Control. Its this slipperly slope.
Out of control people do it to others to try to make sense of their lives.
When I feel my mind being swayed, my values bending, myself pulled toward someone that takes the health, happiness and joy out of my life and replaces it with a fight for someone’s approval…
Mixing up love or devotion with turning over your mind, your heart and your entire life to someone to “run” you, to dictate your schedule, to tell you “how things are” …
I’ve worked for 2 people who thrived on total control of my life in exchange for the honor of my being able to say that I’ve worked for them. I’ve only dated one person who sought to control me… but that didn’t end well.
Is someone trying to control you? The most terrifying thing about control is that if someone is trying to control you your first instinct will be to defend them. Even proclaim them as your savior, the love of your life, or more….
There’s a psychological phenemonon called Stockholm Syndrome that explains how kidnapped victims become sympathetic – and even fall in love with- their captors.
That’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Psych Central has listed out traits of a controlling man. This also applies to women (this is not a gender specific issue in any way!) What is particularly chilling is the way it switches from things that seem great to the darkest of actions as one seemingly falls more under the spell of their captor.
7 Warning Signs of Men Who Need Too Much Control from Psych Central
1. You are his everything. Sounds great, doesn’t it? It’s not. When a guy needs to be attached to you at the hip and you can’t do anything without his say-so, it’s a big red flag. Sure, it’s normal to be with each other constantly in the first blush of new love. But if it goes on after the first few months; if it limits your ability to do things independently; if it means that you have no privacy; then it has become an issue of control.
2. You find yourself losing contact with family, friends, and activities you once enjoyed. He may not even like you to be on the phone or Facebook or email unless he’s around. He always has a reason. He says he doesn’t like how so-and-so takes advantage of you. He says he wants you to spend more time with him. He says your family is too controlling. Some of it even sounds like it makes sense. But over time your boyfriend has isolated you to the point that you don’t have many friends anymore and your family complains that you are neglecting them.
3. He has different rules for you than he has for himself. He gets to hang out with the guys. You don’t get time with your girlfriends. He makes plans for both of you but flips out if you do the same. He flirts with other girls when you’re out but makes sure you have eyes only for him. He insists on his right to privacy regarding his phone log or his email account or his Facebook password but gets angry if you draw the same boundaries.
4. He invites, then insists, that you join in his life but isn’t interested in getting to know yours. Over time, the two of you end up spending your time going to events and doing only the things that interest your guy even if you’re not terribly interested. You rarely if ever do things you love to do. You may justify it at first, figuring that you’re more flexible, that you want to get to know his friends, that it’s cool that he wants to teach you about his interests, that getting him to go to one of your events isn’t worth his sighing and his restlessness and his comments. But somehow you end up making all the compromises and feeling like you’ve lost something that was important to you.
5. Finances are a big issue. Somehow you’ve ended up either not having any money of your own or spending it all on your life together. This is one of those issues where opposites produce the same outcome. In some controlling relationships, the boyfriend gradually, or not so gradually, does little or nothing to support the couple. The girlfriend finds herself working all the time to keep the bills paid and food on the table while he “looks for work” or “waits for his band’s big break” or drops in and out of school or simply does nothing but make promises that tomorrow it will be different.
On the other end of the spectrum is the guy who says that he will take care of his girlfriend, that she doesn’t need to work, that he needs her at home, that real women take care of their family. All that would be fine if the couple had a reasonable way of sharing and managing the family income. But the controlling guy doles out an allowance like it’s the last dollar and doesn’t let his girlfriend or wife in on many of the financial decisions that affect both of them. She ends up even further isolated and dependent on him.
6. He is never at fault. In fact, he is phobic about blame. The controlling guy always finds a way to make you feel that anything that goes wrong in your relationship is all about you. If you have a complaint, he will quickly move the conversation to all the things you’ve done wrong since the beginning of time. Instead of discussing your concern, you find yourself on the defensive. Instead of working out a compromise, you feel you have to give in or the fight will go on forever.
7. Often these relationships become physically abusive. If the guy is controlling because he doesn’t trust you, he may lose it when he is suspicious. Sadly, it doesn’t take much to make him suspicious. What generally follows are accusations, blaming, relentless grilling, and anger. When we’re talking about something as ephemeral as trust, it’s almost impossible to defend oneself. How do you explain away something that never happened in the first place? Not satisfied with the girlfriend’s answers, the guy gets increasingly frustrated and, though he’d never admit it, scared. It’s not uncommon for the guy to get physical at that point. (entire article is HERE)
So… what do you do when you can’t get someone else to see that they are sinking into a world that they may not live through, yet they defend their lifestyle and choices vehemently?
Ultimately all you can do is hope and pray that they will be safe, and that one day reason will win out over this toxic form of love.
When you are the one getting into this….
Get the hell out of there.
Codependency groups, therapy, art therapy groups, homeopathic treatments…
Seek friends who love and support you and want you to be well.
Reconnect with your family.
And stay away from this person. Block phone calls, change your email… do not listen to reason.
You can reclaim your power. You can fight your way back. You can do it.
I’ve watched this happen to too many people. I’m watching it happen now.
Someone losing their money, their sanity, their health, their peace of mind and their home and their job and their relationship with their family to a person who “knows it all” and has managed to talk a good game and actually do nothing but monopolize a once-brilliant life. It has kept me up at night, its pulled on my mind, made my soul feel heavy and ultimately I’ve had to turn it over to my faith that the people I love won’t give themselves over to people who thrive on toxic, life-destroying control in disguise as love.
Do not lose your life to anyone. That’s not success, that’s not love and that might just be your un-doing.
Please get help.
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