Music, the Ninja of Emotional Manipulation

I have this theory that music is more subtle and yet more dangerous than written words. We all know the power of the word, it’s ability to get inside your head, reprogramming your brain and changing who you are at the core. Fortunately, we have to actively choose to let the words in. We have to engage them and bring them to ourselves.

Music isn’t like that. Music hunts us. It haunts us.

I’ve been dealing with some things lately in my personal life, things having to do with a lady. It was a relationship that was going pretty well, and then out of no where was blind sided in ways that I’d rather not care to talk about on the internet. Some wounds are just to fresh to go throwing around to the world at large. Let’s just say that the fun, happy part of it ended very abruptly and the psychotic drama part of the relationship is more akin to a vampire than any glittering Seattlite.

The entire situation has put my mind on a steady, disjointed path of anger, regret and turmoil. It hasn’t been a pleasant experience. It’s not a good end to my first foray back into the dating world since my marriage ended. It wasn’t something that encouraged me to get back out there and try again, and it just keeps haunting me.

I know that I’ve made the right decisions for myself, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t carry with them a certain amount of pain. I was in a relationship that I thought was a happy one. I found out that this was not truly the case, and it was my fault.

It’s never easy to be the person that shoulders the blame for a bad situation. Guilt is a sharp, agonizingly jagged blade that breaks off bits of itself inside of you as it is thrust in, adding it’s bulk and weight to your own. It becomes a burden that you can never properly put down. You can’t leave it behind you. It cannot be exhumed by anything shy of the works of the most masterful mental surgeon.

There is the problem, really, because those painful shards of guilt become nodes inside your mind, and music becomes an avid miner, digging tunnels until it can cling on to one of those nodes, polish it up to make it shine with the creative sadism of hindsight and bring it all rushing back up to the surface. It trades the guilt for a new permanent home inside your psyche. It pollutes your blood with the filth of the strip mine.

It leaves very little left of you.

What makes music even more dangerous?

It comes to you.

It plays in the backgrounds of life and catches you when you least expect it to.


If you don’t feel something with this song. You have no soul.

14 thoughts on “Music, the Ninja of Emotional Manipulation

  1. aduronia says:

    hunting and haunting. yes – i completely agree with this. 

    1. I like the idea of songs being hungry ghosts that feed off of emotional energy. Some strip away years of contentment to get at the sorrow, but some also block that all away to remind you of the happy.

  2. I’ve only read the title and already had to comment! Best explanation of music’s power EVER!! 

    Going back to read now. 🙂 

    1. Well, I hope I did the title justice. 🙂

  3. Patti Murphy says:

    Ahhh. Matt. I’m so sorry to hear of your sadness. Relationships can be such roller coasters. Wishing you peace. And that song. That song makes me weep.

    1. One of the best songs ever written, and every version of it is glorious. Even the Sad Kermit version…. which I almost used here instead.

  4. Katja says:

    What makes music even more dangerous?
    It comes to you.
    It plays in the backgrounds of life and catches you when you least expect it to.

    This. A thousand times this. I hope you manage to make it through the hard times and out the other side again.

    1. I feel like I’m actually doing pretty good in that aspect. I’ve been trying to just not let these things get to me so much lately. It’s not a task I am particularly good at, but I’m doing okay.

  5. Aurore B says:

    I can’t tell you how much I agree with this. It took me over a day to just figure out which instance I wanted to write about because the soundtrack of my life is endless. 

    I am sorry about your pain. 

    1. Pain is good. Pain is a lesson. It makes us better… to paraphrase A Game of Thrones.

      The trick is learning to not let it all bog us down.

      I had a similar problem. Music is very powerful to me. It can bend me all sorts of directions on whim, sometimes from moment to moment.

  6. Jason Benoit says:

    I am so sad to hear this Matt, I think of you as a friend and want nothing but happiness for you. I hope things get better for you. I won’t fill this with old cliches about you being better off, or wasn’t right for you, I know that all that shit is as good as a stab in the eye with a dull sledgehammer. Good luck. 

    1. It is for the best. I’ve been fortunate enough to have lots of good friends to keep me from doing anything crazy, like eating an entire cheese cake, to console myself.

      Really, I think I’m maturing in how I handle being rejected.

      1. Jason Benoit says:

        Umm, if you’re not going to eat that cheese cake, I’ll totally take it off your hands. 🙂

        1. Don’t you be getting notions about my cheese cakes.

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