We’ve all fallen to the oldest trick in the book, but we need to know the oldest truth in the book. Knowing the difference between ministry and manipulation.
I watched them do it. They said a few words, suggested some options, smiled in a certain way, and waited. It wasn’t long before they had what they wanted. They had laid out the bait, and the person had grabbed it.
I then wondered how many times people had fallen to this subtle and sly manipulation. They were such an expert at it. Their success, their control was based on their ability to get others to do what they wanted them to do.
What’s it like to find out you’ve been manipulated?
To have someone use all sorts of little tricks and techniques to further their own cause. Continue reading “Falling to the Oldest Trick in the Book. Ministry or Manipulation”
It can be so debilitating to be told ‘you need to have boundaries,’ but as you grow the heart, a new empowered strength slowly builds within.
‘You really need to have boundaries’
How many times have you heard this said or even said it yourself?
I always feel a little cringe when I hear these words. There is just something about it that sounds legalistic, mechanical, rules bound, and policy-driven.
Nothing of the heart or any internal depth to it.
This is why I prefer ‘Lines of love of respect.’ It seems to connect better to something that is of heart value. Something that is evolving.
It also sounds condemning. Continue reading “The Evolution of Empowered Boundaries”
Why you get so angry can give a clear direction about who you truly are. It’s a matter of the heart. Your anger can indicate what you hold most dear.
As they became more whole, the anger started to simmer, then boil, and then it flowed over the containment of their life. It was, in a frightening way, beautiful and needed to happen.
Anger can be highly destructive. But flowing out without constraint can damage and burn. We all have this capacity to pour out our emotions of being hurt, mistreated, abused.
Some of the deepest hurts come from those we are in the closest relationship to. Those who we would hope and expect to know our hearts are often the ones who will not listen and show love and respect to our tender places.
I think of the patterns we set up so young to defend that tender heart. A little bruise, and a little slight, and we begin to build a fortress.
‘No one is ever going to hurt me again like that.’ Continue reading “You’re so angry and it’s going to help you”
Can anything good come out of that time, place, or person? Only if we take a risk and explore. We are invited to ‘come and see.’
I was raised on a farm near a small town called Wellsford. In fact, my ancestors settled there in the 1860s, migrating from England. Through this town and the middle of our farm, a very busy road ran, taking traffic to one of the poorer areas of New Zealand, Northland.
It was also the route to some of the most beautiful beaches and summer holiday spots we have.
My little town was a place you mostly went through or stopped off for refreshments (amusingly, that’s how it’s still referred to on tourism websites).
It was also a place where many decided to leave. If you wanted to advance and get a better education or work, then you had to leave. Continue reading “Can anything good come from this?”
Trust can get broken so easily, but we can build a new trust by cognitively reassessing our situations. It takes time and effort, but it is worth it.
There was a rebuilding that needed to happen. It was a rebuilding of trust in themselves and with others.
Somewhere, some time, every one of us is going to have our trust broken. We live with an expectation that certain things will happen the way we believe they will happen. The rules won’t get broken. That the promises made will be kept.
But trust gets broken in many different areas of our lives. Continue reading “Four steps to Build A New Trust”
You might be helping them too much and hinder any progress for them and yourself, but we can learn new ways of helping and see the change we want for them and ourselves.
She was helping too much, and the person she was helping didn’t mind one little bit. In fact, he was very adept at throwing guilt trips and manipulations to keep her supporting his lifestyle.
It wasn’t that she was doing anything wrong. Many people thought she was so wonderful how she took care of him and others. She was so generous and kind. What a lovely Christian woman, they said.
But underneath that mission of martyrdom, there was a dying soul. Life was being sucked out of her, and resentment was taking a foothold. For all the help, she was giving out, and nothing was coming back. Continue reading “Are you helping too much?”
We are like a cup in which energy both fills and drains. But we can grow by paying attention to the cup and understanding the fillers and the drainers.
It was always a challenge to get them to care for themselves. They were always giving out to others, and I could see that life was being sucked out of them.
I explained that you can’t give out of an empty cup, but self-sacrifice and martyrdom had been drummed into them from childhood. They remembered that Sunday School song – J.O.Y. Jesus first, Yourself last, and Others in between sung to the merry little tune of Jingle Bells.
But now all that giving out was leading to their fragile body forming cracks. The body was breaking down. It couldn’t keep on giving out. Illnesses came, sleeplessness, anxiety, depression. The body was trying to send a message – Stop abusing the cup. Continue reading “The Cup. Paying Attention To What Fills and Drains”
It was the feelings of a guilt trip and the words of being a ‘Brothers Keeper’ that triggered me. But was it genuinely helping me and them to think this way? Something needed to change.
Some people seem to be able to push the manipulation guilt trip button every time. They tell you how life has been hard. They share their background and a wide range of struggles. You listen, and you empathize with their struggle, and indeed life is hard for some people.
Then you look at yourself and all that you have. You may begin to feel some guilt, then some sense of a need to help them. You want to help, but you have only so much life, energy, time, and money.
In the Bible, there is a story, or in particular, a phrase from that story, that can kick into gear and hit the guilt-trip button. Continue reading “Am I My Brothers Keeper? Guilt-Trip Anyone?”
Storms of life can hit hard against our mental health, but we can learn to stand firm and even advance. Developing resilience is a practice of strengthing your inner Bulldog.
It was quite something as I watched this little goat headbutt a Bulldog. Repeatedly it launched itself at the Bulldog, but the dog stayed firm, resilient, and even advanced into the storm.
To me, it spoke of resilience in the face of adversity. Continue reading “How to Build an Inner ‘Bulldog’ Resilience for your Mental Health”
Some people can be difficult to live at peace with. To live peaceably and in harmony requires each person to do the work on themselves.
Some people are like bottomless holes. You give and give, and they take and take. They raise a storm, and you’re expected to bring peace.
Instead of taking self-responsibility, they blame and shame. They make others a scapegoat for their failings. Continue reading “Doing Your Best to Live at Peace with Everyone”