Saturday, January 24, 2015

Manipulative Behaviour

When someone, with an ulterior motive, tricks you into believing something, usually to serve their own purpose.

I think this one trait that I can live without. This also is one of those behaviors that I think people are born with. One would really have to train too much to take advantage of others, especially if one has a conscience.

I have met manipulative people in my life - and oh my God! I so wish I had not! They drained me emotionally, mentally and physically. I felt sick for years after meeting such people. I still have such people in my life. They are very hard to work with and talk to.  And they make me physically sick. I get stressed out just protecting myself from their manipulative claws.

Nothing that comes out of the mouths of these people is reliable or trustworthy. It is so tiring to try and figure out what is real and what is fake that after a while I just give up - nothing is real. Which means, what is the point of talking to such people? I don't know when they are speaking the truth and when they are trying to manipulate me into doing something that will benefit them.

What are the traits I have found of manipulative people:
  • They are very charming and have a wonderful personality - I always think - Wow! this person is amazing!! What a personality!
  • They can lie so smoothly that I cannot tell the difference between their truth and fib.
  • They make me feel guilty if I don't agree with them or do as they want me to.
  • They will bring moral and the "right thing to do" issue if I disagree with them (of course their own motives are not being questioned here!!)
  • They will never do anything for me - they are too busy with their own agenda.
My advice to anyone in such relationship is to try to recognize it sooner than later. Although it is hard, but some things start become obvious quite soon. The problem is that most of us, myself included, think:
  • people cannot be like this, 
  • they would not do this to me, 
  • I am different - this person cares about me (not realizing that such care is self-serving)
  • I am smart enough to handle this kind of person - when the time comes I will back off, protect myself. But reality is - I got in too deep before I could get out.
So really - the closer one gets the harder one falls. It hits you one day and you realize- "Oh my God! I meant nothing to this person. All that sweet talk and behavior was just a sham!" And when I think back and analyze what happened, there was always something that such manipulative people wanted from me. They just played with my emotions and got what they wanted, without giving a second thought to how I would feel. They can easily walk away from such relationships as they did not have much invested to begin with - they always knew what they wanted and it was not me or my happiness.

I have seen my own family and friends get manipulated by another. It was so sad to see how one of them was speaking the tone and behaving exactly how the manipulator would. It was so obvious. And there was nothing I could do, just watch how one was the puppet and the other the puppet master - pulling the strings. Of course the puppet master holds the strings as long as they can. They have strength in numbers, they get a second voice to support their own distorted one. The poor puppet does not realize what is happening.

It is hard to break free of such manipulative people - but I have! There is a lot of grief involved. I had to be ready to give up that relationship for good. This takes a lot of strength, self confidence and independence.  There was definitely a sense of loss of a relationship for me; something that could have been pure and beautiful was now no more. Who knows if the manipulator misses the relationship? They are very focused on their targets that its possible they don't.

Despite my breaking free of the manipulators, they still try to hurt me with guilt or make me lose my cool by saying emotional things. And each and every time it takes a great strength for me to stand up for myself, and say to myself, "NO MORE! I will not not get manipulated by this person again."

Monday, January 19, 2015

Actions Speak Louder than Words

I have always been a believer that you should let your actions speak for you. You can think all you want, but until you manifest them into actions - who knows what you are thinking? And who knows how long you will keep thinking? :-)

Life is short - you have to do everything in a given amount of time. The sooner you start acting on your thoughts the better. Once the time is gone then you can do or say whatever, it is not going to matter anymore. Timing of that action is as important as the action itself.  If someone needs a doctor now - whats the point of bringing the doctor tomorrow?

I know my actions will not betray me. Sometimes I have to do things under pressure or because of obligation, but most times I am doing something for someone because I want to, because I care for them or I have feelings for them. For me my words are my actions. Once I say I will do something for someone - I do it. Its a promise. Especially if I know that my action is important to them - I will not back off.  There have been very few people I have found who keep their word. Most people will back out at the last minute or say all sorts of things but have no intention of following through.

There is so much deception in the world that sometimes even actions are not all that honest. People have ulterior motive for doing things for other people.

The biggest aspect about an action is that it is visible. One can see it happening (unlike thoughts...who knows what you are thinking? and words...who knows if you are lying?) The second key thing is that a number of these actions are expected of people! I have a whole other blog on expectations - so I will not repeat it here. But simply said, even a mother expects from her children in return for all the pain she went through. So all other relationships compared to between mother and child are just fragile.

Actions are expected of the educated person. If someone is illiterate, they have a valid excuse to not know about certain behaviors (although I have seen that sometimes the most affectionate people are the poorest ones! I think all they have to give is love.) But an educated person not doing what he or she should be doing is borderline criminal.

