Hopelessness in your disciple’s outlook is another indication of a manipulator’s influence over his life. Hopelessness is a deep gloom arising from a belief of the uselessness of further effort. It is a favorite tool of a manipulator to control another. He creates the illusion that there is no way out.
It is important to remember that manipulators cast a long shadow so you may need to explore relationships from your disciple’s past that still have a control over his thinking and behavior. It could be a parent, grandparent, past girlfriend, past teacher, etc. John was a college student I discipled whose entire life revolved around a statement made to him by his second grade teacher who said, “You can’t seem to do anything right.”
In Daniel chapter 6 we have an example in how to deal with a manipulator. Daniel’s manipulators had arranged circumstances so that without a miracle his situation was humanly hopeless. Even King Darius, who was the most powerful man in the world, could not help Daniel. Daniel dealt with his manipulators by focusing on the trustworthiness of the Lord.
The natural response for your disciple will be to focus his attention on his manipulator (who always wants to be the center of attention) and his circumstances. As long as the disciple’s attention is on the manipulator or his circumstances the manipulator is in control. Part of the secret of his power over a person is his ability to keep the attention off of the Lord and onto himself. In contrast, a true friend will always seek to point the attention to the Lord and not onto himself.
Our God is the God of hope. Paul writes:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
The Lord always brings hope to a situation no matter how desperate or powerful the manipulator.