Him Vs. Her – Manipulation


Have you ever been manipulated by a family member? Perhaps even one of your own children?

We have four beautiful girls. All of who are very intelligent and sweet. Yet over the years, my husband and I have been manipulated on several occasions by those same sweet girls. It started off innocently enough at first. One of girls would say something like, “Mom, can I have a cookie?” My response… “No, it’s too close to dinnertime.” Five minutes later…. “Why are you eating that cookie? Didn’t I tell you it was too close to dinnertime?” Daughter’s response… “Well… I asked Dad, and he said I could.”

This is just all too typical of how things usually go. If the kids ask me something and I say no, they immediately run to dad to see if he will say yes, and vice versa. During the early years in our marriage, this was a huge problem for us. I would get mad at hubby, thinking he should know better than to give one of our girl’s cookies before dinnertime and then he would get angry at me, since he really couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. Of course this is just one simple scenario; as the girls got older, saying yes to cookies was the least of our problems.

Years passed by and we still hadn’t figured out that by allowing our girls to manipulate us, we were creating some serious problems for our marriage. There would be times when the kids would make plans with me to do something, fully knowing that their dad wasn’t ok with it, and then I would get blamed for allowing them to do whatever it was their dad had already said no too. This scenario of course went both ways. This caused a lot of resentment to build up in our marriage. The girls eventually figured out which one of us was the most likely to give them the answer they wanted, and so then they would use that knowledge to their advantage.

Hubby and I made the mistake of letting this continue on for too many years. If we had been smart, we would have learned sooner to communicate better and make all of our decisions together as a family. Unfortunately, with the way our work schedules were back in those days, we really didn’t take the time to communicate with each other like we should have. Because of this, our relationship with each other and the relationships with our girls really did suffer.

Fortunately, we have since learned, if one of our girls asks us for something, we make sure that they haven’t already been told no; and any really important decisions, always get discussed together as a family. We have found that by sitting together at dinnertime, we now have the opportunity to discuss things which are currently going on. It’s the perfect time to make future plans for upcoming events and it helps keep everyone on the same page.

Do you struggle with this in your own family? And if so, what have you done to try and remedy the problem?


Photo credit: http://www.blogbigtime.com

20 thoughts on “Him Vs. Her – Manipulation

  1. I have found that when I say no and my hubby says yes, it is best to remember that we are not the same person and we were not asked at the same time. It can be quite an annoyance to teach a lesson and have my child turn to Dad and alter my lesson but I try to concentrate on how it is a blessing that my child has a strong enough bond with her father to trust in him as well.

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  2. I am a stepfather to two growing boys, Brandon (20,) and Jeremiah (15,) which means that I wasn’t in the picture when they were little kids. And unfortunately, their father was gone more than he was there for them and Tanya. When he was there, he would undermine everything that Tanya tried to instill in them. As a result, they have little to no respect for authority and whenever they want something, they both know that if they keep asking their mom, she will grow tired of being asked and eventually give in.

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    1. Wow! Do you spend a lot of time with them? I bet that’s so hard… It’s harder to change things when they’ve already grown-up doing things differently. I bet this is terribly hard on Tanya.


      1. I try to spend time with them, but they spend almost all of their time playing video games, and I can’t really relate to that. And although things have certainly gotten better between us, there’s a certain resentment because I kind of took the place of their dad (even though I never have and never will try to take his place,) and that I’ll never be as good as him. I’ll always be second best. You’re right: those things can never be changed, Michelle. It’s very hard on her, especially when they say hurtful things to her. Very hurtful things. It isn’t easy at all. Thank you for your kind words and understanding.

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        1. I bet it has become burdensome on both of you. You want so much to love your family, but sometimes they make it so hard. Hopefully their hearts will be changed one day. This I think is the most important hope that a parent has for their children.

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          1. It really has placed a burden (perhaps that’s too strong of a word, became Brandon and Jeremiah aren’t a burden, but I get your meaning,) on Tanya and I and our marriage. And I love them as if they’re my own, but there are days when it’s hard to like them. I hope and pray for them, that they may find the love of the Father again, that they may come to Him again, but their paths seem to grow darker. Please lift up your heart in prayer for them, would you?

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            1. Indeed, that is all we can do. Thank you, Michelle!!

              I’ve really missed you, and I apologize for going AWOL, and as you know, I’ve been writing a lot, but I can’t seem to find a balance in this busy life. I’m open to any suggestions you may have!!

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            2. Great advice, thank you.

              I am trying, but it certainly isn’t easy to do when my two strongest passions (reading and writing) go hand-in-hand, and I my mind begins to wander almost every time I sit down to read. It’s getting worse, too. Just this afternoon, I tried to read, and I lost concentration after about five words; I couldn’t even last a whole sentence. This has been going on for way too long. Unfortunately, the earliest they could get me in to see a doctor (a new one, since my current physician doesn’t seem to want to help me,) is the end of June.. But hey, it’s been almost a year and a half, what’s another few months, right?


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            3. I’m the same way with reading though. I find I love to write so much more. The more you write, the more you want to develop and read your own stories. Hang in there another few months. I’ll pray that you find a doctor who really cares and wants to help you. They do exist, but it’s hard to find one sometimes. I’ve dealt with this when my daughter Amy needed to find one. The Lord took care of us and I believe he will do the same for you. Just believe…

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            4. Thank you, again. I really don’t know what I’d do without great friends like you. Believe me, just talking to you about it helps! I am not sure if I can endure an additional few months, as I’m at my wits end as it is, but I am trying to be strong and positive and I’m only able to do that through prayer. Jesus will get me through this, praise God.:)
              And though I am thirty-six, my wife is adamant that I have ADD, which apparently would explain a lot and could be the problem. You see, she and her two boys are ADD, as well, so she would recognize the symptoms, you know? We’re going to a mental health intake first thing Monday morning and go from there. I will keep you posted.

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            5. Well, whatever the final diagnosis, just remember that an illness of any kind, doesn’t define you. You’re amazing with or without ADD and I hope you will never forget that. Have a wonderful weekend. Hopefully it’s sunny where you are and you can get outside and enjoy God’s creation. I always feel closer to him when I’m outside. Take care… 😊

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            6. Well, whatever the final diagnosis, just remember that an illness of any kind, doesn’t define you. You’re amazing with or without ADD and I hope you will never forget that. Have a wonderful weekend. Hopefully it’s sunny where you are and you can get outside and enjoy God’s creation. I always feel closer to him when I’m outside. Take care… 😊

              That’s right, and I try to remember that my depression doesn’t define me, but sometimes I forget. When it’s so prevalent in your life, it can feel like that’s all there is and all you’ll ever be. Thank you. God bless your heart!!!! You just made my week.:) Yes, it’s been an absolutely stunning weekend!! Carter’s loving to be able to play outside for hours, after many months of rain and cold. Simply beholding God’s creation, I find it impossible not to feel closer to Him.
              Take care of yourself, as well!!

              Liked by 1 person

            7. I understand completely…. and I’m blessed to know you Dustin. The sun is shining here too! Have an amazing week!

              Well good, I’m glad you get me.:) I thank God every day for you, and other friends like you. Awesome– enjoy it and have an amazing week, yourself!

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