“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NIV

There came a time when I had to have my son leave the home he had known for his entire life and live the life he had chosen. To him, that meant homelessness, a life on the street without a bed to call his own. If it were my decision for him, it would have looked differently but out of respect for the person that he is, I had to put the mother in me aside and honor my boundaries and his choices.

He did not go easily. He would call me and tell me that someone was holding a knife to his stomach and that I needed to send him $10 right away. I could have chosen to react to these calls, however, in order to keep myself from being held emotionally hostage by his manipulation, I shut off his phone.

Anyone can be held hostage emotionally especially when we are dealing with life and death situations. It is easy to try to control the situation and create safe havens for those who abuse us. But, isn’t that putting ourselves right into the middle of a hostage situation? Sometimes we have to do things differently in order to grow through the circumstances. And if we give in … we are just reinforcing their actions and shifting the power to them.

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25 NIV

In the measure of words this sounds easy, but I know how hard it can be. Trust me, with practice and in recognizing manipulation, we can move forward in a more healthy direction. It’s just one decision at a time, one step at a time. What if our strong boundary is exactly what our child needs to grow in the right direction? Why rob them of that opportunity? Maybe by stewing in their pots of manipulation, we are really just prolonging their healing and the Lord is waiting for us to move out of His way in order for Him to work.

Father, Thank You for all You are doing in our lives. We ask that You help us to recognize this unhealthy manipulation and help us to grow through our circumstances. We love and trust You. In Jesus’ precious name we pray, Amen.

Share with us one way that has worked for you to keep yourself from being held hostage emotionally.

— Dawn H.