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Monday, November 26, 2012

The Manipulator

Not everyone bought the image she created for herself, although I suspect she has bought it herself. "With my big heart, I always believe the best of other people," she likes to say, oblivious to the contradictions in her words and action. Sure, some of the lies must have been conscious and intentional, but she might have been convinced of her own good intention or the absolute necessity of these lies. "I have to omit some of the truth because ..." The reasons can range from protecting others from anxiety and panic, to preserving a perfectly viable future, to "I have the right to do anything I want the company is mine alone." Never underestimate the power of self-deception.

The cult personality can manifest in a range of effects. At the top are religious and political leaders with thousands or millions of fervent followers. On a smaller scale are people whom others trust despite evidence to the contrary. Why? I can't speak for men, but in many (not all) women I observe a tendency to let emotional and personal bonds to overtake other considerations.

She loved to proclaim that her employees are "family" and call them "peanuts," and created an illusion of interpersonal closeness beyond the ordinary labor relationship. She engaged in small talks involving personal lives --- her own and others' --- and suggested work and pay as trading personal favors with each other instead of fundamentally economic transactions. Lines were blurred. She invited certain employees to stay at her house and trade personal favors for pay raises. She put her housekeeper on the company payroll by having her clean the office twice a week. She made implied demands of loyalty on employees in the form of friendship or at least the expression of friendship.

Again I doubt all her actions were derived from calculated, deliberate, and fully conscious decisions. Rather she showed a kind of emotional neediness that some women respond to. These women find emotional reward in taking care of childish people, perhaps because taking care of children and child-like adults gives them a sense of intimacy. "Please, use me." They seem to say. By using and being used, a closeness is achieved.

Also helped to brainwash people was the small, close-knit environment. I don't remember who said it --- It is easier to fool a bunch of people together than to fool an individual. When people coalesce, peer pressure works subtly and subconsciously to lead everyone into unreality. Again I don't know much about men, but if you put a group of women in the same room, they can convince each other black is white, night is day, and the sun sets in the east. Perhaps because we are so desperately trying to feel connected as one. There were company traditions that ranged from unprofessional to borderline bizarre, like employees contributed money, voluntarily, to birthday gifts to the owner in expensive handbags and loaded gift cards.

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