While flipping through the channels, I caught that reality tv show where married celebrities go and stay in a house and seek counsel to save their marriage. I believe it's called Marriage Boot Camp.
While watching the conclusion of an episode, I caught the spoiler for the next episode. I witnessed Memphis lashing out at Toya agressively. Now granted I understand that I was to draw conclusions from what I saw, to encourage me to watch the next episode, but that snippet is what inspired this post.
Now, before I knew that Memphis and Toya would be on Marriage Boot Camp, I suspected that their relationship would encounter some trouble, for a few reasons, 1) they were too open with their relationship (being in media) 2) everyone encounters challenges and they are not exempt 3) K. Michelle spoke on her history with Memphis which showed a side of him that no one had suspected.
So when I witnessed the conversation with K. Michelle and Rasheeda regarding K. Michelle's history with Memphis, what stuck out most to me is that we, women, are so quick to judge another woman, when we feel like "her story" (key word in that is her) does not align with what we see, or what we know to be true.
But why is it so easy for us, as women, to look at another woman and sayyou're lying? Instead of understanding that most often we view perceptions, or the way that emotional impact is articulated, as an invitation to be judgmental, when it's certainly not. What we should do instead is be an ear and listen, without intent to judge.
So with hopes of helping other women keep themselves for allowing men to manipulate them and understanding that something as simple as denying another woman's story can allow you to be manipulated...
Here are 6 ways to keep yourself from being susceptible to manipulation!
1)Learn to recognize the signs! All of them!
A classic mistake that most women make is listening ONLY to what their man says, without considering that he may be keeping pieces of his character, behavior and/or past from her, in order to manipulate her into believe he is the man she wants and needs.
And sometimes we, women, allow ourselves to become naive in order for us to prove to a man that we have his back, and that we are ride or die at all cost. Which ultimately makes it easier for us to be susceptible to manipulation, especially because we will not be too willing to heed the warning signs.
For example, you can tell from Rasheeda's response to K. Michelle's story, that she probably encouraged Toya not to listen. Therefore Rasheeda discredited K. Michelle's story and subsequently denied Toya the ability to heed the warning signs and learn from K. Michelle's mistakes.
What should have occured is that Rasheeda should have been open to listening to K. Michelle's story and took the information back to Toya as an FYI. Toya should have, in turn, took the information in and sat on it, for a rainy day. And when she started to see the signs in Memphis' character and behavior that K. Michelle spoke on, it would have made it easy for her to identify not only if the information she received was true, but to flag the characteristics and behavior that she needs to be prepared to deal with.
We have to remember that God sends us messages and signs through people we least expect, and often times don't even like or want apart of our lives. The message is most often not only forgiveness, but acceptance. We have to be willing to accept the differences in our pasts, present and futures in order to truly forgive. When you accept and forgive, you start to see people as assets and accept their role in your life, whether the lesson is positive or negative. There is always a valuable lesson to learn.
2) Don't be too open!
We all know that men display different characteristics with the women that they are with. Controlling men often try to determine first the "how" and "what", with respect to the best way to control the woman they are with.
Not all men control through fear and anger, some control through the emotion of loss. So if you allow your man to know how much you are willing to sacrifice for love, you are showing him how to manipulate your love. You are giving him the what and the how, making yourself highly susceptible, providing him with exactly what he needs to manipulate you.
Yes number 3 is simple. Think for yourself. When you start to rely to heavily on your man and his thoughts you lose your voice, and after awhile it's either taken from you or ignored. So the fastest way to becoming manipulated is being the woman who can't make independent decisions.
Now I am by no means saying don't talk to your partner before making a large purchase. But what I mean is this, when you ask your partner every single thing or get permission before you do anything, you are no longer a partner, you are a child. And children are manipulated often. Typically because they, children, are still developing their voice, they are oblivious and unsure of why things happen.
As a women, and as an adult, THINK INDEPENDENTLY!
Your man needs and desires spontaneity, so don't be so predictable. When he knows what your going to do and when your going to do it, you become a great target for manipulation. And before you know it, you may have enabled a cheater!
4)Don't compromise too much!
For the sake of illustrating this point, let me ask you this, did you all know that Toya gives Memphis an 8 days to cheat PER YEAR, with no questions asked?
Now why in the world would a married women allow her husband 8 days a year to cheat? Especially if it's NOT being reciprocated? Well from what I can see, she, Toya, is determined to make her relationship/marriage work, yet unfortunately has made a big mistake in allowing her husband to cheat.
Why is that a mistake?
Well first because women have a tendency to compromise too much of ourselves and our happiness when we are insecure of our significant other's love. What does that mean? Well that means that we, ladies, tend to say yes, when we should say no because of fear that our man may leave. We start to associate how much we compromise with how much we love our partner, and believe that the more we say yes, the more he will love us in return.
Sounds crazy right? Yea that's because it is. It doesn't make any sense to give your man everything he asks for in order for him to stay, and then rationalize the behavior by saying "I can't say no because I love him too much" or "I will do whatever it takes to keep him". Not only do we compromise our own happiness but we compromise the success of the relationship and open ourselves up for being a target of manipulation.
As women we get lost in the fairy tale of love. We long for what we wanted and wished for as children and hope that things happen the way we dreamt. When in actuality, love doesn't always go as planned. Most often those we end up loving we probably didn't even anticipate loving us. But it's too easy for us, ladies, to get lost in hopes and dreams and what we "want to be true" versus what is really happening. So number 5 is simple, be realistic!
Matter of fact, when everything seems perfect, be cautious and careful, because often times that's a sign that something is probably NOT happening right.
What do I mean?
Well, when your man is too routine,he has a window to change things up on you without you suspecting anything. He will work the change right into his routine without you asking or suspecting a thing. And before you know it, he has manipulated the situation, and taken advantage of you being unaware of change. So remember, spontaneity is good because then neither of you become too predictable or easy to be manipulated.
6)Don't be too certain!
We all know that woman who "knows" what her man is doing and when and no one can tell her otherwise. If your that woman, your a prime target for being manipulated. Stop thinking your omniscient. You're denying yourself any help of recognizing how and when your being manipulated. What's worse is that your ignoring your number one source of sanity, your intuition. Your intuition is suppose to help you identify when something doesn't feel right, but when you think you know everything, you challenge your intuition and close yourself off from ever really knowing the truth.
Even though we all want to love openly, sometimes we fear losing or never gaining love, and with that we must be cautious of our fears, and stop allowing ourselves to be controlled by them.
Secondly, as women I know we like to be that BFF who "takes up" for our friends' man in their absence, but we should definitely learn when it is appropriate and inappropriate. What Rasheeda failed to consider before she spoke on K. Michelle's history was a few things, e.g. 1) she was not there 2) she was not there and 3) she was not there and 4) you should never try to diminish another woman's truth.
We all know there will always be three sides to a story, the parties involved sides, and the truth. And if you were not present to witness any of them, you will have a respnsibility to consider all information you receive equally. Now, that doesn't mean you have to believe everything hear, but you should listen and pay attention to see if the story or information you receive, aligns with qualities in the character of the individual in question.
And stop being so quick to judge one another, especially based on unjust reasons. It's too easy for us to blame our circumstances on other women who choose to share their story, because we assume that the intent is always negative. We have to start taking ownership and acknowledging that we allow things to happen because we either don't know how to recognize, or choose not to recognize, when we are being manipulated. Women do not always have negative intention, so instead of immediately denying what could be your help, be sure to listen with the intent to accept, versus challenge.