Not Being Manipulated

Once we realize that we can’t control a dysfunctional family dynamic, we see that all we can do is control ourselves. And in doing so, in living a beautiful life that can’t be bought or manipulated, we plant a seed. A word here or there, spoken in love, from a place of balance, can have an immense impact.

From the perspective of your troubled family members, if they manipulate you, then your words mean nothing. They’re the ones controlling your behavior, and you’re just saying what they’ve brow-beaten you into saying. So, who knows how you really feel? Probably, deep down, you resent them. They fear that, so they manipulate all the more, and the cycle spirals downward.

But if you exist outside of the manipulation, no matter how distressing that may be for the other members of your family, your words finally have real meaning. If, at last, you offer a kind or encouraging word not because you have been coerced, but because you want to, everything is different. It is the unmistakeable voice of confident and unafraid love.

-From the December ‘12 Bridge Box devotional.

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