Monday, June 4, 2007

Humanistic Reaction

Wow! What an action packed weekend we had, but before I go into sharing that with you I thought I’d find out how you react to certain people.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to download photos and share the eventful weekend with you, inshallah.

There was a group of 9 of us – all family members that gathered together everyday since last Wednesday evening as my cousins came in for a mini vacation. Just love these cousins and every moment we are able to spend together, alhamdullilah.

From the onset there’s a family member that passively demands to be in control through unspoken communication and through manipulative tactics. I know you all know or have one of these people either in your immediate family, distant family, close network of friends, or otherwise. The one that refuses to make a decision, but always seems extremely willing and game to do anything anyone wants to do. Yet, when a decisions is made and it doesn’t go off flawlessly that person is always there to give you the “I told you so” look or sigh or roll of the eyes or (fill in the blank). Thus resulting in tension amongst the group because we all feel this unspoken communication yet none of us address the individual. Maybe out of respect, out of fear of upsetting them, or maybe because we (speaking individually) think we are the only one’s that feel this tension and therefore keep silent. Regardless of the answer it is frustrating at best.

Moreover, I’m overly amazed at how much havoc this one person can wreak on the entire group without a mere utterance of a word. Not until this weekend did I ever see how much this person is in control of everything yet seeming from the outside as if the victim or at least seeming to be available for everything but getting mad or pouting if they don’t get their way. This was a real eye opener for me, truly. For although this person is an adult chronologically they exude such childlike qualities. Don’t get me wrong, I realize we all can have these tendencies of getting frustrated or upset because things aren’t going our way or we aren’t getting what we want, but I’m not certain the majority live in this daily state of consciousness. Then again, I could be sadly mistaken.

For years I have felt sorry for this individual and made justifications for them because I always perceived them as a victim of sorts; however, learned this past weekend that perhaps victimization was also a form of manipulation.

I sat watching this all unfold before me and said very little. Why? I’m not entirely sure why. I think the mere realization of the unfolding truth befuddled me. For sometimes the truth can be so profound and take some processing time, at least for me. Furthermore, it can be somewhat shocking when the blinders (so to speak) have been removed and you can see things clearly or at best in a different fashion then what you’ve become accustomed too.

I find myself somewhat feeling guiltily conflicted in my emotions because there’s a part of me that wants to confront this individual and yet fear either their wrath or more of the same behavior. Moreover, feel guilty for having these feelings towards a family member because perhaps it would be perceived as not a wise thing to do.

Curious to know how you handle family/friend conflict(s) with someone that exudes either the qualities of passiveness, manipulation, victimization, all the previously mentioned or other behaviors not mentioned.


Mixed Up Me said...

I wait for them to cuss me out because I'm a better "mother" than they are, then I have an excuse to no longer speak to them, because I was pretending to be friendly in the first place for the sake of someone else!!

Okay, I know not the type pf answer you were looking for, but that is what came to my mind at first when I saw the words "manipulation" and "victim".

I'm going to continue to think about this though and come back.

Glad you had a good weekend with family!

a_akak said...

Its always good to have family around and i love family gatherings and meetings and YES there is always that cousin that seems to pull the strings from behind,

How would i deal with him/her?

Personally i am very close with all my cousins so I usually tend to go for the direct approach and telling him/her to STOP but does it work? for that instance yes but for the long run if its a habit i would say NO, however, saying all that i believe you choose your friends and are stuck with your family so you learn to adapt and coexist with them ...... A lovely quote says "I don't care how poor a man is; if he has family, he's rich"

Family (including cousins) to me comes straight after Allah and i am grateful and proud to be one of them :)

Fe Aman Allah

Fatima said...

every family has one of those characters...that one person that has to be centre of attention, has to always be right, even when they're wrong. I have someone who honetly believes that they're not manipulative and that they always discuss everything before a decision is come to. Usually its a matter that has nothing to do with them, but they have to intefer! Oh and the discussions aren't discussions they're one-sided conversations..them doing all the talking the other person having to listen! They say the decision is up to you, but then they stipulate what they think you should do. And you do what they want because you know that if you don't all hell will break loose!
Oops there's me venting again :D
Great blog btw :)

ibeebarbie said...

Hi Mixed Up Me,
I know what you mean about putting on a "friendly" face in order to keep peace and stabilization, and have done so for so many years myself. However, there was something different this weekend. More like an unveiling to me of the truth about this person. Perhaps a realization that this individual actually causes illness in others or at minimal physical exhaustion.

It would probably be tolerable if it were a family member or friend that you didn’t see or interact with often, but it’s someone closer in the network of things.

Can’t wait to get together with you soon. I miss you. Last night Amira also asked me when Charming Child can ride in her car so I can play the ‘taco truck’ sound. :o)

Salam A_Akak,
I agree with loving the family gatherings. There’s a sense of perhaps wholeness in the group. Moreover, you feel a sense of belonging to something bigger than yourself.

