People are over controlling when they feel scared and vulnerable underneath. They micro-manage everything in an attempt to stay safe and have everything work out as they want it to. If another person does not behave the way they want, the first person is likely to get very angry as they fear the consequences of that person’s actions will be devastating.
Underneath it all is FEAR, lots of fear, hurt and sadness which has built up over the person’s lifetime. The controlling personality is just a defense mechanism to cover up the fear and protect their vulnerability.
In reality the process of over controlling is exhausting, it is done frantically, manically. It is not a peaceful process and it certainly isn’t kind. A controlling person can be very bossy and judgmental as they push through trying to force the outcome they need to feel safe.
They are not thinking about the other person’s feelings or needs, only their own. While this sounds selfish, it is not really. It is not coming from a place of my needs are more important than yours. It is coming from a space of ‘I need you to do this in order for me to feel safe, I am in danger unless you do this, you must do this, please do this’. It is a painful way to live, so desperate and afraid.
Many controlling people appear tough, cold, judgmental, unemotional, but that is just the mask they wear to cover up their vulnerability and fear. What the person really needs is to drop the mask, feel the feelings, release the hurt and sadness, learn to speak their truth in kind and loving ways. For instance:
‘I know I have been pushy and controlling wanting you to do certain things. I’m sorry that I have been so forceful. I was afraid that if you didn’t do those things, X would happen and that worries me. I’m scared Y will occur and I wanted to avoid that. I understand you don’t feel the same ways as me and you may have felt I was saying “You are not good enough as your are”. Please know that I never meant for you to feel that. You are a beautiful child of God on your own path of healing and wholeness. I was just scared and wanted to avoid what I feared would occur. What I really need is to say all of this to you and stop pretending to be strong. Can we work out a plan together to tackle this situation, then I can relax knowing that it will be okay.
When I start to get scared or frustrated can you please just give me a hug, help me to feel okay, safe, reassured that all is okay. I would love it if we could do that. I know it is not your job to look after me, I will look after me, I am just sharing how I feel. I will do my best to let go and trust you to do what is agreed to. I may slip up and be pushy occasionally – this has been a lifetime habit. If I do slip up just let me know and give me a hug. Please don’t get mad at me. I mean no harm, I’m just scared and need to be comforted and reassured. Thank you for loving me, listening to me, and caring for me. I love you and value you and want to treat you better and I will do so. Thank you’
If a person who has been over controlling like this can speak their truth, the armour can start to melt, they can let go of the rigidity, soften the emotions and feel their heart beat. They will need to learn self supportive talking techniques to reassure themselves whenever they start feeling vulnerable. They will need to learn positive thinking / thought stopping skills, so they can stop a negative thought in its tracks and change it to a more positive one. ‘Yes, I used to believe it would be a disaster if …. occurred. I know now that I would cope, even if it did occur. In all the years of worrying about …… it has never or rarely happened and even when it has, it hasn’t been that bad. I’ve coped. I’ve survived. I’ve learned and I’m okay!’
Worry is pointless, it really is, let it go. Let go of wasting your days in fear. Let it go. Focus on your breathing and calm your body this way. Deepen your breathing as much as you can. Long breaths into the belly help your body to calm and to regulate itself. Fear chemicals will get dissolved and you can return to a state of balance and peace.
Know that those people who appear most rigid, have the most emotion locked inside them. They have not processed and released it. They have bottled it up inside and they are like a pressure cooker waiting to explode. They are under great internal pressure that they need to learn to regulate, to let the steam out little by little, in manageable ways until the pressure has dissipated.
The body actually has a natural mechanism to do this. It will ‘tremor’ to release the tension, stress and trauma that has accumulated in the body. You can activate the tremoring mechanism to safely discharge the blocked energy and calm your nervous system out of fight and flight back to peace. If you would like to learn more about the tremoring process see the Trauma and Tension Release Exercises (TRE) page of my website.
Processing the emotions underneath controlling behaviour will take time and courage to face the truth of your feelings and drop your personality mask. It requires a willingness to be vulnerable, to meet and reveal your true self, your inner child and all the hurts that have been hidden. Doing so leads to freedom, to inner peace, better relationships and more enjoyment of life. It is worth doing. Blessed BE. Amen.
By Jodi-Anne (29 October 2015).