Tuesday, May 08, 2007

In Sheep's Clothing

In Sheep's Clothing:
Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People

by George K. Simon

ISBN: 096516960X
ISBN-13: 9780965169608

From the Publisher

Whether it's your mate or child who knows how to push your buttons, the coworker who quietly undermines your efforts while professing to be helpful, or the boss who preys on your weaknesses, manipulative people have two goals: to win and to look good doing it. Often those they abuse are ignorant of, or only vaguely aware of, what is happening to them.

In Sheep's Clothing casts aside the cloak of secrecy these "wolves" use. Each chapter highlights a specific characteristic using vignettes taken from actual case histories. Then Dr. Simon takes you behind the scenes and between the lines. What on the surface may sound to you like perfectly logical behavior turns out to be cloaked in the most insidious, subtle mantle of manipulation.

In Sheep's Clothing also takes a probing look at the important difference between self-respect and self-esteem -- and, in a profound epilogue -- the ways our society now encourages the wrong kind of aggressive behavior. Read this book and have the wool lifted from your eyes.


From the Introduction: Perhaps the following scenarios will sound familiar. A wife tries to sort out her feelings. She's mad at her husband for insisting their daughter make all "A"s. But she doubts she has the right to be mad. When she told him she thought he was being too demanding, his comeback "Shouldn't any good parent want their child to do well and succeed in life?" made her feel like the insensitive one. In fact, whenever she confronts him, she somehow ends up feeling like the bad guy herself. When she suggested there might be more to her daughter's problems than there appeared at first glance, and that the family should seek counseling, his retort "Are you saying I'm psychiatrically disturbed?" made her feel ashamed for asking. She often tries to assert her point of view, but always ends up giving in to his. Sometimes, she thinks the problem really is him, believing him to be selfish, ruthless and controlling. But this is a loyal husband, good provider and a respected member of the community. By all rights she shouldn't resent him. Yet, she does. So she constantly wonders if there isn't something wrong with her. A mother tries desperately to understand her daughter's behavior. No young girl, she thought, would threaten to leave home, say things like "Everybody hates me" and "I wish I were never born," unless she were very insecure, afraid, and probably depressed. Part of her thinks her daughter is still the same child who used to hold her breath until she turned blue or threw tantrums whenever she didn't get her way. After all, it seems she only says and does those things when she's facing discipline or is trying to get her way. But a part of her is afraid to believe that. "What if she really believes what she's saying?," she wonders. "What if I've really done something to hurt her and I just don't realize it?," she worries. She hates to be "bullied" by all the threats and emotional displays her daughter exhibits whenever she doesn't get what she wants. But she can't take the chance her daughter might really be hurting, can she? Besides, children don't bully unless underneath it all they really feel insecure or threatened in some way, do they? When you're being manipulated, chances are that someone is fighting with you for something but in a way that's difficult to see. Covert-aggression is the heart of manipulation.