Author Archives: Steve Hauptman
Controlling comes in many flavors: healthy and unhealthy, necessary and unnecessary, public and private, conscious and unconscious, choiceful and compulsive, functional and dysfunctional. It’s your job to decide which flavors you prefer.
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From Bert’s Therapy, Session 2:
She says I have communication issues.
Read the rest here.
The Fourth Law of Control: There are better ways of handling feelings than control. Surrender, responsibility and intimacy are our main alternatives to compulsive controlling. Each is difficult. Each requires endless practice. Each is a way of accepting life on life’s terms.
From Bert’s Therapy, Session 1:
I shouldn’t be here.
Read the rest here.
Therapy’s for weaklings.
Veteran Monkeytraps readers
may remember that several years ago
my inner monkey Bert
went into therapy,
a process I described here
in a cartoon series.
I have resurrected that series,
and am reposting all the original
cartoons in a new blog
cleverly named Bert’s Therapy.
(Yes, Bert has waived confidentiality.)
New readers wondering
who the hell Bert is
should read “The Meaning of Bert”
on the page titled Start Here.
If you’d like to receive each new post
as it appears, you can subscribe
to Bert’s Therapy
at the bottom of the page.
Some obviously bright people are actually more clever than intelligent — better at defending and justifying themselves than opening up to really learn anything. Doing therapy with such people comes to feel, over time, like chewing bubble gum: lots of activity, no discernable progress.
Maybe, instead of feeling embarrassed by the truth, we should feel embarrassed by our need to hide it.
Any safety or comfort you purchase by hiding your real self is neither truly safe nor entirely comfortable.
If we’re in a dysfunctional relationship I have many ways to control you. There’s nagging, criticism and open conflict, obviously. But there’s also the sigh, the smirk, the long silence, the sulk, the raised eyebrow, the sarcastic aside, the body language that shouts Stay Away. These are powerful weapons, ways to punish you for doing or saying stuff I dislike and coerce you into falsifying yourself. It’s a kind of domestic terrorism.
The control addict’s anxiety is relieved by obtaining more control as much as the alcoholic’s thirst is quenched by drinking more alcohol.
Lie. Or at least withhold the truth. Disguise your thoughts. Hide your feelings. Never say No. Read people carefully, anticipate their reactions, then give them only what they want or can tolerate. Stay in hiding. Do this until it becomes a habit, your automatic and unconscious default position. Until no one, even those of us who want to, can spot the real you. Then sit back and bask in useless safety.