Controlling Others Makes Life Unmanageable


Have you ever noticed that the more we try to control others, the more unmanageable our lives become? Why is this? Probably because it is a losing battle, yet we continue to sink more and more of our personal resources (time, energy) into the project.

The more we try to impose our will upon another, the more resistance they will offer. While parents definitely do have to exercise some control when it comes to children, there is a difference between setting boundaries, and trying to control every aspect of their lives.

While adults in relationship do have a right to expect to have important needs met, demanding that another transform into the person we need them to be is inappropriate. If we demonstrate love and acceptance towards those in our lives, there is a good chance we can “elicit” some of the behaviours we desire. This will not work if we are overly critical of the other, or are focusing on a multitude of behaviours all at the same time.

If we choose one thing as a focus, explaining to the other why it is important—and without judging or criticizing—then request a different behavior, chances are good the other will comply. If there is still resistance, it may be because the person has tuned us out after a history of repeated criticism. In that case, we may have to offer a trade—“I will change something you do not like, if you will do the same for me.” This immediately creates a more even playing field, and with luck, some teamwork may follow.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.

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