Hi - I've been lurking this forum for a couple weeks now, and I downloaded and read the Manipulated Man on the advice of many of the men here, and after finishing it I felt compelled to share. I don't know if this is the right section to post this in, so feel free to move it if necessary.
Ok, so unlike some of the people who have posted in various threads about their anger/bitterness that welled up in them after reading The Manipulated Man, I felt only a small amount of that. I think this is because my dad is so overwhelmingly manipulated that I long ago had to come to terms with a lot of the insights from the book on my own.
The impact the book did have on me, however, was to realize that its not just my mother who is a powerful, cynical manipulator, but rather its all women (though some not as cynical as others). This is a bit bittersweet for me, since I have gone through periods of intense hate for my mother for the manipulation that she has perpetrated on my father, and realizing that its something that all women do has in some ways reduced my anger at my mother, while at the same time making me more suspicious of all the other women in my life and in the world.
The book also put a few things into much better words than I have been able to for myself, and addressed feminism more directly than I've ever bothered to.
In any case, here's a bit of my parent's story, since this might be helpful/instructive to some of you guys out there. I've had to piece this together from stories that each of my parents have told me at various points, but I'm convinced that its accurate.
My dad was always puny, twerpy, nerdy, very low self confidence, and thought he was unworthy of women and that he wouldn't be able to "get a good one". In other words - a total symp. He's very book smart though, really good with computers at a time when they were just really starting to become commonly used in big businesses/research. So basically he was a symp with decent prospects of being a good workhorse (able to bring home $$$). He never actually ended up making huge amounts of money, but my parents had three kids and my mom was a stay-at-home mom for 15 years, and my dad worked his ass off to make ends meet, so he was a pretty decent provider.
When he was 26, my mom (age 31) met him and they started dating. My mom had been married about 5 years earlier, but her first husband was murdered by rebel guerillas while traveling shortly after their honeymoon. (No joke - this part of the story is pretty nuts).
So anyway, when they started dating, less than a year in, my mom decided that my dad was an acceptable workhorse and she needed to lock him up so he wouldn't be able to leave. I think she must have realized that her social value was only decreasing as she was getting older, and that she felt like my dad had enough potential to provide for her and her other prospects weren't very good.
My parents were just using the "rhythm method" - so half of the month no condoms, and the other half of the month using condoms. The story my dad revealed to me when I turned 25 was that they were entering the part of the month where they needed to start using condoms, but my mom told him that she didn't want him to use one. She told him that "she was a woman and she knew her body, and she had an intuition about it, so she was sure she wasn't ovulating" so he shouldn't stop and go get a condom.
My dad did what he was told, and 2.5 months later my mom comes to him with a couple positive pregnancy tests and tells him that he's going to marry her and he doesn't have a choice. Both my parents are catholic, so she played the religion card on him too, and he capitulated and agreed to marry her. 5.5 months later out came my sister (who doesn't know this part of the story).
Just in case my dad would consider leaving my mom after only 1 kid, my mom convinced him that as long as she was breastfeeding she couldn't get pregnant again, so four months after my first sister was born, my mom was pregnant with my second sister, and my dad was officially locked up. I came long 3.5 years later. I don't know what the circumstances were surrounding my mom getting pregnant with me.
My mom, of course, stayed home with me and my sisters while my dad worked very hard as a computer systems administrator for a university during the week, and then spent all his weekends remodeling the house because my mom wanted it bigger/nicer, etc.
Now if that weren't enough, my mom emotionally abused/intimidated my dad all the time from at least as early as I can remember - almost like she was punishing him for something he did (though I'm not aware of him doing anything in particular). The part that pisses me off the most is that she used my sisters and I as manipulative tools against my father. As an example - whole family sitting at the dinner table, my mom would lean across the table and tell my sister's and I "your father is a rejecting, selfish, lazy, wimp." She would say this to my sisters and I even though my dad was literally sitting right next to her. And he would just sit there an take it. Sometimes he wouldn't say anything - just sort of fume, and other times he would apologize to everyone at the table for "not being perfect".
Maybe 1 out of 20 times my mom would do this kind of thing, my dad would lash back at her in anger (always verbal, never emotional). Sometimes she would shout him down until he backed off, and other times she would pull an end-around on him - leaning over to my sisters and I and saying, "do you see this? do you see how your father is a terrible human being?" And you could see the look on his face when she did this - it was like she had a vice-like grip on his balls, but he was tied down so there was nothing he could do.
It took me a long time to recognize the depth and power of the manipulation that my mother has perpetrated on my father, and still does to this day. I'm the youngest, and I'm 28 now. My sisters and I live several states away, so there's no more "staying together for the kids" kind of excuse that my dad can use for not leaving my mom. However, he's completely blind to the power game that he has been playing and losing all these years. There's honestly 0% chance that he will leave my mom at this point. He is dependent on his slavery and the abuse he takes, and without it, he would fall apart.
It also took me a long time to be able to think about this without white-hot anger boiling up in me. Now, I'm mostly just sad for my dad, and I pity him. He's not only stuck in the matrix - but he's further confined to a shitty little corner of it, deep down in the depths somewhere that he will probably never be able to climb out of, if he ever had the inkling to do so.
Anyway, I've told other people this story before, and its always a bit cathartic, but nobody who has heard it yet has had a real deep understanding of the social matrix and how it operates. I don't purport to have that understanding myself completely yet, but I feel as though I have definitely swallowed the red pill at this point, and am coming to terms with what is.
Soon I would like to start really learning Kung Fu, and it seems like you guys here are good people to learn it from.
"The society gives you a map; I give you only freedom. The society gives you character, I give you only consciousness. The society teaches you to live a conformist life ... I give you an invitation to go on an adventure." - Osho