If You’re Manipulative and You Know It... (Part II) - I Do Every Day - December 26, 2020
If You’re Manipulative and You Know It... (Part II)
By Janel Breitenstein
If yesterday’s topic was a reality check for you—as it was for me—and you realized you manipulate your spouse, I have good news. Manipulating doesn’t mean we’re headed for the jaws of divorce. But it does mean we can recognize when we’re trying to play someone.
And we can choose to walk in the truth.
Proverbs 21:6 reminds me “The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.” So along with me, get relentless about purging yourself of shrewd, cagey speech designed to control someone.
Our words are symptoms of underlying desires (see Matthew 12:34). So ask God to reveal:
- when and why you’re tempted to manipulate.
- why you may feel uncomfortable speaking truthfully.
- how to trust Him with people and circumstances in which you feel powerless.
- ways you can be truthful without sacrificing kindness, gentleness, and the other person’s dignity.
- to help you discern between rightly, courageously influencing and cleverly controlling.
What do those principles look like in the trickle-down? Here are a few ideas from a recovering manipulator:
- Ask kindly for what you hope for without demanding it. Be willing to accept the other person’s “no” without punishing or resenting them.
- Give without strings attached.
- Seek to champion the image of God in your spouse (rather than your image). What would it look like for your mate to be the fullest version of the person God created them to be?
- When you’re thinking “no,” say it without being stubborn or hard. Earnestly seek not to hedge, backpedal, mislead, wheedle, etc.
- When you’re wrong, admit it humbly.
- Don’t rely on your spouse to fill the place of God in your life. He or she is not created to fill your soul’s holes.
- Forego self-deprecation and over apologizing.
- Even in criticism, speak with an attempt to build.
- Examine your motivations toward your spouse at any given moment—and don’t always believe the best about what drives you.
Tomorrow we’ll talk about what to do if you feel like you’re the one being manipulated.
The good stuff: Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. (Ephesians 4:25)
Action points: The Pharisees were notorious for attempting to trick Jesus. Check out one instance in Luke 20:1-8.
- What’s the Pharisees’ agenda?
- How does Jesus respond? Why do you think He answered this way, rather than answering what was asked?
- What can you learn about manipulation from this passage?
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