A topic that all Step-Parents and Birth Parents suffer through alike is the art of manipulation. Each of us will experience this differently and I cannot relate to all scenarios with this, however I definitely understand what you are going through! Nothing is more frustrating than putting your faith into someone only to find out that you have been played!
Before I got married, I was naïve and under the impression that everyone was at their core a good person. I was very stupid and innocent in thinking this. I was raised to always be a kind and to make decisions based upon the greater good – even if that meant suffering a little myself. That was what I thought most people were taught. They preach character building in schools and it was taken very seriously in my home growing up. Do what is right. Be selfless. Be giving. Seems simple, does it not?
It wasn’t until I encountered She Who Shall Not Be Named that I discovered most people are, in fact, not that way! Most people are lying, conniving, manipulative little fucks who care about no one but themselves. It was a huge wake up call. I eventually learned how to channel my inner selfish bitch and began pulling her puppet strings right back to make things better for EVERYONE! The problem is, Special Agent Ass (her son) is just as selfish and manipulative. I had to learn how to reach him, too, in a way that would entice him into being a decent human being.
I do not enjoy being manipulative! Makes me feel icky and mean! I have had to learn when and where to use this skill I was forced to learn to survive and how to execute it properly to keep things peaceful! I do not condone nor agree with manipulating other people for sport or personal gain, which is a common past time for high conflict fuckwads. The worst I had done to me was Evil Hoe-Bag once convinced step son to rebel against me during his first Summer visitation with us. Once she insured that her son had driven me absolutely mad, she started an argument with me. I fed into it at first until I realized what she was doing and then I ignored her calls and texts. She called her son, convinced him to yell and curse at me. I firmly told him to go to his room until his dad came home. He was due to get off work within the hour. Apparently, the little shit had me on speaker and HCBM decided to use the firm “Go to your room, now!” I gave him and take that as “abuse.” She at that point told everyone in the family that I had hit him, which I did not and would never do! She called and harassed me and DH until 5am at which point she purchased last minute plane tickets to fly the nearly 500 miles to where we were, scoop up her son, and fly both of them back. When she told us she was doing this, she of course included the “When you drop off my son, I will meet you outside. Do not bring your little cunt with you!”
What got me super confused about this whole exchange was SHE started the argument between step son and I, at both of their admittance. SHE started the argument with me by harassing me to the point I had to turn my phone off. SHE told her then 12-year-old son to yell and curse at me out of nowhere. She put all of this together. Why? She later admitted it was so she could gain control.
She admitted she felt like she was losing her son with how much time he was spending with us that summer. This was during her kiss our ass phase shortly after when her son began treating her the way she told him to treat me. That’s the problem with kids, once you tell them it’s okay to treat one parent super shitty, they WILL eventually treat all authority figures that way because it is then “okay” to be an awful little shit to people.
About a year after this incident, I saw a very extreme form of manipulation between Special Agent Ass and his mother. Evil Hoe-Bag was at work and Special Agent Ass asked her to bring him fast food in the middle of her work day. She said no, that she will be home within an hour or so and to wait. He became angry, tortured her cat, took a video of it, and sent it to her just so she would come home.
Now, I know not all children are THAT extreme with manipulation, but this one is! She allowed him to manipulate her so often and to such an extreme that this is what it had come to. Where do you think he learned the art from?
Mother is God in the eyes of the child. Unfortunately, the student surpassed the teacher. She had enough! She eventually reached out to DH and I and asked for our help to get him admitted in-patient where he was diagnosed Antisocial Personality Disorder. The gene for this stems from the X chromosome, meaning the mother. Gee, apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
We all become the victims of manipulation at some point. When we have had enough of being someone’s puppet, we then begin to manipulate, ourselves. I am very mild in this. The only real way I manipulate is I become ridiculous when speaking to Evil Hoe-Bag. I will go on filibusters about anything and everything to keep from giving her any information about my life or opening a door for her to start drama. She, of course, still finds a way to mess with people. This is a woman who admitted to my husband during their marriage that she relates to Catherine from Cruel Intentions and looks up to the character. She does this shit for fun!
Now, I am also a huge fan of giving people enough rope to hang themselves. By this I mean, if you have a HCBM or HCSM who is just relentless on setting rules and putting up unnecessary boundaries, it is of my best advice to let them have their way and then create a situation in which they regret their decision. Win/win!
What are some of your best and worse manipulation stories? What failed manipulation have you seen? What successful manipulation have you seen? Do you see yourself as a manipulator?