"We communicate worse than anyone I have ever seen. I thought my parents were bad...I never expected we would end up here. Every attempt I make to understand her is shot down with more criticism, hate, and blame than I think I've ever received. And that turns me into the hulk...on steroids. We just...can't...communicate."
A version of this (and trust me, there are lots of versions) is what ends up sending many couples into the office of a relationship expert. Seeking a solution to their surface-level "communication issues", people are often looking for a quick fix to what they believe the problem is.
Honestly, though, it is not always communication itself that is the issue. It goes much deeper.
It is often about control.
Attempts to "be right", to win, to have the last say, to prove yourself, and to bring your partner down so that your self-esteem supposedly goes up...those are the underlying patterns that are really the problem. And they are all a facet of control in one way or another.
Control is insidious. It wants to win and make your partner the enemy. Control keeps you in a one-up position where connection, trust, and understanding cannot exist. Control is often a safety-net...though it is really just an illusion. You believe it gives you power, when really, it leaves you powerless.
Rationally, we must understand that -- even in the most extreme of circumstances -- we can never control another person. It is just not possible.
If you're in a relationship with a controller, it is important for you to know that their control issues are actually not about you. They are about their own pain, discomfort, and insecurities about something going on with them, or due to something they experienced in their life.
Worried if you may be controlling, or if your partner may be controlling you? Here are some signs to look for in a controller:
- Puts down others often
- Establishes rules about your social circle, who you can be friends with, where you can go
- Is secretive about their own information, whereabouts, or experience
- Has an unpredictable temper (that can often feel scary or intimidating)
- Has a way of guilt-tripping you, blames others, criticizes
- Hits, screams, yells, cries
- Manipulates through an enticing external appeal (may be the life of the party...to others)Has poor boundaries (physically, sexually, emotionally)
Don't let control take over your internal steering wheel. If you are worried that your own anger, frustration, or desperation for something to change in your relationship is manifesting itself as control, do something about it now. Reach out, seek help, and find a REAL solution for the issues at hand.
If you are desperate to find a way to deal with your partner's controlling ways, I suggest the same. Find help for yourself instead of begging them to get the help. Once you begin learning healthy ways of coping with your situation (whatever version you are experiencing), there will be a higher likelihood of your partner being able to join.
For more information on control and other negative patterns that can destroy a relationship, check out a FREE copy of my e-book: The Five Relationship Mistakes You Are Making, And What To Do About Them.
Let this be your first step toward making a change. You deserve it. Your relationship deserves it.