Being rejected by a spouse will stir feelings and emotions within which are both normal as well as unhealthy. We crave understanding and if we are dealing with guilt; then we often look for justification to ease that guilt. For some, when we don’t get the reaction from others we are looking for – the understanding, apology or sympathy – the hurt this causes can make us turn to a type of manipulation called self-pity.

Why is self-pity a form of manipulation?

Pity is a real God-given emotion. It’s deep inward compassion that is invoked by a person’s situation and circumstance. The Bible speaks of the pity and compassion that moved Jesus to help His people. But this was a pity that He felt because of the circumstance, not because someone overplayed their plight and tried to force Him to take action.

I was stuck in the trap of self-pity for many years because I had never felt my feelings, my pain, or my issues mattered. I felt so ignored and overlooked. It created a place in my pride that demanded that I took control of the situation to get what I desperately wanted – to matter!!!

When holidays came around, I politely declined the invitations and secretly relished in the lie “It’s their fault, and now they will miss my company, because they should have reached out when I needed them.” The manipulation of self-pity would tell me my absence was proving my point and vindicating me because now they felt bad for my not being there. It was a lie that eased my hurt.

I tried to manipulate God too. I kept myself sullen and dejected many times instead of worshipping and praising Him. I moped and felt thankful for nothing. I chose secular music instead of worship songs, I stubbornly refused to say Amen after grace and many other tiny things to show God I was not happy with how He was managing my needs or my desire to be justified with my expectations of compassion and sympathy.

Self-pity will alter and twist what suffering looks like so you miss out completely on what is being offered to you.

Suffering from the right heart and attitude will produce in us strong Christian values and maturity – a character of perseverance and patient endurance that produces a character that lacks nothing! James 1:3-4 and Romans 5:3-5

When you suffer instead with self-pity, it doesn’t produce Godly character and maturity but encourages the self to manipulate and control as it learns it can get its needs met through forcing someone to bend to their will. This kind of manipulation drives people away as they are not willingly offering compassion, but being guilted into it.

To break an alliance with the spirit of self-pity, healing must take place within the heart to overcome deep wounds of being rejected, overlooked, ignored. These wounds are not made up but are still harboring hurts. Forgiveness is a major part of the healing, as well as learning to trust God with being validated and not expecting people to meet our needs.

Since it has been a tried and true method to bring gratification and relief, you will need to learn how to recognize when the self rises up and starts to refer back to manipulating people and God, choosing instead to trust God with your needs and thank Him in advance for taking care of you. Knowing what you need and believing He will manage your pain and bring you peace. Resisting the flesh and self is imperative to preventing self-pity from overtaking you.

Serving others, helping and doing for others is a sure way to resist the proud feelings that rise up within and directs you to be humble, which pleases God. When we choose this path, God will embrace you and overwhelm you with His compassion.

Trials and Temptations

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4


3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

Standing with you, Sheila Hollinger