I get these pesky texts and emails from time to time that are just a pile of junk. Somehow or another they got wind of my phone number or my email address and start sending me things that are unwarranted and trying to convince me of whatever their purpose is. Here’s an example of one:
Have you gotten one before, a text that even includes your name like they know you, like you can trust them, like they know what is best for you. But really, beneath all that scam they just want something from you, something that will provide no benefit to you but instead just serves their purpose. How deceitful and conniving, but smart and intrusive at the same time. They do these tactics because they actually work, if they didn’t work we all wouldn’t have “reply to win” text messages, “you just won a cruise” phone calls, and “click here to collect your reward” emails that flood our inbox. But they are there, because people click it, in fact you and I have probably done it at least once before we suspected not to trust the voice or words of trust on the other line.
This happens in the world of technology, and sadly but true it also happens in the realm of relationships. There are people who say the right thing to the right people to get whatever it is they want from them. They manipulate words, say expressions of ‘why’ this friendship is the best thing for your life, and guilt you into a sell.
I hate them both! The twists of a manipulative phone call from a supposed friend that “cares about me” and the twist of a sales call offering me something that “I shouldn’t pass up on”.
I don’t have to listen. Words that go in my head don’t mean they are words of truth. Oh man, if I could have a conversation with the tender soul of my younger self I might even start with that. It would have avoided so much pain in my life to have learned that you can’t trust everyone that says “trust me”.
Even though I hate them both, if I have a preference it is for technology. They invade my space, come into my life and offer me false promises, but they also have legal ramifications they are required to follow. There is a tiny button that sometimes you have to search for on your email that all I have to do is select “unsubscribe” and they are obligated to no longer bother me. Same thing with a solicited text, they are required to ask you to reply “STOP” if you no longer want to receive texts from them. Here’s what that looks like:
As I did this today, I badly wished that it was that easy with family members, friendships, and all sorts of relationships. When someone moves from a trusting zone to manipulating the respect you deserve, I wish the “STOP” worked. That legally I could just say “STOP” and it would be over. That they would respect me and treat me in a way that is healthy.
Maybe your story is different than mine. My reality is that saying “STOP please”, (which I am not sure why I say please in manipulative moments) but these don’t get the desired response. In fact, instead of stopping, they come on stronger. They make you feel like they are respecting you with “just one more time”, but this is a violation of your “STOP”. When a “no” is twisted into, “okay I hear you saying no, but I am not ready to stop yet” that is an unhealthy relationship or friendship with someone that says they care about you but they aren’t hearing you and aren’t respecting you.
If you’ve never experienced someone crossing a boundary with you, the other part you won’t understand is that once you say “STOP” and they come on stronger, you immediately feel scared. Your brain has trouble processing this new information. “Why aren’t they listening to me”, “I thought they were my friend”, “what are they going to do next”. If they didn’t listen to a small no, you become fragile and scared to say “STOP” as they become more persistent.
At that point, you just feel used. But your brain still sees the person you trusted
somewhere in there so you don’t know what to do. Who will believe you if you tell? You will sound crazy? You will get the blame? Are you ready to completely lose the friendship with that person once you realize who they really are and all they really want from you.
I promise, you don’t want to believe it, and I made up excuses why I shouldn’t believe it either? And by the time you do see it, it’s too late. You find out that this ‘friendship’ is really just a sales call, someone who just wants something from you and will say and do whatever it takes to get what they want.
How crushing to my heart, how used my soul feels, and how devastated the aftermath for everyone involved.
Why can’t the legal ramifications that work for technology apply to people? When we put our hand up and say we want it to stop, when we say we are uncomfortable, when we respond with “please don’t ask me that again”, why is that not enough? Why does technology respond with “We’re sorry to see you go, but you will no longer receive emails from us”, but with people they completely don’t even hear the “stop please” and only hear, ‘eventually they would like me stop, but not yet’. That’s what they hear, but THAT’S NOT WHAT I SAID!!!
I’m tired of feeling like this. Abused and manipulated by people who claim they want what is best for me. My trust radar is pretty sensitive right now, but having to use God as my only source for a filter with people is not a terrible place to be.
My takeaway lesson for the future I have learned from a mentor that has given me great advice is: if someone can’t respect you saying “no” to something small, they aren’t healthy relationships to have in your life. We need to surround ourselves with people who respect our boundaries and respect our ability to care for our self without a dependency they tell you that you “need” them to take care of you. These are red flags I hope to never have to repeat again in my life. I deserve to be respected, and I deserve to be cared for, and I deserve to stand up for my boundaries and have a voice that is heard and not questioned when it comes to standing up for my values and ways for caring for myself.
I hope you can learn this all earlier than me, and even bigger, respect the people around you in your life when they speak up! We need to support each other when someone has a boundary instead of condemn and confuse them for having them.
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