I called my aunt and frantically explained to her how I just could not understand someone else’s behavior. I was trying to figure them out so that I could (a) get them to act the way I wanted them to act and (b) get them to act the way I wanted them to act. Yes, you read that right, that was my only real motivation in understanding the person. I simply wanted to control the individual. I mean I wanted them to act according to the way I felt they should, because they were frustrating me to no end on how they just weren’t doing what I believed they needed to!
After explaining my predicament, my aunt informed me that I was out of control. I thought to myself clearly she doesn’t understand that the person who was giving me grief was the problem, because for some reason she was telling me that I was out of control. She went on to inform me that I had lost control of myself. I really didn’t understand what she meant. Here I was explaining to her as hard as I could how someone was working my nerves by what I perceived to be strange behavior and there she was telling me that I was out of control!
My Aunt said, “Renata you have to stay in control of you, to be in control of the situation.” and I had no clue what she meant. I mean it sounded good but I just kept thinking “yeah well I am the normal person and the person I am telling you about is the one who needs to learn control.” so I hung up the phone with her not quite understanding what she meant. Yet, the words she spoke planted a seed in me that never stopped growing. It is clearer to me now what she was telling me and while I have definitely not mastered it, I want to share what I have begun learning with you.
See, I was so busy trying to control someone else’s behavior that I was not controlling my own, I was reacting to them. I was trying to stay ahead of them and find a way to manipulate them into acting in a way that I deemed to be correctly. In essence I was playing a game I could not win. At some point we all need to learn that the only person we can control is ourselves. Anytime you try to control another person you are being manipulative. Being manipulative is a character trait I really don’t want going anywhere beside my name. I decided I don’t want anyone manipulating me and so it was high time I learned to stop manipulating others.
But that was the thing, I didn’t recognize I was being manipulative. I mean think about it, we start the art of manipulation pretty young. Even a kid knows if they cry and stick their bottom lip out they might be able to get their way. But I have learned that when you behave in a way to make others act the way you want them to, you are indeed being manipulative. Sadly, my truth is I was indeed being manipulative and I was wrong for that.
Here are some examples of how I was losing control of me while trying to control others via manipulation:
- I am not going to talk to them until they come around to my way of thinking.
- I am not going to do “x” until they do “y”.
- I will let that text message sit there for a few hours before I respond, so they will know I am mad and start acting like I want them to.
- I am going to say “such and such” to make them feel like “so and so”.
- I will post this on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram and when they see it they will feel like I want them to feel and change their behavior.
See before, I spent some time thinking about being in control of me I didn’t realize all of that all of that behavior was really me reacting to and giving someone else control of me. It was essentially my way of trying to make someone feel something so that they would in turn do what I wanted them to. It was me wasting energy trying to force someone to feel and act how I wanted them to.
Here are some examples of how I began remaining in control of myself by not reacting to others behavior
- I respect that they think differently than me. If I do not speak to them, it isn’t to hurt them or be passive aggressive it is because I truly do not have time/and or a desire to engage in a conversation with them.
- I recognize that if they do not want to give me “y” that is their right. I have a choice I can give “y” to myself, live without “y”, or get “y” from someone else who wants to give “y” to me freely.
- If I delay a response to a text message or do not take a call it is because I am busy, do not know what to say at the time, or did not see the point in responding. My lack of response was not a reaction to make anyone feel or think anything it was a sincere action with a pure motivation.
- When I say something to someone it is because I feel it in my heart to say it. I don’t try say things to make someone like me, make them behave accordingly and or to hurt their feelings. I say things because I genuinely mean it from my heart.
- Anything I post will be because I simply find it interesting. I will not be trying to send subliminal messages to anyone.
I am still working to remain in control of me and to not waste any energy on trying to be in control of another individual. It has been a freeing experience. I don’t spend countless hours trying to understand other people’s behavior, because I am too busy trying to improve my own. If someone doesn’t treat me like I want to be treated, I can simply take control by removing myself from the situation. When someone doesn’t act like I want them to I do not see it as a reflection of me but simply a reflection of them. My value and worth is not dictated by how they treat me. Do I still slip into behaviors that I am not proud of? – Yes I do. But I have made great strides to remove impure motives while interacting with the people I come into contact with. I have noticed that I am now having healthier interactions with others. They have a right to act however they choose, and I respect that. It is not my job to change them, I am only responsible for my behavior.
If you cannot love another person for who they are, the way they are then leave them alone. If you don’t like being manipulated, don’t do it to others. It is much better to have someone do things for you because they want to, rather than because you manipulated them. Love yourself enough to lose control of them so you can gain control of you. Because honestly, you never really had control of them any way.
“If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don’t, they never were.” – Kahlil Gibran
© Renata Pittman and RenataNicole, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.