Dealing with Controlling People
*This newsletter is intended to offer information only and recognizes that individual issues may differ from those broad guidelines. Personal issues should be addressed within a therapeutic context with a professional familiar with the details of the problem. Copyright 2018 Simmonds Publications: 550 La Jolla Blvd., 306, La Jolla, CA 92037
“If I win, you lose” is not the only option open to us.
Control, like most facets of human behavior, is probably best experienced in moderation. At one end of the spectrum, control is a positive, adaptive tool. For example, control over prolonged and constant chaos in our lives is usually a good thing. At the other end, control can be seen as negative. People who are over-controlled to the point of being unable to feel or express emotions can find life’s expected turmoils to be difficult or even impossible to handle.
While some control is appropriate, especially when the control is used as a way of adapting to some aspect of our own lives, it can spread out to other people when it’s taken to the extreme… and sometimes we don’t realize that we end up controlling other people. We sometimes walk a thin line in this regard. Controlling others has the potential to be a highly negative experience, not only for the one controlled, but also for the controller
On the surface, we might think of a controlling person as one who is strong, independent, and even a natural born leader. But this is seldom the case. Ask yourself, why would a person need to dominate the actions and feelings of another person? It could be because the controlling person may privately experience a great deal of self-doubt, negativity, and lack of fulfillment. Controllers may be people who lack the tools to achieve personal integrity through their own resources… but they get a feeling of fulfillment when they can control the behavior of another person. With this thought in mind, we can see the controlling person as one who may be the weak and dependent party in an interaction. And it may be the one who is controlled who actually has more strength- that is, it takes strength to give in to the needs of another person (the controller).