(THE BOOK) Chapter 10: Choiceful and compulsive

There’s one more distinction to make.

It is closely related to the last one, but essential to understand in its own right:

Controlling may be choiceful or compulsive.

Choiceful means both conscious and freely chosen.  Compulsive means driven by anxiety, to where a person essentially loses the ability to choose.

Most dysfunctional controlling is compulsive.

Compulsive controllers are people who see no other way to feel safe or secure than by trying to control people, places, things and themselves.  And who keep on controlling despite all evidence that the control they seek is an illusion.

Another word for compulsive is addictive.

Compulsive controllers, then, are addicts:

People who feel driven to control.

Who are unable to stop, even when their controlling is inappropriate, unhealthy or impossible.

Who’ve lost control of their need for control.






2 responses to “(THE BOOK) Chapter 10: Choiceful and compulsive

  • Al

    Thanks for this post.
    I find that what I seem to relate most to is the words,min the sense that you have been able to create a ‘language’ that I understand, and therefore enables me to speak it. By so doing I internalise the learning, it does not just stay in my head.
    Many thanks.
    In my recent experience I have been able to become aware if my discomfort around certain people I don’t like…instead of reacting by feeling it’s my fault with addictive controlling (people pleasing to remove the tension ) I have learnt to hold the discomfort….ie not accept its my fault.
    Interesting how they now feel discomfort while I feel lighter, honest inside.
    Is this the alternative you mention – surrendering and responsability?

    • Steve Hauptman

      Al, thanks for both this comment and the others you made on previous chapters. That feedback is invaluable in helping me shape both the book’s argument and its language.

      “I have learnt to hold the discomfort…ie, not accept its my fault.” That’s the form of surrender I call detachment.
      Yes, it’s an enormous relief when you can do it.
      And yes, I think people can tell when you do. They can sense when you’ve stopped trying to appease, please, or control them in some way.
      The healthy ones will welcome your detachment, even admire it.
      Unhealthy ones won’t. They want you to be attached to their reactions, and may well resent it when you stop.
      But with friends like that, who needs enemies?
      Keep detaching.

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