RESPONDING to Controllers (Part 3)

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PREVIOUS : Responding to Controllers (#2)

SITE: “21 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Responding to Conflict


WHY ‘Control’ Responses to Controllers (Cs)?
Because it’s Empowering, to not be or stay a victim.
THE GOAL is to heal enough so we can speak up from the Adult ego state right away, but only if it’s safe & appropriate to insure not hurting ourselves. That way our frustration, hurt & anger won’t build up – providing short & long-term benefits.
✳️ This ability comes with lowered WIC anxiety (Es) & practicing things to say (Ts)

Being KIND to ourselves
When we react impulsively or fight back we may temporarily feel powerful, but it doesn’t help self-esteem & personal growth. Even so, sometimes it’s the only way to get thru to a C. & stop them from seeing us as weak & vulnerable. Many Cs only understand ‘tit-for-tabe coolt’! even tough it doesn’t usually resolve conflict or protect us from further attacks

• It’s best when we can mentally take a step back (T), to breathe, process how we feel (Es) & check which of our buttons got pushed. If we can address the problem in a positive way in the moment, great. If not, consider what’s best for yourself & maybe deal with the offender later. In any case, the less we RE-act the more self-empowering & peaceful we’ll feel

Freedom of Speech
Other people seem to think it’s OK to say whatever they want, but we are afraid to do the same. We need to give ourselves permission to know & express our point of view as well. But over-reacting to volatile or oppositional opinions has to do with our childhood wounds, & not just to what’s being said in the present. Be truthful, but don’t get into a pissing match. Al-Anon : “Say what you mean but don’t say it mean.”

Minimize Negativity
Nurturing all-consuming anger at someone for their comments or actions only hurts us, carrying painful energy into other parts of our life.  Malachy McCourt (actor, writer & participant in Occupy Wall Street, 10/2011) once quipped: “Holding a grudge against someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

For ACoAs, obsessions come from our damaged past. We can privately do rage-work, & process our wounds in Program & therapy, so we don’t keep reacting in ways that make us feel bad apurposebout ourselves afterwards.

What’s our Purpose?
To get the most our of life we have to be clear about our goal in each situation & act accordingly.  What our Adult self wants to accomplish & what the WIC wants are often 2 very different things. Any time we get riled up about something, remember it’s the WIC or PP, but how we respond will depend on whether the ‘Unit’ is in charge or not.

EXP: One week-day evening Ally was in a church auditorium waiting to hear a concert. In the back vestibule a maintenance man was polishing the floor, & the machine was very noisy!
Ally went over to the man, asking him to close the door adjoining the sanctuary, but he refused, so she went back & sat down. Soon a man in the audience also went to the worker, & lo-and-behold — the door was closed! Ally smiled.
She knew that many years ago she would have taken offense & been very angry that the worker ignored her (a woman) yet ‘listened’ to a man. BUT now she was not upset at all – her only GOAL was to shut out some of the irritating noise – rather than being respected or validated, which was not the workers job !

Where’s the Focus?
The hardest thing for ACoAs is to not take things personally. Whether someone is mean or just tactless – they’re telling us about themselves – NOT US!
It’s most useful to mirror back to them what we’ve heard: ‘Why did you say that?”, or ‘What did you mean by that?”…. Where attention goes, energy flows. We can only focus fully on one things at a time. The sooner we clear up an obsession, the faster we get our life back. Often speaking up for ourselves will put our energy into balance again.

NEXT: Self-Care around Controllers – #1

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