Contributed by Noreen Sumpter, Personal Life Coach
I have no idea what I did. Help! — Diana C.
A: Manipulation is no way to behave.
Have you ever had a friend that just severs ties with you and you don’t know why? Well, I have too. This was a person that I had known for nearly 20 years. I considered our relationship to be one that was exceedingly valuable. It was a friendship filled with fun, laughter and travel. Even though there were significant differences in each of us, I accepted our friendship for what it was. I loved to talk; my friend was more of a listener. I loved to do and take action; my friend would rather leave things alone. I bought things that I loved; my friend bought things based on economical value. I am a communicator; she left things unsaid. I cleared things up and got on with the business of life; she kept malice. I know that no two people can ever be alike, not even siblings, so to expect any more of my friendship with her was based on clarity up until our friendship ended.
During my friendship, I never judged her; I accepted her and our differences. Then one day I called her and she did not return my call. It remained unreturned for one day, which turned into weeks, then turned into months, and now has turned into years. The fact that she didn’t return my call or contact me still concerns me. During that time I sent her emails, and I continued to call her worried that something was wrong. Never once did she pick up the phone and call me. This type of behavior is selfish and just plain wrong; it is called Manipulation.
Manipulation is a very sneaky and cowardly way of behaving.
It is a very disempowering way of being. The manipulator appears to have the upper hand because the person they are trying to victimize has no idea what is going on with them. It is a way of controlling situations where you clearly do not have any power. Powerful people state what is going on with them clearly and precisely, they do not feel the need to control or use manipulation as a way ending relationships.
Little did I know that my friend had malice toward me, and was using her manipulation to control this one sided situation. An adult who has strong boundaries and a good sense of esteem allows a person to know that they have been offended or had a boundary broken. A confident person will not have another person going around in confusion, not knowing what it is they have done. With regard to my friend, how was I ever to know what it was that I was supposed to have done to warrant being banished? I was never told.
For me, it is not only the loss of the relationship that was upsetting, sad and disappointing, it is also not knowing what it was that I had done; the incompletion of the end.
Today, six and a half years later, I am still in the place where I have no idea what I have done. This is the kind of non-communicational manipulation that destroys numerous people, leaving them afraid to develop relationships and trust people. Today, six and a half years later, I am not upset or disappointed for the loss of the relationship. I now know that these were my expectations not hers. So, I have given up my disillusionment.
Friends have disagreements.
It is important to share what it is you want or don’t want. It is important that you share with others when you feel that you have been offended in some way or if you have caused some kind of upset, to be able to share in a way that will help clear the upset and help you remain in a positive friendship. If the relationship should crash and burn, at least both parties will not be left in the dark. They can agree to disagree and part amicably.
Take responsibility for your actions; take responsibility for your upsets. People have feelings and even if you do not value the relationship, stop for a minute and know that it takes two to have a valuable relationship and maybe your friend values this relationship even if you do not. To be in communication within a friendship is learning to accept your friend for all they are and all they are not. These steps are the makings of great friendships.
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Noreen Sumpter, Personal Life Coach: works with High Achievers who feel trapped in their private life. They lack personal confidence and self-esteem. By helping them clear mental clutter and dissolve limiting beliefs, they can take deliberate steps, own their voice, speak their truth and have the freedom to live life their way. “Live Life Your Way”
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