Unhealthy control can manifest itself in different ways, however in some cases it can be when a parent or spouse or a friend simply will not listen to you.
Some people are so controlling of other people that they will say things such as, “you shouldn’t feel that way” when someone says they are sad. Or when someone orders coffee, they will say “Why would you like a vanilla latte? Vanilla is so boring; you should get chocolate.”
No. No. No.
We are all different and if someone in your life likes vanilla, they are not boring. They are unique and they happen to think vanilla is a wonderful flavor. Accept it. Buy them more vanilla.
A common hurt that people discuss in therapy is the following: “I feel like he or she doesn’t really know who I am, what I like, what I don’t like, how I feel, what my opinions are. When I try to say what I would like he or she don’t listen.” This leads to feelings of helplessness and frustration because we all want our parents, our spouse, our friends to listen and take notice!
Patricia Evans talks about this in her book, Controlling People, which I recommend. (I am an Amazon affiliate and money from books that I promote in my blogs helps to cover my time writing blog posts and content that can be helpful to my clients and followers)
For example, a bride and groom are telling their parents during wedding planning what kind of ceremony they envision. But one of the parents just won’t have it. The parent wants to control the wedding plans instead of listening and really getting to know their child’s likes and dislikes. While the parents should have an influence with wedding planning, they also shouldn’t completely disregard their child’s feelings and wishes. Rather the child’s feeling and wishes should be front and central.
This can be challenging for all of us. Believe me, there are times when my first reaction is that it seems to me that someone in my family should want to make a different choice. Ironically, it’s usually the choice that I think I would make for myself. LOL. We all have the tendency to think our perspective is the best one!
But when it comes to relationships, if you put control onto other people then you are ultimately creating distance in your relationship instead of creating love and intimacy. You are likely creating power battles instead of acceptance and respect.
Intimacy includes really knowing and celebrating the preferences, needs, likes, dislikes, opinions, and feelings of other people.
I urge you to stop telling other people what they should think, like, or feel because they are likely to stop telling you their innermost thoughts and feelings! You are blocking intimacy.
Instead focus on really accepting what people are telling you they are thinking or feeling. This will build your relationship closeness.
If you are in a relationship with someone who doesn’t accept you, causing you to feel helpless, we hope you will seek support regarding how to change your relationship patterns. Or if you recognize yourself in these words and want to learn to no longer control the people whom you love, please reach out to one of our Relationship Repair Associates today.