Sunday, November 30, 2014

The illusion of control in relationships

The desire to control our relationships occurs in everyone’s life with varying degree and intensity. Not only do we want to control our life, sometimes we also want to control the behaviours of others. So often when we choose relationships, we try to fit another person into our predetermined ideal. We think we can change or “fix” others. Well, we really can’t. At best we can only change ourselves.

Some people mistake the control over one’s own destiny and the destiny of others as being a necessary condition for ensuring their happiness and contentment. These people tend to be control freaks. They want to control everything, and in so doing they drive you crazy. They can be an overbearing father, an overprotective mother, an autocratic boss, a manipulative friend, or a jealous spouse. These are people who want to change you and your behaviours. They want to tell you what to do, and if they could they would run your life.

We all have some tendency to influence others so that they will see things from our point of view. Everything is fine when people agree with us, and when our values and beliefs systems coincide. Once there is difference of opinions and conflicts, the relationship is in distress. It’s much more difficult to have the habit of putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes. To have healthy interactions, we need to develop relationships based on mutual love and trust. When there is disagreement, try to find a win-win solution.

Learn when to combat the control that others want to impose on you, and when to accommodate them to create respectful and trustful relationships. Be assertive and don’t let control freaks dominate or victimize you. At the same time, be flexible, think in terms of preference rather than in terms of must have or must be like that. Accept and embrace your healthy relationships without preconceived ideas and conditions.

How are you doing in your relationships? Do you think you are in control of your relationships?