Helplessness as Manipulation

Helplessness as Manipulation

Some people act helpless in an attempt to manipulate others. Detrimental Caretakers fall for helplessness every time. DC’ers are trusting, helpful and giving, as well as competent.

Manipulation is the process of controlling or playing upon another by artful, unfair or insidious means, especially to one’s own advantage. I believe people can be manipulative without even knowing it themselves. This is especially true for those who act helpless.

“I Can’t SEE”

My girlfriend, Colleen, asked her husband {let’s call him Paul} to take the 11 pm feeding one night. The baby was 3 months old. Colleen had been nursing him and she needed a break. Before going to sleep, she asked if Paul was OK with taking the late shift.

“I got it,” he said and flashed her his ‘I’m not an idiot’ eye roll. Little Sam started to yowl just before midnight. Colleen waited a minute or so before nudging her husband. “Honey, baby’s up. He needs you.” {Insert loud baby howls here.}

“I got it,” Paul grumps. Yet, he is still lying there. The baby wails. She rustles the covers and wakes her husband from dozing. “Honey … the baby.”

Paul slowly gets up. He is in the hall, taking a loooong time. Baby is still crying.

“I can’t see, Colleen. It is so dark out here.” Colleen’s adrenaline pumps and she is pissed. She flies out of bed. Into the hallway she goes. “It is so dark … Where is the light?” her husband asks again.

Colleen flips on the light. Her husband says, “Thanks. I got it, babe.” But by now she is wide awake and annoyed. Her first thought is, “It is probably better if I just do it myself from here on out!”

Seeing Better

Paul has a master’s degree and is a successful businessman. He is very smart. Did he really not know how to turn on a light?

Could Paul have manipulated Colleen through his actions?

Have you ever experienced situations where others don’t try or act helpless and you end up completing the task?

For the record, I don’t believe Paul for a second was thinking about how to manipulate Colleen or how to shirk his responsibilities that night.

Having a Conversation

That said, a manipulator can operate with ease when he/she has a Detrimental Caregiver at his service. Colleen chose to have a hard conversation with Paul in the light of day about her expectations … how she needed to be able to count on her husband to handle things.

Resting Better

The next time it was Paul’s turn to take the late-night feeding, Colleen felt the relief of having help … she rested better.

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One thought on “Helplessness as Manipulation

  1. I’ve been dealing with the helplessness as manipulation tactic on a daily basis this past week at work. The code with my coworkers is “FM Radio.” (only 4 other people know the code!) If I say that someone was listening to FM Radio it’s code for him/her being a fu*#in’ moron. In most cases this involves me asking someone a question to follow up on something that needed to get done, and when the person realizes they didn’t do it, they start crying. Nice. I admit my heart is in the initial stages of breaking, but it’s due to the pathetic nature of this very primary manipulation tactic. Seriously, if you want to manipulate me, you better put some real effort forth. Totally blow my mind to the point that I don’t know what hit me. The tears don’t work baby!

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