Handling Controlling Manipulative People

Handling Controlling Manipulative People

By Pastor Delbert Young

Handling Controlling Manipulative People



Handling Controlling Manipulative People

(NLT) Judges 16:15-17  Then Delilah pouted, “How can you say you love me when you don’t confide in me? You’ve made fun of me three times now, and you still haven’t told me what makes you so strong!” So day after day she nagged him until he couldn’t stand it any longer. Finally, Samson told her his secret…

Look how the King James’ version writes it.

Judges 16:16 And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death.

Let’s notice a few things from all the examples I mentioned.

There truly are controlling manipulative predators, but USUALLY, THE MANIPULATOR WAS/IS A VERY CLOSE ACQUAINTANCE. Sometimes it’s a spouse – Adam/Eve. It could be a superior/boss – Sarah/Hagar. Sometimes it’s a relative – Laban/Jacob, Miriam, Aaron/Moses. Maybe it’s a ministry – Eli’s sons/people. Sometimes it’s a lover – Delilah/Samson. People who try to manipulate us are usually close acquaintances. Also, the people we manipulate and control or attempt to, are usually close to us. Most often, the people who succeed in manipulating us are people we care about and maybe love, and the people we manipulate are usually the people who care about or love us. So, when we are handling controlling manipulative people we are usually talking about handling people we probably care greatly about.

Handling Controlling Manipulative People



Let’s talk about threats first. Controllers and manipulators love to use threats. There is a threatening feeling you should recognize when being manipulated. Also, a feeling that if you do not do what that person wants, they will “punish” you. There is a fear of saying, “No” to them. At home, the threat might be, “If you do not do what I want you to do, I will not give you what you want.” At work, it could be a promotion or termination threat. To a young girl in a relationship, the threat might be in the back seat of a car, “If you don’t do this, I am going to break up with you.” That person is manipulating you.

Handling Controlling Manipulative People video audio notes

The use of guilt works similarly. Delilah used guilt on Samson. “If you really loved me, you would tell me.” Or, it could be something like, “After all I have done for you…” For example, many children whose parents have suffered divorce feel guilt from a manipulating parent(s). The child already feels they should have done something to keep the parents together. Both parents want the child’s total loyalty. Often a parent will make a child feel disloyal and guilty if they so much as visit the “Ex.”

The controlling manipulative parent will threaten not to do something for the child. Preachers are great with guilt manipulation. “If you really loved Jesus, you would pay tithes, or be at church every day, etc.” Then, of course, there is the silent treatment. The controller/manipulator will not tell you what is wrong. They simply do not talk, and you feel guilty, and wonder what you did wrong.

How many?

How many of us have people in our lives that try, and probably succeed at controlling and manipulating us using threats and guilt? Now, how many of us use guilt and threats to control and manipulate?

(2) You must RECOGNIZE YOU ARE BEING CONTROLLED AND MANIPULATED. It sounds a little silly to say recognize you are being controlled and manipulated, but you would be surprised at how many people do not realize it. They have been controlled and manipulated for such a long time that the “doormat” life is normal. They have settled into that lifestyle. You must recognize you are being controlled and manipulated. Once Jesus was explaining to the disciples how he would be arrested, beaten, and crucified. This brought out control and manipulation in Peter. Imagine the picture with me.

Handling Controlling Manipulative People video audio notes

Matthew 16:22-23 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus TURNED and SAID to Peter, “GET BEHIND ME, SATAN! YOU ARE A STUMBLING BLOCK TO ME; YOU DO NOT HAVE IN MIND THE THINGS OF GOD, BUT THE THINGS OF MEN.

Jesus TURNED. He recognized Peter’s attempt to manipulate. Notice how Peter took Jesus away from people. Most manipulating people do their controlling and manipulating in private. They do not want others to know they are CONTROLLING AND MANIPULATING and it is easier to CONTROL AND MANIPULATE a person in private. Most controlling husbands and wives are way more controlling and manipulative at home than in public.

Some people would say, “Well, what is so bad about that? If I am accustomed to it, what is so bad?” The bad thing is this. Please hear this. Control and manipulation stop you from doing what God sent you to do and you are only doing what “Peter” wants you to do. Peter loved Jesus, no doubt, but what Peter was trying to manipulate Jesus into doing was not what God wanted Jesus to do. Peter was not a bad person and neither are most controlling manipulative people we have to handle in life. They simply want us to do what they think we should do and not what God wants us to do. As was Peter, they are stumbling blocks.

