While many control people are bad, my speculation is control people often have good intentions – they are often GOOD PEOPLE UP TO NO GOOD.
I probably am the poster child for the control person disease. And the bad news is the severe damage to all my relationships. Praise God that He has changed me to restore the relationships.
Control is a big problem because freedom is challenging for most people, especially good people with good intentions. Practicing freedom is seldom easy, but it becomes easier once you see the benefits.
For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. – Galatians 5:13
Freedom Is Built Into Us
People want freedom and enjoy the idea of being free. In fact, everyone has an innate, built-in longing to be free because God created us that way. That is why people pursue freedom and rebel against control. And freedom starts very early in life, as any parent can tell you. It does not need to be taught to infants and children!
Freedom was a critical element in the original sin. God designed Adam and Eve with freedom in their DNA. How do we know that? Because God's only command was a CHOICE - their choice to eat the fruit of the ONE tree or not.
Satan knew about their freedom to choose, which resulted in them using their freedom irresponsibly! After all, according to Satan, God was limiting their freedom about the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil! Notice how common that thinking is in your mind and mine.
Despite the freedom built into us and our longing for it, freedom brings fear when you do not understand it. “Will I make the right choices since I am free? I hope they make the right choices since they are free to do what they want."
I'm Just Trying to Help!
You either control as a dictator or believe your intentions to control are good for others. On the benevolent side – if people are free...
- Will they take care of themselves?
- Will they be responsible or irresponsible?
- If they are irresponsible, how will that reflect on me?
- Will they make wise choices?
- How much can I trust they will make good decisions when they don't know as much as me?
"Since they do not know all of the dangers like I do, I commit to preventing them from making bad choices! I will save them from themselves!"
On the nasty side – if people are free...
- Will it interfere with what I want?
- Will they work against me or with me?
- How can I neutralize or eliminate those who will not do what I want?
- How much pressure or pain will be needed to make them do what I want?
While many control people may be horrible, my speculation is control people often have good intentions. They are most often GOOD PEOPLE UP TO NO GOOD. They fear bad things will happen when people are free to choose; therefore, control kicks in – manipulate or dominate – to prevent those bad things.
Good People See Potential Danger
Good people who control see potential danger in many, maybe most, situations. Then, if others don’t share those perceptions, they think, “Why don’t others see how dangerous things are? That is not fun; that’s dangerous. They aren't very wise, and they’re very vulnerable. They need protection and my help for their good.”
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. – C.S. Lewis
If you are a control person like me with good intentions – it still damages relationships. When you decide to protect people, you initiate rules and regulations. You are driven by fear, so you discount thoughts or input from others because you do not believe they can see the danger. That puts the burden on you to defend yourself and everyone else from “potential dangers.”
When other people disagree with you that is often seen as a personal attack. And that results in you saying or thinking, “I know what is right, you don’t. Why are you attacking me when I only want what is best for you?”
You may already know it but it takes a lot of energy to be a control person. Why? Because there are so many ways people can mess things up or get themselves into trouble!
Control Violates Freedom and Choice
People can tolerate control (manipulation or domination) for a while. But, in a relationship, control makes the relationship miserable and, at some point, intolerable. Consider the other person, the one you are controlling. They seldom cheerfully submit to control – instead, they create counter strategies to establish their freedom. Sometimes they avoid the relationship completely to maintain their freedom or independence.
If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care, and so on. The only thing lacking…is freedom. – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Good people who are up to no good can’t understand why others move away from them. “Why are they being so difficult? Why don’t they see the benefits? I want what is best for them.”
That may be true, but control violates the freedom and choice that others have. You do not give them freedom; they have it!
And, if you are a control person, you are often the biggest target of your control strategy. You will worry, obsess, warn yourself, criticize and work hard to keep yourself in line.
As a value, you may love and cheer for freedom, but it’s a threat when others have it. “They will not be responsible with their freedom and, therefore, bad things will happen.” So, you react to imagined danger which overshadows valuing their freedom also.
Time to reconsider how you relate to others! Time to stop being "a good person up to no good!"
GR8 Relationships—Pursuing the BEST in work, in life, in love.
Right Thinking—Right Relationships—Right NOW!!