Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Emotional Blackmail

I really dislike it when people try to manipulate my emotions. While I'm a very emotional - some would say "volatile" - person (after "Dances With Wolves" came out I decided that my Lakota Sioux name would have to be "Cries At the Drop of A Hat), and while I express those emotions regularly, I don't like to be forced into it. I had a big problem with Richard Paul Evans' first book "The Christmas Box" (aside from the obvious literary reasons) because I felt the whole plot was contrived to make me feel sad and cause me to weep. I've wept lots of times over books...but only the ones that didn't try too hard to make me cry.

My emotions have been very active lately - what with placing my Dad in assisted living and all - and it really doesn't take much to set me off, but rather than weeping last night I was ticked. (I'd have used the other euphemism, but let's keep this clean.) I did my usual routine: race home, feed the Feline Diva, change clothes. Then I had some of Dad's laundry to fold. Then I went to visit him.

One of the first questions I asked was: What did you have for dinner? Oh just this little ball of ham. That's all? Yes. No potatoes? No. Any bread? No. Vegetables? No. Salad? Oh...just this little bit. (Thumb and index finger squeezed together to indicate a miniscule amount.) That's all they gave you? Yes. Are you hungry? No. Do you want me to go and get you something? No. Are you sure? Yes.

We went on to other things, but the subject came up again later. Well, when they give you just this little bit of rice... (Again with the thumb and index finger. But rice?? He never mentioned rice.)

Are you sure you're not hungry? Yes. Shall I go get you a cheeseburger? No! Are you sure? Yes! There are some crackers here, do you want them? No! I could get a different kind of cracker. No! I'm going to go talk to them. No! Okay, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to get the little fridge from home and bring it over and stock with Ensure, and if you don't feel like you're getting enough to eat I want you to drink an Ensure, okay? NO!

So I got frustrated and gave up, told him that obviously nothing I suggested was helping and I was going to go out and talk to the cook before I went home. I gave him a perfunctory hug and left.

On the way out I spoke to the lady in the kitchen. "Excuse me, could you tell me what you had for dinner here?" Sure, we had spaghetti casserole with biscuits, and cauliflower and broccoli. Didn't your dad get enough? Is he hungry? Should I take him something?

"Did he eat okay?" Oh yes, he ate everything on his plate...and he had a cupcake.

The light bulb went off. If I think they're starving him there, then surely I'll take him out of that awful place, right??

I assured the lady that everything was fine, and that he probably was trying to paint a bleak picture of the situation so I'd let him go home. She of those "oh yes I know that song" kind of smiles. I'm sure they see that type of thing a lot. Emotional blackmail...plain and simple.

But I'm on to him..........

1 comment:

  1. It starts in childhood with the proverbial "guilt trip" and it never goes away... it just becomes more subversive and sophisticated. Hang in there, sis. You're a good daughter and you're doing the right thing. *hugs*