Saturday, November 12, 2011

Feminine Wiles or Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire?

So today, I was happily meandering along, reading some funny articles, enjoying a cup of coffee…and it hit me. Came right out of left field and smacked me right between the eyes. Oh reality; how I loathe thee sometimes. And during my happy coffee/sunshine time? The nerve.  Now I’m all pensive and crap.

This forehead-smacking piece of reality came in the form of an article entitled, The Truth about Deception. Hmm, thought I…juicy…let’s read!  The subtitle made me feel even bolder, ‘How manipulation sabotages marriage”.  Sadly, we all seem to know a couple who is facing this dilemma, and having some friends in mind I started to read the article, hoping I could find some wonderful bit of info to pass on to them. HA!  As I began reading, my Spidey senses started tingling- but. I. ignored. them.  For the love of pete, people-NEVER, ever ignore those Spidey tingles!  But, I digress; on to the rest…

The main gist of the article, which can he found here, is respect.  I was expecting something about lies and affairs, not something that would resonate with me personally.  The author talks about her best friend, and as teens, they were going out and put blue eye shadow on.  Her friend’s dad looked at them and angrily said, "You two look like a couple of peacocks. Go wipe that blue off your eyes.”  So off they ran into the bedroom, only to have her friend’s mom come in and say, "Wait a few minutes until I get Dad and then go on.”  Cool mom, huh?  She understands the needs of girly things, and will go talk to good ol’ dad and calm him down-maybe even soften his views a bit…and the girls got to go out like they wanted to…all is good in the universe.  But no.  The dad had no idea that they went out still wearing the eye shadow-mom did not discuss it with him; she merely distracted him so the girls could sneak out.  “We paused at the threshold until we heard the back door squeak open and rattle closed. Then we scurried out the front door. Ella's dad had no idea we went out that night looking like peacocks. Ella's dad had no idea about many things.”

Now here is the part that sucker punched me:

Ella's dad seemed silly and powerless to me. Now years later, I understand this man's wife and daughters feared him but didn't respect him, so they pushed him out of the family's inner circle to get their way.”

What got to me was, how many times do we do that to another person, even subconsciously because it’s simply easier than a long discussion or argument?  This applies to everyone, not just women, and not just married people…any relationship is open to this pitfall.  I think we tend to rationalize things in order to get our way under the guise of, ‘it’s better than an argument’, or ‘I don’t have the energy to deal with their reaction’.  When you get past the good-intentioned reasons for manipulating a situation, it usually comes down to this,-you were dishonest, you lied.  Criminal profilers may be excused from this in their line of work, but the rest of us aint got no excuse-unless you married a serial killer or hang with sociopaths…in those cases, I suggest you get professional help right now.  Seriously.

This next excerpt also made me swear under my breath:

“When I lie, I show disrespect and arrogance. And when I deceive my husband, I sabotage my relationship with him. If I pretend with him, if I'm guarded or misleading, if I don't give him the chance to really know me, I refuse to really know him. He becomes a stranger when I hold him at arm's length and manipulate him to get what I want. If I'm not open with him, if I don't honor him as an equal, I rob him of his value and force him from my inner circle. If I don't trust him with the truth, I isolate him by building a wall between us.”

In big or small ways, I think many of us can relate to this as well.  There are things that I will not share with my hubby easily, if at all.  Not because he’s a jerk…because, well, obviously I am.  I am guarded when I talk about my MS because I know that he just can’t understand all the’ invisibleness’ of the disease (hell, even I can’t).  I know he is a fixer, and there is no fixing this…so, I slowly, cautiously, show my vulnerability…but as soon as it becomes too much for him (he gets frustrated and impatient) I shut the hell up and say, ‘Don’t worry, it’s just the MS picking on my brain, it will stop soon.  La-la-la.’ …Like it’s some kind of freaking headache…now that he understands…any more from me sounds like whining and droning to him…see the nasty circle here?  WHY DID I IGNORE MY SPIDEY SENSES!? 

I guess the important question is:  do we manipulate to escape giving respect to those we love because we are too lazy to work through things?  

The author of the article that started my brain churning focuses on women using their ‘feminine wiles’ to get their way, and some people have responded to her article with harsh criticism.  She is simply saying it like it is, as a Christian woman trying her best to live how God wants.  Even if this is not your path, you can still relate to her on a basic human level-you don’t even have to be a woman or married, just a person trying to get along the best they can without causing others grief.  

Now I have to go nuke my coffee, and get all happy, happy, sunshine, sunshine again, geesh! {cue the theme song to Spider man Cartoon}