Updated: Oct 11, 2022
Here is the uncomfortable truth that most people don't want to talk about: forms of manipulation can happen in good relationships. Yes, it's f*cking hard to straight out ask for what you wish to because rejection never feels good. Just saying the words 'I want' for a lot of people is paralysing. So, what do we do instead...
We often try and get want we want by disguising it as a suggestion, being helpful or polite, but if you pull it apart it's a form manipulation or what I like to call 'slipping the anchovies'. If you're not an anchovy lover, no matter hard you try, it's never going to be delicious - it's going to taste funky!!!
When manipulation happens in a platonic relationship/friendship….
A girlfriend (platonic) "offered" me some tickets to a festival, making it sound like she couldn't go and she wanted to "gift" them to me. I happened to be going interstate; therefore, it wasn't until I actually couldn't use them when I learned that those tickets she was offering also included one for herself. #slippingtheanchovies
So, the question was: "Do you want tickets to…?"
But in fact, the question that should have been: "Would you go to the festival with me?"
Why did she avoid the real question? Well, the reason is the actual truth: because if she had asked me to go with her, I would have said "no" – I enjoy her company in small doses but certainly not for a full-day event, but clearly, she wanted mine!
When manipulation happens in romantic relationships….
The most typical examples are when people say they do things "for someone" when in fact it's not for that person at all. Let me explain this critical point with real examples I have been shared:
Example 1) "Hayley, I bought toilet paper for you," says John.
Well, if that's the case then the next time John needs a poo, he would need to ask Hayley to use the toilet paper purchased for her... yes, this seems petty and maybe he's looking for some praise, but it's still a form of #slippingtheanchovies.
Example 2) "You need a massage because you've had a hard week."
Truthfully, someone can make a suggestion or an invitation, but how they react to their response is what comes into play here. If you want to give someone something for them - then ask what they want! And, unless you're touching a body without any agenda, it's still a form of #slippingtheanchovies
The raw truth: If you want to give someone something, ask them what they want and do EXACTLY that, not sort of what they asked for…. But EXACTLY what they asked for.
Example 3) Those who have watched Mad Men probably remember what happens when Betty decides to leave Don. (Note that many people would argue that Don and Betty's marriage doesn't have a real problem.)
When Betty says, "I'm leaving because I don't love you anymore", Don says, "You don't mean that. You are just tired today."
What Don says sounds so nice, but that's 100% manipulation because he doesn't want to be divorced.
Example 4) When someone speaks on your behalf "we had a good time", but maybe that's not entirely true. Yet the other person wants it to be true, so they say it anyway…. Grrr…
Is it easy to brings these things up? Hell no. Does it take practice? Yes.
If your body gives you a signal that someone is slipping the anchovies, notice it and handle it with compassion and clarity while being understanding that it's not always intentional.