One of my favorite writers, Donald Miller, talks about manipulators and he gives us some hints so we know if we are dealing with one.
One of the most tell-tale signs of a manipulator is this: when you leave that person, inevitably, you will feel guilty, and you will wonder why. You can’t recall doing or saying anything offensive, but you feel this sense of guilt or remorse and you may even feel like you’re in debt to that person. Sadly, it’s a debt you will never pay in full. Manipulators need control, so if you constantly feel like you’re rescuing them or encouraging them or protecting them, they have you right where they want you. You feel helpful, but really you’re enabling them. They will always need a shoulder to cry on or a person to blame and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll run .
I used to surround myself with people who needed me. More recently, I was talking to my mom about trying to be there for someone, but I was coming at the relationship as though I was the hero and the other person was the victim. My entire reason for being in the relationship was so I could help them.
That’s not a healthy relationship.
Instead, I’m making the conscious decision to surround myself with people who don’t need me. I’m not here to be a doormat, I’m here to be a friend. The two are not symbiotic.
It’s a tough realization to come to, especially when we love people and want to help them. But having such a slanted view of relationships doesn’t help them or you. It leaves you feeling burnt out and like you’ll never do enough to satisfy the other person, and it feeds the manipulation and victim mentality in the other person.
So, do yourself and the people you love a big favor. Stop being Superman, and just be you. Hang out with people who want to be around you, not people who feed off you like leeches.
It’s really amazing when you look around and your conversations are two sided and full of laughter and depth and meaning. You will both be benefiting, and neither of you will be carrying the burden. when one one falls, the other helps him up, and vice versa. It’s the way God created relationships to be.
Also, check out Scary Close by Donald Miller here
Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. –Ecclesiastes 4:9-12