No one wants to be labeled as having control issues. Women don’t begin relationships and think about how they can control things. Most women don’t realize that they have issues needing control. It is an issue if it is causing a problem in your relationship.
Relationships aren’t a one-way street that focuses only on the needs of one partner. A healthy relationship is one that flows steadily between both partners. The ups and downs are normal and to be expected. If your ups and downs are extreme then you need to evaluate what issues are leading to this movement. Are there problems with listening to one another? Are there problems with speaking to one another? What patterns are you noticing that lead to conflict?
Think about your expectations of your partner. What do you expect from them? Take a sheet of paper, think about what you expect from them, and write it out. Don’t wait and say that you will do it later. Maybe you expect trust, loyalty, fairness, and/or love. For example, you may expect that your partner should always be loyal to you or that they should always meet your needs.
Now looking back at these, are some of your expectations unrealistic? Are any of them impossible for your partner to provide? Look for words such as should, ought to, must, and always. These words create expectations that are seen as demanding and unrealistic How do you define control? How does your partner define control? Your control issues may be suffocating your relationship. If you think, “This is just who I am” then you need to look inward and make changes. If you find another way to justify your need to control things, you need to look at how this is affecting your relationship. Just because you have done this for so long doesn’t mean that it is okay to continue doing.
DO YOU HAVE CONTROL ISSUES?
Has your current partner or past one told you that you have control issues? Have you been called controlling in relationships? If this happened, did it make you angry? Is it possible that you have issues with needing to control things around you?
Just as a reminder, it’s only considered an issue if it affects you and/or your relationship in a negative way. If you are unsure, try asking your partner or people you are close with. If they say that you are controlling or that they think you have control issues, it’s worth the time to look inward.
The need to have control comes from within. It is important to explore what this is about. Be gentle with yourself on this journey.
The need to have control may come from a place of fear. You may fear what would happen if things were out of your control. If you are not in control, then you don’t know what would happen in your life. What if things don’t go as you planned them to? What if you lose something that is important to you? What if you get hurt? What if your partner cheats on you? What if they stop liking or loving you?
These worries are realistic and could happen. However, almost all of the things we fear will happen, don’t actually occur. If it’s true that 99% of the things we worry about don’t come true, then maybe you can let go of some of your fears. You are more likely to lose your partner if you continue to be controlling. This will make your fears a reality.
There is a big difference in having things go the way you would like them to and always getting your way. There is nothing wrong with wanting to see life happen in a certain way. However, if you keep trying to control or attempt to change your partner, you may find yourself alone. You would then be solely responsible for making your fear of losing your partner come true. No one gets their way most of the time. Why do you think you are different? What makes you think that things have to go exactly how you want them to or there is an issue?
EXAMPLES OF CONTROL ISSUES
Excessive calling, texting, or trying to contact your partner throughout the day.
The obsessive need to know where your partner is at all times.
Telling your partner how they need to spend their money.
Not wanting to go out with friends or do things as an individual without your partner.
Using sex as a reward or restricting it as punishment.
Using the silent treatment when you don’t like something your partner says or does.
If you choose to continue this behavior, it will only cause your partner to be more defensive, combative, and emotionally shut down. Have you conditioned your partner to have a response that will lead to an argument? Do you realize how your behavior is contributing to the issues in the relationship?
THE POWER OF YOUR REACTION
You need to assess how you react to things when you don’t get your way. Can you roll with it when things don’t go as you would like them to? Do you get angry, pout, or put a wall up because you didn’t get the outcome you wanted?
Things can’t always work out to your advantage. It may seem obvious by now, but you can’t always get your way. The most important thing is how you react when this happens.
Your reaction will determine the health of your relationship. You have the power to change how you handle situations and this is your best chance you have of seeing improvements. This doesn’t mean that you have to respond positively or agree with how things happened. You have a better chance of getting the outcome you desire if you react in a calm, understanding, and assertive manner.
Avoid overreacting or saying the first thing that comes to mind. Every action
that happens to you or within your relationship doesn’t require a reaction from you. If you want to get your needs met, then work on your response. Think of working smarter and not harder. It takes two healthy people to have a functional relationship and you are only responsible for your half. Stop trying to control the other half.