Author Topic: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?  (Read 5709 times)

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GratefulMaria

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2013, 04:12:14 PM »
I tend to be really sensitive to wording:  phrasing such as "I need you to" or "I'm going to ask you to" rather than "Could you . . . ?" really raises my hackles.  Telling me I'm going to do something for you doesn't make it happen.  Sometimes it's just a function of being rushed or stressed, but sometimes it's part of a pattern of entitlement.

MrTango

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2013, 04:15:00 PM »
I tend to be really sensitive to wording:  phrasing such as "I need you to" or "I'm going to ask you to" rather than "Could you . . . ?" really raises my hackles.  Telling me I'm going to do something for you doesn't make it happen.  Sometimes it's just a function of being rushed or stressed, but sometimes it's part of a pattern of entitlement.

I'd be very tempted to respond "okay," and then go about whatever I was doing until they actually did ask me to do whatever it is they.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2013, 04:21:27 PM »
One thing I really don't like about some manipulating people is that they assume that because they do this, everyone does. My stepfather does this with people and I have no time for his games, but he has and still does assume I intentionally play people just like he does.

Seriously, there's more to life than using people as your pawns, why waste your time?

EllenS

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2013, 04:28:27 PM »
Oh, absolutely true.

In fact, I once took a workshop for those of us who have to deal with pedophiles and one of the most interesting aspects of the program was the info on how molesters "test" the waters to not only see if the kid is a candidate for keeping the abuse a secret, but if the parents are likely to keep their mouths shut as well. As the presenters explained it, these people are sociopaths and sociopaths excel at telling if someone is vulnerable to their manipulation and later abuse and they usually then test their hypotheses by making small, initial efforts. These attempts have the two-fold advantage of testing the waters in a way that allows easy backtracking and excuses and makes the victim more likely to accept increased boundary breaking as the ice is broken and more of a relationship has been established.  People are far more likely to excuse behaviors in people with whom they have a relationship.

At the end of a session, they brought in some so-called "reforming" criminals who actually told us the same thing and then after conversation, pointed out the people in the group that they could "tell" were likely to be "good marks" and people who would be "bad marks."  It was fascinating, especially since they made it quite clear to us that they were choosing to engage in the behavior, had entire strategies to get what they wanted and knew what people to avoid who might blow their cover. Truly sociopathic behaviors.

I think this is really interesting.  I was working last year on developing a child safety policy at my church, and one of the interesting things about background checks, having a written policy for reporting, etc, is that, even more than catching perpetrators,  it is supposed to have a deterrent effect on people who might try to use church activities to get inappropriate access to kids. The more our staff and kids are trained in exercising good boundaries, not keeping secrets, etc the less likely perpetrators are to even try anything - we're trying to make the whole church a "bad mark".

Dr. F.

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2013, 04:44:41 PM »
Oh, absolutely true.

In fact, I once took a workshop for those of us who have to deal with pedophiles and one of the most interesting aspects of the program was the info on how molesters "test" the waters to not only see if the kid is a candidate for keeping the abuse a secret, but if the parents are likely to keep their mouths shut as well. As the presenters explained it, these people are sociopaths and sociopaths excel at telling if someone is vulnerable to their manipulation and later abuse and they usually then test their hypotheses by making small, initial efforts. These attempts have the two-fold advantage of testing the waters in a way that allows easy backtracking and excuses and makes the victim more likely to accept increased boundary breaking as the ice is broken and more of a relationship has been established.  People are far more likely to excuse behaviors in people with whom they have a relationship.

At the end of a session, they brought in some so-called "reforming" criminals who actually told us the same thing and then after conversation, pointed out the people in the group that they could "tell" were likely to be "good marks" and people who would be "bad marks."  It was fascinating, especially since they made it quite clear to us that they were choosing to engage in the behavior, had entire strategies to get what they wanted and knew what people to avoid who might blow their cover. Truly sociopathic behaviors.

Do you happen to recall how they differentiated a "good" from "bad" mark, particularly that quickly?

WillyNilly

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2013, 04:52:32 PM »
Oh, absolutely true.

In fact, I once took a workshop for those of us who have to deal with pedophiles and one of the most interesting aspects of the program was the info on how molesters "test" the waters to not only see if the kid is a candidate for keeping the abuse a secret, but if the parents are likely to keep their mouths shut as well. As the presenters explained it, these people are sociopaths and sociopaths excel at telling if someone is vulnerable to their manipulation and later abuse and they usually then test their hypotheses by making small, initial efforts. These attempts have the two-fold advantage of testing the waters in a way that allows easy backtracking and excuses and makes the victim more likely to accept increased boundary breaking as the ice is broken and more of a relationship has been established.  People are far more likely to excuse behaviors in people with whom they have a relationship.

