If we don’t learn the lessons of control at some point in our lives, happiness and great relationships will elude us. Some of us love to control others and situations around us because we believe that “my way” will lead to a happy and successful life. But while that may be our conscious belief, we find that control basically leads to fights and power struggles and, if we continue down that road, results in scarcity or lack in different areas of our lives.
The essence of control says, “I am right, I know what I am doing and if everyone just got with the program then everything will work out and we will all live happily ever after”. But being right comes from our independent emotionally dissociated side, which stops learning and change and leads to fights and dysfunction.
So why do we control? The answer to that is multi-faceted but there is a central dynamic that we need to understand. At some point in a relationship your partner, family member, friend or colleague, will start acting and behaving in a way that triggers some buried pool of pain within you. Often this part is sub-conscious which means we are not aware of it; instead, as we perceive and judge their behavior we conclude that it is their behavior that is making us feel bad, so we set out to stop what they are doing. We develop strategies which can include withdrawal, and often erupts in anger, for anger is the tool of the controller; we let them know that what they are doing is making us feel bad so we are justified to confront them in any way we choose. Thus we have taken the first steps towards a power struggle.
However, trying to control that person’s behaviour is a poor response because the buried pain within us that has been triggered by our perception is not about now. You more than likely had this pain from a unhealed trauma from your past that you have carried into the present, so by responding with attack or control the healing that is on offer does not happen and the issue is buried once again to become the trigger of a future battle. This increases the distance we have with a partner, friend or family member and this distance robs us of intimacy and success. Distance creates fear and deadness.
When we respond by attack and withdrawal, we are actually giving up on ourselves. The sub-text is that we don’t believe in our ability to deal with our issues, to change and heal our past. When we control we no longer trust ourselves to face our challenges and deal with them so we give up on believing in ourselves. Then we feel a lack of confidence and retreat into our cave as we withdraw from life. We increase our levels of anxiety and fear and the world starts to seem a fearful place that we must defend ourselves against. This does not make for a happy carefree life. But if we are willing to learn about trust, starting with a belief in our own abilities, and embrace a healing path, then we can learn to see the world as a benign and even wonderous experience.
With trust comes confidence and with confidence we will start to open up to all that the world, friends and family offer us. In an intimate relationship, trust will lead us back to our hearts and in our hearts, we will find our courage. We live in a time which calls for great change, with challenges that ask us to have the courage to become part of the solution, give up our control and rightness and step forward with an open heart filled with tolerance and tenderness. As we invest in trust we grow a bank of belief that whatever situation we find ourselves in there is a way out, however huge the number of issues that need to be faced and healed before we reach that goal.
Trust is a powerful healing tool. Where would you rather invest your mind – control and fear, or trust and confidence?
Jeff and Sue
Continue the work
Further explore the dynamics of Control in our 33 page booklet that will help you open your heart to trust yourself, others, and life’s process.