My STBXWW thinks that I am emotionally and psychologically manipulative. She also thinks that I'm emotionally inept (have a hard time understanding people's emotions, low EQ or whatever you want to call it). The latter evaluation is, as far as I can tell, a half-truth at best. I'm not always the most emotionally sensitive person, I'll grant. I empathize with people, but like a lot of men, my first instinct is to try to fix their problems. I'm trying to work on this. The former accusation, that I am emotionally manipulative, still appears to me to have no substance, even after a great deal of introspection on my part. What is strange about it though, is that these two things seem to be contradictory. How could I be an effective manipulator of emotions if I can't even understand them? If I'm so out of tune with the feelings of others, how is it that I'm so adept at making them feel what I want them to feel? These two things can't both be true at the same time.
But I wonder if this isn't going to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I commented in another thread that I felt like my WW was acting like she was entitled to have my generosity, emotional support, and general good will, even after everything she had done to me. This of course, offends my sense of justice, and in my life it is probably a truism that I very often fail to do or say what is prudent because of what I believe is right. Since she didn't deserve my good will, I wasn't inclined to give it to her (excluding a few exceptional moments of charity on my part). But it occurred to me after someone pointed this out, that I probably should be nice to her for my own sake. That is to say: I'm never going to get justice, and the message that I might try to convey by being cold or uncaring to her will probably never get through the way I want it to. In the meantime, there are concrete ways I can benefit from being nice to her. If she sees what she thinks is good will, our co-parenting may go more smoothly, she may be more willing to give and compromise, etc. It may not feel right, but it is in my best interests.
And this is where it comes full circle, because it feels like I am gradually coming to a place where I see my STBX as a means to an end, where I behave towards her in a certain way only to bring about consequences that benefit me (and our daughter as well), in which Iódare I say̦ómanipulate her emotions to suit my ends.
I have never been like this in my entire life. As I said, if I had any flaw it was that I wouldn't do and say the things that had good pragmatic consequences for me, but would instead stubbornly insist on saying or doing what I thought was right, even if it had undesirable consequences. And I'm still doing it now, launching into tirades of righteous indignation when I know that it won't do any good and will just weaken my position in the end. I need to change this. I need to manage her emotions. I need to "play the game."
So in a strange twist of fate, the one thing that she accused me of that was never true of me might actually become true. I don't like it, but it seems better than the alternative.