7 Keys for Dealing With Manipulative People

Do you have people in your life who try to control you? It may be a family member who uses guilt. It may be a co-worker who uses fear of losing your job. Or it may be a church member(s) who uses their friendship as a bargaining chip (i.e., if you do what I want I/we will be your friends, but if you don’t I/we will not be your friends).

Manipulative people – people who try to control you through sneaky or aggressive means – can influence your being angry, depressed, or fearful, instead of experiencing the peace and joy that God wants for His people.

This article is based on my book, Manipulative People: A Step-by-Step Christian Plan for Dealing With Liars and Controlling People (click here or go to http://amzn.to/2dPugKH). The following are seven things to remember when dealing with manipulative people:

1. Accept that you cannot change a manipulative person. Think about how no one can change you, nor do you want anyone to try to change you. In like manner, the manipulative people that you deal with feel similarly.

Acceptance doesn’t mean agreement. It simply means that you know that “it is what it is, until it changes.” Accept the fact that some people are normally manipulative, and after your best efforts, they may still be manipulative.

2. Manipulative people have their reasons for being manipulative. The chief motive of many manipulative people is “winning.” If they see themselves as a part of the body of Christ, they are always the head (see Rom. 12:5). They often fear that they will not receive their desired level of respect or compliance, if they operated in a “win – win” manner, where there is transparency and dialogue.

So they use sneaky tactics that aim at their winning, by any means necessary. In my book, I talk about 16 tactics that manipulative people often use to get their way.

3. Understand your weak spots. The strongest person has some weak spots. For example, when you are going through significant transitions in your life or suffering significant loss (e.g., a close loved one, job, or something important to you), you are an easier victim for being manipulated. Unfortunately, the people who exert the greatest impact on your sense of identity and security have the highest potential of manipulating you.

4. Work on your discipleship and avoid becoming a manipulator. You will be at your strongest point to deal with manipulative people, when you are strong in the Lord. Working on your discipleship starts with making sure that you are saved (see Jn. 3:16) and then your striving to obey God’s will, in every area of your life (inc. stress management; see Lk. 9:23; Phil. 4:7). And then don’t reduce yourself to being manipulative with those who have been manipulative with you.

Stay on higher ground. Take a look at the Inspiration From Psalm 23 Package (click here or go to http://bit.ly/2cO187B). It will encourage you to work on your discipleship, instead of simply giving into your frustration with difficult people.

5. Set a great example. The best way to influence the manipulative person is to stop rewarding them, by giving them what they want - power and control. Work on being calm, kind, and respectful, no matter how they come at you. Model how to deal with conflict in a healthy way. The hope of your great example is to inspire them to be as healthy as you are (see I Pet. 3:1-2; Mt. 5:13-16).

6. Set your boundaries. You are responsible for what you will and will not tolerate. Do some serious soul searching about what is most important to you and what is not all of that important to you. Communicate with the person your desire to keep and strengthen the relationship, but the current dynamic is not working for you. In my book, I talk about desensitization and limiting your interaction.

7. Respond to what the manipulative person does. When they do well, thank them. Think of this as a deposit in their trust account. When they don’t do well, respond appropriately to the withdrawal. Avoid talking about the other person’s intentions. You cannot read minds. Don’t make threats. Doing what you said you would do is going to be much more effective than saying what you are going to do over and over again.

Well, there are seven keys to dealing with negative people. There is so much more information in the book, including how to develop a customized step-by-step Christian plan for applying the information to your life. There is also a great resource chapter for further study. To see the book, (click here or go to http://amzn.to/2dPugKH).

Related Articles and Devotionals -

- 7 Keys for Dealing With Negative People

- 7 Keys for Dealing With Mean People

- It Is What It Is, Until It Changes

- A Marvelous Peace of Mind

- The Power of Example

- Patience Instead of Folly

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