Choosing Another Controlling Individual


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We recently had a discussion about the nature of many single adults to be drawn in relationship to controlling individuals. We discussed how difficult it seems to be to break that destructive cycle. We know that many couples practice some sort of subtle control over one another in the course of their relationship, and while that behavior isn’t healthy, it’s pretty normal.
[We're not talking about violent controllers here. Some controllers are overt in their need for dominance over us and others. If you have a history of tolerating a violent controller, you must take the time to become healthy before you seek another relationship, or you will run the risk of being victimized in another impossible situation]…

We’re talking about subtle relationship controllers. Subtle controllers are usually not a very confident bunch, and they often use methods like silence, mood swings, pouting, sarcasm, withholding affection, etc; in order to maintain a level of control over a relationship partner.

Those who practice subtle control in a relationship usually choose a more passive person to partner with. These relationships usually do okay for the short term, as both personality types are comfortable in their respective roles of controller and controlee, but like all unhealthy balances of power, passive people also tend to “Stuff” their feelings of resentment over not having their basic needs met in a relationship. A person will only stuff their feelings for so long before something has to give.

Any type of relationship control, be it overt or subtle, is disrespectful and unloving. It will usually cause the controlled person to eventually shut down and disengage from the relationship. I believe that Christian adults should “Be kind and affectionate to one another with brotherly love in honor, giving preference to one another”, but expecting a person to eliminate an innate personality trait is difficult at best.

So if you tend to be a controller or a controlee, you really want to be watchful of your relationship choices, to give yourself every chance of success in a new relationship. If you are in a relationship with a controlling person, you should talk about it and you should seek counsel from those you trust. But if you are not yet married to this person, and the level of control has the potential to be a respect issue, you should be looking for the exit doors. That’s what we think, please tell us what you think.

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