Sunday 12 July 2009

Passive Aggressive vs Total Manipulation

According to the definition, "Passive Agressive" is a personality trait said to be marked by a pervasive pattern of negative attitudes and passive, usually disavowed resistance in interpersonal or occupational situations. That sounds a bit complex. What it means is when someone seems to be on your side or seems to go along with things, but they're putting obstacles in the way either consciously or unconsciously. For instance, someone asks their partner to take on a household job such as the laundry or the grocery shopping. That person doesn't particularly want to but agrees anyway and then does it wrong all the time. Therefore, the original requestor ends up redoing it or taking the task back. Result! thinks the requestee, because they didn't want to seem to be negative or unhelpful and can now say, "well, I did try my best" when really, they didn't.

It can also be seen as a bit controlling, especially if they are doing it and they know they are doing it. They're making the other person do what they want without having to directly persuade them. They can use the behaviour to cause trouble, to control, and to manipulate and some people are very, very good at it.

There are two characters on Corrie that deserve the Olympic gold standard in passive aggressive behaviour, and both have crossed the line. One is more classic than the other, more weak and more likely to show P.A. only somewhat consciously where the other is very much in control and uses P.A. to maneouver people like pieces on a chess board.

The latter, of course, is Tony Gordon. He's a master manipulator and control freak. He doesn't appear to have a conscience, not often at least. He is arrogant and selfish, cold and sarcastic. Did he truly love Carla or was it an obsession? Was she a possession that slipped through his fingers due to his own manipulations? Carla was probably the only woman that was close to Tony's equal, both in intelligence and in ruthlessness though she did show a softer side now and then.

Tony lost Carla to Liam and he had Liam killed in revenge. He then actually got his hands dirty and nearly strangled Jed Stone, one of the flies in the ointment but Jed was instrumental in Carla finding out the truth about Liam in the end. Maria discovered evidence of Carla and Liam's affair and leaped to the conclusion that Tony had Liam killed. She nearly got herself locked in the mental ward after weeks of hysterical campaigning trying to get everyone to believe her. Now, it looks like she's falling in love with Tony and he with her. Or is he? My feeling is that he started wooing her to put her off the scent. He also has shown a guilty conscience for killing Liam but only because Maria was pregnant. If she hadn't been, she might be as dead as Liam now for all the bad PR she was hurling Tony's way.

I think Tony may see his helping Maria as a way to atonement. He may actually be developing feelings for her and he has surely been touched by the birth of the baby, the baby that he brought into the world on a remote beach. Don't get too comfortable, Tony is already showing those signs of possessing the woman he "loves" by subtly pushing visitors away and making sure Maria's in-laws know he's been staying nights by retrieving his razor while they were there. That was calculated and it pushed the right buttons. The end result? He's hoping they'll get so upset that they'll leave and never return, thus cutting Maria and the baby off from Liam's family. Classic P.A. move.

Granted, Tony does not really have a classic P.A. personality, he just uses it for his own ends. The character that really is classic, is John Stape, aka Prisoner 666. (I love that moniker, the one Sally hurled at Fiz in the factory one day!) He knows exactly how to keep Fiz where he wants her and get her to do what he wants without seeming to be a controlling bastard like Tony. But he's equally destructive, maybe moreso. He puts on the hurt, puppy dog eyes, he uses flattery and poetry. He puts subtle ideas into Fiz's head and lets her run with it in exactly the right direction he wants. He lies with ease. He's weak and has no self control.

Recently, during a prison visit with Fiz, he talked about his anti-depression pills and being well enough now to be off them because of her, talking about weddings before giving her the idea of getting married while he's still in prison then pretending it's a mad idea, pretending it's not what he wants. Fiz has grabbed onto the idea, however, and is now determined to make it happen. When she left the visitation room, he had that tiny little smirk on his face, the smirk in this photo. Result! See, the sooner she marries him, the sooner he has her trapped. Then when he gets out of prison, he can put her firmly into an invisible walled prison. He's not as obvious about it as Charlie Stubbs was when he was manipulating Shelley but the end result will be the same.

He's already chipping Fiz's self esteem away. He's ruined her sparky fire and turned her into a needy puddle of tears. She's turning into the kind of woman that thinks that she is nothing and has no self worth if she doesn't have the man she loves. Last year, before he kidnapped Rosie, he thought it would be a good idea to move Fiz out into the country to his gran's house, away from all her friends and family. He didn't think about bringing Chesney along, only as an afterthought. He didn't think about her job, her friends or her responsibilities. He just wanted to get her away because her friends didn't like him or what he'd done, cheating on her with Rosie. But that went a bit too far, and Fiz, still with a modicum of backbone, balked.

What does John do? In a fit of temper, blaming Rosie for his downfall, kidnaps Rosie and keeps her in his gran's locked attic for 5 weeks until Fiz discovered her. Fiz thought she'd never set eyes on him again but she still couldn't help seeing him sent down and when she couldn't deal with Ches, she gravitated to him again and he's ramped up the PA behaviour even more. She is completely under his spell, even though Chesney is rebelling hard against it, she continues to blindly slip further and further into Stape's web.

