with, “Freedom from religion certainly angers some folks, eh?

And the last thing I replied on that topic said, “It’s not about religion. It’s about people. Did I care that she was speaking against the Bible and that she’s atheist? Nope. Don’t twist my words into something you want it to be to better suit your own religious agendas. It’s not your freedom from religion that angers me. It’s my freedom of religion that angers you. That’s sad.

It’s really tiring when a lot of my pagan/atheist/non-christian friends talk about Christianity more than I do, and yet, they want to claim that Christians are the ones shoving our religion in their faces. I can’t tell whether they’re trying to convince everyone not to be a Christian by constantly talking about it, or that they’re trying to convince their selves of how they shouldn’t be a Christian by talking about Christianity all the time. Either way, let it go. It’s obsessive behavior and abusive to yourself. It’s not your freedom from religion that angers me. It’s my freedom of religion that angers you. And that is sad.

It’s late. I’m calling it a night. Stop the abuse and the acceptance of abuse in relationships.

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Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Book Reviews, Diary, Movies, Things Worth Fighting For

 

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Halloween and Other Things

It’s Halloween and that means that every kid in America will be all dressed up in awesome costumes going trick or treating from door to door from late afternoon well into the night. At least that was the scenario when I was growing up. Door to door trick or treating now is almost unheard of. Instead, you have giant car to car gatherings, mostly organized by a church at a safely lit church parking lot, where kids dress up and go from car trunk to car trunk to get treats.

I used to trick or treat with friends and neighbors without adult supervision. We’d go all over our neighborhood and have a great time trick or treating. We didn’t worry about opened candy or being kidnapped. We didn’t worry about going into a house and never being able to come out again. Back in those days, we did fundraisers for school by going door to door alone. That was because we knew our neighbors. We actually talked to our neighbors. Granted, we didn’t know personal details about each house and each family, but we knew enough to know what kind of people they were and if we could trust them. Back then, trust was easy. It was never questioned. It was never questioned if the lone man in the blue house was some creepy pervert or that the old woman in the red brick house was really some horrid witch who ate children for her supper. Trust was a given thing in neighborhoods, even with the neighbors who didn’t like anyone at all. But in today’s world, everything is different. And trust is no longer a given. It’s a very rare thing now to have.

What is it with churches planning Halloween events? I understand the need to make settings safe for children and your entire flock, but shouldn’t Halloween not be celebrated by churches? It’s not the same as having people who celebrate Halloween that go to church. Churches celebrating Halloween gives it the okay for everyone in those churches to compromise their beliefs and add in other beliefs.

Is it hypocritical of me to even say that? I’m a Christian. I don’t celebrate Halloween (unless people want to give me candy), but I wish everyone a Happy Halloween all the time. So in essence, I’m celebrating Halloween too. I don’t want to be the kind of person who totally pretends that other people’s beliefs don’t exist, or worse, condemns people to hell for what they believe in. So is that what churches are doing, celebrating Halloween so that they don’t look like jerks?

However, being a jerk is a cool and amusing thing in today’s society. Viral videos of people being mean are the trend and sadly, there are people making videos trying to top those videos.

Insulting people, making fun of people, and bullying people isn’t a funny thing. Yet, we do it all the time. We do it in families, in friendships, in relationships and we think it’s super funny because we laugh at other people’s expenses. The saying goes, “Only I have the right to make fun of my family and tease them, but if you do it, I will hurt you“. Since when has it been okay to be mean and horrible to your family, but nice to everyone else? Worse, since when has it been okay to be upset at other people doing the same thing you’re doing to the same person you do it to? That’s hypocritical too.

I have a big family. I was very mean when I was younger. I had a lot of anger. I had a lot of unresolved issues. I get mad now when my family is being mean to one another. I get mad now when my friends do the same thing.

Rachel used to call everyone a bitch, a slut, a whore, and a multitude of other degrading things. It was the way she had always spoken to others and others accepted that about her. I tried to accept that about her too, but I eventually had to say no. It wasn’t okay to joke around and call someone names, even if all her other friends were okay with it. I wasn’t okay with it. She was very mad that I even told her to stop calling me names, but slowly, she did stop. And she stopped calling everyone else names too. She stopped allowing people to call her names as well.

Most people don’t realize that all the “jokes” and all the “harmless humor” in insulting yourself and others actually do affect you and others. Everyone starts to believe it. And while most have adapted to throw on a thick skin and pretend that words don’t hurt, they do. Name calling like that degrades people. And it makes their self esteem and self worth go down. It’s a form of manipulation hidden behind a smile and laughter. Much like many forms of manipulation hidden the same way, they all affect what we think about ourselves, how we feel about ourselves, and that if everyone else was like us and felt like us, then we’re not alone and we’re not as bad as we feel about ourselves.

