How to Break Free From Manipulation

How to Break Free From Manipulation

by Drenda Keesee


“She’s giving me the silent treatment for choosing what was best for my family. What should I do?”

“They were so mean to me last week, but now that I have something they want, they’re being nice.”

“I really don’t want to go to that dinner, but I’m afraid he’ll be mad if I say no.”

Have you ever been manipulated or intimidated by somebody?



Some people treat us this way naively, simply motivated by feelings of jealousy, control, insecurity, or anger.

Others do it compulsively. I call those people “sharks.” We can all be sharks or demonstrate sharklike qualities from time to time, but these people do this so consistently, so maliciously, that this isn’t an accident on their part—it’s a habit.

We all like to think we’re the masters of our lives and that we don’t allow ourselves to be manipulated or controlled by anyone. However, that’s rarely the case. Even people’s unwilling social cues can cause us to make decisions we otherwise wouldn’t want.

In most cases, we become shark bait by taking false responsibility.

If we can recognize when we’re becoming shark bait, we can change our course and swim to free waters!

Here are some telltale symptoms we experience when we’re being manipulated by sharks:


1. You Have Dread.

Dread is often a symptom of being shark bait. I remember a time when I experienced dread every time I had to speak or step out in my calling. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right! And the reason why? I dreaded hearing the opinion of a specific woman who always gave me her two cents worth on how I did. We were “friends,” so I thought she had my best interests at heart.


I remember talking to Gary one day and saying, “They’re going to think…”

My husband interrupted kindly. “Honey, who’s they?

I finally took a step back and realized this friend’s criticism was a huge source of anxiety in my life!

You see, when a shark has influence in your life, it makes you want to stay in the boat. They make you feel intimidated, and trapped, can take the fun out of your calling, and, ultimately, make you want to quit or give up.


2. You Start Doubting Yourself.

The second sign of being shark bait is we experience self-doubt. Sharks make us feel like we aren’t capable, so we should just give up before we even try. When a shark has influence in your life, you may find yourself quick to turn down opportunities and afraid you’ll invite their criticism and upset the waters.

Self-doubt is like poison—if we tolerate it, even just a little, it will kill our confidence and can even make us feel paralyzed!


3. You Give Up or Compromise on Your Dreams.

“The only thing wrong with trying to please everyone is that there’s always at least one person who will remain unhappy—you.” —Elizabeth Parker

After dread and self-doubt consume us, we often surrender our dreams at the altar of fear. We don’t think we’ll ever make it. We start to settle for what sharks tell us we can do and have. My friend, only God can tell you what you can do, who you are, and what you have through Him!

These are just THREE out of the SIX symptoms of manipulation I unlock in my new book, Shark Proof: How to Deal with Difficult People! I also unpack:

  • The seven toxic mindsets of a people pleaser
  • The best way to stop caring what people think about you (and start living again)
  • The eight stages of disloyalty that will help you identify who’s on their way out of your life and who’s in it for the long haul
  • How to end the toxic relationships you want to let go of, and set healthy boundaries in the ones you want to keep
  • The five shark maneuvers you need to know unless you want to be shark food (and how to combat each one of them)

If Gary and I would have known these things sooner, it would have saved us thousands of dollars—not to mention years of wasted time.

That’s why I knew I had to write this book. Your destiny doesn’t need to be delayed by difficult people, heartbreak, intimidators, or naysayers.

Order your copy today, and discover the incredible principles that took me decades in ministry and business to learn. It’s time to master the art of dealing with difficult people in every area of your life!


ps…Are you looking for a good church? Be sure and listen on Saturday evening or catch the 3 services on Sunday for Faith Life Church!


Drenda Keesee’s contagious zeal and humorous personal experiences help make her ministry of spiritual, emotional and relational wholeness one that will bless your life and spark a new fire in your spirit.

A wife of over 30 years and a mother of five children, Drenda has ministered at churches, seminars, and conferences, and through the mediums of television and radio, for more than 20 years.

Her books, The New Vintage Family, Better Than You Think, and She Gets It are available wherever books are sold. In these heartfelt books, Drenda shares her personal journey and the life lessons that have brought her to where she is today, as well as practical answers that all people need to live a joyful life.

Drenda and her husband Gary founded Faith Life Now, a ministry designed to spread the message of freedom in the areas of finances, faith, marriage, and family. Tune in for their weekly messages here. Faith Life Now hosts conferences worldwide, and sponsors both Fixing the Money Thing, which Drenda co-hosts with her husband Gary, and Drenda.

Through their own life experiences, the Keesees have found the principles from God’s Word to be powerful and effective. At one point, Drenda was a young, suicidal feminist with no hope of ever being “good enough” for her own standards of perfection. She never wanted the “inconvenience” of a husband or children, and she was on her own path to success. But the stress of trying to achieve perfection and perform for love left her broken and used. She had success, but it was nothing compared to the pain and loneliness it had also brought.

That’s when God got a hold of her heart. It was there—at her lowest point—that she found the One who accepted and loved her, faults and all. Since that transformation, Drenda has had a passion to reach women who find themselves where she once was.

She married Gary after attending college, and there she found herself in a personal boot camp of sorts. She says, “I cried and told God, ‘I can do anything but be a wife and mother.’” She committed to learning how to do it God’s way. Through the many years of raising their children and struggling to make ends meet, Drenda learned from their mistakes. “I didn’t know how to be a wife and mother, but God saved our marriage, taught us how to parent our children for success, showed us how to have financial success, and then irony of all ironies, He called us to ministry.” It’s truly because of these life experiences that Drenda can now share so many insightful principles for people who are now going through the same struggles.

Gary and Drenda pastor Faith Life Church at The Now Center in New Albany, Ohio and also are the CEOs of Forward Financial Group.

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