Manipulation, Inflation, False Modesty & Accusations

rainbowI was thinking about a gal who constantly denigrates herself. This is her business but she tries to make it mine by making remarks that suggest I think  negative, and sometimes even vile things about her. “You think this and this of me…”

When she does this, I suppose I’m supposed to protest, “I don’t think that about you. I think you’re a glorious rainbow and sunshine…”

I resist the bait because I don’t like being manipulated. I think her modesty is false, but I don’t really know. The truth is, I don’t think of her at all, except when she engages me in this random way.

I say false modesty, because whatever thoughts are feelings are being assigned to me, she does not agree with them, herself.  Thinking yourself horrible and telling others they think you are horrible are very different things.  She is not denigrating herself. She is denigrating me by accusing me of (wrongly) having bad thoughts and negative feelings about her, which I don’t have!

Then this morning, I read this by, Madame Jeanne Guyon, written in the 1600’s:

“The high esteem I had for myself made me find faults in everyone else of my own sex. I had no eyes but to see my own good qualities, and to discover the defects of others. I hid my own faults from myself, or if I remarked any, yet to me they appeared little in comparison of others. I excused, and even figured them to myself as perfections. Every idea I had of others and of myself was false.”

When I put these things together, I come up with lack of humility to be the root of the problem.

With Saturn in Scorpio squaring Venus in Leo, I thought this would be worth posting.

How often do you tell people, they think you suck or something akin to that?


Comments

Manipulation, Inflation, False Modesty & Accusations — 45 Comments

  1. Actually, never. But only because I’ve worked so hard to have a bit more self-esteem (SO0SA in Sco), I definitely won’t try to undermine it in any way.

  2. Nope, I accuse myself of sucking and tell myself that all the time.. very different issue. I would never say someone else thinks that unless such words came from THEIR mouth…

    • Exactly! If I didn’t say it, what the hell? I accuse my husband of stuff like thuse but when he asks for evidence, I provide it! I quote him verbatim!

      • …exactly! if you had a REASON (“you said I am unable to understand the intricacies of baseball! You said x, y or z this morning!”) that’s one thing. Strange otherwise to make random remarks of this nature.

        The only thing that pops to me in your story is when you said you “don’t think of her at all” — maybe she’s odd (my opinion only, based on this tale), so most people DON’T really think of her at all day to day, and so she is lonely and thus picks random little tiffs like this to get any sort of reaction from anyone, any sort of contact with other people, any sort of discussion, even if unpleasant or weird?

        I love the quote you gave here! What a basis for a book/film it would be!

  3. If a child did this it is still manipulation, but maybe based on a need for some understanding, maybe. An adult fishing for a compliment by creating their own scenario for it is definitely manipulating. Could be many reasons for it, humility is not one of them.

    • Love it! Interacting with someone such as “the barbed wire girl” would become psychologically draining to me, and I don’t even know that I could call it a relationship. To me, operative word in the title would be manipulation.

  4. I would never say something like this mainly because I don’t care if someone thinks negatively of me nor do I feel compelled to change someone’s mind about it if they do. If someone were to attempt this tactic on me I would very directly point out what they were doing and that I would be having no part of it.

  5. I do this all the time, a lot, in this sense:

    For example, this week when I was posting about the germ/clean thread, I began to question if I really was an anal clean freak. I look around my messy house, and I do not think I am. But I feel like I inadvertently offended people by talking about it…and I do what I always do, I try to joke about it, because it makes me a nervous and anxious person thinking that I have offended someone unintentionally. Especially involving people that I like; it hurts when people I like think less of me.

    I don’t consider this manipulation…I have no idea how to move mountains like that. I don’t want to, either. Maybe I joke to look for reassurance that I was not offensive to them personally…but how is that baiting someone?

    • Do you feel you may be awkward or very concerned with people’s perception of what you say? Like, something you phrased may be taken wrong so you have to backpedal?

  6. I don’t do that much because luckily I don’t know many people with whom it could apply. Most people take me the way I am, and I love them for that.
    But I have a very long-time friend (Cap with Cap stellium) who goes on political rampages and discussions & I’m never up to thst (nor interested in being up to it).
    When it gets out of hand, I say “Ok, Ok already. You know everything, I don’t” and suddenly that puts an end to it.
    I guess she is testing her limits to where I can put up with her stuff?
    But, it is interesting to see that by now she is aware of when she is busting my b$$ls, and that’s good enough for me. Man, if she wants to fight, do it with someone else!!!!
    Shit, we’re suppose to be friends!!!!!
    Possibly, this is another topic?