Handling Controlling Manipulative People

(3) The third thing we learn in HANDLING CONTROLLING MANIPULATIVE PEOPLE is,

after recognizing you are being controlled and manipulated, VERBALIZE IT AND PHYSICALLY EXPRESS IT. Say something like, “This is not going to work on me.” You have to do it with a little attitude. The Bible says, “Jesus turned and said to Peter…” with attitude. He called Peter Satan and told Peter to get out of his face! Get behind me Satan! Is it accurate to say that controlling and manipulating is satanic? Jesus looked at Peter eye to eye and told Peter he was Satan to him.

I have faced CONTROLLING MANIPULATING PEOPLE throughout my entire ministry. I now recognize them quickly. People threaten me with all sorts of things from not giving money to leaving the church. They are not all bad people, but instead of causing me to bow down to their control, an attitude rises inside of me and I basically say, “Get out of my face!” If you have been around me much, you know that it does not matter how much money a person gives or what ministry they do here, if you attempt to CONTROL and MANIPULATE me/Life Gate, it’s over and I develop an attitude. I am better and more controlled now than I used to be about it, but it is still in there.


Handling Controlling Manipulative People

Exodus 20:3-5 You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them…

When you are doing the will of someone else and not doing the will of God, it is idolatry. You are bowing to their will instead of God’s will. You cannot do God’s will when you allow people to control and manipulate you. If you do you are actually dysfunctional for God and for yourself. You are a puppet waiting for your master to pull your strings.

What happens when you refuse to allow people to control and manipulate you? CONTROLLING MANIPULATING PEOPLE do not like to be “handled.” This is especially true when you have been their doormat for a long time. They squeeze harder when you reveal their satanic attempts. They are used to getting their way, so when you get an attitude, sparks will fly. These pull out their tools – threats, and guilt – and go to work on you. They yell, scream, curse, threaten, and put guilt on you. You are tempted to bow to that idol because that is what you have always done. If you say, “This is not going to work on me,” be ready, because things will get worse before they get better.

Handling Controlling Manipulative People

(4) The fourth thing needed to HANDLE CONTROLLING and MANIPULATING PEOPLE is to REDEFINE THE RELATIONSHIP. Jesus told Peter that he Peter was not going to be a “stumbling block” to Jesus. Concerning the things of God, Jesus said, “get behind me.” Jesus said let me redefine our relationship. Do not interfere with my purpose. If you are not going to walk with me to accomplish this then get behind me. Oh, and by the way Peter, I am the leader, not you.


Galatians 1:10 Obviously, I’m not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to PLEASE GOD. If I were still trying to please people, I would not be CHRIST’S SERVANT.

Oh my! When I allow a controlling/manipulative person to handle me, I am not a servant of Christ. I honestly feel that if I bow to controlling and manipulating people I am not a good pastor and teacher. I admit, that sometimes the sparks fly, but I refuse to bow. However, I love people to walk with me and me with them to accomplish what we are to do, but I cannot allow them to be or to allow me to be a “stumbling block.” I must please God.

Handling Controlling Manipulative People

Now let me talk to those of us who are CONTROLLING MANIPULATING PEOPLE. You know you are controlling and manipulative just as I know I used to be that way. It does not mean you are a bad person no more than it meant I was a bad person. Let me tell you from where control and manipulation come. It comes from fear and insecurity. You are a control freak and you fear you will not get your way. You have absolute faith in your ability to get things done and get what you want by control. Your confidence in your ability is good, but your lack of faith to trust God is not good. I had to learn this.

I was trained in corporate management where the strong and controlling survived.

Let’s bow our heads for prayer.

I want to first ask you if you feel you are allowing someone to control and manipulate you. You be honest and that person might be sitting beside you. It’s fearful for you to say no to them. You experience feelings of guilt around them. They may not have malicious intent, but you feel controlled and manipulated. You want to break free and not commit the sin of idolatry. Your first step is acknowledging it right now. If you say, “Yes, I feel someone is trying to control me. I’ve allowed it and I want to break free,” would you raise your hands right now and let me pray for you?

Handling Controlling Manipulative People

There are two more groups to which I need to speak.

Some of you see God as a control freak and you have never received him as your savior because you think he wants to control you. No, he has a plan for your life so you can have abundance, but he will never control you. He will guide you and love you, but never control you. If that is you, or if you have gotten away from the Lord or never received him, will you raise your hand and receive the Lord as your Savior right now?

Handling Controlling Manipulative People

Handling Controlling Manipulative People

Handling Controlling Manipulative People

Other Related Sermons:

Handling Difficult People Sermon Series

Power Of sermon series video audio notes

Also see:

Delbert Young Sermons YouTube