Are you controlled in your relationship?

Whether you are a control freak or at the receiving end of control, you are wielding control in some form. Listen to this podcast to find out about different ways of controlling. A relationship can never blossom to its optimum potential in the presence of control. Sagarika Shah, Co-founder, Psychologist and Relationship Therapist, Thought Counsel is here to share her insights on mental wellness and relationships.

I don’t want you to go out for drinks with your friends on a Friday night. Why did your spend your money on something you already have. I don’t want you to wear that outfit. Do these sound familiar and reflect your partner’s controlling behaviour?

But you are not like them, since you don’t tell them what to do and what not to do. Instead, you are very sweet and nice. You go out of your way to do things for them just to please them. You don’t demand anything. You are always accessible. You are neither critical nor curious. You weigh your words before you speak. When you feel low, you deal with it on your own. You don’t let your partner smooth things over.

 If you agree with any of these things that I just said, you are controlling too. Shocked or shell shocked?

There are two types of control. Overt and covert. When we try to control what people do, its an overt form of control and when we try to control how people feel about us and react to us, it’s a covert form of control. Very often, unconsciously we try to control our partner’s feelings and reactions towards us. Its easier to see overt behaviour rather than the covert ones like sulking, being sugary sweet or sugar-coating words, getting dramatic or manipulative, deceptive, lying, dismissive, sarcastic etc.

Covert control tries to navigate the way a person mostly a partner feels and responds. Everyone has some sort of controlling behaviours and it comes from one’s childhood experiences. It comes from one’s need to be loved and to avoid pain. So, we either tell others what to do or we try to influence how others react to us by showcasing a people pleasing attitude at the cost of discarding our own needs.

If you try to put yourself last in your world of prioritization, or try to be extra nice, you are trying to control how others feel about you. You want your partner or people around to know how agreeable you are, so that they wouldn’t leave you. Probably that’s the only way you can have them around you. There is an unconscious motive behind this control style. This can have a negative effect on your relationship.  When we abandon our own needs and try to please our partner, it can backfire if we don’t get the reaction that we want. Because we are soliciting a behaviour that we want. But that would only lead to resentment and conflicts in a relationship.

Everyone needs to realize how any form of control can ruin a relationship.

What’s your form of control?