  7. Maybe when someone continually undermines themselves they are sub-consciously in desire of emotional or physical reassurance. Self-reliance can be hard to come by. It’s tricky to discern if someone is being argumentative, defensive, needy, etc. Everybody got a trip. Sometimes the tickets get lost or stolen.
    Interesting post, Elsa. And, quite timely.

    • I agree. But I’m a blogger. And people write me as a matter of routine to tell me what they know I think of them based on some comment from ten months ago; a comment I don’t recall and may not have even read.

      When I say these things to my husband it is because I want to be reassured…and also because I want him to stop staying things that have a bad effect on me. Basically, I tell him I am a machine, working on his behalf.

      “Since when it it a good idea to harm a tool of yours that’s producing well and happily?”

      I tell him, if you don’t think X of me, then don’t say it.”

      The difference here is in one case the thing is actually happening! And we’re married!

      People on this blog run through screen names, two or three or five or eight or more? Does anyone honestly think I can track all the people who come and go here, over the course of 15 years?

      I do the same thing around here as any oldtimer. I read what’s interesting to me – that’s it. I am a “user” just like everyone else! And with all my personal stuff, I really have no time to focus on anything but my never-ending to do list.

      If my husband ever gets out of a truck (and in a position to help me), this might change. Until then, common sense.

      Right now I have three dogs to care for and keep from the highway, Japanese beetles to kill, neighbors to build relationships with, a busted belt on my mower and I need to get a library card so I can get cd books for my husband to take in his truck so his brain does not retard! etc.!

      • There is also a dead deer out there (I hear). Sparky wants to go see it, they all do. I am trying to prevent this. They’re like kids wanting to go check out the dead body, down at the river!

        • And come back rolling in it and then you will have three dogs to bathe, preferably outside 😉 You have plenty to do other than form erroneous opinions about people.

          I get that from students sometimes, putting words in my mouth or thoughts I haven’t had yet. I just want to get the lessons taught and try to build as positive as a relationship as I can with 150 people at the same time, lol

  8. My son does this but he’s a little kid. When he does this I tell him that it’s not the truth. And he can ask for whatever he needs instead of doing this. It usually just takes a little reminder for him to feel secure. It’s a very unsophisticated way of getting attention and reassurance.

    I’ve never had an adult do this though. It’s kind of bizarre. There’s got to be some other neuroses there.

  9. In answer to the question, “How often do you tell people …?” I try to hide that I think I’m stupid or whatever from other people for several reasons: one, if I’m that big of a jerk, it’s going to slip out sooner or later, and others will figure it anyway; and secondly, I am STILL trying to get rid of negative baggage from growing up in an environment that was toxic more often than not. If you go to a dear friend and say, “I feel stupid. What do you think I should do about thus and so?”, 9 times out of 10, a good friend is going to remind you of your strengths, and I do the same for my close confidants. That’s different from the constant manipulation that sets up an energy field where it’s impossible to establish a real give and take relationship – photo of the barbed wire across the rainbow speaks volumes, like fingernails on a chalkboard. Marriage – we were always jabbing one another verbally. Sooner or later one of us would come up with the wittiest jab, then both end up laughing and call it a truce. That’s why we married each other twice – ha! I had his Libra and he had my Scorpio. We both won, sometimes. Elsa created a one-of-a-kind blog, with many wonderful things and people, where it’s okay if someone is not upbeat on a given day; the downbeat is also part of making music.

    • “lsa created a one-of-a-kind blog, with many wonderful things and people, where it’s okay if someone is not upbeat on a given day; the downbeat is also part of making music.”

      That’s a great observation and it’s true.

    • Interesting, Gegenschein. My best friend grew up in an environment where she had been told she was stupid. This was sometimes in the back of her mind as she worked so hard and tried to prove this wrong and I didn’t know it. I think sometimes asking these things is a Neptune issue. Like someone or something fked with your head and makes it hard to judge yourself.

      ‘the constant manipulation that sets up an energy field where it’s impossible to establish a real give and take relationship’

      What do you mean by this? Er I do this so I’m sensitive about it. It seems like when I try to game someone and force them to make some sort of response I’m protected against what they actually think.

