Existential Psychology

Not Wanting To Cede Control To Controlling People

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Many relationships come to be defined by one person’s endeavor to amass and maintain control over the other person’s life. The controller will usually secretly rationalize this controlling behavior on the grounds of knowing better and only wanting what’s best for someone they care about. Control disguised as help. The controlee, assuming the relationship is not dangerously abusive, might appear rather pliable on the surface but will grow increasingly hostile and resentful and, before long, start to refuse to give ground on anything at all, even when the object in question is rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things or when going along with a mandate would objectively be in the controlee’s best interests.

But the funny thing about these types of controlling relationships is that ‘control’ is rarely if ever vocally brought up as a problem. The real underlying conflict in the relationship is left unaddressed. Instead both transfer the conflict to the superficial level where they find themselves pitted against each other over this or that subject matter. The controller demands, cajoles, pleads, etc. while the controlee talks back, defends, negates, etc.

Not wanting to cede control to controlling people makes sense but the goal should be to shift the conversation   away from the superficial topic being discussed and to the deeper meaning. This deeper meaning is anxiety reduction through fashioning oneself a godlike figure who has the right to mold and shape another into some preferred image. There might indeed be some really good, useful advice embedded in there but when the underlying reason for the felt need to influence behavior is to maintain a sense of godlike power and authority the relationship will remain unhealthy and the advice will fall on deaf ears.