S1 EP40 – How to Stop Being Controlling

Episode Summary

Are you aware of how you might be trying to control others’ feelings or behavior? What limiting beliefs about controlling others are controlling your life? How are you limiting yourself to limit your partner? Are you aware of the feelings you cause yourself when you attempt to control others rather than love yourself? It is often tempting to tell others what to do, especially when it is obvious that they are not taking care of themselves. Discover why this usually backfires and what to do instead. 


Hi everyone. This is Dr. Margaret Paul with the inner bonding podcast. And today I want to talk about controlling behavior, which we all do in various ways and how to stop being controlling in our relationships. We’ve all learned so many ways of trying to control others. And many times we’re not aware of this or of the consequences of controlling behavior, both for yourself and within your relationships. One of my clients told me that her partner is fed up with her, trying to control him, that he feels like he’s with his mother.

And she asked me how to heal her controlling behavior that she has in the relationship, how to heal her relationship. She doesn’t want to lose it, but in order to heal her relationship, she needs to start with healing herself, which means healing, the false beliefs, leading to her, trying to control her husband. All of us absorbed many false beliefs. As we were growing up in these beliefs. Now govern much of what occurs both in our work and within our relationships. And sometimes it’s not so easy to uncover what these beliefs are.

So do you believe that giving yourself up and taking responsibility for your partner’s feelings will ensure that your partner will love you and not leave you or even taking responsibility for people’s feelings at work. You might not realize that compliance giving yourself up is a covert form of control because the intent isn’t to truly care about the other person it’s actually to get love. The other person can feel the pull from you because there’s an energy to that. And that person might go into resistance to the underlying covert controlling energy.

The other side of this belief is others are responsible for my feelings for making me feel happy and safe and worthy. And this is the Paul that the other person feels. Now, this was my major form of control, and it was a huge shock to me to discover that caretaking, giving myself up as a form of control. I really thought I was being loving when I was being self-sacrificing and actually trying to get loved. The fact that I didn’t feel loved should have been a clue to me that something was wrong. Another common belief as it is that you’re not good enough, not smart enough, attractive enough, worthy enough.

And so validation from your partner and others determines your worth. When you believe that you are in some way not good enough, not enough. Then you’re constantly trying to prove that you are enough until you develop a loving adult self who internally validates you. You’re going to continue to try and have control over getting your partners or others, love and approval and validation. Another common, false belief of the ego and his office that I can control, getting love and attention with, with criticism, anger, judgment, or withdrawal.

Now, if you really think about it, all of these behaviors eventually push other people away. The bottom line is that you’re going to try and control others when you’re abandoning yourself, which is why it’s so important to learn and practice inner bonding, and learn, to see and value and love your true self, your beautiful soul essence. When you learn to love yourself, you no longer need to get love, which means that you no longer need to try to control others in order to get love. Do you find Yourself putting your eyes on your partners or others plate, and then trying to control them, thinking, you know, what’s right for them or that it’s up to you to tell them my clients, Shelly and Brad, who’d been married for seven years, consulted with me because Sandy was unhappy with their lack of communication and their lack of emotional intimacy.

She experienced Brad as being closed And distant. A lot of the time in the course of the session, it became apparent. It became apparent to me that Brad was distant because he was in resistance to Shelly’s controlling behavior. Shelley’s form of control was fairly subtle, but became apparent in the session. As Brad was talking about his fear of being controlled. Shelly said to him in a sweet voice, Brad, honey, maybe if you take more time to do in her bonding, your fear will go away. You’re really not working very hard on your own growth.

As soon as she said this, I noticed Brad stiffening up and shutting down and withdrawing, what are you feeling right now, Brad? I asked, I feel like she’s the parent and I’m the child. And that she’s right and I’m wrong. This is what I feel a lot with her. I hate it when she tries to control me like this. So I turned to Shelly Shelly, there must be a very good reason that you felt the need to tell Brad what to do. What do you think it is? Well, she said, I care about him and I’m just trying to help him. I’m giving him the gift of truth, Shelly.

