Manipulation has many faces. One of its most painful faces is the affect. Many are those who have surrendered in a romantic relationship and then found themselves used, abused, devalued and later discarded.
Manipulation also may be manifested in a semblance of family relationships. One example of this would be parents who control their children’s lives using methods of guilt, fear and victimization. The sexual aspect also is not free of manipulative strategies, as for example the test of love a young man might ask of his girlfriend, or used as a tool of exchange in a process of mutual blackmail practiced between husband and wife.
Words such as mobbing and bossing, which previously were specialized vocabulary terms used only by a few experts on labor relations, now are frequently used by those who experience manipulation and abuse in the workplace at the hands of an employer who mistreats, humiliates, threatens and harangues them.
The school environment also is not immune to manipulation, and many young people today are the victims of bullying, and mistreatment of various types inflicted by their classmates, at times with terrifying consequences.
Perhaps one of the worst forms of manipulation is the religious. We often find churches, minister, and leaders who manipulate their people in the name of goals that are at times praiseworthy and at other times obscure. This has been one of the reasons why a very high percentage of those who call themselves evangelical Christians on our continent rarely attend church services.
What is certain is that manipulation has many faces, but among its consequence, there is a common result: the suffering of the person who is manipulated.
Therein lies the reason for this book, written with threefold intention. In the first place, that many persons who have suffered as the victim of manipulators, can understand what has happened to them and what they have experienced, and they can be healed.
In the second place, so that those who have allowed manipulation to become a pattern of conduct in their lives and in their relationships with other people, may understand the damage they have produced, as well as the reasons why they became manipulators, and thus also find healing.
In the third place, the material in this book is presented to prevent future victims of manipulation; that we may learn not to fall victim to its claws, and to be aware enough not to become executioners committed to hurting others.
Of course, it is possible to be free of manipulation and manipulators. In Christ Jesus, and with the tools provided in his Word, we can be healed not only of the wounds inflicted upon us, but we can perhaps also thwart future attempts to use methods of manipulation to attack our lives.
That is why it is time for us to say, firmly and resolutely: “Enough!” This word may seem to indicate a negative decision. However, it is the manifestation of a complete healing. This expression demonstrates to others that we are sufficiently healthy to not allow ourselves to be damaged ever again.