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The Worst Habit Women Have in Relationships

To generalize, the goal of a romantic relationship is to establish a secure, feel-good partnership with someone who is truly compatible. But there are some behaviors that make this virtually impossible. Let’s take a look at the worst, unfortunately common, behavior that women have in romantic relationships.

In today’s world, the process of socialization in childhood is not exactly the same for girls as it is for boys. In the process of socialization, both boys and girls learn what about people in general and what about them is bad, wrong, unacceptable, unwanted and unlovable. They learn that in order to stay safe in the social group and get their needs met, they must alienate themselves from and hide those aspects of themselves. And to the opposite, they must identify with and put forward whatever is seen as right, good, acceptable, desired and lovable. 

Well, as it just so happens, in most societies, what is seen as right, good, acceptable, desired and lovable in a girl/woman is different from what is seen as right, good, acceptable, desires and lovable in a boy/man. Different things are expected from boys and men than are expected from girls and women. Gender bias studies prove again and again that gender bias is an absolute reality of our world. To give you an idea of what I mean, many societies today value things like strength, bravery, task orientation, activeness, confidence, success drive, independence, assertiveness, competence and intelligence in males. On the other hand, many societies today value nurturing, supportiveness, sensitivity, passiveness, beauty and kindness, in females. On top of this, within global society, for thousands of years, most human societies have been patriarchal. Men held all of the power and women were treated as property. Even in the United States, it was only in 1974 that a woman could have access to credit without a man, such as a husband, father or brother co-signing on a loan or credit card. Many of you watching this were already born when that happened. Some societies are very gradually transitioning out of this, but a society does not transition overnight. This means, female disadvantage and female powerlessness is not actually a thing of the past. And most societies still expect girls to be oriented towards others and serving what other people want and need, rather than themselves and what they want and need.  

Why all of this is important is because this cocktail of societal realities makes it so that girls often find themselves in societies that oppose who they naturally are and what they really want. Girls face negative consequences for going directly for what they want and need, as well as for the list of character traits that enable a person to do so. All of this makes it very hard for a girl to take ownership over her life. So, a girl very quickly has to find a way to get control over her life and get what she wants and needs, but without going directly for it and without displaying any of the character traits that would be considered undesirable. And the way they do this, is by manipulating. 

They employ creative ways of influencing and controlling other people’s behavior and actions, especially those who they believe have more power than they do. They take to behaviors and strategies which are designed to elicit a wanted thing from others, such whoever they are in a romantic relationship with. And this becomes a chronic behavior up into their adulthood.  

As a result, the worst habit that women have when it comes to romantic relationships, is manipulation of their partner. And the biggest problem of all, is that most women don’t even see what they are doing AS manipulation. In other words, they aren’t even aware that they are manipulating. The thing is, there is no possible way for a relationship to actually be a healthy relationship when manipulation is going on for several reasons. Let me share some of them with you. 