I said, I know you care about him, but your intent really is to control him. Isn’t that your intent really? To control him and get him to change. But if he changes, he’s going to feel better about himself. Probably I said, but that’s up to him when you put your eyes on his plate and tell him what to do, he actually doesn’t feel cared about, or like he’s receiving a gift from you. It feels controlled. And he goes into resistance. This is your end of the system. That’s resulting in the very distance that you’re so unhappy about. Shelly thought about it and realized that her quote gifts were indeed coming from wanting to control brat.

She agreed to practicing, to, to practice keeping her eyes on her own plate. And Brad agreed to practice speaking up rather than withdrawing, because withdrawal was his form of Control Session with Julia. She told me about a problem. She was having with her adult daughter, Heather, Heather Complains to me a lot about her boyfriend and her job. But if I say anything to help her even just ask her questions, she just gets defensive. I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong, Julia. I said, what do you think Heather’s intention is when she’s complaining, is she open or closed?

What do you think she wants from you? Well, she’s closed. And I, I’m just not sure what she wants. Well, she probably wants sympathy rather than helping taking responsibility for herself. When you offer help or you ask questions, you’re trying to get her to move out of being a victim and want to take care of herself. But this is not what she wants. This isn’t at all, what she wants from you. So she gets defensive. She feels invaded and controlled by you and you are being invasive and controlling and offering help. When she hasn’t asked for help. How do you feel when she complains?

My stomach gets tight and I feel pulled on. So if you were to keep your eyes on your own plate and not get into trying to control her by caretaking her, you would just say something like, Oh, or aha, or it sounds like you’re having a hard time. She, since she’s not open to learning, there would be no reason to confront her with what she’s doing and your, your tight stomach and feeling pulled on is letting you know that she’s not open. Julie agreed to try this. The next time Heather complained to her, she reported in our next session that surprisingly Heather has stopped complaining as much, which often when people just get heard, like saying, yeah, it sounds like you’re having a hard time.

Often. They just feel heard and they don’t have as much of a need to complain. My clients, Richard and Sylvia have a similar system to Julia and Heather, Richard often complaints to Sylvia about being tired or about not feeling well, right? Should doesn’t take good care of himself regarding his health and his wellbeing. When he complains Sylvia often questions him or tells them what to do. And then Richard gets angry and defensive blaming Sylvia for trying to control him. When Sylvia tunes into her own feelings, she realizes that she feels pulled out by Richard when he complains now, instead of telling Richard what to do, she tells him that she’s feeling pulled on by his complaining.

Richard is open to this information and is becoming aware of how often he hands his inner child to Sylvia for sympathy, and then resists when she tells him what to do. It’s a big challenge to let go of trying to control the other person and keep your eyes on your own plate. But when you can do it, you will find that your relationships get a lot better. People don’t realize that trying to control others is also a way of limiting yourself. Marian Anderson, a concert, an opera singer who, who died in 1993, said as long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him, him or her down.

So it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might. My client, Jenny told me in our session, I always wanted to take flying lessons. Well, why don’t you? I asked, I’m worried about what Michael is going to do when I’m gone. What if he gets bored? And then he has an affair. I’ve always thought it would be safer if I stick around home. So obviously in trying to control her husband, Jenny is limiting herself. Raymond said to me, in one of our Skype sessions, if I have a guy’s night out with my friend, what’s my wife going to do?

What if this gives her permission to have a girl’s night out with her friends? What if she meets another guy? Edgar told me in one of our sessions, I really want to get a new sound system. Music is so important to me, but I’m not going to get it because if I buy what I want, then I’m worried that I’m giving permission to my wife, to buy what she wants. Watch Jenny, Raymond, and Edgar or not. They’re doing what they really want to do in order to control their partners. They’re operating from the false belief that they can safety by limiting themselves to limit their partner. Well, you might wonder why this is a false belief because most people hate it when someone tries to control them.

And as I’ve said, many people go into resistance when they’re being controlled and we’ll find ways around the control. Often doing the very thing that the controlling person is trying to prevent. In other words, the energy of subtle control of not doing what you want to control your partner will likely be felt by her partner and he, or she might then resist you. And then do the very thing that you’re trying to avoid or control. I’ve seen this happen over and over. Trying to control someone is the opposite of loving support in a loving relationship, partners, support each other and being all they can be.

