I’m a pretty straight-forward person who doesn’t like to play games or feel like someone is playing games with me.  I also grew up with a step-mother who was a champion manipulator, which significantly affected my brothers’ and my relationship with our dad, other family members, and each other.  Therefore, I have no patience for people who like to manipulate.  So perhaps you can imagine how upset I get when I find out that not only does my husband think it’s necessary to find ways to manipulate myself and others, but he is also teaching our kids this by example and by involving them in the process.  I would say it’s one of the top three things that infuriate me because it’s so fundamentally wrong, yet it still happens on a regular basis.

The thing that bothers me the most is that he is reinforcing to the kids the notion that it is more important to get what you want at any cost, regardless of how many lies you have to tell or how deceitful you need to be.  It undermines many of the things I am trying to teach them about what it means to be a good person with integrity and good character.

He doesn’t even give me a chance to agree or disagree to something.  He assumes I will say no or dislike a scenario and starts scheming.  That bothers me too, that he thinks it necessary when it’s not.  The vast majority of things he THINKS I will be opposed to, I would not be.  The only things that usually end up upsetting me are the lies, him deliberately not telling me something or holding off telling me something until much later than he should, and when he asks other people to lie for him or be part of his scheme as well.

A lot of his thought process and behavior has to do with how he was raised, and he knows it.  He keeps saying he won’t do it anymore, but those are just words.   That kind of behavior is so engrained in him that he will never change.  That makes my job as a parent a WHOLE lot harder, and I come off looking like the mean parent, whether I was actually opposed to something or not.  My youngest often assumes he will get no for an answer and will find deceitful ways to get what he wants now, too.  The older two have learned the hard way that it’s better to be upfront, give the other person the benefit of the doubt, and be honest … at least most of the time.  Thank goodness for that.

My purpose in writing on this topic is to point out how important it is to think about what kind of example we are setting for those around us and how it is affecting how they perceive and treat others. You can’t go through life with a “what can I get away with today?” mentality and expect that you need to have everything your way or get everything you want, regardless of the means.  There are already too many people who think they are entitled to whatever they want without having to work for it.  Add being deceitful and/or manipulative to the mix, and that’s even worse.  We all need to understand that life is not always fair, that it’s better to do things the right way, even if it means being patient or not get everything we want.  The more shortcuts you try to take in life, the less time you have on the path to developing into the best person you can be.  I feel it’s best to be honest and upfront about what you are thinking and feeling, to go about doing things in a respectable manner, and try to express constructively what your wants and needs are.  You’re more likely to get what you want from me, anyway.

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