As an unattached woman past the age of 40, I may not know married life, but I know single well. I have plenty of dating scenarios—both good and bad—that shape my life experiences. Not originally a big Star Wars fan, I have grown to appreciate the wisdom of the Star Wars Universe. In Star Wars, the Jedis use the power of force to influence weak-minded people. Jedis make verbal suggestions and tell sentients what they want, and then the sentient restates the position and if the mind trick works, the sentient actually does what the Jedi requests. It is said that strong-minded people can resist the influence of the Jedi.
All of this Star Wars babble came back to me in an epiphany recently as I was reflecting on past relationships. I had been thinking about a conversation that I’d had with a guy I was dating at the time that turned into a full-blown argument after I made some off-the-wall comment that blew his gasket. He claimed that since I had never abused by a man (as in beat me) I didn’t have anything to complain about. Taken aback by his comment because although I had not been “abused,” my relationships had been far from perfect. Priding myself on rarely getting into escalating arguments or being called out of my name (to my face), our conversation made me stop and think of ways men had tried to steal my self-worth.
It was in that moment of reflection I realized some of the Jedis had escaped from the Star Wars Universe and were masquerading as mortal men. In a society that measures a woman’s worth by being married and/or having children, some women become light-headed and giddy when dealing with men and find ourselves under their influence. These Jedi Mind Trickers (JMTs) have words so smooth they go down like Cognac, and before you know it, we have the hang-over from hell because of too many refills of the sweet wine of his words. Do you recognize any of these JMTS?
The One Upper is a very polished guy—most likely metro sexual with exquisite taste in everything—car, clothes, food. Unlike some men, he keeps a spotless house without the aid of a housekeeper or wife, and definitely appreciates good linen. But herein lies the problem, no matter what you have, he can always show you something better, but he’s not willing to buy you better or show you how to get it yourself. Why? Because if you had what he had, he wouldn’t always be able to do you one better which would knock him off his superior post.
Now opposite of The One Upper, is the Understrapper. This JMT thinks that you are a dream the come; the answer to his prayers, only he doesn’t deserve you. You’re too good for him, he tells you in hopes that you’ll believe him. So, you stop trying to better yourself so as not to intimidate your man, and if you’re already accomplished, you downplay yourself. He wants you to sit on the curb with him and swing your feet, and if he can climb on your shoulders and sit, that’s even better.
The Changer is another Jedi in disguise. Nothing about you satisfies him, but you don’t know that at first because you mistake his JMT behavior with him being a man that really knows what he wants. You wear your hair long, but he thinks short hair is really sexy. You wear your hair short, but he loves to run his fingers through long hair. He likes his women—you fill in the blank (taller, shorter, thicker, thinner etc.)—than you. You can’t make him happy unless he can change something about you. It’s a power thing, and he thinks he has the power if he can change you.
The Naysayer knows you better than you know yourself. He doesn’t see the glass as half-empty, he sees a glass that’s dirty and contaminated and wants to protect you from it and all of the rest of the dangers in the world. He is the boyfriend of Doom. He thinks going back to school is a waste of time because you’re not going to get the job anyway. He discourages you from losing weight, and then when you do, he still wants you to hold on to your “fat girl” clothes just in case you gain the weight back. The Naysayer has no faith in you because he lacks faith in himself, and he is strong believer in the misery loves company adage.
The Pretender is probably the most Jedi mind tricking of the JMTs. The two of you have great chemistry, good conversation, and he’s the perfect gentleman. He opens doors, carries bags, and does all of the things that make us feel like ladies when we’re in his presence. But as wonderful as he his, there is something not quite right about him. He lies but we don’t know because we’ve been sipping on his sweetness. By the time you realize that you’ve been tricked, bamboozled, and run amok, there’s nothing left for you to do, but pick up the pieces of your broken heart and bank account and move along.
Many of us have found ourselves under one or more of the JMTS influence and, while we may become temporarily inebriated, we don’t have pass out from the drunkenness of our encounters. If you happen to run into one of these JMTs, may the Force NOT be with You!