But because Jenny and Raymond are coming from fear of insecurity about their own worth and lovability. And Edgar’s coming from fear of being out of control over finances. They try to limit their partner in a way that they falsely believe will make them feel safe. One of Jenny, Raymond and Edgar put the same energy there. They currently put into controlling their partner into healing, their own fears and insecurities. What if they learn to love themselves? So they had love to share with their partner. If they learn to love themselves, not only would they be free to do what they want, but it’s very likely that their relationships would improve.

Is their partner less likely to have an affair if they continue to try and control from their fears and insecurities, or if they love and value themselves and share their love and support with their partner is Edgar’s partner more likely to care about his financial concerns if he tries to control her, or if he’s open and caring with her about their finances and about what’s important to him, most controlling people are not aware of the fact that they’re holding themselves down by trying to control their partner. Not only that, but trying to control what you can’t control. Always creates a lot of stress so that they’re not only holding themselves back.

They might also be causing themselves to become ill stress. Of course is a major cause of illness. And it’s very stressful to always be worrying about what your partner’s doing and finding ways to keep your partner from straying or spending or doing whatever else you’re worried about. If you’re trying to feel safe by keeping your partner down, why not try and experiment for a month? Why not support your partner in doing whatever he she wants to do that brings them joy and support yourself in doing what brings you joy. Of course not doing things financially that are going to hurt the relationship or doing things with other people that are not consistent with the values of your relationship.

But there’s so many other things that you could do that bring you joy and that your partner can do that brings him or her joy. You might discover that instead of your worst fears happening your life and your relationship gets better. One of the main reasons people try to control is to avoid feeling helpless over others, over how others feel about them and treat them or treat themselves. It took me a long time to accept that while I do have influence over others, feelings and actions, I actually have no control. I really didn’t want to know this.

One of the ways to learn to stop controlling is to start to tune into how you feel when you try to control others. Does it really make you feel happy and peaceful and safe and worthy to try to have power over others when your intent is to control others? Are you thinking about happiness or are you more concerned about trying to be safe? Which really is such a false belief because we don’t get safe from trying to control others. We get safe from staying tuned into our own feelings, our higher guidance and learning to take care of ourselves.

But are you confusing? The two thinking that trying to feel safe by attempting to control others will make you happy. So take a moment to think about your own experience since we all try to control at times. And so it’d be sure really to take all judgment off being controlling so that you can learn. It’s likely that you can remember a time when you were trying to control how someone felt about you or how they behaved with anger, shaming, blaming, guilting, compliance, people, pleasing withdrawal resistance. In many of the other more subtle ways we try and control.

Think about when you’ve done these controlling behaviors or wounded self has learned so many ways to try and control others. So as not to feel helpless over them and not to feel the loneliness and heartbreak of others, unloving behavior towards us or towards themselves. When you think about a time you were controlling with someone was happiness, even a consideration, do you recall ever actually feeling happier, joyful when you manage to control getting someone’s approval, or when you manage to bully someone into you, might’ve felt the momentary relief that comes from feeling some power over another, rather than feeling helpless over the other person.

But did it fill your heart with peace and with joy, If you’re really Honest with yourself, you’re going to discover that the momentary feeling of safety derive from not feeling powerless over another person was what you were seeking. And if you continue to be honest with yourself, you’re going to discover that not only did this not bring you happiness and joy, but knowing that you manipulated someone might have undermine your sense of self-worth and even your sense of safety. I have many clients who tell me that they are often afraid. Someone will find out that they’re a fraud, that they’re not who they seem to be because of their controlling behavior.

They’re willing to pay a high price for the illusion of safety De illusion. Yes, The kind of safety that comes from controlling others is very different than the true safety that comes from loving yourself and taking responsibility for your feelings rather than making others responsible for you. Even if another person does seem to give you the love approval or behavior that you’re seeking, they can always change their mind or they can leave or they can die. Is that safe? Well, emotional safety and real happiness and joy comes from being loving to yourself and to others, not from trying to get love approval or another’s compliance through your controlling behavior.

When You’re willing to shift your intention from trying to, from trying to control others, to learning, to love yourself, you’re going to experience the huge difference between the quote safety and the relief That you may momentarily Experience and The true inner safety, the true peace Enjoy that’s possible. When you learn to love yourself and share your love with others. I know it’s scary to the ego wound itself, to even contemplate learning about your controlling behaviors and how they make you feel, but I can assure you that it’s worth it.

I actually Never felt true joy until I opened to learning about my controlling behaviors and learn to love myself and share my love with others. In order to learn about the many ways you might be trying to control. It’s vitally important that you see this learning as an exciting discovery process, which you can do only when you take all judgment off your controlling behaviors, we all try to control. So let’s not make it a bad word or a bad thing to do.

When you’re trying to control others, you generally want to control in two areas. You want to control their behavior and you want to control their feelings. Sometimes we try and control what people do. And other times we may try and control how they feel about us and react to us. I’ve discovered that many people who do not often try to control others behavior, don’t see themselves as controlling people, because they don’t realize that they’re trying to control how others feel about them and respond to them. So let’s take the example of my client has Dennis and Lisa, Dennis tends to focus on what Lisa does, how she spends her time and who she spends it with, how much money she spends, how well she keeps the house and how she looks when Lisa doesn’t behave in the way Dennis thinks she quote, should he becomes angry, judgmental and withdrawn in Dennis’s mind, he’s going to feel loved and safe.

When Lisa behaves the way he wants her to behave. And so he feels justified in attempt. He can in attempting to control her. When she’s out of line love for Dennis means someone doing what he wants and he wants control over this. Lisa on the other hand, tends to focus on Dennis’s reactions to her. Lisa wants control over Dennis being warm, accepting, and understanding when Dennis is judgmental and withdrawn, Lisa feels unsafe and try to control Dennis with her niceness and her caretaking. Lisa gives herself up and tries to do what Dennis wants in order to control his feelings about her and his reactions toward her.

Eventually when Dennis does not give her the acceptance, she desires, she gets angry, which is another form of control. But niceness and caretaking are her first forms of control, love, release. I mean, someone being accepting of her, which is great. We all want acceptance, but she wants control over this. It’s easy to see Dennis’s controlling behavior. His anger, judgmental illness, and withdrawal are quite obvious. It’s harder to see that Lisa is actually just as controlling as Dennis, not about what he does, but if, but about how he feels toward her and how he reacts.

Since most people hate being controlled, many people will covertly resist, whatever it is the other person is wanting. For example, Lisa is consistently late because she knows it really bugs Dennis. And it becomes her way of not being completely controlled by him and punishing him for trying to control her. Dennis sometimes acts accepting yet his energy is anything but accepting, not wanting to be controlled by Lisa. He refuses to give her the acceptance she’s seeking. It can become a crazy-making interaction. Well actually is between them.

When Dennis acts like he’s giving Lisa what she wants yet, energetically Lisa still feels judged. Relationship problems can seem to be quite tangled and hopeless when the intent is to control each other’s behavior and each other’s feelings while resisting being controlled. Yet the moment loving oneself and one’s partner becomes more important than controlling and resisting being controlled. The relationship Problems often magically dissolve.

As I said, it took me a long time to recognize my own controlling behavior, because I’ve never been controlling of what people do. I’ve always given my family and friends, great latitude to be themselves and do whatever they want regarding what makes them happy. Eventually I realized that my control was always around how people feel and respond. I wanted people to be open and caring and compassionate with me so that I wouldn’t have to feel lonely with them. It was a huge awakening for me. When I realized how many controlling things I did to try and get others, to be loving with me, accepting my lack of control over how others choose to treat me has been extremely freeing to me because now someone is unloving to me.

I no longer act nice or compliant in an effort to get them to be loving. Now I just go to my higher guidance and find out what it, what it is to take loving care of myself. What it looks like in that moment to take loving care of myself in the face of their, a loving behavior. And I accept that I have no control over how another chooses to be or feel accepting that I can’t control other’s feelings or behavior has actually freed me to now take loving care of myself. I encourage you to give yourself the freedom of recognizing your forms of control and accept your helplessness over others, and then turn your attention to learn Learning to love yourself.

So I recommend that you all go to inner bonding.com. If you don’t know the inner bonding process, there’s many ways of learning it. Our website, if you’re in a relationship or even if you’re looking for a relationship or have unhappy relationships with friends and family, I encourage you to take my 30 day course wildly, deeply joyously in love. You’re going to learn so much about how to create loving relationships in your life. I send you my love and my blessings for your highest good .

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