I’ve been called a lot of names. Some good, some bad. I’m sure we all have.
Recently I heard I was called “controlling”.
At first, I confess to feeling a rush of anger, who wouldn’t? But then as I sat with the knowledge and the feeling, I realized that, okay I have been called worse and that I truly wasn’t exhibiting controlling behaviour.
What was going on? These people were confused.
What exactly is controlling behaviour?
- Controllers try to distance you from your family and friends. By criticism or out-right preventing you from spending time or having contact with your friends and family.
2. Threats — towards you (punishments that will happen to you), or towards them (self-harm, as in “ I’ll kill myself if you leave me”).
3. Making “if, then” statements — such as “IF you do this for me, THEN I’ll do that for you”. Conditions for love and acceptance.
4. Keeping score. Not ever good in a healthy relationship.
5. Jealousy, often unwarranted. Checking up on you, checking your texts and emails.
6. Assuming you are guilty of something — not assumed to be innocent.
7. If they are angry, then it is your fault, you did something to “make” them angry. They don’t assume responsibility for their own feelings.
8. Making fun of your beliefs, or the beliefs of your friends and family.
9. Needing to know where you are at all times, who you are with and what you are doing.
10. They don’t hear your side of the story.
11. Persuade you or coerce you into doing something you would rather not. Such as having sex, taking drugs, going somewhere you don’t want to go or doing things you don’t want to do.
12. They instill doubt in yourself. They try to make you question yourself. They want you to be insecure so that you won’t leave them — that’s the truth they don’t admit to themselves or anyone.
13. Using tears, guilt or anger to get you doing what they want.
What did I do to be called controlling?
Well, I stated something I wanted, in clear terms. Yes, actually out-loud.
The situation: I was co-hosting a family games night (the other host whose house it was at also agreed and wanted this) and stated ‘ no alcohol’. This was due to the fact that some of my family are underage and clearly alcohol wasn’t needed to play a few games and visit.
Was this controlling?
Look at the facts of what controlling actually is again.
No — What I did was be assertive and decisive and clear. And possibly outspoken. Thanks. I want to be those things.
I have opinions, and I have a right to my opinion.
This article recently published in HuffPost states:
There’s a thin line between letting go of an unhealthy desire to control and letting go of the healthy drive within all of us to be heard, to influence, to have impact.
Often we are labelled as controlling when really we are being assertive and expressing our true desires and needs.
Women are often labelled controlling or a b**** if they know what they want and state it. This mislabelling can happen to men also, but not as often, men are used to men stating their opinions.
If you look underneath the label of “controlling” and find … a desire for agency, for expression, for your own needs to be met, if you find your voice and your heart, know that that’s not something to let go of. It’s something to cultivate.
Agency is a gift, and it’s something very different from control.
So to those who called me a controlling #***#, please look up controlling in the dictionary and also thank you for recognizing that I have a voice. And I am not afraid to use it.
I celebrate the fact that I know what I want, what I will put up with and how I think and feel about ideas. I want that for my friends and family too.
I don’t care if these men think me controlling — perhaps it is a sign of their fear or intimidation. Not sure. It is their issue.
What other people think of me is none of my business — Wayne Dyer
May we all express our true selves, may we be kind in that expression too and let’s put an end to these negative labels and see things for what they really are.
Let’s celebrate our voices and right to be heard.
At the Healthy Living Tribe, we embrace all things that will make us healthier, happier, more fulfilled and able us to be ourselves, living authentically.