Actions and expectations go hand in hand. As a father your expectation is to take care of your children, make sure they are well provided for and happy. As a friend your expectation is to be there for your friend.  Anyone can be there during happy times, but are you there during the tough ones? (I have written many times on friendship).

It is very hard to trust someone when they keep saying they will do something but don't; or pretend to be friends or care for you, but at the first moment of need - they are gone. The saddest part of all is that no matter if they are there for me or not, they still expect that I should be there for them. And yes - personal experience - I have been lectured about "what I should be doing regardless" or "what kind of a friend are you?" It is also hard to reason with such people because their minds are made up. They are very clear in their justifications. They will have all these grandiose expectations from others - BUT - when it comes to them - all bets are off! And suddenly I find myself standing alone.

Sometimes I don't even have to DO anything - my just being there for someone is the biggest action of all. My presence is enough for someone to know that I care for them and that I support them. A call, an email - some thoughtfulness is also an action of my presence in their life. Most people don't know how to be present for someone also.

Acting on time, doing the right thing, meeting people's expectations - these are the traits of a responsible person.

But when I routinely find myself standing by myself, then I wonder if others even recognized or acknowledged what I did for them. (I have written a blog on acknowledgement also!) All my being present, my listening, my doing things for them was all for nothing. My actions were meaningless.

I would suggest to anyone who wants to work on maintaining relationships that you act on your positive feelings, do good for people and act on time. Once that time is gone its gone....its never coming back.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Debt from friends - the most evil thing

Search for debt quotes and you will find many. Some are funny some teaching the life lessons, but never one saying that debt is of any good to anyone. Debt is not good and one should avoid it at all costs. One should learn to live within one's means as much as possible. Of course there are circumstances where one would need money or things but that debt should be taken care of as soon as possible.

I had never been in debt until I bought my house five years ago. Now I have a debt for few years...but of course I have my house also!

I have never understood how people ask for money. I have lived with very limited money for most part of my life. Until I was 16, I did not really need to have money, my parents were fulfilling all my basic needs. I did not have interests or hobbies or passions that required me to ever ask for any money. I was content with what I had - I never had any "needs".

When I was in India from 16-20 years of age, 2 years in the hostel and 2 years at home with my aunt and uncle. All my fees was paid for by my parents. I would get a limited amount of cash each month, which I would use for the cafeteria fees, or transportation, both of which sucked up all the money I had. I was always able to get all my books and study items. I would have very little left over for maybe a nail polish bottle or some junk food :-)

But during all these four years I never borrowed any money....AND I never loaned any money to anyone either (in the hostel there were a few girls who were in the bad habit of asking for money!)

Things did not get much better in Ph.D. I got a steady paycheck for four years as part of my teaching assistant-ship. I was living with my brother and had rented an apartment. My brother was also the money manager, I had no worries to pay rent or bills. We were not living in luxury, but slowly we managed to get all that we needed. I don't think we had much savings!

And then I got my first job and moved out on my own! Oh what a shock that first year was for me. I had to maintain my bank balance and pay all the bills, twice or thrice my check bounced! Damn! I ended up buying furniture that I later could not get rid of when I had to move from Buffalo. That was my learning experience - and I was 25 years old. I had to move back in with my brother. He helped me store all my things in a storage and paid for it. And I thought to myself - NEVER AGAIN!!

I got my second job in Vancouver, Canada. It was not high paying, but my frugality was at a high level. I saved money like anything! I did not have much belongings and did not care to have much either. I wanted to make sure that when I was moving back to USA, I would have enough money to start on my own.

Once I started my permanent job in Kansas City I was all set. My pay was not high, but I had vowed to myself that I would NEVER borrow money, never owe anyone anything. So I just saved saved and saved. There is no doubt that I would need help - the non financial kind - which I could only return with my love and by being a loyal friend. I have always been there for my friends.

The few months that I was in financial trouble and without a job, I realized what it was like not to have money. A feeling of helplessness sets in. But it also taught me the importance of financial management. It also taught me to live within my means. I always live within my means. Only now - after working for so many years, I feel that I am comfortable enough to help other people in need. But I still don't loan money to friends - I think money breaks friendships.

I have loaned money to family - and that is different. But loaning money to friends has been out of question - until recently. I could not refuse someone. I don't think they were my friend or even cared about me, but I cared about them, so I loaned them money. expected, things have gone south from there. It has been really tough for me. (And that is why I don't give money to anyone except family).

I don't know how people ask me for money when they don't even care about me. Actually, I don't know how people ask for money from friends - period. I never would - and I hope I never have to. I would live within my means as much as I can. But of course I can never presume what other people's lives and tribulations are that cause them to ask for money.

Debt is an evil thing. The very short time I felt I was under debt was the worst for me. Maybe people think it is normal to ask people for money - but for me it is just not a good philosophy. Banks are for asking for loans - not friends.

A debt free life is the happy life!