How Women Manipulate: Essays Toward Gynology

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How Women Manipulate: Essays Toward Gynology


H E Relationships :: Sexuality :: email
posted Saturday, 16 July 2005
by David C. Morrow

Ideally, relationships are equal. Equality is fragile and fairly rare; a few persons like and respect each other enough to create it, but it's usually the result of defined roles and tradeoffs, i. e. "I'll bear and rear your children if you'll support and protect us." Most often people try to dominate others and every organization is to some extent hierarchical. The military, and to a lesser degree businesses are examples of designed hierarchies. To get a larger perspective, feudalism isn't the opposite of democracy since it balances statuses with mutual obligations. Absolute monarchies and totalitarian states are their respective opposites. In hierarchies and whenever standards break down people's normal self-interest causes a struggle for dominance, which is what's happening I our gender situation and why we're mainly concerned with informal interpersonal struggles.

People who try to control others are here called aggressors and those they attack victims. Aggressors use four methods we can term, in order of increasing subtlety, coercion, extortion, manipulation, and habituation. Our main interest is how women use manipulation and habituation, but the first two methods are also important and are easier to understand.

With few exceptions only governments can use coercion, which here means injuring and killing victims, and they use it to take advantage of weaker states as well as for internal regulation. Criminals use it for profit, sex, fun, and such attendant purposes as eliminating witnesses. Coercion usually brings quick results. Most victims try to minimize their pain and few witnesses will risk victimization. Unless totally helpless, victims must be quickly overcome so they won't escape or harm the aggressor, and may be so badly damaged they become useless except as entertainment or examples. Victims will fight back if enough are attacked or even threatened often enough, especially by coercion not used according to accepted rules or if the aggressor has underestimated them.

Despite the usual corruption the United States' built in limits to government coercion work fairly well except in certain areas. The IRS is a familiar example. Another is psychiatrists, who can not only impose stigmatizing labels but imprison, drug, shock, and operate on persons whether or not they actually need it. A tendency not controlled in many societies, though the Communists' struggles against "cults of personality" seems to have been an attempt, is for aggressors to become heroes. Chivalry is our prime example. Women are generally not punished for violence and feminists have worked to extend the privilege. Now women can not only cut out and kill men's unborn children but maim and murder men on the basis of "date rape" and "recovered memories."

Extortion is the use of threat. It may be set up by coercion but is often indirect, as when the aggressor convinces victims that obedience is the way to avoid disease, fear, loneliness, or the like. The IRS is again an example; though it can prosecute, it usually relies on the desire to avoid threats and repetitions of bureaucratic procedures. Employers use fear of losing home, family, and future not only to get people to work and follow rules but to harass them for fun. Extortion can be a custom. Men can be forced into the military by threats of prison and death while women can't.

Since it's not as immediately destructive as coercion, extortion can be long lasting. It can accelerate into violence if the victim despairs or gains an advantage; the famous Charles Atlas ads are a pop culture depiction of this. A victim's resources may be consumed, as when a protection racket bankrupts a "client" or insurance rates rise too high to be affordable. An aggressor may become dependent on the victim like the pampered elite unable to survive without servants.

Manipulation and habituation form a different category of control methods because they aren't directly based on the survival instinct. Manipulation, instead, uses the social and individual motives that psychologist Abraham Maslow called "higher needs" and claimed came to the fore when a person was safe and healthy. This is what gives manipulation its peculiar advantage.

Manipulation has a single basis to which six strategies are applied, usually in various combinations. Fundamental, most important and oddly difficult to grasp, is that it uses what people want, not what they need. People will simply take what they need and if they are threatened their survival instinct will eventually take over even if futile or suicidal, but most will play by the rules to get what they want and only try harder if told they can't have it. This is why luxuries, which are useless or at least superfluous, are expensive and necessities cheap, and why few people will steal or kill to marry or social climb or get rich, which makes crime news and manipulation relatively safe.

Since it uses victims' personal motives and traits, manipulation often appears to them as well as to others to be their voluntary self-serving activity rather than an aggressor's attack. Manipulation doesn't necessarily consume victims' strength and resources, thus allowing them to be ridden and cheated for decades of otherwise productive lives. There's no inbuilt defense since being manipulated, like having a neurosis, is actually a form of self-actualization that doesn't work as intended. Overcoming manipulation, often even becoming aware of it, therefore requires hard and likely embarrassing work and defense against it tends to look like pettiness or ingratitude if not an unwarranted attack on an innocent person or helpful friend.

Likely the most difficult to see of the six strategies is use of victims' consistencies and repetitions. Most activities, however complex, from driving to work to distinctive mannerisms are habitual and unconscious. Manipulators interfere with habits to cause anger or anxiety and accommodate them to arouse feelings of security and companionship. Since people are reluctant to discuss habits even if aware of them, and look silly accusing someone of interfering with or imitating them, they can for example be easily hurt while made to appear ill tempered via habit blocking. Institutions establish routines not only for efficiency, but to create and so control such unconscious behavior.

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