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Miss the first part? Read it here!



What’s the effect of all this knife twisting?

Maybe your fear of having too much devotion will cause you to be afraid of close relationships and so your search for love will never end well. In the chapter “Why Can’t I Fall in Love and Stay in Love,” you’ll read stories of people whose relationships were damaged by just this issue.

The Bludgeon

Let’s continue with our other style of guilt-provoking manipulation—the Bludgeon. An example of this type is when you act independently of your authoritarian parent and he or she loses control, explodes in anger, and screams at you because you weren’t obedient or submissive enough.

What’s the effect of bludgeoning?

In the chapter “Why Am I Fat and Why Can’t I Lose Weight?” you’ll read about Alice, who rebelled against her controlling parents by getting fat and staying that way.

Whether it’s a slowly twisting knife, a bludgeoning from a hammer, an icy stare or a cold shoulder, the effect of these over-emotional displays of exaggerated suffering is the same—to manipulate you to change a normal behavior or abandon a normal goal.

But why would you change what is normal and acceptable? Because you feel so guilty for inflicting such terrible pain, you’ll conform to their personality flaws no matter how resentful or damaging that may be for your life.

The Stranger at the Party

As a child, it’s hard to imagine that you have the power to inflict so much damage on your parents or siblings just by being yourself and doing the normal things that children do. But because they constantly act so wounded, it’s difficult for you to be unaffected by their guilt-provoking behavior.

Now think about this: If you had a brief encounter with an unpleasant stranger at a cocktail party, would you assume then that you were responsible for his offensive behavior? Or would you say to yourself, or to a friend, “What’s up with him?”


Continue reading:

Guilt and Self-Destructive Behaviors (Part 3 of 4)

Guilt and Self-Destructive Behaviors (Part 4 of 4)


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