Comparing you to others- This is one of the more common tactics used by CMI’s. The purpose of unfavourable comparison, is to essentially erode the victims self-confidence, to elicit guilt and to shape their behavior. A CMI (controlling, manipulative, influential person) will use comparison in a number of ways depending on the situation and circumstances. In the case of relationships, they will compare their partner in different ways to their ex partners, their friends partners and anyone else that will help them achieve their goal. In the work environment, the unfavourable comparison may be designed to pressure the victim to do more, or work harder. It can be used to diminish the shine of the victim if they start to shine to brightly.
Comparison is particularly insidious when it occurs within an intimate relationship. At first it will be subtle and infrequent, the comparisons only small with no real intensity, but over time this will become worse until the comparisons are direct and nasty. Comparison is a type of negative grooming which slowly destroys the victim until they feel like they have little to no value. In a way it creates a kind of zombie state that causes the victim to fall into behavior patterns where they desperately try to appease the CMI who is pushing the comparisons. But this is just one of the outcomes. A more aware victim may develop triggers to these unfavourable comparisons, which cause them to get angry and lash out at the CMI. The effect is still painful and nasty, but they at least put up a fight.
The worst type of comparison is the one you have little to no control over. This is when the CMI compares you unfavourably, but chooses something you cannot change at all or in the short term. This places the victim in a helpless and impotent position where they feel helpless to fix the flaws being pointed out which is precisely the point to such an attack. The point is to never let the victim win and to not give them a chance to fix their apparent flaws in any meaningful time-frame. This tactic takes advantage of our need to please others, as well as our desire to be perceived in a positive way. Another approach a CMI might use is comparison with exclusion. This is when they compare the victim unfavourable to someone else whilst at the same time ignoring the positive points about the victim and negative points about the person they are comparing them to.
Example- Emily tells her Husband Steve that he could be a better father than he is. She tells him that her friend Paul is a great father because he seems so attentive with his kids. Meanwhile she ignores the fact that Paul only works part time and is quite controlling when it comes to his wife. Steve's qualities are ignored as are Pauls flaws. The idea is to take Steve down, so including his qualities in the conversation does not serve the purpose for Emily who is the CMI in this example.
There are very few legitimate reasons to be compared unfavourably to others, especially by anyone claiming to be a friend or partner, the very people who should be treating you best. We should avoid using comparison in such a way as it only encourages anger and resentment, which will destroy a potentially good relationship.
Dealing with comparison, tips and thoughts on this subject-
1. Negative comparison will encourage resentment. The CMI usually thinks it is working by making the victim feel inadequate and guilty, what they often don’t’ realise is it often creates a deep state of anger, hate and resentment towards the CMI, eventually leading to the opposite of the intended effect, the intended effect being control.
2. Become aware of the comparisons. The more you notice each comparison the more sensitive you will become to the more subtle comparisons. Awareness grants you power.
3. Make negative comparison a deal breaker in your relationship. If you are not tied into a relationship by anything significant, tell the CMI you will leave if they continue comparing you in such a way. Warn them and tell them the next time will be the last. But mean it.
4. Realise why you are being compared and what the intention is. It is to make you feel bad, to shape you behaviour and to gain control. It is important that you don’t allow any of these things to occur. It helps to think of the CMI as a pathetic person who has to resort to malicious tactics to get by.
5. If you have passed the point of caring you can throw some comparisons back toward the CMI. Use the exact same tactic against them. This is an approach where timing is a factor. If you don’t think you will be seeing this person again for a long time if ever, then you can hit them with a painful comparison before you leave.
6. Ignore comparisons when they occur. Don’t give them any energy because that is exactly what the CMI wants. They want to know that their attack hit the mark. Act ignorant, dull, disconnected and dry, avoid giving it any attention and move on as if nothing happened. Take the power out of the attack.
7. Don’t buy into to it. A negative comparison has a toxic purpose that can only effect you if you let it.