As I reflect back on my child hood and my whole life associated with my mother, I’ve come to accept aspects about her that perhaps have hindered our relationship. I have come to accept aspects about myself that have also hindered our relationship. One of them is perceived control issues. She seems to feel the need to control every aspect of her world and often times this bleeds into the worlds of others.
It became a tug-o-war of sorts and over my very own daughter who very much needed to be able to trust her mother. Instead, going and venting to her grandmother seemed to only fan the flames and cause further issue as her attempts to “be on her side” she would always side with her regardless of the details with very little attempts at even understanding the other sides or aspects or even the very idea that honesty may have played a part. You can never know a full story unless you’ve spent the time within that environment, asked and heard other people their sides. But if you don’t spend that time with eyes open, if you refuse to believe ANYONE else besides the one person telling a story-you’ll never get an honest picture about what’s going on and so it’s not appropriate to form a harsh opinion.
Wikipedia says; “In psychology-related slang, the term control freak describes a person who attempts to dictate how everything is done around them. The phrase was first used in the 1970s, an era when stress was laid on the principle of ‘doing one’s own thing’ and letting others do the same.” It goes on to say, Control freaks are often perfectionists defending themselves against their own inner vulnerabilities in the belief that if they are not in total control they risk exposing themselves once more to childhood angst. Such persons manipulate and pressure others to change so as to avoid having to change themselves, and use power over others to escape an inner emptiness. When a control freak’s pattern is broken, the controller is left with a terrible feeling of powerlessness but feeling their pain and fear brings them back to themselves.”
“Control freaks appear to have some similarities to codependents, in the sense that the latters’ fear of abandonment leads to attempts to control those they are dependent on. Recovery for them entails recognising that being a control freak helped paradoxically preserve codependency itself.”
Here’s what speaks loudly to me: It says ; “In terms of personality-type theory, control freaks are very much the type A personality, driven by the need to dominate and control. An obsessive need to control others is also associated with antisocial personality disorder.” She did this when she put herself in front of me with my child. When she tried to act as “parent” and not “grandma.” She did this by offering financial type gifts and “help” that came with unseen strings attached. The view that somehow, “I’ve helped you, now you belong to me and I can treat you as I please and I no longer respect you because you’ve needed help…get your life together!” Now, I will add here that IF there is an open agreement in place where BOTH parties understand the rules and the agreement, I see no issue in having expectations upon gifting something (especially something large) to someone. However, changing the rules to fit your purpose is not fair. Accepting help from some types is not recommended. Telling people what you’re going to do versus asking is also a hallmark sign in my opinion.
So where do we go from here? I found some ideas..and while I know they can’t help us, perhaps they can help someone else out there with similar types of people in their lives. I tried many of these approaches anyway to no avail but I think the person is too damaged and their view and trust for me is not healthy, that’s difficult to work with. It does say to try with someone who is responsive to feedback and many controllers do not see any wrongs they do and if you don’t see your wrongs, you can’t make it right. I will add here that as the daughter of someone with these issues, I now see how I must keep it in check myself. I do offer my view, but in the end I am capable of respecting that person’s right to do what they feel is right for them.
From “Emotional Freedom” to deal with controllers
Emotional Action Step – Pick Your Battles and Assert Your Needs
1. The secret to success is never try to control a controller Speak up, but don’t tell them what to do. Be healthily assertive rather than controlling. Stay confident and refuse to play the victim. Most important, always take a consistent, targeted approach. Controllers are always looking for a power struggle, so try not to sweat the small stuff. Focus on high-priority issues that you really care about rather than bickering about putting the cap on the toothpaste.
2. Try the caring, direct approach Use this with good friends or others who’re responsive to feedback. For instance, if someone dominates conversations, sensitively say, “I appreciate your comments but I’d like to express my opinions too.” The person may be unaware that he or she is monopolizing the discussion, and will gladly change.
3. Set limits If someone keeps telling you how to deal with something, politely say, “I value your advice, but I really want to work through this myself.” You may need to remind the controller several times, always in a kind, neutral tone. Repetition is key. Don’t expect instant miracles. Since controllers rarely give up easily, be patient. Respectfully reiterating your stance over days or weeks will slowly recondition negative communication patterns and redefine the terms of the relationship. If you reach an impasse, agree to disagree. Then make the subject off limits.
4. Size up the situation If your boss is a controlling perfectionist–and you choose to stay–don’t keep ruminating about what a rotten person he or she is or expect that person to change, and then operate within that reality check. For instance, if your boss instructs you how to complete a project, but you add a few good ideas of your own, realize this may or may not fly. If you non-defensively offer your reasoning about the additions, you’ll be more readily heard. However if your boss responds, “I didn’t say to do this. Please remove it,” you must defer because of the built-in status difference in the relationship. Putting your foot down–trying to control the controller—will only make work more stressful or get you fired.
People who feel out of control tend to become controllers. Deep down, they’re afraid of falling apart, so they micromanage to bind anxiety. They might have had chaotic childhoods, alcoholicparents, or experienced early abandonment, making it hard to trust or relinquish control to others, or to a higher power. Some controllers have a machismo drive to be top dog in both business and personal matters–a mask for their feeling of inadequacy and lack of inner power. To assert territorial prowess, they may get right up in your face when they talk. Even if you take a few steps away, they’ll inch forward again into your space.
When you mindfully deal with controllers, you can free yourself from their manipulations. Knowing how they operate will let you choose how to interact with them.
I am guilty of this. For the longest time, I gave in. I just wanted to keep the peace. I wanted my kids to have a grandmother and I truly believed I was doing the right thing at that time. It didn’t bother me that much, it was what I grew up with-what I knew and since I always believed mother wanted what was best for me, I never questioned it. Looking back I now realize that when we allow people to mistreat us (it doesn’t have to “bother” you, if they are mistreating you, it is wrong) but when we allow it, it teaches them that it’s ok to treat you that way..and it causes a rippling effect in one’s life and in case, it effected my relationship with my child. The ideas I listed above came from this source:
Judith Orloff MD is bestselling author of the new bookEmotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life (Three Rivers Press, 2011) NOW available in paperback and upon which this article is based. Her insights in Emotional Freedom create a new convergence of healing paths for our stressed out world. An assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA, Dr. Orloff’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, and in Oprah Magazine and USA Today.