Start with an experiment.
In the privacy of your own mind, take a moment to consider this question:
How does a controlling person look, sound and act?
(Authorial pause while reader complies.)
What came up?
If you bothered to try this, I’m guessing you found some image, memory or feeling that carries the emotional weight of the word controlling for you.
What most of us encounter is a distillation of our most powerful (usually most painful) experiences with people by whom we’ve felt controlled.
Or we discover that we harbor some archetypal image of how a controller looks and acts. Someone like Hitler, or Donald Trump, or Mom.
That, at least, used to be my own reaction.
It changed when I began to really study control.
Ten years of practicing a therapy focused mainly on control issues taught me to see controlling as a shape-shifter, so various, subtle and relentless that it manages to slip sideways into virtually every experience and interaction.
And I came to see the need for some finer distinctions.
Some first steps, then, towards a more descriptive language.
We’re still forming two Skype-based study/support groups for readers who want to explore these ideas with me in real time. One is for therapists who want to integrate these ideas into their clinical work. Both groups will be small, six members at most, and meet weekly. Fee is $50 per session, and group members may purchase Monkeytraps (The Book) at half price. Interested? Write me: firstname.lastname@example.org.