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I learned from a friend of mine that there are four ways to get bullied. Well not bullied exactly by the standard definition. What I really mean that there are four ways that we can be manipulated. Or more precisely our energy can get stolen.


The “Poor Me” is passive-aggressive and the most secretly manipulative of the four styles. This person will portray a false sense of being a victim in order to appeal to another person’s compassion, guilt or obligation through the manipulation of their sympathies. You know the one. "I don't have anywhere else to turn." "I never get a break." "I can't." Think George Costanza on steroids. Or think poor, single mother who is fishing for her family to be sponsored for the xmas season. "But come on. It's xmas."

The “Aloof” is just less passive and manipulative than the “Poor Me,” but way more secretive. The “Aloof” approach is to create a vagueness and facade around themselves, forcing an undeserved investment of energy to gain information, commitment and emotion which should normally be shared in a straight-up, direct way. That kid in high school in the black t-shirt that is constantly flipping his hair. He is not mysterious ladies. He just doesn't know how to have a conversation.

More aggressive but less manipulative than the two passive-secretive types, the “Interrogator” uses this style of drama by evaluating and asking questions with the specific purpose of finding something wrong or corrupt. Okay so you are telling a joke or a funny story and this gal is the one who is always trying to undermine you by being a fact checker. "Really? You literally tried to do it a THOUSAND times?" No asshole. We are trying to live in a society here with fun, lighthearted, turns of phrase. Knock it off.

“Intimidators” are the most aggressive of the four types. Their presence is well stated and felt and there is a threatening air of danger conveyed from them. They are unpredictable and can threaten, use harsh words and abusive actions uncontrollably. They will demonstrate a capacity for rage or violence. This is the person in the group with the death stare. The one that everyone else coddles in order to keep peace. "Great idea." "Good job." "That's so funny." Whatever. I can stare too. Also based on my experience, this bunch can be comprised of the other three when their home tactics epic-ally fail.


This was really valuable information for me to have. I am grateful to have gotten it. It came in handy today. I don't know quite which category this falls under. But I am glad for my training which caused me to recognize it. Maybe we need a new category because of our various messaging technology. I call it the passive-agressive-cyber-invitation-message or PACIM. 


How it works is someone fishes for an invitation to be entertained with vague message about your location: Hey I'm in the neighborhood. Call me if you want to do something later. Call me old fashioned. But this is NOT an invitation. This is a veiled attempt to get ME to entertain YOU! An invitation is: Hey, I haven't seen you in a while. I'm going to be in your neighborhood in a few days. I would love to take you for a drink if you are free. How about we meet at the diner on your street at 6 o'clock?


Look. There is nothing wrong with being direct. "I would like to see you. I am happy to make the arrangements." "I need a place to crash tonight. Is that okay with you?" "Sorry to bother you. I need a favor." "I need bail!" And there is nothing wrong with me saying "No" either. But technology has equipped us with this huge set of cyber-balls that make us feel like we are puppet masters who can manipulate and bully a situation just by writing LOL after whatever we write. Un-uh. Leave my energy alone pals. 'Cause I got real balls and I am not afraid to use them. LOL.





Blog Author

Michelle Tomko's comedy is a fervent blend of tomboy sensibilities courtesy of the older brothers she grew up with in the Midwest and the barrage of perimenopausal chaos the East Coast world has heaped upon her. She pulls her humor from everyday observations and classic stories of family, travel, pets, and adversity. With razor-sharp crowd work and improvisational skills to the rock-solid timing of a veteran performer, Michelle’s act is not to be missed!

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