My Name is Jennifer and I am a Manipulator

manipulatorI wasn’t always this way. Okay, maybe I was. Honestly I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t able to influence others to ultimately get my way. According to Strengthfinders, I am strong in the area of Strategy, meaning I am able to look ahead and see the easiest, most efficient route to the goal. This could be a strength when used in many fields, but I have learned that it can also be a weakness, particularly in relationships.
When my guy and I were dating and ultimately engaged, we fought a lot. That may not be totally accurate, because there wasn’t much fight left in the poor guy after going a couple of rounds with me. We joked that I could probably murder someone and convince him that he had done it. I would go for the jugular every time, and if I saw that my argument was going to nowhere, I could change the trajectory slightly so that I always had the upper hand. Honestly I saw it as a weakness in him that I could always win the argument.
And then we broke up. For almost three years. Apparently it’s not very fun to always be wrong in a relationship. It was the first time in my life that I couldn’t get my way, no matter how hard I tried. He closed down and shut me out. Suddenly he had the upper hand, all the power.
During the years that we were apart I found myself in a relationship with someone far more advanced in the art of tearing down arguments and for the first time, felt the hopelessness of not being heard, only defeated, in a relationship. I also leaned into Christ more than ever, and began to see that although I had some skills in the area of arguing, I was no expert in strategy. Turns out winning every battle doesn’t mean that you win the war. Having all the power in a relationship means being willing to hear the heart of the other and to try to come to an agreement.
Over time, God brought my guy and me back together. I learned that God had been working on him too, and my husband started to push back and show me boundaries. I realized I had been like a child, craving rules and consequences because how else do you know that someone really loves you? I needed boundaries to feel loved and he needed to be heard.
I wish I could say that today I am free from manipulation. But like an alcoholic, I will always have this weakness; if I am in an argument or a power struggle, my fight reflex kicks in to win at all cost. I can usually see every step to take to be declared the winner, but that’s not really the goal, is it?
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. Proverbs 18:2

12 thoughts on “My Name is Jennifer and I am a Manipulator

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  1. First of all, I completely hear what you are saying. What I have found for myself and maybe it is something you might want to think about, is that it is a control issue. For me, I had something terrible happen in my life when I was younger. It was a controlling situation and when I got out of it, I started to use that same manipulation to keep everything (in) control for me. Because if I didn’t have that control, then everything became out of control for me and that was just too difficult to handle.
    As time went on, that control and manipulation actually became overbearing and hurtful and in the end, started to destroy things in my life. It wasn’t until I went into counseling that I realized how it started, which of course, was my past of someone and that situation that controlled me. Since then, I have been freed from it and only once in a while it comes back, but I can clearly see it now whereas before I couldn’t. I just knew that if I continued in the pattern that I was in, it would deeply affect every relationship, including my relationship with the Lord. Today, I am completely different. I think part of the answer is the fact that you and I both recognized the issue. That is the start of the healing process. Seeing it for what it is and doing something about it. I applaud your willingness to bring it forth into the light and seeking God for help. Thank you for your story!

    1. I view it as my thorn in the flesh; it’s my natural inclination that has to be tamped down over and over, and really is only won by the power of the Holy Spirit. My part in that is to hand it over again and again. Thank you for your comment!

  2. VERY good point you make. You DO need to deal with things (including fighting) fairly. If you’re always right (&for always win) something is wrong. It might be due to your having a “have to have it your way” type of mentality. … However, it’s often the case that the person who cares the least about a relationhip is the one who has (and exercises) all the power. The per son who doesn’t really Care about the “us” can take a cavalier “I’m right” attitude and the other person will usually go out of there way to placate. Big mistake.

  3. I love this honesty! Haven’t I read this before from you, older post maybe? I have a great memory, and I use that against people sometimes (haha). I believe we can all become manipulators. Glad you are a work in progress on this matter. Again, love the honesty, Jennifer 🙂 Have a great weekend

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