10 Step Book Series


What is control?

Dictionary definition:

1. The power to influence people’s behaviour or the course of events. The restriction of an activity, tendency, or phenomenon.

2. The ability to control one’s emotions or behaviour, especially in difficult situations

3. A person who feels an obsessive need to exercise control over themselves and others.

To live your life under someone else’s power is mind-numbing. It destroys a relationship.

If you have been or, are being, controlled by your partner you are feeling:

• Powerless

• Lethargic

• Undermined

• Intimated

• Angry

• Hostile

• Resentful

• Unworthy

• Lacking in self-esteem

• Ugly

• Useless

• Can’t do anything right

• Bullied

• Destroyed

• Over-whelmed by negativity

• Drained of energy

And many more feelings!

Control is common in relationships. If you feel compelled to control someone, then this would highlight your own lack of identity and self-worth. You are controlling someone because you are jealous of your partner and insecure in the relationship! This insecurity might have started during your childhood. Perhaps you were neglected/ignored/abused/or even over-indulged!! Controllers take charge quickly, rising above the pain, rather than feel the pain himself/herself. Controllers are arrogant and justify their behaviour by, convincing their victim that they are always right, and threatening behaviour

Examples of what a controller might say:

• You are nothing without me

• You are weak

• You could never manage living alone

• I’ve made you what you are

• If it wasn’t for me, I don’t know what would have happened to you (implying something lowly and negative)

• I put up with you

• I feel sorry for you

• I love you dearly, but I do not fancy you (patronizing)

• You’ve done it now. I didn’t want to tell you the truth not to hurt you (Yeh! Right) but now you have forced my hand

• You push me to behave in this way

• It’s your fault

• That’s me, if you don’t like it – leave

And loads more!

How many ways you can control someone?

• Financially (you hold the purse strings)

• Sex (withdrawing from your partner physically and emotionally)

• Temper Tantrums

• Demanding Behaviour

• Moody and Sulking

• Possessiveness

• Violence

• Jealousy

• Bouts of crying

• Being helpless

• Manipulation

Control starts with fear. You are afraid that your partner might:

• Meet someone else!

• Find you out!

• Divorce you

• Get a better job than you

• Have more friends than you

• Be liked more than you are

• Earn more money than you

• Be better looking than you

• Age better than you

Again, the list is endless!

How can you change someone who controls you?

You can’t!!

The only person you can change is you! You have no control over someone else’s behaviour. They have to take personal responsibility for themselves and admit they are a controller and try to identify the root of the behaviour they are caught up in.

However, it takes two people to continue the negative process of controlling. The one doing the controlling and the VICTIM!

Steps you can take to try and change your controlling pattern are:

• Identify the triggers that start the control cycle

• Talk with your partner and share your feelings. You might need his/her help with identifying what it is that sets you off

• Once you have identified the triggers you can set about changing your attitude towards them.

• Be realistic

• Stay focused on understanding that your reaction to the triggers are harmful to both of you

• Compromise when necessary

• Find alternative responses

• Put yourself to the test

• Be open with your partner and you will gain his/her support

In most relationships one partner leads and the other follows. This is healthy leadership and has been agreed, either verbally or non-verbally, between you. In healthy relationships either person can take control at any time without adverse reactions by your partner. Both partners in the relationship feel equal whilst each maintaining their uniqueness.

Control is ‘learned behaviour.’ You are not born a controller. You have learned this behaviour, so, therefore, you can unlearn it!