Counsellor & Psychotherapist
Masters of Counselling & Psychotherapy UofA
Member of the ACA College of Supervisors
Level 3 Member Australian Counselling Association
Control has its place in the world, in fact in some instances it has some very practical societal applications. When we are at a concert - crowd control makes for an enjoyable experience. When we are a long way from the bathrooms - then bladder and bowel control make for a pleasant experience. When we find ourselves sharing our home with over familiar insects - then pest control restores our homes to a less itchy, scratchy kind of place. Lets face it without the Police life could be more scary - crime control is something we all appreciate. Unless of course you are one of those criminals which they are attempting to control (that is something for another hub).
The problem is that when we begin to think that control is the answer to every situation in life we will become unstuck. Especially if we are trying to apply that control to relationships, creativity, healing and happiness. In these situations control is about FEAR.
Lets look at relationships. When we try to control the people that love you, you are not demonstrating your love for them. What you are displaying is your old relationship scars, your old heartbreaks and the pain attached to those experiences. The issue with control in relationships is that it doesn't foster trust, intimacy, growth, spontaneity and the big R that we all crave - ROMANCE.
Real love is unconditional, and you can not love unconditionally when you are controlling or acting out of fear. In fact the very thing we are doing to try and prevent getting hurt AGAIN will lead us down the very path that we are trying to avoid. Control can lead to all sorts of struggles such as who gets to win, feeling turned off and spending time on working out where the EXIT is. This is miles away from the happy ever after that we are trying to create with our controlling behaviour.
Unconditional love isn't demonstrated by trying to change the person that you profess to love. It certainly isn't demonstrated by trying to make their choices for them. When you are making decisions for another you are controlling them. The relationship deteriorates into manipulation and dominance a far cry from love and respect. This will creat WAR not LOVE.
Again control is not all bad. Control can be used to take charge of our life, taking responsibility, taking charge of the quality of your thoughts and choosing to focus on possibilities.
Like any super power you need to make sure that you are using it for good not evil. Too much of the control thing turns you into someone who is controlling, inflexible, dominating, defensive, shortsighted and really not achieving much in your life.
Don't get me wrong letting go of control is not for the faint hearted. It can be confronting and quite frankly a little scary. When you manage to brave it out it often results in greater creativity, greater inspiration, greater healing and this all points to greater relationships. With greater relationships which in turn leads to greater intimacy which in turns to greater sex.
Control tends to isolate us, leaving us to face life on our own. This is not what we are trying to create with our control but that is the outcome. You end up fenced in by your own control and not able to catch a glimpse of the bigger picture.
Now I know you are probably saying "Well how do I know if what I am doing is too much? Answer is simple. Is your life working for you or against you? What are your relationships like? Do you feel joy? Have you abundance? Are you resentment free? Are you constantly frightened that you will lose your partner?
What we don't realise is that we control things because we are frightened and all we do is create more fear. Again control in moderation and applied to the situations that will improve the quality of your life is a good thing. Those pesky termites might not agree but you will be preserving the structural integrity of your home.
If you want relationships which are just as sound then you need to give up the control, learn to trust, trust you, trust your instincts and learn to love unconditionally.
If you have been hurt in the past, then the best plan is to resolve and heal that hurt first so you don't carry it in the next relationship and allow it to poison your here and now.