Good People Up to No Good | GR8 Relationships

Good People Up to No Good

Control people – which can be everyone – 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, He has changed me to restore the relationships.

Control is a problem, because freedom is a tough issue for most people, especially good people with good intentions. Practicing freedom is seldom easy, but once you see the benefits, it becomes easier.

Good People Up to No Good

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 to be free and enjoy the idea of being free. Everyone has an innate built-in longing to be free. People pursue freedom, not to be controlled.

That freedom was a critical element in the original sin. Adam and Eve were free to choose against what God said was good. Satan knew about their freedom to choose and encouraged them to use their freedom irresponsibly. After all, according to Satan, God was limiting their freedom about the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil!

In spite of the freedom built into us and the longing we have for it, freedom brings fear when you do not understand it. “Will I make the right choices, since I am free? Will they make the right choices since (or when) 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... 

  1. Will they take care of themselves? 
  2. Will they make wise choices? 
  3. Will they be responsible or irresponsible?
  4. If they are irresponsible, how will that reflect on me?
  5. How much can I trust that they will make good decisions, when they don't know as much as me? 

Since they do not know all of the dangers, I commit to prevent them from making bad choices! I will save them from themselves!

On the malevolent side – if people are free... 

  1. Will it interfere with what I want? 
  2. Will they work against me or with me?
  3. How can I neutralize or eliminate those who will not do what I want?
  4. How much pressure or pain will be needed to make them do what I want?

While many control people may be malevolent, my speculation is control people often have good intentions – GOOD PEOPLE UP TO NO GOOD. They just 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 perceptive and they’re very vulnerable. They need protection and my help, for their own 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. Driven by fear, you discount thoughts or input from the others, because they can’t see the danger. You are on defense, defending yourself and everyone from “potential dangers”. 

Disagreements are often seen as personal attacks, because “I know what is right, you don’t. Why are you attacking me when I only want what is best for you?” It takes a lot of energy to be a control person, because there are so many ways that people can mess things up or get themselves into trouble!

Control Violates Freedom and Choice

Control (manipulation or domination) may be tolerated for a while. But, in a relationship, it becomes 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 – all 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 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 just want what is best for them.”

That may be true, but control violates freedom and choice that others actually have.

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 "good people up to no good!"

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