Woman let boyfriend tattoo his name on her face : A perfect example of manipulation

Woman let boyfriend tattoo his name on her face : A perfect example of manipulation

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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  • Eek.

  • As a parent with a 22 yr. old daughter, this is my worst nightmare! OMG!

  • In reply to siblingless:

    It sounds like your daughter has a good head on her shoulders, though. That, and continual open lines of conversation will help keep her from tattooing some dude's name on her face ;)

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    In reply to siblingless:

    Seriously? You worst nightmare. Yes this is bad but you must live in a different world. My worst nightmare would be her getting raped, kidnapped, murdered, HIV, mentally and physically abused, stabbed, cancer, MS etc. Stay away from hyperbole. It makes serious things seem silly.

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    I think you make an interesting point here Holly. I chalked it up to stupidity and the attention getting nature of the standard messed up 18 year old. However I am thinking I didn't really dig too deep for that. when I was 18 or even younger I would never have allowed myself to be branded for life like this to another person. It's the ultimate in manipulation and control. And you also bring up a good point, his near pathological need to possess something marked as his only says he wants to obliterate her self and make it an extension of his. {Shiver}

  • In reply to Susan Geissler:

    Same here, Susan--my first thought was "geez, she's stupid" but it really feels like there's something more here than that. You said it so perfectly--he wants to make her an extension of himself. What a creeper.

  • The claim that someone was "manipulated" is a convenient escape from personal responsibility. I see lots of people these days with tattoos -- it used to be the mark of military men, tough guys, and losers. I consider it idiotic, but no more idiotic than poking holes in your ears (nose, eyebrows, tongue, etc).

    Lots of people are on ego-trips -- I think most of the recent candidates for president (including the elected ones) wanted the job primarily to stroke their egos (is it really "stoke"?) -- and of course they manipulate voters to get the stroking.

    But in the end, the egg (or tattoo) on the face is to be blamed on the idiot who is so easily persuaded. The rest of us have to see the disaster, but at least we didn't cause it.

  • In reply to fredricwilliams:

    Manipulation isn't a convenient escape from personal responsibility (to the disappointment of many people who wish otherwise). It's just one factor that influences people's choices. Some forms of manipulation, such as those in cults, are more extreme. However, as you pointed out, there are manipulative people everywhere, in many circumstances. The more we point out these subtle (and not so subtle) forms of manipulation, like I did here, we'll be more aware of and on guard against being manipulated, ourselves.

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    In reply to Holly:

    Wow holly... whatever happened to people being responsible for their own actions. You seem like you have some deep rooted issues as far as your father is concerned. Im sorry to hear that. However none of our lives are perfect and you need to transcend whats happened in your life and not spend your life reacting to something based on the person your father was.

    Regardless of what happened in your life or mine,
    the fact remains... This girl allowed a boy to tattoo her.

  • In reply to Jason Behrens:

    Yep, that she did. I definitely wanted to point out the potential manipulation involved, though, because it's sometimes difficult for others to see. I use my experiences help educate others, and bring awareness to various issues of trauma, abuse, and healing, and you just provided another excellent teaching opportunity. Contrary to popular belief or hopes,there's no "getting over it" when it comes to trauma, as you're implying. It's not a paper cut one can tough through. There IS healing, though, and healing is found in different ways for various people, and healing/transcendence is far healthier than pretend-it-never-happened/transcendence. In my case, I'm healing through writing.

    If this is not your speed, and admittedly, it's not everyone's cuppa tea, you're very welcome to not read my blog.

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    In reply to Holly:

    When i say transcend it, its a tad bit different than to say move on from it. It is not saying that you need to forget it ever happened either. I mean simply to not let it dictate the rest of your life by continuing to let it manipulate you further. What your father did to you as a youth, seems to still dictate actions you take as an adult. You wrote a blog about a girl who made a decision, and you related her story to yours. Your fathers actions are still having a negative affect on you now. Its evidence in the writing. People are responsible for their own actions unless they are a child, or mentally incapable of making mature decisions. These people dont really fall into either category as far as i know.

  • In reply to Jason Behrens:

    Healing is a progress, and I'm still working on it. Thanks so much for your clarification, though.

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    In reply to fredricwilliams:

    The Partner’s Addiction

    Sadly, because narcissists inflict such severe psychological abuse upon love partners, a perverse addiction often occurs. The ‘victim’ has idolised the narcissist by seeing them as ‘the ideal partner’ (the illusion created via charm that the narcissist originally used to hook the partner) and continuously tries to win the approval, love and trust of the narcissist. There are many other reasons why this addiction occurs which are outlined in the article Narcissism Understood, my book Breaking the Chains of Painful Love and my eBook ‘How to Recognise and Heal Narcissistic Abuse’.

    To the outside world it may seem that the love partner is deranged and is the problem (the narcissist has expertly created this illusion). The narcissist will often appear strong and stable to extended family, acquaintances, counsellors and even authorities. Tragically in many cases the love partner will believe that they are in fact damaged, incapable, no good and defective. They often think they are at fault. Such feelings are the result of a severely diminished sense of identity and a battered self-esteem. Many narcissistic love partners suffer profound depression and even severe physical deterioration. Frighteningly, many victims of narcissism don’t recover their sense of self, even years after the relationship has expired.

    Narcissism addiction and devastation is a common occurrence and can happen to any individual from any demographic. Generally this condition occurs to women, and this is regardless of their level of intelligence and self-sufficiency. The disease of narcissistic addiction is an emotionally based issue, it has little to do with practical and mental capabilities or physical attributes.

    - http://www.melanietoniaevans.com/articles/narcissist-behaviours.htm

    This was not posted by Dr. Evans.

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    This photo caught my attention, however, your "article" failed to make any point other than the fact that anyone and everyone can write about their opinions on the internet... "I thinks" and "maybes" fail to make an interesting read. It's obvious this bothered you on some level, why not write about that instead of trying to guess what is going on in others people's heads and other people's lives?

  • In reply to Christine Semenow:

    Yep, anyone can write about their opinions and observations--and anyone can write their own opinionated comments as you just did. Welcome to the Internet and the world of blogging.

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    In reply to Christine Semenow:

    Gee, Christine, you're being pretty critical here, sort of like someone with narcissistic personality disorder. And you took the trouble to read it and write about it. Holly's right about this, women are victimised all the time by narcissistic men, and these women have their own disorders. You said it was obvious the tattooing bothered Holly on some level, and you suggested she write about that instead. Actually, that is exactly what she did, and she was clear about her own experience with NPD. Unfortunately, there are many people whose addictions and disorders are very obvious to others who have actually studied and read about these issues. You yourself someone look pretty darn defensive. Or offensive for some odd reason. What's my reason for responding to you? I was married to a narcissist and my dad was one; and I've done a lot of reading on these issues. I am sick of the defensive posture of people who are in denial. Mass denial is what keeps damaging behavior in its cycle in a culture.

  • Misandry on the move again.

  • In reply to strangeways:


    Nah. Really, my issue here is the manipulation, not the gender. God knows a lot of women are manipulative blankety-blanks, too. I just haven't written about them, yet.

  • Classy.She's going places.

  • Have you seen this guy's web site?
    He is a psuedo famous tattoo artist.

    I don't think this young ladty was duped or manipulated.
    She made a lifestyle choice. Why is this so much more than choosing to be a lesbian? Or are all lesbians manipulated into thinking that way?

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    this is why I don't want to have kids...

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    Gosh, Holly, many of these responses are ill-considered and just plain ignorant. They're not thoughtful rebuttals. They ought to be removed.

  • Do Some Reading, I love your username and I really appreciate your comments--definitely a breath of sanity and knowledge that was needed.

    I've thought about removing the idiotic comments, but on the other hand, it's kind of nice letting the world know how stupid they are. It's also sort of nice to use some of them as teaching moments. I think I'll let them stand for now--and I think I'm getting some good ideas for future topics. Narcissism, for one--it seems like a lot of people aren't well educated on that topic and the kind of damage it can do.

    Perhaps I'm being overly optimistic in my teaching abilities, but I'll try anyway.

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    Thank you for posting this. For me, the real reason for this post, and why it is missed by some of the critics is that it is obvious to most people that something like getting a tattoo this large on your face should never be done.

    It would lead one to quickly believe that the girl exercised poor judgement. While she did, there is something to be said for how a person could actually think this is OK and permit someone to do this. This is the narcissist's ploy, or gaslighting technique.

    No matter what, Rouslan gets a huge amount of narcissistic supply and the poor girl is sacrificed in the process. That gives me chills. The narcissist is so selfish that he will literally destroy others for his personal gain.

    Victims of narcissistic abuse must continue to be vigilant and check their radar screens for potential future abuse because it is so insidiously deceptive to the untrained.

    (And, I'm a huge Melatonia Evans fan when it comes to defining narcissists).

  • In reply to Maribel Ibrahim:

    Maribel, thanks for reading and commenting. I agree, it's so scary how narcissists destroy people for their own gain--and frequently, they see nothing wrong with their behavior. That's the scariest part.

  • I think we are jumping to a lot of conclusions. I understand tattoos, face tattoos and extreme body modification are not everyone's cuppa and seem shocking. I know looking at this it is hard to imagine someone would consent to it. However, there are plenty of people that have face tattoos- her boyfriend has them too in fact. Lots of people get name tattoos. Then there are people who just make bad decisions. Remember the guy who got the Romney face tattoo?

    Do people pray on others and manipulate? Of course! I simply don't like assuming a woman is a victim if her choices seem extreme to mainsteam society. Women are not helpless victims. They can make decisions, good and bad. It's not always some man pulling the strings.

  • Also, you may want to note she had a face tattoo before getting this one.

  • Wow, what a condescending article. The author would have us believe the young woman doesn't have any agency. You should probably watch this:


  • Why is it that when an adult woman makes a poor choice that leads to an outcome that is not good for her there is always a man to blame? Does anyone really believe that women have no agency? Women are raised to believe that that they are victims and have no responsibility for their actions. Don't believe me? Here's a little test, take any story such as this and change the gender and see how suddenly a victimized woman becomes a stupid idiot of a man. Stop infantilizing women and let them take responsibility for their own choices.

  • I was appalled looking at the picture and think your assessment of how and why this occurred is as good as any. It is unfathomable to me why this young woman would do this so I found your blog interesting. All I could do was recoil so I appreciate your insight.

  • Holly, I don't doubt your father was very manipulative and that you still experience after-effects. But that was over the course of your life. This case is significantly different.

    A Daily Mail article gives some more info. http://preview.tinyurl.com/atwqrfg

    She'd been chatting with him online for some unspecified period, so this doesn't appear to be something done on the spur of the moment. . Her friends love the tattoo.

    From the article: " 'Their plans for a life together include her learning to tattoo while she also gets the full-body ink that she’s always dreamed of and of course a family,' said a friend of Toumaniantz."

    Some people will do anything to be included in a certain group, and this could be just an extreme example.

    It's possible this was deliberate, systematic manipulation on the part of Ruslan. But I'd have to know a lot more about the situation before saying that was true.

    To me extreme tattooing and body piercings are f'ing stupid and not much more than "Look at MEEEEEEEEEEE!" But that's just my opinion.

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