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.