One phrase that changes people beyond recognition
By Stephen Passman
1. They’re Manipulative
This is the biggest one. Both women and men do it. I see it all the time — someone getting a man to buy dinner or drinks with no interest of getting to know the person, or a man expecting sex for doing so. Manipulative behavior is often not seen at first because of the initial superficial interactions and the “puppy love” effect. Manipulation is when someone acts or uses something or someone with a maleficent or aggressive intention in order to induce a desired action. Manipulation is emotional abuse (Fjeltstad, 2014).
Other big ones to watch out for:
a) Guilt tripping someone into doing something they don’t want to do.
b) Intimidation, using fear, or verbal abuse for creating submission for some action.
c) Positive/ Negative Reinforcement (E.g. Only saying I love you only after someone does something “good” or pleasing to the partner).
d) Anyone who “presses your buttons” or uses your insecurities to get you to do what they want you to do.
e) Giving gifts with strings attached or crossing your boundaries often.
Someone who is manipulative must be in control. So If you find these circumstances to be the case, realize that no one deserves to be subjected to this kind of behavior.
1. It’s hard to explain, but for me it’s that the sense of being part of some story where you are the protagonist kind of fizzles out unceremoniously and leaves you drifting for the rest of forever.
As a kid, you’re on a path, there’s a plan laid out for you, and whether you intentionally break from the plan or follow it to the letter, there’s this linear progression of growth, and an ultimate goal to strive for. You have allies, you have enemies, you have trials that you pass or fail, you have moments of catharsis, etc. You feel like part of a beautiful narrative, like the heroes in movies and books and tv shows and stories. You feel like there’s a right and a wrong way to go, and some ultimate fate waiting for you at the end that will sum up what all of it meant.
When you get to be an adult, that illusion crumbles away as you realize that you don’t have a narrative, there is no path or plan, things aren’t always linear, and you’re nobody’s hero. There are no allies, because friends can be both good and bad for you simultaneously. There are no enemies, because frankly no one cares enough to wage a personal war for long. You don’t have a destiny. You make choices that are more a product of random chance than you want to admit, and sometimes the consequences make sense, sometimes they don’t. You may flounder around in a bunch of different directions for many years, ultimately not making any progress, and having nothing of import to show for it. You’re not a good person or an evil person – you’re just an ant wandering around looking for crumbs. No, worse than an ant, because an ant has a purpose in life, to serve its queen and colony. You can choose to align yourself with a purpose, but it may never fulfill you or reward you. And nobody will be waiting with a shiny gold medal for you if you stick to it.
Life as an adult seems less and less like an exciting adventure story and more and more like a delerious, confusing fog of random developments and passing phases that raise more questions than they answer.
Edit: I somehow put my first edit in the middle of the text, which made it weird. But it said thank you very much for the gold and comments. I appreciate all the insights and solidarity, and the disagreement too.
I haven’t always felt this way about adulthood, and I probably won’t always feel exactly this way. It’s not as if everything’s hopeless, or that I’ll never try to find a direction for my life. It’s just that the realization of how small your impact actually is, and that you are not destined for anything great, and how subject you are to forces bigger than yourself – that’s a tough pill to swallow
I met you in the rain on the last day of 1972 – m4w (Old State House)
I met you in the rain on the last day of 1972, the same day I resolved to kill myself.
One week prior, at the behest of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, I’d flown four B-52 sorties over Hanoi. I dropped forty-eight bombs. How many homes I destroyed, how many lives I ended, I’ll never know. But in the eyes of my superiors, I had served my country honorably, and I was thusly discharged with such distinction.
And so on the morning of that New Year’s Eve, I found myself in a barren studio apartment on Beacon and Hereford with a fifth of Tennessee rye and the pang of shame permeating the recesses of my soul. When the bottle was empty, I made for the door and vowed, upon returning, that I would retrieve the Smith & Wesson Model 15 from the closet and give myself the discharge I deserved.
I walked for hours. I looped around the Fenway before snaking back past Symphony Hall and up to Trinity Church. Then I roamed through the Common, scaled the hill with its golden dome, and meandered into that charming labyrinth divided by Hanover Street. By the time I reached the waterfront, a charcoal sky had opened and a drizzle became a shower. That shower soon gave way to a deluge. While the other pedestrians darted for awnings and lobbies, I trudged into the rain. I suppose I thought, or rather hoped, that it might wash away the patina of guilt that had coagulated around my heart. It didn’t, of course, so I started back to the apartment.
And then I saw you.
“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”
The Bride’s Father Died Ten Years Ago And His Heart Was Donated. The Man Who Received The Transplant Walked Her Down The Aisle This Week
“Can you feel it?” Arthur Thomas said to Jeni Stepien as they reached the altar in a Pittsburgh church. The bride reached her hand to Thomas’ chest and felt her father’s heart beating for the first time in ten years. Her father, Michael, was a tragic victim during a 2006 robbery, when Jeni was 23. After he spent 24 hours on life support, Jeni’s family came to terms with the situation and made the thoughtful decision to donate his organs.
Meanwhile, Thomas, who is amicably called “Tom” by the Stepiens, had been waiting close to ten years for a heart transplant. He needed one fast and, like a miracle, Michael’s came to him just in time. Stepien explains, “He was going to die if he did not receive a new heart in the next several days.”
Thomas wrote a note of gratitude to the Stepiens and they kept in touch ever since, though they’d never met face-to-face. It wasn’t until Jeni and her fiancé, Paul, were beginning to plan their wedding that they considered the perfect opportunity to meet. “When my fiancé proposed, one of the first things I thought of was ‘but who will walk me down the aisle?’” Stepien recalled. “I could think of nobody more meaningful than Tom.”
Nervous as Jeni was, the 72-year-old Thomas graciously accepted the invitation. Jeni spoke of Thomas’ effect on her family: “My mother was very touched by the idea also and thought it was a very appropriate gesture to honor my father. I knew how important it would be for her and my sister to receive this piece of closure by finally meeting Tom as well. I wanted to make the day special for everyone, not just for myself.” The August 6th wedding was a joyous occasion for both the Stepiens and Thomas, who told CBSNews: “What a greater honor could a person have than walking the daughter of the man who’s given his heart to him?” On that special day, both Thomas and Michael were there for Jeni in body and spirit.
#1. A kiss after a long day exploring.
"Everyday whether or not we have mail this mail man always stops to see my dog who is only 9 months old. He always gets over looked as a dangerous or unapproachable dog, Maybe cause he’s big i am not sure. He doesn’t bark at them or growl ( Maybe the odd couple times he barks at people but which dog doesn’t ) But this guy here always makes an effort to get off his bike to give him a hug and a pat! "