An ingratiator and manipulator?

who isn't upper class, it is just that everyone else is lower class
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Flossie
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An ingratiator and manipulator?

Post by Flossie » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:43 pm

I think Ben cyncially attempts to engineer relationships with other hms with the hope that these relationships will be to his advantage, whether in the short term or long term.

I think he deliberately attempts to get intimate with and ask questions of the housemates to this end.

In addition to this proactive approach to self-advancement he also reacts to events which bear negaitively on his relationships or his standing by going to the most ridiculous lengths to repair his standing or popularity.

While I don't think he is malicious or unpleasant, I do think he is pursuing an ingratiating strategy, even if it is not a conscious one.
Last edited by Flossie on Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Anna » Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:12 am

I'm still watching Ben. It was interesting on tonight's highlights when JJ was having a friendly word with him about tucking into the sausage rolls when everyone else was holding off until all the housemates had arrived at table. I know the most trivial things assume huge importance in the BB house, but I think JJ was trying to just give an incidence of behaviour that might annoy the others, to give Ben some insight. Ben got very defensive and that was when he revealed to JJ about Shabby supposedly rubbing her hands when it was thought JJ wanted to leave the House. Ben phrased it as why was JJ having a go at him, Ben, about his behaviour, when Ben was a loyal friend to JJ, quite unlike Shabby, whose supposed hostile behaviour Ben went on to describe to JJ.

Of course, Ben was feeling criticised by JJ and deflected what he perceived as criticism by changing the focus of the conversation to Shabby, whose supposed behaviour was apparently much worse, and furthermore personally directed at JJ, who happened to be the one making criticism of Ben.

Of course, predictably this caused huge ructions in the house when Shabby found out with everyone making accusations and counter accusations. Shabby asked Ben what his motivation for saying that had been and Ben seemed quite unable to identify his motivation or if he was aware of it on any level, he wasn't saying.

What is it with Ben? The motive was obviously to deflect the bad feeling that was coming from JJ's criticism, anger because he felt his loyalty to JJ was not being appreciated, hostility to Shabby because of their former problems and an attempt to get JJ 'back on side' - to bind him tighter to him as a friend, and, I think, an attempt to throw a spanner in the works of JJ's composure. Ben was experiencing JJ as persecutor and himself as victim, so he changed the dynamic and in turn persecuted Ben, but set the responsibility for that action away for himself and with Shabby. It brought to a screeching halt JJ's former line of thought and conversation. All very passive aggressive on Ben's part I thought.

How far is he aware of what he's doing? He had the whole house in uproar. Is he someone who, when he's hurting, wants other people to hurt as well so that he feels less out of control? Or is he deliberately trying to sow discord between people?

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Post by Flossie » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:55 am

The whole incident was a fascinating insight into human behaviour in stressed social situations.

I think BB is wonderful for illuminating the social survival skills that are deployed by people under pressure. Even if people do not resort to quite the depth of the tatics deployed by Ben, I suspect most have at least been tempted when under pressure.

Many commentators claim in classic fashion that witnessing such an experience is "unedifying" but I think quite the opposite. Experiencing someone executing such a social piece of manoeuvring deters one from doing it oneself, and so is edifying, and it also alerts one to such activities in others. I had a male lodger once who revelled in such antics and I spotted it from a mile off, and this same lodger had an ex-gf who had great difficulty in recognising the behaviour, and she suffered horribly as a result until the truth became so manifest to her she could not reject it.

I think in Ben's case he is not malicious, just socially inadequate. He gets himself into a pickle through social ineptitude and then in desperate attempts to extricate himself, as in this case, creates worse problems than the original. Alas, I think his plight is that of social inadequates or those confused by the world around them.

One does have to be impressed by Shabby's concise, eloquent and incisive comments which pinpoint the issues, her position and that of her opponent. Even I would feel she would be a formidable opponent in verbal combat.
Last edited by Flossie on Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Anna » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:36 pm

Yes Shabby is very articulate and doesn't even have all the ums and ahs and hesitations that people normally have in their speech. I feel btw that she's able to do that in situations where she's angry, she's talking straight from the emotion but with a clear head. In the situation where she fancied Keeva but couldn't bring herself to tell her but knew she must, or Keeva would find out on the outside, she was a lot more vacillating, indirect and uncertain, although she did have a clear vision of the situation.

What surprises me though (or it shouldn't surprise me really) are the huge number of opposing points of view and perceptions about this incident expressed on Digital Spy. People interpret an event through the lens of their own experience. I suspect also, with BB forums, that once someone's decided they like or hate a housemate, they interpret all of their actions in line with their opinion of them, so they'll give an indulgent interpretation if a housemate they support behaves badly and leap upon behaviour in a housemate they hate that others might be tempted to let go. So I think personal bias might inhibit learning from such a viewing situation. It becomes a matter of who's right on a forum. Better not to have any emotional investment in any of the housemates and view it dispassionately as group dynamics - although of course becoming emotionally involved in BB is what the producers are aiming for as they choose housemates that are going to provoke, both viewers and other housemates. :D

I haven't decided whether Ben is malicious. If he is, I don't think he's aware of it, more sabotaging the reputation of people who have hurt him, turning people against them, attempting to separate his friends from being friends with them. Several times it's struck me as possibly a very boarding school thing to do - a childish way to survive in an environment where you don't have close relationships with adults who could protect you (emotionally), support you, put a more mature view on things. To anyone who went to boarding school, the BB house probably evokes a similar atmosphere and perhaps Ben's regressed to the coping mechanisms he used then. I've yet to decide whether he's ambivalent towards women. Whilst what he said to Mario and Dave in the snug about Shabby's trio was funny, he also said "No wonder Margaret Thatcher only had men in her Cabinet" indicating he, personally, has difficulty with women but furthermore, sees them as objectively difficult.

I don't know about him undermining Sunshine by attributing unattractive qualities to her in jest - verrucas and ADD. This is just the sort of rough jesting you'd get at boarding school - but not likely to go down well with someone who's studying medicine and who furthermore, has issues around her own attractiveness. It was so insensitive as to almost be targetted, as to almost have a hostile intent beneath it.

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Post by Flossie » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:25 pm

I don't think Ben is malicious, I think he is just socially inadequate and finds himself propelled into situations he can't handle and so resorts to desperate tactics to retrieve himself from harm.

I think his "attacks" on Sunshine are nothing of the sort. He has a limited social repertoire and tries to engage with Sunshine by abusing her. He wants to be friends with her and he thinks a bit of semi-dangerous banter is the way to bring her closer. Alas he hasn't quite got the hang of it.

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Post by Anna » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:58 am

How does his wanting to be friends with Sunshine fit with his nominating her last week?

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Post by Flossie » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:55 am

His nomination of her was a petulant response to her rejection of his friendly overtures.

Of course, all of these friendly overtures are part of his self-serving agenda to manipulate and ingratiate.

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