Would you object/have any objection if…?

Have you noticed that the above question is often, too often, followed by a ‘request’ which is either cruel, unreasonable or totally crazy?

In fact, the question is part of a stable of rhetorical horses expertly raced over the flats of your brain by Mind-Gamers.

‘What,’ you may ask, ‘is the point? What do your interrogators hope to gain by such a technique?’

Very simple: The loaded word ‘object’ (or ‘objection’ come to that) puts the onus of blame in the resulting discussion (read ‘argument’) squarely onto your shoulders, the implication being that any objection is mean-spirited, irrational and, if you are a woman, probably a sign of pre-menstrual tension –  and shows you up for the fucked-up mess you actually are.

There is also the shock value: The question and its cruise missile wish come out of the blue more often than not – and stuns you to such an extent that you are unable to cut through the ‘To object or not to object?’ conundrum in time to say, ‘How dare you ask me this? Bugger off!’

To put it bluntly, such covert ‘I want…’ questions will often contain a sexual subtext, or a desire to do something, go somewhere, which is outrageous, unkind, inappropriate or plain barking mad.

But here is the rub: If you do object – and some do – the next few minutes/hours become all about what a horrible, tight, paranoid, jealous or frigid person you are and the outlandish nature of the covert demand becomes lost in a welter of logic, rhetoric and emotional bullying. If, on the other hand, you acquiesce, that opens the door to two things: One, once you realise what you have allowed into your life, it is very difficult to go back on that, ‘No, I have no objections…’ answer – and if, at a later date, you realise that you have been manipulated and express your disquiet, you get the old, ‘But you said it was fine!’ treatment.

‘Object’ is, if you think about it, a strong word to use when making a request: Its emotional content is far in excess of the day-to-day world of compromise – and the trap it baits is not one which can be crawled out of with ease.

It is very easy to think that the question is a sign of a caring and concerned personality, that it is a thoughtful approach – but the nature of the actual request will, very quickly, sort out the considerate sheep from the manipulative goats.

Because, you see, ‘object’ implies that you will have an objection and that it will be an illogical, badly-thought-out, neurotic one. It further implies that the original thing asked for is perfectly reasonable, understandable, even necessary to the well-being of the questioner – and that any objection you make, therefore, reflects appallingly on you.

The nuances of language are often very subtle indeed – and we do not always realise that we are being targeted by a clever and ruthless mind until it is too late.


10 thoughts on “Would you object/have any objection if…?

  1. I hear you, Alienora. I had that experience more than once with my ex-partner. It’s awful, just like you described. I have a parent who has opted for another, yet just as devicive, tactic: say something meanspirited or objectionable about you or someone you love and then, when you push back, aim you with the “What, you/they can’t even take a joke?” tactic. As if it was ever a joke, rather than an insult!

    Mind games, indeed. It can really mess with your self worth, I think either strategy is extremely manipulative and can be abusive if it happens with any regularity.

    Hugs. I’d say don’t listen to it, but I know well that we take this stuff in whether we consciously refuse it or not, then have to extract it out of ourselves later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. alienorajt

      Thank you for getting this so exactly, Eilis – though obviously I wish you hadn’t had to go through behaviours which have made you understand mind games so well. Oh my goodness, yes, I can totally identify with the joke/insult ‘game’; to me, both techniques come under the Gaslighting umbrella. Very sorry to hear that you have also experienced this. Hard to heal from a sustained attack on the mind – but, I hope, not impossible. I was very touched by your comment. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Although I’m aware of conversations leading with this, I’ve never been asked a leading question in this way.

    This, however does fit in line with one of my least favorite sentence leaders: “No offense, but…” (which I actually wrote a blog post about a couple of years ago), or “We need to talk.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. alienorajt

      Golly yes, Noah, those two little word-grenades are lethal all too often. ‘No offence…’ almost inevitably results in exactly what it purports not to be: An offensive comment! And ‘We need to talk…’ is never anything less than ominous! Totally agree! xx

      Liked by 1 person

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