It's common for family members in closed family systems to spar with emotion games. This type of match is sometimes imperceptible because strikes do not leave visible marks. Moves exist in autopilot until doers recognize them. Honest conversations present recognition. When someone presents information that appears as a lie, recognition falters -- doers hide, deny. The denial controls the situation unless one or more parties practice balance.
Lundy Bancroft discusses denial in chapter three of Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men. Bancroft titled this chapter The Abusive Mentality, and I found that it applied to both men and women who practice controlling behavior. On pages 66 and 67 in the Berkley 2003 version, he writes,
There are some signs of manipulation by abusers that you can watch for:
The manipulative action that Bancroft describes continues until one or both parties ends it. Before an end is possible, a recognition must occur. Part of recognition is experience. This concept is illustrated in a great series named Scott and Bailey. It's about two female detectives in England and their relationships with each other and their families, friends, romantic partners, and colleagues. (The rest of this paragraph discusses story twists in the show. If you'd rather not read about how the story evolves, please skip to the next paragraph.) One of the characters gets romantically involved with someone who manipulates her. She's intelligent and in tune with her instincts, and yet the romantic partner deceives her and twists her life into a chaotic mess. Later in the series, one of the older characters advises this younger character, "You have good instincts. You need instinct and experience to make wise choices. You accumulate experience as you live" (paraphrased)... "You're good now. You'll be very good one day."
My recent conflict with my sister illustrates manipulation in action. Through many experiences, I've learned that she twists history and neglects sections of time. I explain my version of the truth to her, and she closes conversation with her emotions and denial.
Sometimes I feel frustrated when I think about what kind of sibling relationships I have versus the ones I want. The act of comparison tricks my mind like a lie tricks minds. Lies, comparisons, and manipulation generate from the same blobular viscous energy: insecurity.
Closed family systems thrive in insecure thought and action. Closed interactions contribute to an environment in which people feel disconnected, angry, sad, and/or anxious. People who grow up in families that practice with closed concepts of interaction do and say things that continue a cycle of insecurity until they recognize a need for change and practice with different methods.
Balance as fulfillment dissipates insecurity. Experience and instinct work together and form balance.
9/20/15 changed permalink from to june-28th-2015 to balance-as-fulfillment
I thought my sister and I were working out how to exist in a relationship. She then decided to tell me that I act exactly as I believe she acts. The emails flew. She took a stance that I won't accept anymore. When we were younger, she would lie and blame me for things that she did. In our adult lives, she once admitted to this when we were at a restaurant with my mom. Now, I perceive her words as lies yet again. She believes herself. I struggled with how much of her chaos to allow in my life. I thought about common cultural ideas around family -- they're always there for you, blood is thicker than water, no one knows you like family. I decided that those sayings don't apply in my life, and I wrote her the following letter.
I considered some of my words in my past few emails, and I apologize for utilizing "turd" and "asshole" in the context of a way in which you act. I don't intend to hurt your feelings when I feel angry. I could understand how my word choice might affect your emotion state. Instead of saying you act like a turd or asshole, I could have said that the ways in which you used your words made me feel insulted, humiliated, and unimportant.
It appears that we are in complete disagreement about our relationship and each other's behavior. You perceive me as a bully in the recent email chain and a selfish callous personality through the past 10 years. I perceive your behavior as emotionally manipulative and prone to gaslighting through our childhood and adult years. You perceive that I am playing a game with the visit. I perceive that you are playing a game with the visit.
One of the paradoxes in life is that balance includes awareness of our emotions so that our bodies live well and detachment from emotions so that our spirits live well. The idea is to both know and not exist in particular aspects of our beings. Spiritual traditions say this idea in various ways.
"Be in and not of the world," is the Bible's message.
The Bhagavad Gita says, "You do not want to fight and you must."
Hurt is one of the emotions that I wouldn't sign up to feel, and yet it guides me to deeper connection with that which I call All That Is.
Hm. Is there a part of me that believes hurt is the only way to deeper connection?
Well hello there.