Unless you have spent years addressing your control issues, I’m confident that you have control issues. Nothing personal, we all have control issues until we start to see them, and do something about them.
As humans we are all born with a heart, lungs, hands; things that are ours and are integral to our functioning as a human. We are also born with some equally as important, but less tangible parts. We all have our own responsibility, control, power, attention and love; we got them at birth with our hands and feet. The issue comes into play when people don’t realize that they have their own control, etc., and they go looking for those things in other people.
For my explanation I’m going to pretend that control is a physical thing that looks like these strands of beads.
From the time of birth, we each have our control and it is organized and in good shape. When we are children our parents naturally have some of our control, but that is healthy, necessary and not in the scope of this article.
When we enter into a relationship of any kind – friendship, romantic relationship, family member relationship, co-worker, etc., boundaries need to be established. Many people have not learned how to create healthy boundaries, so they create unhealthy relationships that involve stealing, dropping or swapping control and look more like this:
There are several things people can do to each other in regards to control.
1. One person can try to give their control to the other person. If the control isn’t accepted, it either lays on the ground, or the second person is forced to pick it up. An example of this is when a teenager leaves dirty dishes in their room despite their parents asking them not to. The teenager is not controlling themselves, so either the parents pick up the control and pick up the dishes themselves, or the dishes sit and get moldy while the control lays on the ground.
2. One person can demand the other person’s control. Many times the relationship is used as leverage and there is no viable way to defend against this because of the relationship. An example of this is when a husband insists a wife do something the way he wants it done, or he will get mad at her. The wife wants to get along with her husband, so she can either give in, giving up her control, or deal with the consequences of not giving in.
3. More often than not, it is much more complicated than the first two examples. People give some of their control to the other person, they take some of that person’s control, and they drop some of theirs on the ground. An example of this is when a friend, who doesn’t like to drive, insists on picking the restaurant every time, or they will end up complaining about their meal.
No one is helpless in any of these situations because your control is your birth right. It takes time and attention to see how you are giving up your control and how you are taking other people’s control. As you unravel your own control issues, your relationships will begin to shift because your decisions and choices will be coming from a different vantage point. It is possible to regain your own control and to give everyone back theirs.