It was an acronym used a lot in the 70s. PMA – Positive Mental Attitude.
So, I was watching one of my favorite TV shows – NCIS Los Angeles. I get a kick out of the characters — Deeks, Hetty, Sam, Callen… they are quirky, but you also end up liking them.
The last episode I watched there was a lot of reference to some evaluation. I think they called it HL-7, or something like that. One of the characters commented to another about the other’s “talent for manipulation.”
My ears perked up as I silently said, ‘What? Talent?’
Do the police go around thanking thieves for the talent to steal? Cheat? Lie?
Since when is manipulation a ‘talent’?
Of course, as the show progressed, you could see the statement as a revelation as to the character who made the statement. In other words, someone who thinks manipulation is a talent is demonstrating they have low morals themselves.
“A skilled emotional manipulator gets you to put your sense of self-worth and emotional well-being into his hands. Once you make that grave mistake, he methodically and continually chips away at your identity and self-esteem until there’s little left.” (reference)
What do you call someone who is a skilled (i.e. well rehearsed, not talented) manipulator?
You can imagine my surprise when this character in the TV show referred to manipulation as a talent.
What does this have to do with PMA?
You notice the definition I quoted describes a manipulator as being someone who chips away at your identity and self-esteem until there is little left. Maintaining a positive mental attitude is what it takes to overcome the effects of a psychopath. It’s a power and control thing. The manipulator seeks to take control away from you by destroying your self-esteem. Your PMA is needed to keep that from happening.
As I watched the episode unravel, the psychopath was face to face with Hetty. Hetty asks her, “What do you think the HL stands for?”
The lady starts to say, “The inventor’s initials, Henry…”, but Hetty interrupts and says, “Henrietta…” and discloses she is the inventor of this testing system. She then tells the psychopath she’s done as she places her under arrest.
It got me thinking. How often do we come across master manipulators, psychopaths, if you will, who are out to get what they want at whatever expense or pain it causes us. I’ve seen salesmen use manipulative tactics before. I remember one telling me, “Oh, I guess you don’t care about your children,” when I told him I wasn’t going to buy life insurance from him. In his case, it didn’t work because he obviously didn’t read me very well. I showed him where the door was located.
I think of our family friend, Michele Davis, who earlier this year lost her life to a psychopath. This is an extreme case. I realize, not all psychopaths are killers, but all psychopaths are abusive. I bring this up because anyone in a relationship like that, needs to get out. While you can walk way from the salesman who is trying to use manipulation to get you to buy, you need to run away from someone who is manipulating you and making you think it is love.
PMA. Keep up that Positive Mental Attitude. If someone is trying to make you think you are less than you actually are, remind yourself, you are a child of God and of infinite worth.