Monthly Archives: September 2015

(THE BOOK) Chapter 39: Hammer

When the only tool you have is a hammer,

every problem starts to look like a nail.

                              ~ Abraham Maslow


Occasionally a client gets discouraged about escaping control addiction.

This sometimes happen after we’ve spent hours discussing their narcissistic family, or their abuse as children, or the ravages of socialization, or how inevitably all of us get split into two neurotic pieces.

“What’s the point?” they may say.  “If all these factors push us into compulsive controlling, and everyone ends up addicted to control, what hope is there for me?”

It’s at this point I give my little talk about problem redefinition:

There are two ways to see any problem. 

We can define it as the situation we’re facing.

Or we can define it as our response to that situation. 

Often there’s not much we can do about the first. 

But there’s a lot we can do about the second.

Control is the only tool most people have. 

It’s essential in some situations, of doubtful use in others, and sometimes it’s downright destructive.

The job of the recovering control addict is not to give up all controlling – that’s impossible – but to learn when to use the hammer of control, and when to put it down and seek alternatives.

Or put another way:  

Recovery is the process of learning to distinguish control from dyscontrol — controlling that is compulsive or destructive or counterproductive.

Key to this distinction is a deep understanding of the real reasons we seek control.

Which is the subject of the next section of this book: Emotion.

* * *



Thanks for reading this far.

The complete book — 


Why everybody tries to

control everything

and how we can stop

— is being finalized for publication 

in December, 2015.

Also coming: a podcast version

of Part I: Addiction

and Part 2: Dysfunction.

Watch this space for links

and further announcements.

As always, questions and feedback

are always welcome.

You can leave them here as comments

or email me directly:

And thanks, guys,

for your interest in

and support of this project.

[] bert panel (print for edit)




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