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Married to a Manipulator

CD Knowles 5 months ago

Dear Knowles,

I have had a recent realization about my wife of not quite twelve years. She’s a person who likes to push things to her own advantage (some might call this “gaming the system”). So, for instance, she had our poodle trained as a therapy dog in order to be able to take him with her wherever she wanted and to receive preferential treatment on planes. Believe me, my wife has no emotional issues requiring a therapy dog. When wanting to receive quick medical attention for a gastrointestinal complaint, she name-dropped one of the doctors’ wives when she didn’t know the woman at all. The same happened when we put the name of our two-year-old on the list for an extremely competitive nursery school — she mentioned someone on the board whom she’d never met (the ruse worked). In restaurants, she will mimic a French or British accent and get involved with the table next to us, putting on airs and eventually receiving information that she can later work to her advantage in some scheme or other. I used to think this was smart and funny, but now it seems dishonest and I want to figure out a way to stop the behavior. Any advice? The one time I tried to initiate a conversation on this, she got huffy and wouldn’t talk to me without heavy sarcasm for several days.

All the best,

Married to a Manipulator


Dear Married,

If you tell your wife the truth about the way you feel, it could cause your relationship to cave. Let me put it another way: your wife enjoys arranging the world she lives in to her advantage; each success is a triumph and that is what feeds her, that’s her nature. Try and change things, criticize her, point out moral failings and you’ll destroy her inner core and utterly dampen her spirits — more than likely for good. My advice? Let well enough alone and accept your wife for who she is: someone who likes to puzzle out the easiest routes to a difficult and possibly even forbidden goal. Her brilliance and charm lie mostly in that area, so try and enjoy her successes along with her. Hope that clarifies things.


CD Knowles




Dear American,

I am so ashamed to hear you’ve been treated that way. As an American citizen, you should hold your head high and tell these people you have as much right to be here as they do and to eff off. I wish I could do it for you. Best,

Mary Louise J., Staten Island, NY


Dear American,

Too many crazies in this country and the man at the top is the craziest of all. We’re all created equal and don’t you forget that. Don’t let the stupid things stupid people say eat at your heart — it ain’t worth it. All the best,

James B., Atlanta, GA



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Disclaimer: CD Knowles is not a doctor or psychotherapist. Any opinions expressed on Knowles Knows are just that — opinions.

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