      ‘we were always jabbing one another verbally’

      It’s funny, I think the mark of some ‘bad’ relationships are the exciting arguments where you try to fit your expectations to theirs and it doesn’t work. It isnt boring cause theres so much fighting. My past relationship also involved jabs, he had the Libra, I have none. Our venuses were square and we were both appalled at what the other one value

  10. People have accused me of not liking them, but never to my face. It bothered me when someone would tell me so-and-so is telling or asking them, “Does she not like me??” I really wonder how I come across to people sometimes. If I have an issue with someone, that doesn’t mean I don’t like them. But that’s the message they get. :/

  11. I’m having this issue with one of my employees. I know she dislikes me, by the way she works. It’s completely disrespectful. For instance, disregarding direction. She is also very manipulative, she loves to behave like she is better at my job than I am. She isn’t, my ego is not massive, but I am quite good at what I do. I don’t fish for compliments, they would be nice, but I don’t necessarily work in a complimentary environment. So I’ve grown to work diligently, without being complemented or needing to be complimented. I have been agreeable with this girl, I have tried to play nice, and I have let her get away with murder. There are also times when I’ve been not so nice, just to get her to perform. I would love an answer to this riddle, besides writing her up. I don’t even kno why I want to continue giving her chances, but I’d just like for her to change her tune. She’s horrible, and she’s been horrible for about 8 months. Calgon take her away

  12. Maybe she was banned, like me, and certain remarks were made right around the same time she was banned. I remember the night I found that I was: someone was celebrating. A person who had trashed me privately, to people here, and went on to make passive-aggressive, hurtful remarks, that she knew I’d respond to, because I wasn’t in the most stable state emotionally. It isn’t manipulation. She isn’t looking for excitement, because she’s bored, or so dull that nobody cares about her. I have people who care about me, but at the time, I was sinking in everything that I was losing, to death, or selfishness and bullying. Thinking of that, it may be the only thing she expects from people, or the only way she knows how to engage people.

    If she is like me, then she does have humility. And could have extreme social anxiety. My sister was trying to make trouble any way she could, and I had rumours spread about me, and people treating me like hell, so it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that you would have thought similar things. The only thing is, when I tried to explain that I understood, or just wondered about something, more assumptions were made about me. Re: trying to make people love me. I don’t. They either do, or they don’t, and I’m now stable enough, once again, to decide who I should listen to, and whose opinion doesn’t matter… and rather than ask if something is about me, or engage someone in any way, when they might be pissy, I go and do my own thing, knowing that if it is about me, I will find out eventually. This is the old me, that I’m hopefully getting back to, at least before Pluto hits my Sun. I do love Uranus conjunct my Mercury, right now.

    (This is just an explanation as to what might be up – social anxiety can bring that sort of thinking about, when anxiety is up, or if someone has been picked on. You learn to pay attention, and that people can form opinions based on their own projections – I had someone make something up about me in April, they twisted my words, and I have no idea how they got what they did, out of what I’d said. I asked friends, and they didn’t know either. It was a clear case of someone expecting something that they didn’t get, and punishing me for it, anyway. So I know how you feel.)

  13. I know a lot of these types. Reminds me of a post on gaslighting you wrote a little while back. Goes hand-in-hand, in my opinion. Its an attempt to change someone’s reality. To confuse and appease.

  14. I absolutely cringe if I hear people doing this. Fishing for compliments in a way.
    But what struck me as well is that it’s really hard for people to be able to just state clearly “I’m good at xyz” without others thinking who the hell does she think she is
    So sometimes I feel people can’t win!

    • I think people get intimidated by women stating their strengths with confidence (don’t know if you are a woman or anything but just sayin) I.e. the Amy schumer skit about compliments. I think in America this goes for women unless its in an interview setting as being plainspoken about how good you are is a mark of masculine confidence. I feel like in Europe it is less generally acceptable for anyone to boast at all

  15. I would rather die than tell someone that I “know” they feel this or that about me. The audacity!! I will, however, ASK if they have negative feelings (i.e., have you judged me for what I said to you, or is that my projection?). Even in my saturn-square-venus insecurity I would rather just melt away into the wall than accuse you of a negative feeling towards me that you might affirm. Gah!!
    I married my friend that I knew for 25 years. The day we got married, it’s like he turned into another person. All of a sudden he was accusing me of “feeling” things that, evidently, he had forgotten he had told me his MOTHER had felt (or maybe, he *thought* she felt) when he was a teenager. Example: You think I’ll never amount to anything, you think I’m lazy. Didn’t matter that I would point out that those words NEVER CAME OUT OF MY MOUTH and therefore, he had no right to accuse, and then re-act as if I had said them! It was ka-razy making!! When I had our son, it got worse: “you think I’m a terrible father, you think I can’t take care of our son”, blahblahblah… it would have been funny if it wasn’t so destructive. Of course at first I tried reassurance but quickly grew resentful because he was sucking up all the air in the room with his neediness for constant reassurance. I could never have my own emotions because he would “steal” them; if I was mad, he’d get madder; if I was sad, he’d be sadder. It was a constant jousting match for the right to just feel my own feelings, without constantly being accused of feeling something else!! In the end, I thought I was going crazy because I started being unable to feel ANYTHING because it just wasn’t safe. We divorced, which then justified everything he had been saying all along…. “you gave birth to child support payments”. Ironically, no child support was awarded, so his self-fulfilling prophecies did not materialize in that regard. These people are exhausting. They really don’t care what you actually feel; they are stuck in their stories and are hell-bent to prove themselves RIGHT. Sadly, even when you start out neutral with them, they often drive you to the very emotion they are accusing you of having, because of their relentless projections, and because you realize that you actually don’t even exist as a real person in their minds.