  1. The decision to manipulate someone, whether it is subconscious or conscious, is a decision to gain power over them. When power disparity is unilaterally forced like this, it means you are not seeing your partner as an ally in life and an ally regarding the bringing about of what you want and need. You are seeing them as an enemy in life and an oppositional force to the bringing about of what you want and need. The opposite of a working relationship. 
  2. Manipulation is not done with the best interests of the person being manipulated in mind. When someone manipulates, they only have one thing in mind, their own wants and needs; no matter the negative impact on anyone else. And this, is a recipe for relationship disaster. Why? Because it destroys trust. Manipulation destroys trust in a relationship which is the most sacred element of a relationship. And when the manipulation is seen, it immediately leads to the person who is manipulated feeling unfairly treated and resentful.      
  3. The many tactics of manipulation, such as using a person’s insecurities for your own benefit, using someone’s needs against them, deception, fake friendliness, insincere flattery, guilting, inauthenticity, lying, strategically giving and withholding a person’s needs, strategic nice-ness, false promises, feigning ignorance, playing weak or helpless strategically, bullying, temper tantrums, veiled threats, playing mind games, passive aggression, silent treatment, gaslighting, love bombing, denial, blackmailing, putting people in terrible lose-lose scenarios etc. Are abusive. They do damage to others, which is not a recipe for a healthy relationship. 
  4. When someone manipulates chronically, it is usually because they were raised in a highly competitive environment, in which people (family members, classmates, coworkers, social groups, societal affiliations, economic interests) jockeyed for things like power, resources, advantage and influence. And that in that environment, they felt a lack of direct power and control over their situation. Because they felt this sense of being at the disadvantage, being powerless, being inadequate and lacking what they want and need, they resort to indirect, underhanded strategies to attain what they want and need. When manipulation is employed, it not only keeps you stuck in this worldview of negative competition (including with your own partner) it prevents you from actually seeing the power you do have and from actualizing your own genuine empowerment. It keeps you trapped in a position of having to get what you want and need through others and against their will. 
  5. While the most skilled manipulators are able to manipulate someone without them even realizing that they are being manipulated, at some level, most people can feel when they are being manipulated. Most people can feel when someone else is trying to control them. At the very least, they can feel that something is “off”. And this creates a negative emotional tone in a relationship, invites all kinds of protest behaviors and causes a cascade of conflict.
  6. Manipulation causes an overall lack of emotional safety in a relationship. It is a recipe for an insecure relationship. This goes hand in hand with the fact that manipulation destroys trust. For a relationship to work, the other person needs to be a place of safety and security for you. When a person manipulates, they have demonstrated that they cannot be considered safe or secure. They have demonstrated they are emotionally unsafe. 

Meet Megan. Megan is in a relationship with Noah. Megan comes from a background in a Southern Baptist family. She is not an easy-going woman, even though she knows that being easy going is what is expected of her. Noah has recently decided that he needs to switch to a different medical college. This would mean moving and not just anywhere. Because of the college that Noah has decided on, it would mean moving back home, to the town where Noah’s mother lives. Megan does not want this to happen. But she is convinced that if she is honest and direct about the fact that she does not like his mother and abhors the idea of living near her and also that she cannot manage a long-distance relationship, that Noah will simply end the relationship. So, Megan is convinced she has to find an indirect way of getting what she wants, which is for Noah to change his mind. 

Megan decides upon several different methods of achieving this aim. The first method, is sending him articles about the downsides of living in the city that he wants to move to and feigning fear about the things written in the article. The second method is coming up with excuses for why she can’t move for a while, such as a friend who is going through cancer and then guilting Noah for his willingness to simply abandon the friend in their time of need. The third method is to triangulate Noah against his mother. 

Megan knows that Noah doesn’t like how suffocating his mother is. She calls him several times a day and loves to tell him what he should and shouldn’t be doing. So, Megan decides to fan the flames of discord between them. When she sees any sign of frustration in Noah after a phone call with his mom, she jumps in to not only validate his frustration, but to increase it. She says things like “Babe, it’s so sad that your mom doesn’t see that you’re a man, it must be hard to feel so disrespected by someone who you love so much.” And “What do you think your mom would want you to do, if she could have everything her way?  I think she would have you move in with her and for you to be kind of like her husband… what if your mom is never ok with anyone you marry, because she wants you for herself?” Despite it not actually being the case, Megan is careful to frame everything that Noah’s mother does, through the lens of her controlling him, disrespecting him and trying to get between them. After all, she knows these are triggers for Noah. 

The tactic works. One day, Noah says “God… I’m really starting to re-think this whole thing about moving back home.” Megan jumps on the opportunity to support his new idea not to move, showering him with nurturing physical affection while she does it. Noah feels a new found sense of resolve NOT to go. All the while, feeling a sick feeling in his stomach that he can’t quite understand about Megan. He dismisses the feeling though. She’s so obviously supportive of him and his own masculinity, unlike his mother.          

Manipulation is a way of indirectly meeting your needs. It is as simple as that. So, the way to break the habit of manipulating, is to be upfront and to go directly for what you want and need. Yes, doing this will bring you face to face with everything that caused you to start manipulating in the first place. Things like your personal sense of inadequacy and the belief that no one actually cares about what you want and need enough to be an advocate for those things and the fear of being seen as a bad person etc. But facing and resolving these things will drastically transform your life for the better. Not only that, it will make a healthy, mutually feel-good relationship possible.         


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