People come in all different psychological shapes and sizes. Some are shaped by historical trauma, others are moulded into size by a string of over-nurtured parenting, and a few are the result of trauma, a chemical imbalance, and the sum of despicable behaviours from those who are chipped and frayed at the edges. Of course, there are other categories, such as those who are the ones who inflict trauma and emotional pain unto others; though one could argue they, too, have been subjected to some similar trauma at some point in their lives.
We’re a nation of injured folk. Of bent and bruised, misshapen minds, full of contusions and soul skeletons hidden amidst the fog of our spirit.
I’m one of the injured folk. Through a culmination of all of the above. Some of which I’ve yet to pull the dust sheet off, things left hidden, until I’m ready to unveil the contents beneath, until I’m ready to sort those things into categories and boxes, until I’m ready to process. Recently, I’ve been processing a particular dent in my mind.
This specific dent came from someone who felt the need to manipulate and bend others’ opinions. A man who didn’t just manipulate opinions, but manipulated information, reality, fact. A man who scapegoated those who he felt were inferior, who lacked intelligence, strength, and wherewithal to argue, to fight against his plot.
Oh how he completely underestimated me. I wasn’t unaware of his tactics, in fact, I was all too aware of his tactics. Manipulators are pretty similar. If you learn the algorithm of one manipulator, you can spot patterns in the rest. I saw them. The red flags. The abuse. The effort to wear me down, to make me feel less, to assert his power over me, to use me as scapegoat number one when any mistakes occurred. I saw it all, and I refused to confront it. Why? Because I choose my battles carefully. Many manipulators believe their own bullshittery. You cannot “win” against someone who believes their own lies as if it is gospel.
Instead of spending so much of my emotional energy defending myself and fighting against him, I walked away, head held high, and “won” by doing the things he claimed I couldn’t do. I proved myself by just being me and in doing so, I proved everyone who believed his tales wrong too.
Strength doesn’t necessarily come from fighting, it comes from knowing how to fight and sometimes that fight is simply fought by walking in the opposite direction and proving everyone wrong.
I may have a dent because of this person, but I take great pleasure in knowing that this person is still lying to themselves, even now, blaming everyone else for the mistakes they made, not learning from anything they experience because of these lies, and just repeating their mistakes time and time again. My dent is a lesson. A lesson to listen to my intuition. To pay attention to my gut instincts, to grab hold of those red flags and to walk away sooner.
I cannot control how someone else behaves toward me, but I can control how I react and whether I stick around or not. The only thing that still plagues me is those who haven’t discovered his red flags yet. His collateral damage. The minds he’s bruising and using right now, until he applies enough pressure to dent them. The tools (read: other people) he draws into his manipulation and uses them to dent someone’s mind. Just like they did to me.
My advice to anyone coming across a manipulator is simple. Listen to your gut. If it doesn’t add up, it’s not your maths that’s wrong.