What is a good medium between harmless teasing and insulting masquerading as teasing?

I don’t know. I think we all go back to that double standard that we were taught as kids that it was okay to be mean to people you care about, but to be nice to everyone else. That double standard isn’t right.

Since when is calling someone fat or chubby out of love make calling anyone else fat or chubby okay? Since when is calling someone an arrogant jerk and teasing them about it out of love make calling anyone else an arrogant jerk and teasing them about it okay? Since when are we so preoccupied with tearing other people down, tearing ourselves down, that that becomes the new normal? That it becomes the new okay? All of these things that we do, all the insulting and teasing and bullying are tearing people’s self esteem and self worth down, whether we love them or not, whether they’re family or not, whether they’re our best friend or not. It’s not okay. It’s not okay to hurt others and ourselves.

I’m off on a tangent here.

I missed the good old days when things were easier and nothing was so blurred that it’s hypocritical religious political societal bs.

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2014 in Diary

 

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The Worlds We Create

There’s a story that goes somewhere along the lines of one being left alone after family is burned in a house fire…these are the tales of people I’ve met throughout the years who have said such things, the tales of those who would later come to be known as vampires.

“And when I woke, everything was different. Everything was new.”

Is it a passing myth that to be a vampire, one must lose all their mortal families in a house fire?

The first tale was told over a decade ago by a woman who claimed to be a real vampire and not the kind that are found today strolling into goth clubs and feeding off of blood for fun. No. She claimed to be a very old vampire who have lived for centuries and has been sheltered from the modern world and all it’s technological advances…that is, if you didn’t count using the internet which was the medium in which we spoke. And of course, computers because that’s pretty modern too. Her story was one liken from The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood in which a society of wealth ruled all lower classes and subjected them to labor and servitude. She lived in a castle by the cliffs of the sea, in which vampires flew by night and her Lord and Master still uses gold coins at an exceedingly too-good-to-be-true rate of thousands of dollars for one coin. I was hooked at the time on her story and the reality that even if nothing she said was true, she believed it and had created a world of magnificence and wonder for herself that was more real than the reality in which she lived. It was her father and twin brother who had died in a mysterious house fire, and later, her Lord and Master found her and took her in, raising her as his own bride-to-be if he had not yet already had a wife and many mistresses from multiple marriages before her existence.

The second time I heard it was from a man claiming to be a vampire. His father and sister died in a house fire and he was left alone to fend for himself. How he eventually became a vampire, that part never remained with my memory, but he claimed to be a real vampire, those of old and of legends.

The third time I heard it was recently. A girl’s parents died in a house fire and left her and her twin brother alone. She didn’t claim to be a real vampire, but she played one on Second Life where I too, played a vampire with Bloodlines.

What kind of lives do we have? First lives–the ones where we are born into; second life–the ones we live inside the online SL game; past lives–the ones where we remember or are recalled during hypnosis; real lives–the ones that we have to live now at this moment in physical reality; dream lives–the ones we live inside our dreams; metaphysical lives–the ones we live in our heads, in the astral, in our imaginations, etc, etc. And that’s a noninclusive list too.

I left Facebook because of some things that were occurring at the time which wasn’t best for me and made me unhappy. So I found Second Life, which was very much like one of my favorite games, The Sims, to bring myself out of depression and excess emotions. What I found on SL was a pretty cool world that made me happy and I had fun…until I realized that people will be people, no matter where they are.

Jane was a girl I took in as a minion in SL. We roleplayed vampires for Bloodlines. I loved her a lot and treated her as a daughter. Little did I know that everything I’ve been told by her was a lie…from her age (she claimed to be 23) to her life (parents died in a house fire; no relatives; twin brother has a 7 year old daughter; brother and sister alternated months working to have a baby sitter for the daughter/niece; was dumped by her boyfriend after finding out she was pregnant with twins in real life; got back together with the boyfriend; boyfriend was leaving to Japan; had blurred relationship with an SL player who fell in love with her; dumped the boyfriend for another SL player–a different one; had bad news that one of the twin babies weren’t going to survive; brother committed suicide due to the baby’s mother leaving him (but they weren’t even together nor did they live together); was being harassed and attacked on SL from ex-boyfriend who played on SL; niece is suddenly in Japan; niece is suddenly 5 years old and the 7 year old is someone else; lives in Florida instead of the midwest; brother and sister made fake accounts because they’re paranoid; has no social accounts at all except for hotmail and skype; brother and sister were given Japanese names like Rin and Rina by American parents who were named Lorena and James)…and the list went on.

*face palms*

That’s one dramatic complicated life to keep up with. Nothing she said was true and the only answer she had for any questions asked about her true self was, “why would I lie to you? I trust you.”

