Have you ever been in a situation where you told someone something would be ok when you knew as the words were coming out of your mouth that indeed it would NOT be ok?
How about heard or even said the words: “You should have just known!” or the dreaded “If you really loved me, you would have known that already.” Or the ever funny “I shouldn’t have HAD to tell you I wouldn’t like X.”
Personally, these words have never crossed my mind with any degree of earnestness but I have known people who use them like freakin’ hand grenades. I’ve also never been on the receiving end because guys are generally pretty up front with “yeah, not cool with that” rather than the passive-aggressive approach employed by some women I’ve known. (Granted, I’m SURE there are plenty of men who use this tactic so don’t get knackered, I just haven’t encountered them.)
I was reading a blog post and the writer said something akin to this:
Sure, I said “okay” at the time, but what I really hoped for was that you would telepathically divine my thoughts and instead of saying “good, I’ll do that” you would actually say: “hrm, I’m getting the sense that you’re not really okay with this. So I’m gonna do something to fix that part that I have magically determined that you’re not okay with. Then I’ll just deal with it for you so you won’t have to say or do anything uncomfortable.”
Just reading this sparked this entire little post because I could literally hear the real statement from these words and I wanted to put it out there.
See, this passive-aggressive thought process goes back to the previous post I did on responsibility for our own happiness and about being a whole, independent, autonomous person. Now let me take those words above and put them into my language. This is what I hear being said by the subconscious mind behind the words being given:
“I don’t want to own that I have a problem with whatever this is, so I’m going to silently and without warning give the onus of not only perceiving that I have a problem but also the resolution for this problem over to you, so that I don’t have to deal with it. And when you fail, because you can’t read my mind and so you will, then I’ll get to punish you for failing to magically notice that I lied to you to your face and you were stupid enough to actually trust me. This way, I get to maintain the power dynamic in our relationship because after I get upset then you will go into ‘solve the problem’ mode and come to my rescue.”
Yeah. Really not a fan of this. If I have a problem with something and then say “sure” … the problem is fucking MINE and I will damn well deal with the aftermath. It doesn’t get trotted out later, because I SAID sure. No take backs. Be an adult here. This whole “you should have known” bullshit is just that. BULLSHIT. And it’s a deliberate emotional manipulation tactic of the lowest order. Maybe not conscious, but deliberate. Call people on that shit!
My husband’s ex-wife apparently loved to do this to him. So much so that it’s a joke for us. But I told him if I EVER did that to him, his response needs to be “And if you loved me, you would have had the courage to talk about this issue before it happened.” Like I said, call people on that shit. Doesn’t need to be nasty, but it does need to be clear so that “I see what you are trying to do, and it’s not going to work” gets conveyed.
About the Featured Image: I found it on Pinterest but I don’t know the source. If you know it, let me know and I’ll cite it. It’s a scene from “Star Ship Troopers” where the queen bug injects a probe into the brain of the captive and sucks his skull hollow. This is pretty much what I imagine the emotional impact of that “you should have known” statement has on the recipient of it.