A manipulator will use everything they know about you – your dreams, ambitions and talents – to get you to do what they want, all the while making it seem like they are helping you work on the things you want. But it’s not just external forces at work. How capable are you of manipulating you?
Bridget Jones knew how to do it. Helen Fielding’s iconic character was the master of self-manipulation. On finding out she had gained 3lbs, Bridget phones a friend who suggests that she writes down everything she ate. So Bridget scribbles down a list, together with a commentary on the manipulative negotiations she uses to sabotage her own weight loss.
Hot cross bun (Scarsdale Diet – slight variation on specified piece of wholemeal toast)
Mars bar (Scarsdale Diet – slight variation on specified half grapefruit)
Two bananas, two pears (switched to F-plan as starving and cannot far Scarsdale carrot snacks)
Carton orange juice (Anti-Cellulite Raw Food Diet)
Jacket potato (Scarsdale Vegetarian Diet) and hummus (Hay Diet – fine with jacket spuds as all starch and breakfast and snack were alkaline-forming with exception of hot cross bun and Mars, minor aberration)
Four glasses of win, fish and chips (Scarsdale Diet and also Hay Diet – protein-forming)
Portion tiramisu, peppermint Aero (pissed)
Bridget’s negotiations with herself are cleverly written and so insightful, both funny and sad. We all play the manipulation game with ourselves, taking on different roles. Why do we do this? Because a manipulator avoids responsibility for their own conduct by blaming others for causing it. So one of the pay-offs for manipulating yourself is that you don’t have to take responsibility for something you later regret.
But no-one is making you act on what your unhelpful inner voice is telling you. If your inner voice is pushing you into ‘having it now’, ask yourself what the result will be – will it benefit or harm you? A firm and simple no can be your best defence. You don’t need to make excuses to yourself.