Proverbs 26:24-26 “He who hates disguises it with his lips, but he lays up deceit in his heart. When he speaks graciously, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart.”(Seven speaks to certain number for the uncertain, multitude of wicked purposes)
5 Ways to Minister to a Manipulator
by Brooks Faulkner
Three As of the manipulator:
- Attention: He never gets enough, no matter how much you give.
- Affection: She nevers feel enough, no matter how many share their love.
- Approval: He never receives enough, no matter how actions are affirmed.
A manipulator may legitimately need attention, affection, and approval, but as a leader you must prioritize your time.
The Solution: Turn an uncomfortable relationship with the manipulative person into a positive relationship. It’s not easy, but it is possible.
Here are five ways to help you:
- Give needed attention.Our work as caregivers involves the recognition of genuine need. Giving this person attention is not only a responsibility, but a privilege.
- Confront gently. Respond to a person who “dropped in” with, “Good to see you Jim, but you’ve caught me at a bad time. There are some things that are pressing me. Let me call you as soon as I get time. Thanks for understanding.”
- Respond candidly. When confronted on an issue, respond with, “It sounds to me as if you need a little education on … Let me share a couple of my intentions.
- Say “No” when you need to. It is hard for you to say “no” without feeling guilty, but it is necessary for your emotional and spiritual health.
- Leave change up to God. Encourage, but don’t expect too much. Leave the rest up to God. He can handle it.
Brooks R. Faulkner retired as senior specialist, Pastoral Ministry, LifeWay Christian
The following are some signs you are under the unhealthy control of another person, or are you the controller.
1. The controlling person you are in close relationship with doesn’t allow you to prove your point when in disagreement. (James 1:19) In many cases, people controlling others will not allow a conversation to go a certain way or to continue if they think they are going to lose the argument. This is because they can’t bear to lose their place of power, which comes from making the other person think they are always right. Many controlling people cannot handle it if you disagree with them. At first, they may even act like they want your input. But the moment they see the conversation is not going their way, they twist things around or pick on one little thing said and go on a rabbit trail with the intent of derailing the conversation, never letting it come to a conclusion that deviates from their position.
2. The controlling person manipulates you with temper tantrums and threats. (Ephesians 4:26,27) Often, controlling people will go into fits of rage and temper tantrums when they are not having their way because they will do anything, even to the point of violence, to have their way and manipulate people into obeying them.
3. The controlling person constantly tries to make victims feel guilty or bad about the way they treat them when the opposite is really true. (Matthew 7:5) Even though the controlling person may be an abuser of the one they control, they will try to make the victim think that they are the abuser so that, by using reverse psychology, they are able to fool the controlled, naïve person into thinking the abuser is really the victim. Thus, they get the victim to apologize, resulting in letting the abuser continue to abuse and control them.
4. The controlling person is always expecting more from you and is never satisfied. (Psalm 107:9) Another subtle form of control is when a person gives you the impression that whatever you do for them is never good enough, that you are always falling short. This makes the victim feel indebted and obligated to continue to try harder to please, satisfy and serve the controller.
5. The controlling person is always questioning your motives. (I John 2:17) Another not-so-obvious way to control is for the controller to continually question the motives of the person they control, so the victim is never sure of themselves and, thus, always on shaky spiritual and emotional ground. This can result in the victim actually looking up to the controller as a role model for godliness and purity, putting the controller in the driver’s seat once again!
6. The controlling person is constantly putting you down. (Romans 12:3) Another form of control is when a person continually puts you down, calling you names and questioning the wisdom in the decisions you make. This can make the victim feel obligated to try harder to please the controller and trust their wisdom, so they are always letting the controller make the important decisions!
7. The controlling person is used to always having their way. (Philippians 2:4) Usually in a healthy marriage or friendship, there is give and take; sometimes the husband has his way and sometimes the wife has her way. But in a controlling relationship, the controller is always jockeying to have their way. Or they will allow you to have your way in many minor things so that in all major things, they will always have the final say.
8. The controlling person walks away from their responsibilities as a way to manipulate others. (Matthew 23:10-12) Another way controllers have their way is to actually walk away from their responsibilities at the worst possible time if they don’t get their way, thus almost blackmailing a spouse, business partner or fellow minister into letting them have their way. For example, when walking away or threatening to walk away right before or in the midst of an important meeting, the victim will agree to almost any demands so as to complete the task at hand to avoid humiliation. This is a very common form of control.
9. The controlling person finds ways to impose their will in every situation. (Phil 2: 3,4) The underlying essence of all controllers is their desire to impose their will and agenda in every situation they deem meaningful. They may have numerous different ways they do so, but the end result is always the same: Ultimately, they get their way!
10. The controlling person threatens to end the relationship. (Eph 5:22-33) Especially in a marriage or dating situation, a controller continually threatens divorce or to walk away from the relationship once they see that the victim will cave in! This is especially true when the controlling spouse is married to a pastor or prominent elected official who could have their career go down the tubes if their controlling spouse actually follows through and walks away, which doesn’t really happen in most cases.
11. The controlling person threatens to commit suicide. (Psalm 139:16) In extreme cases, a spouse, close friend or family member may threaten suicide if they deem that it will get them care or attention or enable them to have their way. In most cases, they will never kill themselves if given the real chance, but they will play on the emotional strings of the victim who loves them and will continually give in to them to stop them from seemingly ending their life.
12. The controlling person withholds physical affection. (ICor 7:5, Matt 19:5, Prov 18:22) Many times a woman in a relationship with a man will use the power of sex to manipulate and get what they want from a man. Women usually aren’t stupid enough or as desperate for sex as men are to fall for this old-fashioned technique!