Thursday, September 15, 2011


M and A, headbanging while telling a me a funny story (on the island last week)
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When I was younger, not even a kid but like, ten years ago I believed in all kinds of things that I now know are nonsense. For example, I believed in the power of hypnosis and hoped that one day a trained hypnotist would be able to retrieve some of my lost memories, such as early childhood (which was important to me because my place of residence had changed very frequently) or alcohol related black-outs (particularly that time at Noam's sixteenth birthday) or the memory of being flung around like a puppet inside a car that spun out of control until it hit a tree and telephone poll and fell apart with us inside it. I also believed that loyalty equalled exclusivity, which I don't anymore, because now I know that honesty trumps all other virtues. I believed in "forever" and the idea that regardless of my death I would continue to exist and that somehow I would still matter. I believed that there are only two sides to everything and that I had to pick one. That desire is something to be ashamed of, that social class and money matter, that "best friends" means for life, that I need to work towards a steady routine in order to have a proper life, that guilt means that I actually did something bad. When I was in high-school two very close friends of mine had had a falling out and for months tortured and guilt tripped me when I was inclined to spend more time with one than the other. In retrospect it sounds like a nice situation, to be wanted and needed, but in reality it was months and months of hell. I felt guilty even though I knew rationally that there was no reason for it. I didn't do anything wrong except befriend two people who got into a stupid fight. This type of situation, the guilt trip, is probably the best way to get to me. But it's also the best way to push me away once I realize that it's only a game and that I'm actually in the right.

Last night before bed I read this passage that blew my mind, it was about manipulation between friends. In the book, one of the characters swayed a difficult social situation in everyone's favour using kindness and love toward the two people resisting, who she knew haven't had much affection in their lives. She called it "Love Light", which immediately made me think of Romy (who signs her emails that way), but also made so so much sense. I mean, is manipulation always that bad? No way. I deal with difficult interpersonal situations by forcing myself to get over the anger and try to be kind to the other person because then you can actually have a dialogue rather than a fight. Still, it's manipulative because the other person doesn't expect it. The easiest method of disarming is through friendliness and openness. And no, it doesn't make you a pushover. It makes you the stronger person. I know it sounds like complete bullshit but try it once and you'll see, it works. I wish I knew this in highschool, life could have been much easier had I not been so defensive all the time.

BTW the girl in the book used her kindness to convince two people to be in a pornographic film. But it's okay because in the end everyone was cool with it so don't worry about her motives!

Happy Fall

3 comments:

Alicia said...

Yes, kindness for manipulation, I use it. Often because it's a means to an end I want most (which can usually be defined as not wanting to feel uncomfortable/not wanting someone else to feel uncomfortable, even if they've done something to warrant discomfort). I think this trait bothers some of the people I know because I tend to be (what they see as) overly forgiving and what I sometimes identify as being overly conciliatory. But I hate feeling guilty or making someone else feel guilty and if I can control a situation in a manner favorable to me through kindness and forgiveness, I prefer to do that. I think some people see me as a pushover, I see myself as manipulative (in that non-negative way I explained on your comment earlier).

marla said...

This is a lovely story. I have applied for a Canadian work visa, this is the first step. Its so warm here in Sydney i might go to the beach this weekend. I would like to ride my bike but there are a lot of hills in this city, especially towards the coast and I don't have gears.

P said...

Far from being bullshit, disarming through kindness is so difficult most people will never be able to perform it.