I love my cousins dearly. It would be nice if the individual was a cousin I had an issue with because they are perhaps just enough far removed that we could sit and have a rational conversation and move forward. However, this individual is further in the circle than cousins.

I think all people--family, friend, or foe are brought into our lives for a reason. It serves a dual purpose for everyone. It was not by accident but rather by divine design, alhamdullilah.

Yes, one is considered rich if they have their family, alhamdullilah. However, one can also be of poor health as a result of such. In this case this is what I’m seeing and experiencing. It’s more of a toxin that is spreading silently through the family and the result is seeing physical and emotional exhaustion by all that are close to this individual.

Salam Fatima,
Feel so special that you stopped by, thank you. :-)

I see you understand. :D

Mixed Up Me said...

Hmmm, now you have me wondering who you are referring to. My wheels are spinning . . .you'll have to tell me later (if you want to)

I miss you too. Ryley will be here tomorrow, we need to plan something . . .breakfast, lunch, dinner, Chipotle!!

ibeebarbie said...

Hi Mixed Up Me,

How about all the above. You know Amira and her Potely. :D

When I share with you, you won't be suprised---I don't think. ;-)

Boy, Interrupted said...

Hi there Ibeebarbie!
I have some1 in the family just like that. They use the victim card (to gain sympathy) everytime they want to get their way. And since they`re one of the older members in the family no one conforts them.
On the other hand, I'm very conforntational in times of conflict with friends. I'd go straight and tell them my point but it all depend on the issue. Sometimes you need to be extra firm to get your point across. It works for me. But sometimes, although my intentions are good, I find myself misunderstood or even hated.

ibeebarbie said...

Salam Boy-Interrupted,

I can see partially (can't say completely because I don't know all) why you and Lost-Libyan are friends and why I look forward to receiving input from both of you because I find myself very similiar.

I normally do not have time for nonsense or lack of effective communication because I think effective communication is vital to the stability of any relationship. However, I've been so perplexed with this situation for so many years and it wasn't until this past weekend did I see it for exact what it was. I either never saw it or perhaps didn't want to see it because of the fact they are older than me, and I've been taught we must always respect our elders.

Nonetheless, I feel I can no longer tolerate such manipulation. Such manipulation whichis not easily seen yet causing unwarranted and even ill-fated affects on others in the family.

It's just amazing to me how one (and it only takes one) negative individual can drain so many others. Fits with the math equation of a postive and a negative equal a negative, but can't quite figure out how a negative and a negative equal a positive. Oh wait, I may have just answered my own question. I guess both negatives would understand each other thus creating a sense of equality. What do you think?

Boy, Interrupted said...

Hi Ibeebarbie, thanks for your kind words :D
I completely agree that communication is what makes any relationship work, but sadly taking critisism with an open mind is not a trait that "us" Libyans posses. If you try and communicate with an older family member you`ll be called disrespectful (even though that deep in their hearts they know you are right!). If you try and communicate with your partner/spouse you`ll be asked to stop nagging.
You say that that person's actions are taking their toll on the others and that you no longer can tolerate their manipulation. And I say if thats the case then something has to be done (dont you think?). Whats there to lose? I'm sure whatever negative consequenses (if any) your intervention will make, they will be minimal and small compared to the greater good you`ll be doing to the group (not to mention the peace of mind you and the others will be having). I think if you decide to do something about this, first you should talk to the others. Not all of them ofcourse, but those who you feel are on the same page as you(may be you`ll need them later for support).

ibeebarbie said...

Salam Boy Interrupted,

I agree that receiving constructive critism can be tough to chew.

Sound advice you've given; thank you.

I will proceed with caution, weigh my options, and hopefully make a wise decision. If not, then back to the drawing board. lol

mani said...

open their eyes to the extent of damage their silliness has on others, and the social environment. Make it very very clear... or do nothing and suffer in confusion.. people like this sometimes need to be reminded that they actually HAVE a choice, and althouh they have the freedom to mess up, they also have the freedom to stop, and postivley change. make them feel that the ball is in their court. usually a lot of us go through life seeking the oppertunity and forgetting about the responsibility. usually spoilt as children.. which explains why they remain children.. incentivise them with sweets and warn them about the inevitable punishment.. being the loss of people's trust.

2 cents.. salam ibee.. still got an article coming for you on these notes.. just settling in to Libya here.. it send's it's regards :)

P.S loving Boy Interrupted's style.. similar trains of thought.. similar prose..scary :P:P..

ibeebarbie said...

Salam Mani,

Great advice. Agree with the suffering in confusion must stop because it’s beginning to affect my health as well as others. Also, agree about the approach of not putting someone on the defense as that is never productive, but rather in a fashion that gives them a choice thus resulting in them feeling empowered.

I bought my dad a mouse pad at the Renaissance Fair a few years ago that stated “The flogging will continue until the morale improves”. I think we should go back to the basics of the old days. LOL

Hope you’re settling into Libya nicely and soaking up ever precious new moment of this experience, inshallah.