Understanding the Battle for Control in Relationships

One of the biggest stumbling blocks to a happy, healthy relationship is the subtle or not-so-subtle battle for control.

Control can be summed up as simply as an attempt to get your needs met.

And we make up all the different ways to get our needs met.

Here are a few ways that we either consciously or unconsciously battle for control…

*Become passive-aggressive


*Get angry

*Please or placate

*Seduce (sexually and otherwise)



*”It’s my way or the highway” attitude

*One-upmanship attitude (“I’m smarter than you”)

The bottom line is that we’re attempting to control someone else to get our needs met.

The trick to dealing with control issues in a relationship is to first become aware of what is going on, noticing how it plays out in your relationship.

And then deciding not to participate by not doing whatever you do in the “Control Dance.”

The truth is that you often don’t see the ways you’re trying to control someone else.

You might think you’re just wanting to make things better and while that might be true (they would be “better” if the other person did what you said)…

You’re negating their right to choose how they want to live their life.

And that always turns into a struggle.

What it you’re the one feeling like you’re being controlled by someone else?

Whether you’ll admit to it or not, if you allow yourself to be controlled, there’s some part of you that sees an advantage for this to be in your world.

It might be you feel like you’re being taken care of physically or financially.

The truth is that you can’t be controlled by another person–and you really can’t control someone else.

Control is a mirage and a mental construct that we buy into.

The bottom line–See your part in the control dance and see if you want to continue the dancing that way through life.

Over our years together, especially early on, Susie tried to “control” various aspects of Otto that she felt would be better for him.

One of those aspects was trying to “fix” it for him (whatever it was) when he’d get emotionally upset by something.

It was like she was saying…

“Here, just do this–or think this way–and it will be fine!”

While she wanted to help, those attempts certainly came off as controlling to Otto.

When she finally realized there was nothing to “fix” and that whatever it was that was upsetting him was for him to deal with…

We felt much closer, lighter and even more in love.

It took just noticing the pattern and making the choice to not buy into the mirage of control.

If you have questions about how control is affecting your relationship and how to stop it, contact us here

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