Don’t Be Controlled and Manipulated


Don’t Be Controlled and Manipulated

 by Olga Hermans


God has placed a divine destiny on your life. As you begin to walk in this destiny, you will not only have to deny yourself, you’ll also have to say “no” to others when the demands they place on you are in conflict with how the Holy Spirit is leading you.

If we are overly committed and caught up in meeting other people’s needs, it may be an indicator that something is out of balance. Our first priority is to seek wisdom regarding any commitment. For a season, the Holy Spirit may lead us to give sacrificially of our time and ourselves. But God is our source and we need to always stay connected to Him with our spirit, soul and body.

Taking proper care of ourselves is not selfish when it’s for the purpose of being a fit vessel. How can we be of service when we are depleted spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally? It is possible to carry this idea too far and become preoccupied with our own interests at the expense of serving others. That’s not what I’m suggesting. But I am saying that we cannot be continually responsible for others’ poor choices.

Many believers take on burdens and responsibilities that they were never intended to bear. We think we must meet every need we encounter. For some, it’s very easy to habitually take on others’ responsibilities. Those habits, left unchecked, can lead to believing that it is our job to keep everybody happy. It is one thing to be used of God as a source and it’s entirely another to take on others’ responsibilities to the extent that WE become their source.

And those who have no intention of carrying their own burdens, or of being responsible for their own choices, seem to have a sixth sense as to who are these hyper-responsible Christians. They seek them out like a heat-seeking missile, ready to offload their own God-given destinies and responsibilities on these willing burden bearers. Although they may not be aware of it, these people want to manipulate and control you. The truth is that some people don’t want to be helped; they don’t want to change. They like the attention their problems bring them. If we seek the Holy Spirit about our commitments, He will guide us as to whether to become involved or not.

It’s upsetting, frustrating, and discouraging when we find that we’ve made a wrong choice of taking on way too much responsibility for someone who won’t do what is right. Being responsible for someone else’s lifestyle choices and happiness is a heavy load.

It is not God’s intent for us to be controlled and manipulated by people who refuse to make good choices. We cannot be responsible for anyone else’s happiness. Even Jesus did not promise to give us happiness – no questions asked. Instead, His Word instructs in the way that leads to joy. If others are controlling us, it’s not their fault; it’s our own. We must be led by the Spirit to set appropriate boundaries. For example, don’t allow people to call at all hours of the day and night to dump their problems on you.

My oldest sister, who is mentally ill, still lives in The Netherlands. I don’t know how she did it, but she could make me feel so guilty whenever I didn’t do whatever she wanted. A few years ago, I would call her every day at the same time to speak scriptures over her life. She really enjoyed it and seemed to be doing so much better.

At some point, my husband and I scheduled a conference in Dallas. My sister expressed how afraid she was to have to miss our daily calls, so I agreed to call her every day while we were in Dallas. I disrupted my schedule and my focus on the conference to call her at our agreed upon time, but she wasn’t in. She had gone to a movie. I finally realized that even though she is mentally ill, I had to respond differently to the expectations she placed on me. My decision to set boundaries with her was very hard on me, but I had to do it.

Quit trying to be the keeper of the universe. That is not your job. Of course, it is not easy at first. God calls us to be givers and care for each other. But there is a big difference between caring and giving and allowing somebody to control you and make you feel guilty until you do what they want.

Will you choose to free yourself from being a people-pleaser and give those people to God?

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  1. Great post Olga! I see so many Christian women sacrificing themselves to carry the burdens of others. And in doing so they severely neglect themselves and sometimes their own purpose. Thanks for the insight!

    • Yes, I know Angela; many of us feel so guilty if don’t help in the way it is “expected” from us. Thanks! We are not God who can turn a whole situation around in no time!

      • i know we can not turn the whole situation,but we can atlist show that we follow our lords command which says,we should love one another.because love is the only door through which we pass from selfishness to service,helping is not bad to we as christians.

  2. This is an awesome post Olga and one that really spoke to me. When I was younger I know that there were times that I tried to control and manipulate situations because I felt I knew best and could help others in this way; What a burden lifted to realize that it’s not up to me to solve everyone’s problem and how very important it is to set boundaries and then be “okay” with doing that. Also love what you said about letting the Holy Spirit guide and direct us; makes for more peace & joy in our lives and less stress as we let go of any control! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Olga, such an excellent post! “Quit trying to be the keeper of the universe”…just love this part…it says it all. I appreciate how you said that it was hard to set boundaries with your sister and how important it was.
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  4. So important to understand and accept that we are unable to control others which also means we shouldn’t allow others to control us! Self-care is not Self-ish!!
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  5. As Christians I think we hold ourselves to a higher standard. In fact, I think we can, at times, be unreasonable in our expectations. At the end of the day we are just mere mortals. Thank goodness our God is faithful and His grace covers a multitude of sins. Some times, we just have to get real with ourselves and leave the judgments to Him. What’s the old adage–you can please some of the people some of the time but you can’t please all of the people all of the time. A well thought out and timely post Olga!
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  6. The sad part is that people-pleasing never works in the long run, so it’s such a sad waste of time, energy, and effort! Self-care is so critical, and we all need to be reminded of it – thanks, Olga!
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  7. “Taking proper care of ourselves is not selfish…” – I do agree with this line. It was a great read, Olga. Thanks for sharing.
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  8. Another post that hits the spot for me Olga! I have a struggle with people pleasing (Like you especially with those nearest and dearest) but I love what you say here handing it over to God. Very true!
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  9. Great article and so true. Thank you for sharing Olga.