    • Thank you for this! I think I’ve been involved with someone similar without realising the exact manifestation until I read your words.

  16. ‘The truth is, I don’t think of her at all, except when she engages me in this random way’

    I know this defense mechanism because I have it. And I do want people to reassure me. I force them to negate my ‘am I the worst’ so I don’t have to be the middle. Like when my friend said something equivocal about my writing. I noticed myself trying to pull reactions out of people its most obvious with someone I don’t get along with at work. He slightly evades the payoff I want, I try to pull it out of him.

  17. I notice myself doing this. I get ‘rejected’ in real life on a continuous basis meaning.. Strangers I would be interested in don’t like me or in passing seem to shoot me down which is I guess trivial, except the same thing happens on dating sites and dates so I developed possible overarching theories as to why ambiguously negative situations happen to me. I tend to spiral out after a couple ambiguous interactions every day because the defense mechanism of ‘nobody likes me everybody hates me I could eat some worms’ is more palatable than.. Whatever is actually happening. My extreme defense mechanisms or obsessive negativity are to protect against little situations like, last night two Italian dudes who were drunk shouted that I was fat. I cried. This compulsive inability to let this stuff slide off my back, or some issue I’ve had for years about it has become some kind of daily issue. I’m in fking Barcelona and nobody likes me (other than people who are twice my age or more)

  18. I notice myself doing this. I get ‘rejected’ in real life on a continuous basis meaning.. Strangers I would be interested in don’t like me or in passing seem to shoot me down which is I guess trivial, except the same thing happens on dating sites and dates so I developed possible overarching theories as to why ambiguously negative situations happen to me. I tend to spiral out after a couple ambiguous interactions every day because the defense mechanism of ‘nobody likes me everybody hates me I could eat some worms’ is more palatable than.. Whatever is actually happening. My extreme defense mechanisms or obsessive negativity are to protect against little situations like, last night two Italian dudes who were drunk shouted that I was fat. I cried. This compulsive inability to let this stuff slide off my back, or some issue I’ve had for years about it has become some kind of daily issue. I’m in fking Barcelona and nobody likes me (other than people who are twice my age or more)

  19. Lately I’ve become consumed with ‘strangers rejecting me’ and ‘why guys don’t like me’ and various things. I spin and collate strangers’ reactions to me in an overarching theory of I must be fat and old and why me. Or ‘they must be doing that because..’ I take people down with me demanding why, telling them they’re gaslighting me when they say I’m making stuff up. Torturing others, irritating myself. I cry many days after a day of perceived ‘stranger rejection.’ I haven’t been able to think my way out of this. This fear that look how they treat me I’m going to seed and never even had my place in the sun ever. I’m on fking vacation and the fact that tipsy Spaniards don’t fall at my feet (and the median age of people who ‘check me out’ is 45) makes me cry and not ‘enjoy things.’ The many loose ends I came here with are just dangling. I’m sure it’s my inflated sense of self that causes obsessive self pity, and I tend to cope with things by obsessing about them thinking I can just ‘give up on men and eat toasted sandwiches.’ But transcending my desires via self protection rarely works. I still want to be popular with guys. And it prevents me from thinking or saying anything interesting.
    My friend might have said that I make guys seem worse than they are, or he could have been talking about Lena Dunham. Who suffers an uninterrupted barrage of people telling her how fat she is and how she should just disappear. I don’t like what I get and I don’t know how to get what I want or how to not want it. I exorcise these emotions at my friends and family and I’m sure that if a stranger gave me an analysis they’d say my egotism is giving me an unrealistic sense of self that fuels self pity (‘you think I’m ugly’ is better than ‘you thought of me once for 10 seconds and thought I was plain.’) I think I want to stop obsessing about this but haven’t found a magic way to stop other than thinking I’m the shit even if others don’t at all

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