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Have you ever felt like you are always the one people ask to do favors, even though you are the busiest person you know? Do you ever feel resentful over doing a task that someone else could have easily done, but you just couldn’t bring yourself to say “no”?
Not too long ago, I came across this book: Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life (affiliate link)
And I realized that I have spent an awful lot of time complaining (in my head) about doing things for other people that I very well could have declined to do.
This book is written from a Christian perspective, and takes into account the Christian principal of loving your neighbor. However, it also takes a good hard look at people who are accustomed to manipulating easy targets to behave in a certain way or do things they do not want to do themselves.
I used to think, “Jesus always served. He didn’t say ‘no.’” But then I began to see the times Jesus did say “no.” He went away from the crowds to pray. He rowed away in a boat to be alone. He told Peter “no” when he told Jesus he would not be killed. Jesus knew that sometimes saying “no” is best.
If you have difficulty telling people “no”, I highly recommend this book. It will give you a new perspective on when and how saying “no” is the Christian and healthy thing to do for your family. It will also help you give your children a good model of what it looks like to make healthy decisions without feeling like you are always at the mercy of what someone else wants you to do.
Along those same lines, I also found this book enlightening: Who’s Pulling Your Strings?: How to Break the Cycle of Manipulation and Regain Control of Your Life (affiliate link)
This book describes in detail what a manipulator looks for in an easy target, and how you can change your thinking and actions so that you are not one of those targets.
It even gives specific responses to practice when a manipulator tries to “pull your strings.”
I found this information particularly compelling in light of this lady’s story of being married to a pedophile for 40 years and not knowing it. He was a master at manipulating, and she was easily manipulated. The perfect storm!