Controlling can be conscious or unconscious
Conscious controlling is the sort we notice ourselves doing. Unconscious controlling operates outside our awareness.
Archie probably knew he was trying to control Edith. Edith, though, may not have realized she was controlling him back.
One way we hide our controlling from ourselves is by calling it something else:
Niceness. Politeness. Respect. Helpfulness. Protection. Loyalty. Love.
That’s not to say all unconscious controlling is dishonest or unhealthy. But it’s also true that the vast majority of compulsive controllers are relentlessly “nice” people unaware of their driving need for control.
They’re also unaware of how much their need for control controls them.
It’s easy to identify such people. Just place them in a situation beyond their control and see how uncomfortable they get.
(On the wall behind my chair there’s a picture of flowers. I once tilted it so that it hung crooked. Then I spent the day watching my clients’ eyes flick back and forth between my face and the crooked picture. Most were unaware they were doing this. All seemed increasingly restless or irritable. Two finally felt compelled to ask permission to straighten it.)
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.