At the end of a session, they brought in some so-called "reforming" criminals who actually told us the same thing and then after conversation, pointed out the people in the group that they could "tell" were likely to be "good marks" and people who would be "bad marks."  It was fascinating, especially since they made it quite clear to us that they were choosing to engage in the behavior, had entire strategies to get what they wanted and knew what people to avoid who might blow their cover. Truly sociopathic behaviors.

This makes a lot of sense to me. 

I've never been one to get many requests from people for help, or loans, or whatever.  I'm often dumbfounded so many do get hit up and used so often, I just literally have never had anything remotely like it happen to me.

But then again I have been told by two totally separate guys I have what they described as a "don't [mess] with me" air about me.  It came up more in the context of how out in public (at bars, parties, events, etc) guys never hit on me. I never had a shortage of boyfriends or suitors, but I just never got approached by men. But I suppose that same vibe that makes me seem un-pick-up-able might also make me come across as someone not likely to do excessive favors or be open to random requests.

LazyDaisy

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2013, 05:06:23 PM »
I imagine some of it is how people carry themselves: stand up straight, head high, shoulders back, eye contact, confident tone of voice, no fidgeting (like nail biting or hair playing) = not a good target. The opposite: slouching, no or little eye contact, hesitant or submissive speech patterns, fidgeting = target. Also, if a person is already a "loner" they aren't likely to have the resources to resist a user or abuser. That's why abusers both pick a target who is already somewhat apart from the group, and work to isolate their victims even more from family and friends.
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EllenS

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2013, 05:19:54 PM »
I had a really odd situation when I was younger and pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.  A new photographer had come to town and ran an ad looking to trade free photos for free modelling.  Not unusual.  His studio was also an apartment - not very unusual, but of course always reason to be on "yellow light".

I made an audition appointment, and his space was very professionally set up.  I had brought my previous photos, and we had a discussion about what we were each looking to get out of the sessions, my type and how I usually worked, etc.  We did a few test shots and he asked me about what types of modelling I was interested in - did I do catalog, boudoir, nudes, etc.  I answered according to my professional standards and left.  I didn't like him and probably wouldn't have worked with him, but it was moot because I never heard anything else from him.  He was kind of a jerk but perfectly professional and appropriate.

Another gal I knew, who was trying on a lot of different careers and thought she might try modelling and acting, went for an audition and told me later that he had tried to molest her and she had to flee the apartment.  Turned out he was wanted in several states for sexual assault, check kiting, and various other low-lifery.

I have always wondered exactly what it was about me and her that made him choose her as a target. Inexperience?  Boundary problems (she definitely had them)?  I consider myself very lucky, but really there was nothing that even hinted at such a thing in our meeting.

LazyDaisy

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2013, 05:29:56 PM »
I had a really odd situation when I was younger and pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.  A new photographer had come to town and ran an ad looking to trade free photos for free modelling.  Not unusual.  His studio was also an apartment - not very unusual, but of course always reason to be on "yellow light".

I made an audition appointment, and his space was very professionally set up.  I had brought my previous photos, and we had a discussion about what we were each looking to get out of the sessions, my type and how I usually worked, etc.  We did a few test shots and he asked me about what types of modelling I was interested in - did I do catalog, boudoir, nudes, etc.  I answered according to my professional standards and left.  I didn't like him and probably wouldn't have worked with him, but it was moot because I never heard anything else from him.  He was kind of a jerk but perfectly professional and appropriate.

Another gal I knew, who was trying on a lot of different careers and thought she might try modelling and acting, went for an audition and told me later that he had tried to molest her and she had to flee the apartment.  Turned out he was wanted in several states for sexual assault, check kiting, and various other low-lifery.

I have always wondered exactly what it was about me and her that made him choose her as a target. Inexperience?  Boundary problems (she definitely had them)?  I consider myself very lucky, but really there was nothing that even hinted at such a thing in our meeting.
It sounds like during your discussion he was probably "feeling you out" to determine if you were a good victim, and since you don't sound insecure about your appearance or career he didn't have an opening. He asked you about boudoir and nudes...your response was probably key. While you were doing test shots did he try to direct you into poses that were in any way uncomfortable and you resisted?
"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." — Douglas Adams

EllenS

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2013, 05:33:37 PM »
I had a really odd situation when I was younger and pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.  A new photographer had come to town and ran an ad looking to trade free photos for free modelling.  Not unusual.  His studio was also an apartment - not very unusual, but of course always reason to be on "yellow light".

