Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Brave New World

“Maybe you could talk to him,” my hair stylist was saying. “He can say no to his son, but maybe if you ask him really sweetly, his heart will melt and he won't be able to say no to you.”

The target of this advice was my stylist’s young assistant, who was upset because her father-in-law didn’t want to wear a tux for her wedding.

They discussed this over hand-held hair dryers while standing on either side of me, taking turns tugging at me by the hair with circular hairbrushes.

I kept quiet.

“Don’t you think that would work, Kathy?” my stylist asked.

The question startled me. I had been thinking about the meeting I had attended recently on the topic of manipulation. How before the meeting, I had hardly given the subject any thought. And how since then I seemed to see it everywhere.

I thought for a minute, wondering what I should say. Finally, I took a deep breath and told her I’d stopped trying to get people to do what I wanted them to.

“I’m a lot happier when I accept people and things as they are,” I said.

No one said anything else for what seemed like a very long time.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve lived too long in a strange and foreign land, and returned with customs that no one here can quite comprehend.

But having caught a glimpse of the other side, I find there’s no going back.


  1. Great, you spoke your truth and let it go.

  2. Yes. I'm going through a similar experience with neighbors right now. I know I would have been right in there, meddling and obsessing, 5 years ago. It IS a lot like coming home after traveling abroad, and noticing things about my home country that I had never observed before. Thanks for that insight. :)

  3. Glad Kathy you were able to share and get it out in the open dear one. Blessings.

  4. When people are in the hell bent drivers seat of life they only understand they have to find ways to manipulate others to do what they want done, no matter what other want. I can so understand how you feel when you say "Sometimes I feel like I’ve lived too long in a strange and foreign land, and returned with customs that no one here can quite comprehend." That is a great way to put it.

  5. LOL..I often hear recovery people say: Earth people just don't understand us....

    Good for you, speaking your truth.

  6. I just love your reply. It is true that I feel when I am around people who are in the problem with no solutions in sight. I try to be the hand of Alanon and sometimes that means keeping my mouth shut or sharing like you did, brief and honest. I grateful to have tools these days.


  7. I loved this - I've had that experience many times. It was very uncomfortable at first; now I will stop and weigh whether I'm willing to sit through the looks of astonishment and the long silence.
    If not, I just say, "Don't ask me!"

  8. This cracked me up!

    When I quit gossiping at work, it took my co workers awhile to adjust. Whenever they wanted me to be "on their side" I would just say "hmmm" or "I don't know what to say". People are totally thrown off when you do that...LOL

  9. oh kathy! this post is very synchronous for me today. thank you for writing about manipulation. i have a lot of growing to do, especially regarding detecting when i'm being manipulated. i tend to get wrapped up easily sometimes. i'm very grateful for you and your writings here and i'm so glad i understand the language you speak! this language of letting go :)

  10. me too.. me too.. me too...

    I personally think everyone would benefit with a 12 Step Program.

  11. Whoa. I have this experience all the time -not the tux thing -but having a very different and unpopular perspective on something because of the journey I'm on.

    Sometimes what I perceive to be wisdom only upsets my family/friends.

    I never know when I should speak up or smile and nod.

    Great post!

  12. The controller prayer, I love it...

  13. accepting life on life's terms...acceptance has been the hardest for me....but the most freeing. Stay strong ok. Sarah

  14. This resonates with me to my very core. I have often felt like a foreigner since beginning this journey. It is wonderful to read similar experience.

    I caught myself asking my daughter to ask her Dad if we could go out to eat. He rarely tells her NO. I checked myself on that issue. Manipulation creeps in through subtle, cute ways. I recognized I was teaching my daughter the craftiness...OH HOW WRETCHED I FELT.

    Thanks as always!!!

  15. This post has helped me to stop and think!!