Manipulation of others happens at very small levels, and at very serious levels.
Why was this a topic of interest to me?
What frustrated me as I studied the topic?
- No one defined it
- Inadequate strategies for confronting and changing the problem
- It parallels the experience referred to as “verbal/emotional abuse”
My goals today are to attempt to cover enough ground on this topic to (1) motivate you to help those suffering through manipulative relationships, (2) describe and define what manipulation is biblically, and (3) give you some basic strategies for confronting the problem in a biblical way (or to equip those you’re helping to confront the problem).
Why Manipulation is Such a Big Problem
The GENERAL Principle – God Created us to Flourish
Physical Effects of Destructive Relationships
Mental Effects of Destructive Relationships
That leads us to consider…
How to Define and Recognize Manipulation Biblically
“To control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means.”
“Using unbiblical means of controlling or influencing others… [in] an attempt to gain control of another individual or situation by inciting an emotional reactionrather than a biblical responsefrom that individual.” (Lou Priolo, Manipulation: Knowing How to Respond, p. 5-6)
“Manipulation is: defining words and framing questions (by verbiage or through emotional expressions) in such a way that makes an appropriate response from the other person seem selfish, mean, or unreasonable.” (Brad Hambrick, “Manipulative Repentance,” http://biblicalcounseling.org/2016/manipulative-repentance/accessed March 15, 2017.)
Let’s see if we can combine some of these elements.
DEFINITION of Manipulation
Manipulation is the sin of SELF-WILL combined with some other sinful behavior, designed by our deceitful desires (consciously or unconsciously) to get what we want.
BRIEFLY: It is self-will and sinful behavior coming together to get what we want at the expense of another!
How Manipulation Manifests Itself
Manipulation is the sin of SELF-WILL, plus…
- Outright Lies
PLAYING THE VICTIM
- Harsh words
- “Silent Treatment”
- Temper Tantrums
ULTIMATUMS – Limiting Their Choices
CREATING FALSE DICHOTOMIES (only “two views” of a situation)
How to Respond to Manipulation (and Help Others)
Proverbs 15:28 –28The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
We will use the examples of:
- Jesus with Martha (Luke 10:38-42)
- Jesus and the Chief Priests and Scribes about paying taxes (Luke 20:19-26)
- A manipulative mother trying to get her daughter’s family to spend the holidays with her.
Four strategies for assessing and responding to manipulators…
ASK THEM, “WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT?”
- Is their desire wrong?
- Can you legitimately fulfill their desire?
- Is there a possibility of compromise?
LISTEN FOR, AND EXPOSE, ANY FALSEHOODS OR FALSE PREMISES
- Consider some of the categories from above (like limiting choices, and creating false dichotomies, or making you feel guilty in an unwarranted way)
- Blatant falsehoods and half-truths must be pointed out
- The “obligatory statements” should be answered wisely
APPEAL TO THEIR CONSCIENCE REGARDING THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES
APPEAL TO GOD’S WORD AS THE STANDARD BY WHICH THEY WILL BE JUDGED
Lou Priolo’s MANIPULATION WORKSHEET
Circumstances surrounding manipulation:
Manipulative remarks made to me:
My response to the manipulation:
Christ-like/biblical response the manipulation: