Controlling behavior is almost always rooted in past experiences.
Sometimes, a relationship behaves like a bottle of vodka: it merely compounds our actual, underlying personalities. This is arguably the most true when it comes to personalities that are controlling. People find a partner and their overbearing tendencies come out shining.
Being controlling in a relationship happens for a lot of reasons, as long as you ask the person who is doing the controlling (and you better ask them…they wouldn’t want it any other way). They might say that their overbearing nature is due to the fact that their partner can never take initiative or make a decision; they may argue that they have to be controlling, lest nothing will ever get done; or they may simply say that their partner enjoys being bossed around.
But, what people don’t often realize is that being controlling in a relationship has very little to do with the person you’re dating and — like every Kardashian’s dream come true — is actually all about you!
More accurately, being controlling in a relationship is more of a reflection of your past. Understanding this may better help you minimize your thirst for the final word.
You can blame your parents for virtually anything, including your need to control those you date. Typically, people who were controlled in the past tend to man the controls in the future. This is why children who are raised by domineering parents are more likely to find themselves being controlling in a relationship. They were, after all, raised to believe that controlling is the right way to behave.
People are almost always who they are for a reason, and this reason often has to do with hurt. Being controlling in a relationship is often a reflection of some deep-seated wound that either left a permanent emotional scar or never got the chance to fully heal. This causes people to conclude that taking control of their lives (and the control of others) minimizes the chances of ever being hurt again.
Low Self Esteem
Another reason people end up being controlling in a relationship has to do with self-esteem: chances are, theirs is low. Low self-esteem causes people to act out in outlandish, even narcissistic ways. Perhaps this is best demonstrated by Napoleon, a man viewed as a savior by the French, but a ruthless tyrant by others. The real reasons behind many of his controlling actions are reasons we’ll never know — they didn’t even really cover them in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure — but many people believe he sought power and infamy to make up for his diminutive stature.
There may be no word in the English language more dangerous than the word “ego.” Egos have started wars, killed out of jealousy, manipulated, lied, and engaged in pretty much every single atrocity known to man. Egos have also led to people being controlling in a relationship. This happens when people let their pride do the talking and control for the sake of feeling like they have the upper hand or wanting to be the center of attention.
They may also be controlling because they’ve gotten used to having their way and don’t necessarily want to deviate from that power. People who let their egos run the show do so for a variety of reasons, including the reasons addressed above. Some people may have had past experiences that were damaging, others may want to keep themselves from being played. But, of course, there can also be malice involved: some people inflate their egos merely because they find it entertaining to manipulate others.
The Flip Side of the Coin
On the other side of the coin are those who let themselves be controlled: a person can only be controlling in a relationship if their partner is willing to be subdued. The meek aren’t as culpable as the proverbial puppet-masters, but they aren’t fully innocent either. It usually takes two people to make a controlling relationship exist.
Tomorrow we’ll discuss how to deal with a controlling partner and how to end a relationship if they are unwilling to change and give up the reins.