How will it all end? Will she see what he's doing to her when Chesney goes right off the rails? Or will Prisoner 666 ensnare her and leave her a shell of her former self? Will Fiz come to her senses eventually? I hope so. I hope the writers have a purpose behind all this and we get a sadder, wiser Fiz back after it's all over.


Anonymous said...

Interesting read that Tvor. The thing is, if Tony wanted Liam's parents to know he had been staying nights there, then could he not have stayed? They would have soon known that he had been staying there from both of them had he stayed especially when it came to night time, but he was keen to leave and didn't want to be seen by Liam's parents at all until Maria insisted he stay. Interesting about going back for the razor, he might have forgotten it or left it as an excuse so he could go back although was it as calculated as all that so they would cotton on he'd been stopping there? Maybe he could have knocked at the door instead of using his key, and said he'd forgotten something and not said what it was, the razor being very revealing that he must have spent nights there. He did tell Maria if he hadn't forgotten his razor then he would have been back on some other pretext because he was missing them both so much. I do agree that he wants to get Maria and the baby to himself as much as possible, which is probably partly why he lets rip at Mrs Connor in a couple of weeks time rather than trying to be diplomatic regarding the rows she and Maria are to have. Also, I do think that he has inadveredly fallen in love with Maria, something he did not expect, but I'm sure he did befriend her in the beginning partly out of guilt and partly out of keeping her onside. If they are friends then she is less likely to go back to making the accusations that he's a murderer. That said it seems that he has fallen for her just the same and her him. I wonder how far Tony will go to keep Maria to himself, I think he will suggest they start afresh somewhere else or something, particularly when Carla returns. Also, how can Tony be convicted for his part in killing Liam? When Carla returns and finds him and Maria together as a family he can claim that she is making it up about him confessing to having Liam killed, the reason being is that she is jealous he has now moved on. Unless Jimmy Dockerson actually admits it (seems unlikely) then it is her word against his. No doubt if Carla does tell Maria that Tony confessed and that's why she left, he will find a way to manipulate Maria into believing him not her, claiming Carla is only saying these things out of spite. One way or another, this is a great storyline to follow over this next 6 months or so! I must admit I much prefer it compared to the Fiz and John rubbish.

Tvor said...

I think Tony is calculating and sly and "forgetting" the razor was more subtle than just horning in on the in-laws. I am of two minds as to whether he's in love with Maria. He will have to pay for killing Liam at some point and even if he says it's his word against Carla's, there is still Jimmy to contend with. And there's Jed Stone whom he tried to kill. further damning evidence. Definitely more interesting than the Stape/Fiz storyline though.

Yoork said...

Oooh, I can't STAND passive aggressiveness!
To me, it's just a cowardly way to be aggressive in my opinion. Sneaky, underhanded, dishonest.

Clare said...

I too am in two minds as to whether or not Tony has actually genuinely fallen for Maria. I think that for someone who was so insanely in love or obsessed, call it what you will, with Carla 5 months ago wouldn't and indeed couldn't switch those feelings off. I think maybe he's telling himself he needs to move on as on the birthing ep he said himself that he doesn't think he'll ever see Carla again.

As for falling for Maria. I don't see how he'd be attracted to her personality wise, i mean she's not fiery, challenging and intelligent, all characteristics he obviously loves. Of course there's the fact that she's pretty but is that enough? The reason i'm in two minds is that i think maybe after getting so badly burnt by Carla he's maybe playing it safe and going with the little pretty, ditzy but loyal wife who'd stay at home and cook his tea. Plus i think he originally started out this warped relationship as a means to try and rid himself of the immense guilt he feels by looking after the baby's best interests. Maybe it's developed since then but still i'll wait until Carla gets back before i make a decision.

Can't wait for her return!!!

Tvor said...

Yoork, yes and Stape is very sneaky, i've always felt.

Clare, Maria is definitely not Tony's equal. Did tony love Carla? The classic phrase is "In his own way" but i don't think he really knows what real love is. To him it seems to be a possession and in his controlled little world, you can't let anything go and you have to have things all your way. I don't think Carla really loved Tony either, it was rebound from Paul and the fact that Liam didn't want her.

Anonymous said...

I think you are right Clare about Tony having "got over" Carla in a short time like that. Love or obsession he seems to have blanked it out and tried to forget about it. It seems obvious to me that he is still hurting and although I do think that he has fallen genuinely for Maria and he probably can't believe that he has either, it's like he's trying a different sort of woman this time where he can love her and look after her and she will let him, and her love him in return, something that Carla would never have allowed because she was too feisty and independent to do that and didn't really "need" him like Maria thnks she does. Also I think he would have liked to have children with Carla eventually, which obviously wasn't ideal because she was in love with Liam really and didn't love Tony or not in the same way anyway. I do think she was fond of him, I'm not sure why he was willing to be second best though when he knew full well that she loved another bloke or suspected she did. I did read an interview with Gray O'Brien and he was asked if Tony would want Carla back when she returns and he said that he wouldn't no, not now he has Maria and the baby. Maybe he wants some of the homely type this time around after all the hassle he had with the last woman or maybe he has come to admire and actually prefer Maria's qualities. I know she's not the Brain of Britain but she's not really thick either, she isn't sarcastic and bitchy, and he knows he can trust her which might be what he's after these days, who knows? As well as the fact yes she is lovely and pretty which helps.

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