How I Manipulated Everyone

Sunday 7 July, 2002

I tried to print out my vision statement from 9th May this morning but the printer just kept throwing out pages of nothing. I had read it and discounted it, believing it to be insufficient and sub-standard. This would pave the way for behaviour which Karaj described as brilliant because I managed to suck my entire team into believing that I had no vision. It was a convincing performance because I was convinced that I had no vision. I felt the vision I had was not good enough. There, again, is my trait of putting myself down. Cut this out.

Isolation, Cockiness & Clarification

Priya began the day and when it emerged that she had not informed Karaj of a new form of appraisal which has been introduced in her office she was taken to task on the dangers of isolating herself in such a way. Karaj, Robert, Dev and Harriet all gave examples of their experiences and it was Harriet’s about acting on an innocent comment from her boss ‘We must get together on this some time’ which gave me my first learning point of the day. She had taken charge and initiated the meeting herself rather than be subservient and wait.

Karaj made a comment about being cocky and I had the thought to ask him whether he gets cocky. I knew that he did, but I could not get away from the fact that I needed to ask the question there and then, in the group. I considered asking him later but I knew that the group presence would make the whole situation somehow more powerful. So I asked. His reply was that he always gets cocky because he is so good, and that it is an effort to stay grounded. He said that ‘When you get to my level, you’ll know how difficult it is to stay earthed’ but that he is constantly humbled by the fact that his achievements are made possible by the presence and existence of those around him.

Following this detailed answer Robert told me that my question had brought up the feelings he sometimes has when he talks to me. He told me I have a great deal of emotional intuition and I manage to extract information from him that he was not intending to give and that he does not know what I do with that information. He makes all sorts of assumptions about whether I am asking professionally or personally and whether some, all or none of the information makes its way to Karaj.

I did not feel challenged or rebuked by this at all. In fact I embraced Robert’s observations because I had never considered that there could be a difference between personal and professional questions/conduct. This ties in with the lack of clarity I sometimes have when dealing with people.

I began to respond to what Robert had said when Karaj intervened and asked me why I had not checked all this out with my team. Once again, he sent us out, telling me that whereas Priya isolates herself by not talking, I isolate myself by talking. He told me to make more use of my team. This gave me further permission to interact with my team and for the umpteenth time this weekend, the team came closer together and became stronger. Karaj also told me that I try to impress people with my insights.

Outside we established that there is no such issue with the likes of Dev and Simran with whom I have most contact because they are specific if they want me to pass information onto Karaj. Priya added the useful advice that I should count, or do something after I have spoken, to give people a chance to hear what I have said before I carry on. Dev reminded me of what a sales director had told me back in 1995: silence is my most powerful tool.

Manipulating An Entire Situation

After Priya and George, my turn came. I was unprepared and wholly unconvinced that I had a vision at all. Dev had asked me yesterday whether I was ready with my vision. I had given him an inconclusive reply before supplying him with a decisive ‘yes’ which he accepted and did not challenge me. So when I was ‘found out’ we were all sent out for my team to sort me out. I felt empty and emotional. I know that with a vision my life is made simpler because I have a focus to work towards, but I could not see myself anywhere in the future.

My colleagues insisted that I do have a vision – Karaj had told them so before sending us out – and they insisted I stay away from my negativity. I tried and had to keep checking myself and dragging myself back onto a positive line. I felt sad and tearful. I did not want to cry, especially not in front of Priya, but I could not help it. I had no vision and could not see a way forward.

At one point all four of my team responded together to my negativity with an exasperated cry of ‘You do have a vision’. I finally heard them and I was able to talk as if I did have a future of some sort. After years of not allowing myself to dream, I began to let go of my restrictions and talk about what I wanted to do with my self and my life. I came alive as I discussed my work on an international stage and I began to see myself in the future. Whatever the group prompted me about I looked to the man I saw myself being and it was easy to see whether things fitted or not. From nowhere I saw myself with a female companion and when I declared that I do want a salary and I do want the money, Ishwar breathed a huge sigh of relief and said, ‘Thank God – put a figure on it’.

I also talked about wanting a fit and healthy body. I talked to Ishwar about his desire to live to be 100 and be healthy till the end. Whenever he has talked about this, it has never fully resonated with me and today I saw why. My script has been telling me that I don’t want to be so healthy because it wants me to be a cripple. Knowing this means that I can face this element of my script full in the face.

We returned to the house and I talked about my vision for myself with relief and with pleasure. Karaj then gave them a copy of my vision statement and Dev read it out. They were amazed that I had had one all along and Karaj seemed to congratulate me that I had managed to suck them all in. It seemed to me that people felt I had somehow done it on purpose. They were flabbergasted to hear that I had read the very same vision statement this morning. Looking at it now it does seem ridiculous and that is the nature of the discounting I do – ridiculous. At least now I’ll have an amusing story to replay in my head the next time my mind decides to tell me I’m no good, which will help me turn things around.

Signing The Contracts

After Dev’s, Harriet’s and Robert’s visions, all of which were vivid and comprehensive, we set about putting the contract together. Karaj and I worked upstairs on the main contract and Dev put in impressive work on everyone’s appendix. We put them together, had a short meditation and finished off the process with an orderly signing of each contract and annex.

This weekend has seen me come alive in many ways. I have confronted people, verbalised just about everything, and with the support of those around me I have unearthed my vision.

Learning points

  • I make things complicated – life is easy
  • Look to create win-win situations in every encounter I have
  • When I lack clarity in myself or I am trying to please others I give mixed messages and fuck people up.
  • Verbalising will save my life
  • Be accountable and take responsibility for all that I do, all that I say and all that I want
  • Verbalise my real thoughts and feelings
  • Instant feedback – if I let people off the hook I have no respect for them
  • Confront and be confronted – this will combat my desire to please others
  • Know when to speak and when to keep quiet
  • Know that the shame which prevents me from verbalising is inhibiting my progress
  • Confronting and verbalising are legitimate outlets for my emotions
  • In order to take opportunities I need to know what I want – vision
  • I naturally and quickly find myself at the centre of activities
  • I do want to live. I do want to be healthy.
  • Take charge for myself and not because I think I should – be congruent
  • My achievements are made possible by the presence and existence of those around me. That is humbling
  • Am I being personal or professional – be clear
  • I isolate myself by talking
  • My mind discounts myself
  • I very often feel wrong, accused or blamed
  • I am intuitive
  • I try to impress people with my insights
  • Silence is a powerful tool – use it
  • When I focus my energy instead of going round in (emotional) circles I’ll be much more effective
  • Make myself right. Don’t make myself wrong
  • By talking, the truth comes from ‘nowhere’
  • Stick to the positives. Stay away from the negatives
  • I am becoming less of a loner and appreciating the company I keep
  • I am becoming alive
Related post: Manipulative Behaviour

2 Responses to “How I Manipulated Everyone”

  1. Eveline Says:

    You are alive and you are healthy. Thanks to the group for awakening this in you. Great job.

  2. Jonathan Lewis Says:

    You’re right, Eveline, I couldn’t have done it without them. I forget that sometimes, because it was so tough – especially towards the end – but every one of us did what we could for each other.

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