According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, manipulation can be defined in two ways:
a : to manage or utilize skillfully
b : to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage
You can manipulate things like yarn, clay, paint or many other materials and make them into artistic and/or useful items to better the lives of yourself or others. Manipulation is necessary for any item to come about. It is a useful and sometimes even an enjoyable thing to do.
Then there is the other manipulation: When someone treats a person as a playing piece in a game with no care of the hurt that is inflicted on the other person. It can be and often is very damaging. Every person is a beautiful creation of God’s hands. He has great plans for each and every person. None of those plans for anyone include being someone else’s toy or to be used like a game piece so that others can feel better about themselves, accomplish something they want to accomplish or work the circumstances of life in their favor.
Manipulating a person shows total disregard for their life. In all honesty, it is really a trip into craziness. When living with or dealing with a manipulative person on a regular basis, you will, in fact, begin to think you’re going crazy. Manipulators will rarely take responsibility for their own actions and will usually turn things on you as being the problem. They will make you feel guilty if you try to talk about how you’ve been hurt or how they upset you. They will do these things so effectively that you will actually begin to doubt yourself and think you must be losing your mind.
From my experience, manipulators seem to have some type of drama happen that will divert as much attention as possible onto them for as long as possible. Some do this on a regular basis and/or these times happen when they have been caught in a lie or doing something they can’t explain away. I have also found that trying to reason with manipulators is mostly an exercise in futility. Even when they do seem to listen, it usually doesn’t last long.
This is a horrible way to live. If it is possible, walk away from these people. If, however, this person is a spouse or child, additional resources and help are needed in making a decision as to what the best course of action should be. These relationships fall under both legal and spiritual laws. Even if the relationship isn’t spousal or parental, walking away isn’t an easy decision. But even if it isn’t an option, there is absolutely no need to fully engage with the manipulator. In fact, there is hardly ever anything to be gained from engaging with manipulators when they are in manipulation status. Most don’t have any interest in changing and they definitely will not hear you. They are generally only interested in keeping their world and their desires in the forefront of every situation.
The Bible is not quiet about this issue. In Matthew, Jesus was talking about the Pharisees with His disciples and told them to do what the Pharisees say but not what they do. In Chapter 23, verse 4, Jesus says, “They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”
2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, “But understand this that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen of conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”
While we all have fallen short and done many of these sins at one point or another in our lives, the Bible is talking about those who do this continually over and over again. The Bible says to avoid such people. I don’t think it could be said any clearer.