Imagine you’re acting in a theatre play. You’re having a conversation with another actor and you’re standing facing each other, both of you giving your profile to the audience. If you start to walk towards the back of the stage (upstage), your colleague will be forced to turn upstage in order to continue facing you. With this manoeuvre you would be upstaging them, which means forcing them to turn away from the audience while you become more frontal. This can happen in real life: A manipulates an interaction with B or what B said in order to delegitimize or weaken their position. One way to break out of being upstaged would be to do the same move; this could just spiral endlessly until there is no more upstage room to go to. Perhaps the easiest way to cut the game short would be to simply break eye contact and continue the conversation while looking somewhere else. Perhaps a good way of avoiding manipulation is not responding to it.


María Ferrara