Episode #96 Controlling Isn't Caring

Some of the most difficult people to love are those who are most controlling, and this is why controlling people so often feel unloved. This week, Dr. Michael Brown and clinical counselor Steve Rieske discuss tense relationships, hostile workplaces, and unsafe households.

Show Notes

In your life, you have all these places where you could ask and then be told Yes or No. And if your heart says, "I can’t bear No and I need to make it happen," you’ll do damage to yourself. And you’ll do damage to them.
Steve Rieske

Three Problems

  • We often substitute controlling for caring and then wonder why those we love choose to distance themselves from us.
  • When the desire to keep others safe leads to controlling behavior, those we seek to protect actually become less safe and less strong.
  • Controlling leaders cultivate environments where others become controlling as well.

Three Products of Control

  • We find ourselves resenting those who resist our control.
  • We find ourselves feeling empty, alone, and unloved.
  • We find ourselves in a desperate cycle of controlling others even more.

Five Principles

  • Parenting is an ongoing process of releasing control.
  • Domestic violence takes place when we crave control so desperately that we pursue it at any cost.
  • When we model emotional responsiveness, we inspire those around us to engage with their emotions in a healthier way.
  • Controlling behavior is always rooted in fear.
  • Empathy is the ability to enter into the emotions of others without experiencing them as our own.

Three Practices

  • When others seem to avoid you, consider whether you have been controlling rather than caring.
  • When you recognize that you have acted in a controlling way, ask yourself, “What is it that I am afraid of?”
  • Whenever you begin to raise your voice, evaluate whether you are being emotionally reactive or emotionally responsive.