*shakes head*

From where do people create such lies and do they actually believe in them?

I have to admit that I’m a lot sassier these days. Most of it stems from learning how to stand up for myself. I still fall for the trap of being manipulated by others for a certain amount of time, but I am catching on quicker and quicker to the game.

Being forced to love someone through manipulation doesn’t mean that there isn’t love there, even when there wasn’t that type of love present in the beginning. And just like that, the worlds that we create for ourselves, we begin to believe in, even if we didn’t believe it in the beginning when we created it.

I learned invaluable lessons from Facebook and Second Life. Even the most innocent seeming of people can be the most wicked and hurtful. Sad sob stories are a way of controlling people through their sympathy and relation to pain, sadness, and bad things that occur in life. Suicide threats are a way of manipulating others. It might sound harsh, but people who want to kill themselves would’ve already done so. People who cry wolf, just want the attention, as sad as that may be. Any threat is a way of manipulation, no matter how subtle or blunt the threat is.

If standing up for myself makes me a bitch, then I’d gladly take that label any day than to succumb to the will and trickery of others. I am a lot harsher these days and a lot less tolerant of abuse in that way. I cry a lot less these days than I have in the past. And I remember less and less of those that needed to be left behind for my happiness and well being. Loving someone is a great thing, but when loving someone is causing you pain, you’ve got to let them go.

Many months ago, I downloaded a bunch of pictures of an ex-best friend, her mother, and their pets to print out on nice photo paper and send to her since she was incarcerated. I knew no one else would do it and she had no other family outside of prison walls. Even though we no longer spoke, I was going to do the nice and right thing. But I realized that that nice and right thing was for her, not for me. What did I get out of someone who hurt me badly, who I trusted and loved like one of my own sisters, and who I cared for and spared nothing that I wouldn’t give or do for her? Nothing. And so, for my sake, it was best if I started to do what was nice and right for myself, which meant that I was going to have to let go of her. It’s sad that she’s not getting out until 2021, that her entire family is incarcerated, and that she’s actually a decent person and a decent friend to everyone else…but none of that matters now. I won’t go back. And for what? To repeat the same pattern all over again? No thank you.

Some things, I’m not ready to face head on yet. An ex-friend had blocked me on Facebook since June 10th. We actually weren’t friends since March or April. I haven’t been on Facebook since I started playing SL almost a month ago. I came back and saw that I was unblocked. And because I wasn’t ready to deal with all the false emotions of a love I never wanted in the first place that was returning, I blocked the person. It didn’t matter that I was happy now or that I was in love with someone else now who loves me back and gives me the kind of love and relationship that I wanted and deserved. A manipulated love by a third party that I trusted and cared for and loved made everything all the worse. That third party, I didn’t block. I learned to stand up for myself against that third party and thus, have rid myself of the manipulations and lies. But until I can figure out what to do or until I can finally let go of the ex-friend and the emotions involved, that person will remained blocked.

People manipulate others for various reasons, some of them the most idiotic. The other night, a girl commented that she was going to kill herself. Her life didn’t even warrant anything worth dying over. She had a 3 year old son that she had been fighting the state to get back for the past 2 years because she said jealous friends of family called Child Protection Services because her house was “dirty”. Aside from other things that makes no sense like her son’s adoption to people who are now expecting a child of their own…she wanted to kill herself. Being sleep deprived and cranky, after much babble trying to calm her down, I said, “Since you’re going to kill yourself, let me tell you about Jesus”. She didn’t like that and threatened that she was calm and if I attacked her with Jesus, then she’d kill herself. My point was that she was going to do it anyway so why not tell her about Jesus and save her soul? I shrugged, commented that since she’s calm now, it was cool, but that if she did see God, she should tell Him that I tried and she didn’t want to hear it. Boy did she go off about not being calm if I brought up Jesus or God. So I simply said since she was calm and good, I was done trying to convince her not to kill herself and called it a night. I find it ironic that people who threaten self harm or death are still prideful and stubborn. This is a repeated pattern in my experience with others. When people want to die, I talk about Jesus. For some reason, they stop threatening death. And I’m the crazy one for talking about Jesus. *shakes head*

In SL, when I get unsolicited IM messages for sex or friendships and relationships, I usually kill any further IMs by simply asking if the person wants to be a vampire or a lycan. For some reason, people want sex, not to join a guild or a clan. It’s ironic and amusing to me that such a simple thing such as commitment will make someone run in the opposite direction.

Do people believe the lies they tell themselves?

I don’t really know, but I’m falling asleep now. I’m still working on dispelling the lies I’ve been misled to believe about myself and my life. I like things simple. I couldn’t keep up with all the lies if I told myself such things.

This ends on an unfinished, odd note. Screw it. I’m off to bed.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Diary, Uncategorized

 

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