And they have so many ways to do this. You might think that controllers only yell and directly order you around, but they can be so much sneakier than that. You may not even know where someone else is taking over your life. So before we can talk about how to deal, we need to learn how to recognize.
- “Don’t worry about me, I’m fine” Sure they are. Because they are sucking you dry for everything they need with guilt, recriminations, and their own omnipresent NEED. Any need you have gets compared to theirs, which is worse, so much worse. You should feel guilty, and that’s how you usually wind up; Guilty and giving in.
- “God hates sinners” This one is about how some people misinterpret religion as a method of control. Yes, God did set out some rules and asked that we follow them. He did not, however, set up your boss, sister, mother, grandmother, boyfriend, etc. as His personal representative looking out for your spiritual well-being. When you start hearing about what God wants in your life, think seriously about whether or not He would actually use that person as a messenger. And remember, Jesus really didn’t like Pharisees. So if your messenger is stuck on their own rightness, has no humility and is awfully concerned with the speck in your eye, that’s not the Spirit speaking to you. It’s just some control freak who happened to read the Bible.
- “I just want what’s best for you.” Funny how that always manages to be what the other person wants and not what you had planned. These are the same people who keep telling you to “Think!”, “Why can’t you think for yourself?” & “I won’t be here for you forever.” If you’re a 15yr old high school student, these statements might actually be OK for an adult to say to you. Once you’ve gotten old enough to live your own life, those are attempts to control you and they need to be seen as such.
- “Don’t worry about a thing, I’ll take care of all of it.” Yes they will, and you will be selling your independence to them every step of the way. It’s always tempting to let someone else take care of things, we all want to be rescued. But a rescue can turn into a lifetime of childlike dependence and associated depression. If you don’t know anything you’re specifically responsible for, something is wrong. We need responsibility. We need to know that we are capable and competent adults, able to withstand failure and deal with success. If someone takes that from us, no matter how well meaning they are, we will resent them deeply, no matter how dependent we are.
- “I’m in charge because I’m right!” These people are filled with a sense of their own righteous direction and have left no room for doubt. You cannot have a discussion with them about an issue. It will immediately become an argument that they treat as warfare. They will measure your maturity on a scale of how close your beliefs are to their standard. They have no shame in telling you, often, that you will believe like them when you; grow up, gain spiritual wisdom, see the truth, gain more experience, &/or get a real job. These folks will roll over the top of you and anyone else in their way, and they will think they are doing you a favor! These are the same zealots that have “converted” pagans by the sword, starvation, and abuse. And then they celebrated themselves.
These are some of the main types, but they can combo into endless variations of you not being in charge of your life. And you WANT to be in charge of your life. The alternatives are not pretty.
Look for next week’s post on how to be in control of yourself, so these controllers can’t touch you. Good Luck and God Bless.
Photo by Thomas Hawk, flickr stream