Are You a Lover or a Manipulator?

The truth is that some manipulate and others love. Manipulators are not loving people because love is not on their agenda. Their agenda is control.

Some observations about manipulators:

1. Manipulators can be the elephants in the middle of the room who are ignored, but after a while they are not even seen. It is sort of like living in a house for a long time and no longer seeing scratches on the wall. They become a part of the scenery.

2. Self-centered, immature people have a way of draining the life and energy from people around them. To disagree with such a person is to risk being labeled “not supportive.” Consequently, you may believe you cannot honestly express what you are seeing in that person’s life. You may feel that whenever you are candid with this person, she pulls away.

3. Manipulators do not love others. They use others for their benefit. They use others to draw attention to themselves.

• “See how overworked I am.” — Poor guy, we need to back off.
• “What would this church do without me?” — Why I don’t know what we would do without you!
• “With all of the talented people we are bringing on staff here, you will probably fire me one day.” — Oh no, we’re not going to let that happen.

Over and over manipulators do or say whatever might elicit a certain response. The focus is not on loving other people. The focus is on using others for gain.

There are, however, those people who love. They love family, friends, and people in the church. These people love you and regularly do (or attempt to do) what is in your best interest. They are looking out for you, not themselves. Using you? Not at all. Relationship is not about self-interest with these people.

Some observations about people who love:

People who love can be trusted. Even when they are mistaken or do not handle something well in the relationship. It was just that — a mistake. It did not occur because of some manipulative ploy, etc.

People who love are in some way imitating God. Isn’t this where loving people originates?

People who love are “safe” people. They do not use, manipulate or hurt people in any way.

People who love do not need a lot of attention. They are not forever turning a conversation back to themselves.


What are some characteristics of a manipulator? What are some characteristics of a loving person?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “Are You a Lover or a Manipulator?

  1. Personally, I support all the ideas, agendas, goals, projects, etc. that a church eldership in loves, wishes to lead its congregation. Support in the sense that if a decision is made, and the group as a whole wishes for success, it might just be sinful to publicly oppose their prayful wishes in an attempt to turn others from supporting the idea. Yet, manipulation works both ways. Often management manipulates employees, and when a church takes on a corporate structure, the possibility exists for this to carry over to the body of Christ. I, for one, am happy to know that the church I have attended since the mid-70’s does not use manipulation in increasing giving, or even for special projects (well, not intentionally, in my judgment), as has been the case with churches before my present one.

  2. Jim – This post was convicting. I DO want to love people well, but I recognized myself on the manipulating list far too easily.

    My favorite line on the loving list was “people who love are safe people.” That’s what I want to be. I want others to be able to be themselves when they are with me, to not feel afraid that I will use them or betray them.

    • Charity, thanks for your honesty. I appreciate your candor as you reflect upon your own life. It really is easy at time times to resort to manipulation. I have experienced this as well.

      I really do think that to be seen as a safe person by others has to be one of the highest compliments a person can receive.

  3. Manipulators are scary. They often have many people fooled. I began to see manipulators for who they are when I read “People of the Lie” by Scott Peck many years ago. Really opened my eyes to the reality around me. And now, when I see a manipulator at work, I put as much distance between myself and her as possible. Maybe that’s cowardly, but I am not going to get sucked into their web if I can avoid it!

    • Thank you Connie. I do think part of the challenge of life is how to manage ourselves in the presence of manipulators or anyone else who is less than authentic.