ACoAs Acting Controlling (Part 1)

comtrolling manEVERYONE HAS TO BE THE WAY I WANT – so I won’t feel so vulnerable!

PREVIOUS: Back-Lash for O-C – #2

POSTs: How ACoAs Abandon Others” #1

 (vs. Controlling – see Healthy Helping’ posts)

The opposite of being controlling is to be of genuine help – with 2 main REQUIREMENTS:
a. Be clear about what the other person needs and that they actually want your help
b. You have the real ability to provide that need, and that you genuinely want to

CONTROLLING (C) behavior is cause by the disowned, un-felt emotion of FEAR (FoA)!
No matter how optimistic & hard-working, all ACoAs are fear-based, from growing up in constant terror as kids. Because our fear was never acknowledged, comforted or talked about – it accumulated, & now sits like a poisonous fog over layers of our experiences & determination.
🩸That’s not ‘being negative’ – it’s important to tell the truth. Then can we change it!

☆ Like most things in life, controlling comes in varying degrees of intensity
• Some Cs are so tightly wound that it’s ‘their way or the highway’ & they’ll punish or ignore anyone who doesn’t fall in line with “the program” 
• Others are only C. when under a great deal of stress, especially if too many things go wrong at the same time

• Some are C. mainly when they’re with a certain category of people (children, a spouse….), so others don’t know what they’re really like in private  
☛  Even with Recovery, many ACoAs & addicts continue their C. patterns until they do FoO & Inner Child healing arms length

ACoA IRONY :  Acting Controlling is one of many ways to keep others at emotional arm’s length,  preventing people from being able to connect with us, while at the same time guaranteeing we’ll keep feeling abandoned ! It’s used as a defensive wall instead of developing real boundaries, which are flexible.

NOTE: Just because someone has a forceful personality doesn’t make them controlling. They can have strong opinions about everything, even insist they’re right, but not impose them on others.  
TEST : Do they allow you to be yourself? OR do they unduly influence your behavior (make demands, have unrealistic expectations, intimidate)?
Stay awake for the difference, in yourself & in others!

GENERALLY, Being Controlling IS :
Re US: • often copied from a C. parent
• a form of unhealthy pride – an unwillingness to back down & admit when we’re wrong, need help, don’t know everything….
• a sneaky, dishonest way to get taken care of
• driven by the WIC or internalized PP voices
• focused mainly on manipulating the outside world, instead of healing inner wounds
pride• fueled by deep anxiety – specifically FoA (fear of abandonment)
• never being satisfied, always critical – our attention is on what we don’t have rather than what is possible and what is actually available to us
• trying to ‘force solutions’ – because we assume otherwise we won’t get our needs met
• trying to get noticed, be respected, seen, valued, appreciated… the wrong ways
• used to avoid feeling helpless, powerless, vulnerable, needy

Re. THEM – it means we :
• don’t trust others – TO take care of themselves, be competent, dependable, honest ….  
• are disrespectful of other people’s autonomy, their right to learn from their own mistakes, have their own life path, their superioitytastes & moral values……
• are saying that someone owes you – because of what you’ve done for them, OR for because of your position, what you’ve accomplished, your position…..

👺 Compulsive pattern : We keep trying to get people to be or do what we want, disregarding who they are, so we won’t have to feel abandoned, while picking the very people or situations that guarantee we will, because they’re just like our family.
“Where there is control there is no love, only fear”

P.M.E.S. WAYS to control / manipulate others
Physically : use intimidating or guilt-making body language (a fist, a pout), threaten harm or actively hurt someone
Mentally (negative communication): name-call, be critical & discouraging, use guilt, create unfair obligations …..
Emotionally : pull on someone’s heart stings (cry) or be volatile (rage) – to get our way or to punish
OR – use Emotional Blackmail –  threaten abandonment if someone doesn’t do what you want
Spiritually : Anything which diminishes the human spirit. Includes false prophets & cult leaders, doomsday literature…. promoting false visions, such as ‘the end of the world will be on X date’….

NEXT: ACoAs Acting Controlling, Part 2

2 thoughts on “ACoAs Acting Controlling (Part 1)

  1. Enjoyed this and unfortunately (or fortunately) identified almost all of the behaviours you mentioned. I was not aware that Superior and Values were ways of controlling either – damn! I am very rigid at times, very very rigid but I am learning to be more flexible and accommodating as it doesn’t suit those around me! When you put a name to rigidity such as “Control” it really throws the trait back in my face, it makes me look at my rigidity as being a defect of character, not an asset. I am a person of procedure and don’t like to bend rules. Thanks for showing me my rigidity is all part of the control again. It is always rearing its ugly head!


    • There is a difference between liking order, procedure, dependability & plans VS. rigidity. The former is what we’re born with & can be valued as part of our true self. The latter is held in place by high levels of anxiety (terror) & the WIC not trusting – anyone! It’s up to us to prove to the kid that we are dependable & trustworthy BUT also accurate. So if I say – “Little one, I’m not trying to deprive you of something you want, but I can’t let you do…… because it always hurts you” the kid has to know if that’s true or not. Or I might say “Honey, let’s try this out because it’s good for us, even tho it scares you, & then let’s see how it turns out. Anyways, I’m here with you all the way.” When the results are better than we expect, the kid can breath easier.

      As we keep connected to the kid in a truthful & loving way, the need for rigidity begins to fade, but it’s ok if it never goes away completely.


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