We all tell stories. Stories about ourselves, and stories about each other.
Those stories are not true or false. They're just stories.
“WHAT??? Of course they can be true or false!”
Sure, but that's not why you tell them. The only reason you tell a story is that it serves you to tell it.
It's OK to be selfish and manipulative.
“Selfish” and “manipulative” are words other people use to control you. (and you probably picked up this habit from them as a kid, and are now using them to control yourself)
You have to be selfish and manipulative. That's what human beings do. It's how we make the world conform to our will. How else are you planning on doing it?
All relationships are manipulative.
That doesn't mean you have to be an asshole. It only means that your actions are an attempt to get what you want. Stop telling yourself this is bad. It's not. (and if you can't figure out a way to stop telling yourself it's bad, that's OK too, because this is hard.)
People get into serious relationship problems when they ignore this fact. They assume they need to be completely selfless, totally giving. Then, when the other person takes advantage of them, they feel manipulated and abused.
Yeah, of course you do. You set the trap, and they walked right into it.
Stop playing games with other people. Stop testing them.
Instead, make your own rules. Don't concern yourself with whether they play along. If they do, great. If not, fine. Deal with it or find somebody else.
Serve yourself before you serve other people.
I know that sounds awful, but I am taking a stand here. If you don't take care of yourself first, you literally have zero capacity to serve another person.
If you're neglecting your own needs, it means that your needs are not getting met. What effect is this having on you? It's a mess, I'm sure.
You are constantly in fear, fixated on the other person's behavior.
In Nonviolent Communication, there are three stages you go through:
- Emotional slavery: you see yourself as being responsible for others' feelings.
- The obnoxious stage: you get angry because you become aware of the costs of holding yourself responsible for others' feelings.
- Emotional liberation: you accept responsibility for your own intentions and actions, but not for the others' feelings.
You're in stage 1 if you feel afraid, guilty, ashamed, exhausted, self-conscious, stressed-out. That's because you're working overtime to take care of others' feelings at the expense of your own. Eventually, you'll realize that this hurts, and you'll want to move out of stage 1.
You're ready to move to stage 2 if you start feeling victimized, manipulated, angry, bullied, disrespected, taken advantage of, etc. That's the point at which you should start becoming more selfish.
All the advice you read will tell you to become mature, to let it go, don't let it get to you, etc. You're not ready for that yet. That's stage 3.
You can't get to stage 3 until you go through the obnoxious stage first.
(that means you have to become obnoxious)
If you want to learn more about becoming a Creator rather than a Victim, listen to the first 2 episodes of my podcast.