You may have seen this picture around on Facebook recently. Some woman, named Lesya, let her boyfriend tattoo his name on her face to show her love for him. That boyfriend? Rouslan Toumaniantz. Of the face star tattoo fame.
They’d been chatting online for some length of time before they finally met in person. And she apparently fell head over heels for him and let him tattoo his name on her…on the first date.
Is it just an 18 year old being incredibly immature? Or could it be what my first thought was, that the boyfriend is manipulative? I acknowledge that I’m hypervigilant to manipulation. I grew up with manipulation since that’s how my narcissistic, ego-centric father managed the house. I might be jumping to conclusions–but on the other hand, my sensitivity to manipulation may be able to read between the lines, to get an idea of the basic relational patterns.
Maybe the “let” tipped me off. That could be a journalistic word, but “let” means “it was his idea, and I went along with it.” Now, if the story had been written in a way that Lesya “let” Rouslan tattoo her face, then I’d wonder if she is the manipulator in this story. But no, other stories said that Lesya “agreed to allow” Rouslan tattoo her. It sounds like her fiance (yes, they’re engaged already) came up with the idea. On the first date.
She does have culpability. She agreed. She allowed. It was her choice to go along, even though it was within her power to say ‘No.’ She’s an incredibly immature 18 year old. Maybe I just hang out with smart teenagers, but most of the young adults I know are smart enough not to do something as drastic as this.
However, someone can be manipulated into saying “Yes, I’ll allow it,” particularly if they are primed for manipulation, and susceptible to suggestions. Maybe she grew up with strict parents, as an acquaintance of mine suggested, and wanted to rebel. Maybe she was simply immature. But she could have done that before meeting her fiance.
Love does make people stupid. But that kind of stupid would mean she‘d be the one suggesting he tattoo his name on her face.
No. I think that there’s more at play than simply immaturity and love. I highly suspect that Rouslan is charismatic. Persuasive. Or in other words, psychologically manipulative, and in this case, I suspect he’s using emotion of love as a tool. I also highly suspect that Lesya is weak. A people pleaser. Immature (we covered that one already). Impulsive. Impressionable. Trusting. Lonely. Wikipedia has an excellent breakdown of how manipulators take charge of the victims’ weaknesses, and just WHY manipulators feel the need to, well, manipulate. They like control. They need their ego stoked. They need power.
And I think that’s exactly what’s happening here. Rouslan wants attention. He needs his ego to be filled. He wants control. Lesya is weak, impulsive, and susceptible to the control. By tattooing her face, he exerts dominance over her. And she becomes unemployable in any typical sense thanks to the stigma of facial tattoos, allowing Rouslan to exert financial control over her. And if they break up–and I predict a breakup not long after marriage–he will still have control over her because it’s his freaking NAME on her face. She’s his forever, at least until she finds the money to remove the tattoo. And at that point, forgive me if I’m wrong, but I suspect there may be some scarring in the area after a removal. Disfigurement in the name of disordered love.
Lesya, I’m getting too many red flags from you and Rouslan. Run away as fast as you can before you get stuck. The longer you stay, the harder it is to leave. Run.
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