NO ONE CAN CONTROL ME –
unless I let them
PREVIOUS: ACoAs Being controlled – #5
REVIEW: ‘Relationship FORMS 1 & 2’
See Acronym PAGE for abbrev.
RESPONDING TO CONTROLLERS (Cs)
• Even if we’re with a Controlling person, we always have at least some control of our own over what happens to us, whether we use that option or not. As Glenda the Good Witch says in The Wizard of Oz “You always had the power!” If we must stay with a C., we have to protect ourselves, otherwise all we can do is capitulate
EXP: As soon as Jody met sexy Sam at a party, she could tell he was a C – just like her mom. Even so, they started dating & eventually he moved in. His charm compensated, but Jody still needed to deal with his habit of assuming she was exactly like him (narcissistic control).
She went along when it didn’t matter, but stood her ground when it did. At the beginning of the relationship, to shift the focus from any specific topic of contention – to the bigger picture – she started calling him ‘Martha’ whenever he acted like her mom! It took him a while to catch on, but eventually he got the point & backed off (but most C. won’t!)
Re. THEM – Cs are also wounded people who don’t have a right to their needs, but choose to manipulate others into providing for them, & to feel cared for. Pay attention & evaluate which type you’re dealing with:
• Some are not consciously aware of being a C, & will be confused or surprised if it’s pointed out. They have no idea what they are doing ‘wrong’, but also don’t want to know, so they’re not likely to change
• Others are aware of trying to deceive or control, but will vigorously deny it because they don’t want to be caught (it’s socially shameful), OR they just don’t want to be responsible for their actions or old pain.
So they’re not likely to change either, because they’d have to deal with their damage
• A few are willing to consider the issue when ‘confronted’ & will work to change it
• And some of us are already in the processes of letting go of being controlling!
DECIDE: When responding to a C, consider what outcome you want:
❈ to inform, vent, set a boundary, for self-protection, fairness…. OR
❈ for revenge, to punish, retaliate, humiliate….
✶ If you want to be as psychologically clean as humanly possible (NO perfectionism!) then practice making neutral or ‘I’ statements:
“I don’t respond well to being bossed around , That’s not helpful! , It sounds like you’re trying to get me to_________ Is that right? , I’d rather__________ , When you ___________ I feel _________ , That doesn’t work for me / not how I feel about it / not what I need…”
EXPECT: resistance in the form of excuses, protests, denials, blaming …. from the hard cases. You can let them know you understand their feelings & wishes, but that you hold the right to have yours, even if that upsets them, makes them angry, attack you or leave in a huff!
• No matter what their reaction, you decide what you’re going to agree to – or not, based on your needs, not theirs!
REMEMBER: When someone insists on accusing you wrongly (a big button for ACoAs) or just refuses to ‘get it’ – only state your truth as clearly as you can. You may have to repeat your position, but DO NOT:
— try to make them understand where you’re coming from
— keep explaining why your point is valid, and
— justify yourself – ever! To stay & argue with someone like that makes a fool of you!
• The more relentless someone’s controlling behavior, the more narcissistic the person is. In that case you cannot win, because they can’t & won’t see you as separate from them, with your own personality.
The only thing you can do is walk away, no matter how much it hurts, even if it means letting them think they won the round. 😰 To do anything else is to humiliate ourselves!
NEXT: Responding to Controllers (Part 2)