All of us, at some point in our lives, have fallen victim to a player. That is, someone who had intentionally convinced us to be, feel or do something we ordinarily wouldn’t do that would allow them to acquire something from us that we might not have agreed with if we had known the actual truth behind their intentions.
It needs to be understood that we can only be played by either what we want and/or feel insecure about. Most players seem to have a sixth sense about where to concentrate their efforts with us. They encourage us with small and seemingly innocuous changes building to an overall larger, and sometimes hidden, objective. Manners and face saving dynamics are implemented coercing us innocently on our way toward their objectives often contributing to eliciting our behaviors based on compelling our perceived social expectations in the face of our looking bad in the public eye if we don’t acquiesce to what the player suggests. Most players depend on a combination of fabrications and social coercions. This combination is a lot more dynamic than simply using or hiding lies. The more involved the combination, the more sophisticated the player. But these reasons only tell us how they accomplish their “sting.” My objective is to more carefully look at why someone might resort to such tactics rather than just approaching us truthfully and allowing our choices to be based on our own preferences and reasoning. Why all the cloak and dagger? To understand this we have to put ourselves into the players head space.
We all can think back to situations where we’ve either wanted someone to do something for us or hand over something we desired. We also know that sometimes we had our doubts as to whether that someone would be willing to do so if we asked them directly. Depending on the strength of our doubt we might be inclined to pursue their agreement by listing the positive aspects of their acquiescing before we actually asked. We may have also gone a little deeper in our convincing by attempting to make them feel obligated to do or give what we want while also drawing their attention to the positive regard they might receive from others for doing so. Our objective would be to encourage them to feel that they want to do or give what we desire without our actually asking for it and risking a no in their response. We might even take what we want in a staged environment where they would look selfish or inconsiderate to the observation of others who might be important to them. Our rationale for acting this way may often be followed by convincing ourselves that “it is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission.” This may engage an additional self-deception that it might be better for someone to acquiesce to our desires because in the long run it would be best for them. Some of us have become pros at rationalizing our actions in the face of our possible refusal or self-incrimination.
The key to this whole charade is that our self-doubt and our perception of how others value us, or not, is at the root of our inclination toward pursuing our desires in an indirect and even deceptive and clandestine way. Our belief that we will be denied comes from a feeling within us that we somehow aren’t good enough or that we don’t deserve what it is that we are asking for. But that belief is usually buried far beneath our awareness. Some of us who have that belief in our awareness recognize and accept the feeling but because it is conscious and that our inclination to play or manipulate others is often mitigated by attacks of conscience and producing guilt that is far more volatile than the actual feeling of being undeserving. I think that I can safely say that people who act like players are almost always unaware of their feelings of unworthiness and rely heavily on rationalizing their actions as being based on their survival, for which they might claim entitlement, or they may claim that their actions are in the better interest of those whom they’re playing.
So, not only are players deceiving those whom they’re playing but they are also, essentially, playing themselves. This may seem like an odd way of viewing their behavior but we must realize that if it is true that we can’t love others unless we love ourselves, we must also acknowledge that if we deceive others, we must also be deceiving ourselves. The basic Law of Attraction states that like attracts like must be valid for both perspectives.
Bottom line, I’m not condoning the behavior of players. I’m simply suggesting that they are victims of their own beliefs. Those of us who feel that we’ve been played and the victim of someone else’s deception must also realize that we have allowed ourselves to have been played by virtue of our own beliefs and values. This is not to say that what we believe is wrong. It’s not. We behave according to who we believe we are and that is almost always a function of our past experience and how others, mainly our parents, have trained us to view ourselves. If we were strong in our own values, decisions and choices we will be less likely to take affront at how we are treated by others. It then wouldn’t matter because we would be strong in who we feel we are based on our own experience rather than hearsay. When we doubt ourselves and we are dependent for our image on what others think about us, we are much more likely to be deceived or played by others.
So, if we feel that we’ve been played, we have to do some soul searching because this shows us that there are vulnerable places within us that are characterized by self-doubt and lack of confidence making us suggestible and susceptible to the manipulation of others who can sense these vulnerabilities within us. They’re not bad people. They just can’t see that their inclination to be a player is simply a function of the same self-doubt and lack of confidence that is believed by those whom they are playing.
So, what does being a player have over being honest? It gives us the ability to project our perceived unworthiness onto others and to feel superior, externally, over those whom we play. However, the player knows on some level that they are being dishonest with themselves about their actions and rationalizations. As a result, the player will move on to a “new play” before the person realizes that they have been played and confronts the player with the reality of their actions. The player must continuously move on to prevent confronting their own self-deception.
So how do we prevent being played? We do this by ferreting out all our own self-doubts and insecurities and dealing with them directly thereby building our Self-Trust and confidence. We become aware and accountable for our perceived shortcomings. When we are aware of where we are vulnerable and are accountable for it, we will no longer be manipulatable through it. If we have a clear understanding of what we want, what we’re willing to do for it and confront any self-deception we may have about ourselves, no one else will be able to use them against us.