The power of manipulating through selective storytelling

The power of manipulating through selective storytelling

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This is a discussion on The power of manipulating through selective storytelling within the General Chat forums, part of the The Cafe Lounge category; One thing I’ve been noticing, especially recently, is how much storytelling can distort the actual truth. Through storytelling, people have ...

  1. #1

    The power of manipulating through selective storytelling

    One thing I’ve been noticing, especially recently, is how much storytelling can distort the actual truth. Through storytelling, people have the luxury of being able to say exactly what they want to manipulate the listener’s feelings, thoughts, and opinions. Everything can seem so black and white in stories, but the reality is…it’s not about 90% of the time.
    Last night, my friend told my friends and I a story…this is how it went.

    A few nights ago, my friend had a guy come to her dorm and the guy asked if she wanted to have sex. She responded “no,” and then she got slapped.

    That was the entire story we were told. Now, while I was able to feel sadness for her and my friend, I was the only one out of my friends that couldn’t get any anger out of myself and want to hurt the guy who hit the girl. Why? I felt like that wasn’t the entire story. I tend to be able to see “good” in “bad” and I felt like there was more to the story than what had happened. I almost wanted to defend the guy because I felt like he was being misjudged and distorted.
    Now of course this made me feel like an extremely terrible and heartless person for not hating the guy who did this, but it made me think more about how much this kind of storytelling happens every day.

    If I hear two sides of an argument, both sides of the argument sound completely valid the vast majority of the time, and then I start to realize that it is practically impossible not to leak bias into everything. Am I a fucked up person for not hating “evil” people, like Hitler for example? Of course I hate the things he did, but I still believe that what he believed he was doing was valid and justified, and therefore I can sympathize with him.

    I hope this doesn’t make me a bad person. I never thought of myself as evil, but comparing myself to how others respond to things like this, it sure makes me feel like I am.

    Can anyone else relate to this? Does sympathizing with the "evil" side make that person bad themself? Are we actually being manipulated or is that just an excuse to make us feel better about ourselves?



  2. #2

    Quote Originally Posted by de l'eau salée View Post
    One thing I’ve been noticing, especially recently, is how much storytelling can distort the actual truth. Through storytelling, people have the luxury of being able to say exactly what they want to manipulate the listener’s feelings, thoughts, and opinions. Everything can seem so black and white in stories, but the reality is…it’s not about 90% of the time.
    Last night, my friend told my friends and I a story…this is how it went.

    A few nights ago, my friend had a guy come to her dorm and the guy asked if she wanted to have sex. She responded “no,” and then she got slapped.

    That was the entire story we were told. Now, while I was able to feel sadness for her and my friend, I was the only one out of my friends that couldn’t get any anger out of myself and want to hurt the guy who hit the girl. Why? I felt like that wasn’t the entire story. I tend to be able to see “good” in “bad” and I felt like there was more to the story than what had happened. I almost wanted to defend the guy because I felt like he was being misjudged and distorted.
    Now of course this made me feel like an extremely terrible and heartless person for not hating the guy who did this, but it made me think more about how much this kind of storytelling happens every day.

    If I hear two sides of an argument, both sides of the argument sound completely valid the vast majority of the time, and then I start to realize that it is practically impossible not to leak bias into everything. Am I a fucked up person for not hating “evil” people, like Hitler for example? Of course I hate the things he did, but I still believe that what he believed he was doing was valid and justified, and therefore I can sympathize with him.

    I hope this doesn’t make me a bad person. I never thought of myself as evil, but comparing myself to how others respond to things like this, it sure makes me feel like I am.

    Can anyone else relate to this? Does sympathizing with the "evil" side make that person bad themself? Are we actually being manipulated or is that just an excuse to make us feel better about ourselves?
    No, it's completely rational and logical to empathize and try to see both sides of the story. Most people confuse empathy, with supporting. They also feel that they must see a person in a completely positive or negative light, because viewing things in shades of gray, would just be validating their wrong doings. That's not to say I'm always empathetic but I try my best to view all sides of a story. Especially since most of the time people are holding back on details or perspectives they can't see, when they're telling their story. Sometimes I get annoyed when people form "lynch mobs". It makes me want to support the other side just to piss them off.

  3. #3

    Truth is largely subjective... and some people will overweight some aspects, and gloss over others when relating the story... to downplay their culpability and make themselves look better, or more victimized, etc. Even if two people tell their sides of the story and are as plain and honest as they can be... you still get two different versions.

    I find it's best to get all sides of a story, understand them, "empathize" with them then decide from there where the "truth" is at.

  4. #4

    I dont think it is evilness sil, or at least i feel the same way. Maybe we are both evil for giving people who are perceived as wicked, a chance.
    Posted via Mobile Device

  5. #5

    When I was an investigator for the state, most of the time, I found this to be true after listening to all sides -->> The Truth is usually somewhere in the middle. And the incidences leading up to The Truth, woo boy, that's a couple million volumes, in itself.

  6. #6

    Quote Originally Posted by de l'eau salée View Post
    That was the entire story we were told. Now, while I was able to feel sadness for her and my friend, I was the only one out of my friends that couldn’t get any anger out of myself and want to hurt the guy who hit the girl.
    Wait wait wait hold up, they wanted to hit the guy? Why? The bitch made him walk all the over to her dorm for no reason! I'd have been pissed too!


    But in all seriousness I agree with you. People never tell the whole truth, they only tell you the parts that support them. When people ask me my opinion on some event that occurred I always ask questions to try to get the full truth. Even if they answer all my questions I still say "if what you told me is exactly how it happened, then I think:". Its difficult to get all the facts out of people as they don't want to be wrong so they spin the story in their favor.

  7. #7

    Theres nothing strange about it. If I should characterise what you experience I'll give an easy example. If anyone had a scale of good and evil to measure on what's happening, a person like you simply has one that starts at Alpha, and ends at Omega.


     

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