  10. Oh my, Olga….Where was this information when I needed it about eight years ago??? I struggle with this all the time. Living my life according to everyone else’s expectations of me. When I went through a month long sauna detox program, the girl running the program asked me what I wanted (not what I thought others wanted me to be), and I couldn’t answer her…I didn’t know. I had been living my life to fulfill everyone’s needs, but not my own. I think I am learning and working on coming out of that trap…but it is hard after a life long pattern. I really want to be who God intended me to be!!

    Great article!!!
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  11. Awesome post Olga. Helping others does not mean we neglect ourselves or that we are doormats for anyone else. Simply means doing the things God meant for us to be doing and let other people play their parts as well.
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  12. I need to put this on a post it on my mirror “Quit trying to be the keeper of the universe!” 🙂
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  13. Carrie Huskey says:

    I like this post. I was havin trouble with a girl who had just given her life to Christ. She started to cling to my husband and I to meet her every need. I finally by the Holy Spirits leading, taught her to depend on God to meet her needs and for her to depend on God not other people. God actually gets offended when ya don’t go to Him. He’s a jealous God and wants us to go to Him.

  14. Sometimes as Christians we do not set boundaries in the name of love and care but that’s not healthy. Great post, Olga.

  15. Olga, it seems your articles really hit home to me. It is so easy to become over-committed trying to please everyone… and then I easily become stressed about everyday events and taking care of myself. When you over-commit trying to please others it causes you to lose focus of the reason you committed in the first place. I also agree with you that there are some people who do not want to get better, they just want you to be the responsible one. Great article… Thanks.
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  16. I so resonate with this as a parent of special needs kiddos who demand a lot of time and energy. You are a FABULOUS sister and it’s so interesting and inspiring to read about this side of you! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Another great article, Olga! And wow… it’s so timely for me 🙂 God’s really showing me that people are each responsible for their own lives, their own choices ~ whether they be good or bad. And unfortunately, sometimes that means you get hit with some slinging mud, too, just because you are close. It’s choosing to wash the mud off and go your own way that builds character, trust in God, and allows you to follow the direction HE has for your life… not someone else’s.
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  18. “If we are overly committed and caught up in meeting other people’s needs, it may be an indicator that something is out of balance.” This is so good Olga! This taking on other’s responsibility seems to be a theme in mothers’ lives.
    I appreciate your wisdom.
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  19. It’s easy to get very broad shoulders carrying others … but we don’t realize that, in so many cases, we’re not even doing them any favors! By taking responsibility we don’t allow them to take responsibility themselves.
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  20. Great post and wonderful sister you are. Glad you realized setting boundaries is a God thing. People can take advantage of us if we don’t know how to do this. We can only make our own happiness with HIM.
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  21. I am terrible at this with my kids. I continue to try to guide them protect them, and steer them. I am finally understanding they need to learn things on their own. (I don’t do this in a manipulative way rather fear based parenting) One of my kids takes advantage of this, at which point I fall into the trap you speak of. It’s tough but necessary to let go.
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  22. Wow, someone finally said it! Thank you so much Olga for addressing this issue. So many of us as believers feel it’s almost a sin for us to say no to anything. Great reminder that it’s not only ok but necessary.
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  23. Carrie Huskey says:

    I want to subscribe to this blog. I really enjoy them

  24. Love this post and it is so in tune with what I share with women. Stop trying to manipulate and simply do it all…it’s important to let go..when that is done, pure happiness is achieved. Thanks so much for your beautiful post 🙂
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  25. Great article Olga! Just love that you share that we are only in control of ourselves. Thanks for such an inspiring post! Love your new website! Great branding!
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  26. My browser crashed when I was about to submit my comment! This is a very insightful post. I learned all of that the hard way. Too bad we can’t learn these things when we’re young so we don’t waste a lot of time and resources! I think your post should be on the bulletin board in places of worship. I may just hang it in mine!
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  27. Great post Olga! Finding that balance is CRUCIAL. I’ve found myself in that position in the past and although it can be difficult to say NO or to SET BOUNDARIES, it is VERY VERY important. You presented this post in an amazing manner as usual. I always love reading your posts =)
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  28. Boundaries and Godly! We just have to learn to set them properly. Great article! 🙂
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