I made an audition appointment, and his space was very professionally set up.  I had brought my previous photos, and we had a discussion about what we were each looking to get out of the sessions, my type and how I usually worked, etc.  We did a few test shots and he asked me about what types of modelling I was interested in - did I do catalog, boudoir, nudes, etc.  I answered according to my professional standards and left.  I didn't like him and probably wouldn't have worked with him, but it was moot because I never heard anything else from him.  He was kind of a jerk but perfectly professional and appropriate.

Another gal I knew, who was trying on a lot of different careers and thought she might try modelling and acting, went for an audition and told me later that he had tried to molest her and she had to flee the apartment.  Turned out he was wanted in several states for sexual assault, check kiting, and various other low-lifery.

I have always wondered exactly what it was about me and her that made him choose her as a target. Inexperience?  Boundary problems (she definitely had them)?  I consider myself very lucky, but really there was nothing that even hinted at such a thing in our meeting.
It sounds like during your discussion he was probably "feeling you out" to determine if you were a good victim, and since you don't sound insecure about your appearance or career he didn't have an opening. He asked you about boudoir and nudes...your response was probably key. While you were doing test shots did he try to direct you into poses that were in any way uncomfortable and you resisted?

Well...uncomfortable in terms of that i did not think it was my best side, or that I thought was just a cheesy/uninteresting/low-quality shot - nothing boundary-crossing.

LazyDaisy

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #25 on: March 04, 2013, 05:38:04 PM »
I had a really odd situation when I was younger and pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.  A new photographer had come to town and ran an ad looking to trade free photos for free modelling.  Not unusual.  His studio was also an apartment - not very unusual, but of course always reason to be on "yellow light".

I made an audition appointment, and his space was very professionally set up.  I had brought my previous photos, and we had a discussion about what we were each looking to get out of the sessions, my type and how I usually worked, etc.  We did a few test shots and he asked me about what types of modelling I was interested in - did I do catalog, boudoir, nudes, etc.  I answered according to my professional standards and left.  I didn't like him and probably wouldn't have worked with him, but it was moot because I never heard anything else from him.  He was kind of a jerk but perfectly professional and appropriate.

Another gal I knew, who was trying on a lot of different careers and thought she might try modelling and acting, went for an audition and told me later that he had tried to molest her and she had to flee the apartment.  Turned out he was wanted in several states for sexual assault, check kiting, and various other low-lifery.

I have always wondered exactly what it was about me and her that made him choose her as a target. Inexperience?  Boundary problems (she definitely had them)?  I consider myself very lucky, but really there was nothing that even hinted at such a thing in our meeting.
It sounds like during your discussion he was probably "feeling you out" to determine if you were a good victim, and since you don't sound insecure about your appearance or career he didn't have an opening. He asked you about boudoir and nudes...your response was probably key. While you were doing test shots did he try to direct you into poses that were in any way uncomfortable and you resisted?

Well...uncomfortable in terms of that i did not think it was my best side, or that I thought was just a cheesy/uninteresting/low-quality shot - nothing boundary-crossing.
Ah, but the fact that you resisted his innocuous direction probably indicated that you would be resistant to more. If you had been compliant it probably would have escalated a little bit at a time until he was telling you to take off your clothes and if you want to get ahead in this business, he'll show you how...
"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." — Douglas Adams

Lynn2000

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2013, 05:50:47 PM »
Fascinating thread. My experiences have not been nearly so bad as other people's, but fall into a similar vein, I think. I started working at a university office as an undergrad, and I quickly discovered there were a couple of people there who thought themselves kind of special and wanted to boss me and the other students around in an unreasonable way. It was weird because I was very much the "good girl" and the other student, Ellie, was more of the "rebel" type, but it was Ellie who got sucked into doing extra stuff for these people--like they would call her at home on a Sunday to fetch research articles for them, when we were strictly Mon-Fri, hours at the office only. If anyone had pulled that on me I would have said, "Uh, no."

I remember once I was in the middle of doing something that couldn't be stopped once I'd started, and this person came up to me and wanted me to go to the library and find a certain article for her, in time for her to read it by the 1pm staff meeting. And it was now, like, 12:30pm. I said, "Well, when I finish here, I can get the article for you, but I don't think it will be by 1pm." I can see the look on her face now, like I was being so unreasonable and difficult, when--even if I had dropped what I was doing right then and done her thing--I probably wouldn't have been done in time. I wasn't thinking about setting boundaries or taking a stand or anything, I was just thinking that, I was in the middle of this thing and I couldn't do anything else until it was done, so--not happening.

So she learned pretty quickly that I wasn't someone she could push around, and we actually had a decent relationship. But every time we got new students, she would look for the biggest pushover and set them to work for her. You could see her testing them all to see who was the most malleable. And I don't necessarily blame the students, it can be hard to know what's reasonable and what isn't, and even though our boss didn't like she wouldn't confront the person, so...

