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Are You Easily Manipulated?

*This post contains affiliate links.

Have you ever felt like you are always the one people ask to do favors, even though you are the busiest person you know? Do you ever feel resentful over doing a task that someone else could have easily done, but you just couldn't bring yourself to say "no"?

Not too long ago, I came across this book: Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life (affiliate link)

And I realized that I have spent an awful lot of time complaining (in my head) about doing things for other people that I very well could have declined to do.

This book is written from a Christian perspective, and takes into account the Christian principal of loving your neighbor. However, it also takes a good hard look at people who are accustomed to manipulating easy targets to behave in a certain way or do things they do not want to do themselves.

I used to think, "Jesus always served. He didn't say 'no.'" But then I began to see the times Jesus did say "no." He went away from the crowds to pray. He rowed away in a boat to be alone. He told Peter "no" when he told Jesus he would not be killed. Jesus knew that sometimes saying "no" is best.

If you have difficulty telling people "no", I highly recommend this book. It will give you a new perspective on when and how saying "no" is the Christian and healthy thing to do for your family. It will also help you give your children a good model of what it looks like to make healthy decisions without feeling like you are always at the mercy of what someone else wants you to do.

Along those same lines, I also found this book enlightening: Who's Pulling Your Strings?: How to Break the Cycle of Manipulation and Regain Control of Your Life (affiliate link)

This book describes in detail what a manipulator looks for in an easy target, and how you can change your thinking and actions so that you are not one of those targets.

It even gives specific responses to practice when a manipulator tries to "pull your strings."

I found this information particularly compelling in light of this lady's story of being married to a pedophile for 40 years and not knowing it. He was a master at manipulating, and she was easily manipulated. The perfect storm!

 What about you? Do you think you are easily manipulated?

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  1. I highly recommend the book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. My husband and I read it about 7 years ago and it’s been helpful in our own lives and as we minister to others who are caught being manipulated by family members, employers, friends…. We often don’t realize we’re being manipulated but bitterness is definitely a warning sign that we may be.

  2. Just the word “manipulated” sends shivers up my spine now that I can step back and look at how my life once was. I was manipulated in a thousand different ways but I didn’t realize it. Honestly, I thought it was my duty (actually, my God-appointed place) to be submissive in all things to my husband– even allowing myself to be emotionally abused and living under such tight manipulation that I asked permission to get up and go to another room. That’s how bad it got.

    Innocently, I think we feel saying “no” is a sin, especially in a marriage or family situation. We allow ourselves to be used all in the name of “serving others.”

    I am the wife of the pedophile you mentioned and it’s so hard for me to look at myself as I once was. I believed with all of my heart that if only I could be better, serve more, give more, tolerate more that things would change. I believed by allowing myself to be “used” (manipulated) I would gain the love and respect of others — especially my husband. I was such an easy target!

    Sadly, it had the opposite effect. I ended up depressed, miserable, and without any self-respect or self-esteem. That’s far from how our Lord wants us to live! And, by allowing myself to be manipulated I am so sorrowful to say I actually became the perfect wife to a practicing pedophile — I never questioned him, never asked for accountability, never did anything to cause waves. And, by being this way, I became the perfect enabler to a man who was molesting children.

    I learned a very hard lesson: not all people are who they say they are. Some people are seflish, self-serving, self-loving people who will use others for their own self gratification.

    We need to serve others, but do so with wisdom and open eyes. Manipulators know how to make us feel guilty and worthless and tired and alone. They will use us until there’s nothing left to use. And, then they will go on to someone else.

    Thanks so much for your insights! I appreciate this topic as it’s so near and dear to my heart.

    • Clara,
      My heart just breaks for you and your family and all the victims!

      Thank you for bravely telling your story! May many see the signs you list and be more watchful.

      • Thanks so very much! I think many lives are being touched and as a result many children are being kept from the hands of pedophiles. I look forward to the day when we can boldly say “Our children are safe from molesters.” That day is coming soon….our voices are making a difference!

  3. I think I need to check this one out. Sadly, I am an easily manipulated person. (Mostly because my friends and acquaintances know that I don’t like to say “no” to things.)

    The past few months I’ve been learning to difference between friends and not-so-much-friends, mostly because there are a few who exploit my habit of not saying no.

  4. Hi Mrs. Connie, I sent you two messages regarding the book that I won. I hope you received them. Thanks!

  5. BetterNow says:

    The best day of my life was saying No to Religion. Now that I’m free of the manipulators and sick-os that were controlling my life I’m finally happy. No more feeling guilty for normal everyday thoughts and actions. No more being preached at by perverts in authority. No more nonsense filling my ears and head. I was guilted into a life of madness.
    Stand up and say No More!