People will do bad things to you. They will treat you unfairly. They will manipulate you. They will push your buttons so that you look and act as the fool while they smell like a rose.
And you really can't control it. You can become wiser to stay away from them, but you really can't stop them, not completely. Even the best of us fall prey to the games and manipulations of others. And then we feel as fools for letting them twist their tendrils into us and control the situation.
They enjoy showing their dominance. They get a thrill out of seeing that they can still provoke the reactions they want and make things look the way they want. They love the rush of feeling in control. They make themselves tools in the hands of the enemy, for control and bondage are the of the system of the evil one.
It is frustrating and disheartening when you do your best and you still get this kind of garbage. We may even begin to wonder... what's it all for? What am I here for? What does God even want me to do?
But the cross of Christ is proof that you don't need to "win" all the time to be doing what God has called you to do. In fact, sometimes God's calling involves losing painfully. To be even more blunt, sometimes the fact that you are a target is because of what you are doing right rather than what you are doing wrong. If it was such with Jesus, are we greater than our Master? Who can bear such a cross? Who will bear such a cross?
And the cross of Christ shows us something else. It shows us that letting go of control is where you find life. On the other side of that death is resurrection. When you sit and fume over what they did to you. When your pride is wounded, you think to yourself, "To me? How could they do that to me?! I must be so clever and smart as to never fall for it again, to never let them get the better of me again!" But you only set yourself up for a fall, making yourself even more guarded, more sensitive to their ploys and to the fear of losing the control you demand to keep. So you become even more susceptible, even more reactive. However, when you realize that this 'death' is an opportunity for death to self, an opporunity to let go of your iron grip on how you think things ought to go, you can bear it with more finesse. See, when you die in this way, when you die to that control, you are not letting them "get away" with what they are free to do anyway. You are freeing yourself from the burden of needing to find a way to win at their game -a game which is rigged to begin with, and you are freeing yourself to refuse to play it.
Let them try to hook you to argue with them. Let them. They may anger and humiliate you in a moment, but they only make themselves look as the fool and the aggressor. And since you do not need to win at their game, you can choose to ignore it and bear the sting of their childish tantrum.