On the other hand I do know a couple people who practically throw themselves at people's feet, begging to be used. My friend/former co-worker Emma is like this. We have a mutual acquaintance, Grace, who I guess means well but is incredibly blunt and judgmental; I make only small talk with Grace, because I know she will take any tiny bit of personal information as an invitation to comment on and judge my entire life. Well, Emma discusses personal problems with Grace and asks her for help all the time, even though Emma has come to me in tears multiple times due to the mean things Grace has said to her. Stop talking to her, then!

Emma and another friend, Amy, also have really high standards for friendship (or at least that's how they describe it). They want to be the type of person who drops everything to help out a friend. And then they expect other people to act the same way back to them. Sometimes they run into actual users who take advantage of this, other times they run into ordinary people who just aren't prepared to go from acquaintance to BFF in an instant. I think one time Amy gave an acquaintance a ride home when the person's car wouldn't start, even though it was completely out of Amy's way, and the person was grateful and offered her gas money (which Amy refused); and then Amy was mad because the person wouldn't drop everything to run an errand for Amy later. She barely knows you! I'm sure she was grateful for the ride, but she wasn't thinking it was the beginning of a grand and glorious friendship, you know?
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baglady

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #27 on: March 04, 2013, 06:27:47 PM »
Quote
Emma and another friend, Amy, also have really high standards for friendship (or at least that's how they describe it). They want to be the type of person who drops everything to help out a friend. And then they expect other people to act the same way back to them. Sometimes they run into actual users who take advantage of this, other times they run into ordinary people who just aren't prepared to go from acquaintance to BFF in an instant. I think one time Amy gave an acquaintance a ride home when the person's car wouldn't start, even though it was completely out of Amy's way, and the person was grateful and offered her gas money (which Amy refused); and then Amy was mad because the person wouldn't drop everything to run an errand for Amy later. She barely knows you! I'm sure she was grateful for the ride, but she wasn't thinking it was the beginning of a grand and glorious friendship, you know?

A friend of mine used to refer to this as "making an emotional investment in someone and then sending them the bill." And yes, he was accusing me of doing this. In my defense, I was very young and stupid and thought this was how it was supposed to work.
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Waterlight

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #28 on: March 04, 2013, 08:22:57 PM »
Sometimes.  It often depends on how firm the “No” was and also on whether or not the user/abuser has moved on and found another target.  But users often have multiple victims.

I know my particular user did (see these threads for more on SS Ellen:   http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=125363.0 and http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=51263.19815).

It wasn't until I broke off contact with her that I found out she'd also victimized a couple of my friends, before me--and that was why they avoided talking about her.

The next victim she moved on to after me was the party hostess I didn't particularly like.  (I still wouldn't say I like her much--but now at least we have an understanding of each other and how we were both deceived and manipulated by the SS.)  In both our cases, it started with minor favors and then escalated to more and more unreasonable requests.  If we wanted to stay in her good graces, we learned quickly we had to do what she wanted.

One example:  SS and I are both of the Green faith.  However, she is of the Forest sect of Green and I am of the Emerald sect.  I attended a couple of Forest Green services with her, which was fine--but it just didn't appeal to me enough to want to keep attending services with her.  (It may be worth noting that she never attended any Emerald Green services with me, nor did she ever express an interest in doing so.)  So when I said "thanks, but no thanks" to attending any further Forest Green services, she conveniently "forgot" about a promised social event (meeting somewhere for dinner) and didn't show up at all.  According to Party Hostess, this "forgetting" was a favorite PA manipulative tactic SS used with her too.
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Piratelvr1121

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #29 on: March 04, 2013, 08:56:37 PM »
This all reminds me of a chance I had to teach my boys about watching out for the kinds of things manipulators and users will say to get you to do things for them.  One girl they called a friend knew they weren't allowed to help themselves to food without asking between meals (often I'd say yes, but they had to ask first) and that I was rather possessive of my Diet Coke.

More than one occasion she told the boys "If you sneak me one of your mom's sodas, I'll be your best friend!"  They told me she would do that so I told them "The next time she says that, tell her "A good friend wouldn't ask me to do things that would get me in trouble."   Apparently the girl did NOT like hearing that, or that they refused to fall for her manipulative tactic.   Not only that but they because they had opened their eyes more they distanced themselves from the girl cause they got tired of her attempts to get them into trouble.

Plus a couple years afterwards they started talking to a kid who used to bully them.  This kid was a rude little snot before but suddenly he was calling me "ma'am" and being very nice to the boys and was rather fond of Piratebabe.  Turns out the aforementioned girl was telling him lies about us, probably because she wanted to keep the boys as her friends and keep others away.
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