(Sparkly don’t read)
Initially this was going to be a post about this.
I don’t think that any of the people who’ve ever successfully fucked with my head would conceptualize what they did as manipulation/ playing mind games/ playing a trick on me, or even as taking advantage of some individual weakness or suggestibility in me specifically.
I think they would understand it as “I told someone what to do, and they obeyed me, because I was right about what to do and of course people obey me, that’s just how things should be.”
So, unrelated to the previous intimidation posts, the above example is also an example of what I mean by the difference between deliberately setting out to con someone, and being aware that doing things a certain way makes people do what you want.
And of course I have no way to prove I’m right about what goes on in other people’s heads, and actually in most of the situations I’m thinking of, the tangible facts of the situation make it very possible that it was deliberately planned, but like. This is what I believe to the best of my ability to judge people, and We Will Never Know anyway, so.
There’s just this inherent disjunction. In order to deliberately plan to take someone’s humanity* away from them, you have to believe they have it in the first place. And that doesn’t work. The scariness of it depends on it being true.
Oh hey the Hitherby monster is actually written as successfully bluffing people about this, that literally happens, he bluffs various powerful supernatural creatures into just assuming that of course he can control them. He is powerful but there’s also that.
But he always struck me as impressively doublethink-y about it even so, like, in the confrontation with Micah where Micah eventually sticks the post-it note on him, the conversation before that is very… addressing weakness without admitting weakness.
*This should say something more specific, there are situations that could be described as “taking someone’s humanity away” that aren’t what I’m talking about & that this doesn’t apply to, but it’s late.